Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) -  A Rochester biotech company has announced that it has completed the development of a new test to measure a person's protective immunity against the new coronavirus.

A news release says the Vyriad Immune-COV antibody test detects neutralizing antibodies that are known to protect against COVID-19 infections. The company says the new test was developed jointly through an existing collaboration with Regeneron and is expected to be available through major testing labs by the end of this month.

In announcing the new serology test, Vyriad highlighted that it analyzes blood serum to detect only antibodies that are capable of blocking the spike protein used by the new coronavirus to infect healthy cells and spread the infection. The news release says that differentiates its test from most serology tests, which do not confirm the virus-neutralizing function of the antibodies they detect.

“We believe the ability of our test to accurately identify virus-neutralizing antibodies provides a higher degree of certainty about whether individuals have acquired protective immunity from COVID-19, including in those people who have never had symptoms of COVID-19,” said Stephen Russell, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Vyriad, a clinical-stage biotechnology company specializing in virus therapies to treat diseases, including cancer. “We believe this is the first commercially scalable test of its kind and could become the gold standard for determining protective immunity, because it detects specifically the antibodies capable of blocking re-infection. Our hope is that this assay will be used to help inform back-to-work decisions for individuals who believe they have been exposed to the virus.”

Vyriad is based in Rochester and was founded by researchers at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Miami to develop virus therapies for treating cancer. The biotech firm announced last fall that it had formed a partnership with Regeneron to advance the development of those treatments and the development of the new serology test is an expansion of that collaboration.

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