Emory University Hospital. (Jenni Girtman for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Emory says new test could advance COVID-19 antibody research

An Emory University team released new research it hopes is an important step in more effectively treating COVID-19.

The researchers published a 29-page paper based on its study of 44 patients at Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown with acute infections of the disease. The researchers developed a test that found 40 of the 44 patients had strong antibodies that attacked the disease within six days of testing positive. 

They believe their findings help in several areas of COVID-19 research, such as determining that blood plasma from patients with higher levels of antibodies is of better use to treat other patients. 

Blood plasma donations are being increasingly used by researchers to treat those with the disease. The idea is the injected plasma has antibodies that attack and destroy the infection in current patients. Liquid gold, some call the plasma because of its color and value. 

Emory officials said the research shows “that not all antibody tests are created equal.” Antibodies providing immunity have specific characteristics that may not be accounted for in other antibody tests, which will be part of Emory’s additional research.

 The Emory research was funded through a $3 million grant by the Marcus Foundation. 

> RELATED: Plasma could be ‘liquid gold’ for COVID-19 treatment

Emory’s work has not yet been peer-reviewed, a typical element for such research. More COVID-19 research has not been peer reviewed because of the desire researchers have to produce work that helps treat patients for a disease that has no cure.

Emory researchers say their work would typically take six months to a year or more, but it was done sooner because of a more collaborative effort by multiple research teams.

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