Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Mayo Clinic has launched a new test designed to measure the level of neutralizing antibodies against the new coronavirus.

A news release says the test will help identify donors with the most beneficial convalescent plasma after recovering from COVID-19 and should help assess the effectiveness of potential vaccines against the new viral illness.

“The neutralizing antibody test is a critical addition to our COVID-19 testing, expanding on the capabilities of the molecular tests used to diagnose active infection and the serology test, which indicates previous infection by identifying antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” says William Morice, II, M.D., Ph.D., president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories. “This new test provides us with incredibly important information about how effective a person’s antibodies are at neutralizing the virus. This will help us identify optimal convalescent plasma donors and ultimately help assess the efficacy of anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.”

According to the Mayo Clinic release, the new test provides an accurate estimate of the levels of the neutralizing antibodies in a person's blood with the expectation that higher levels could result in a better response to the convalescent plasma therapy being used to treat some seriously ill COVID-19 patients. The information should also prove valuable in determining whether vaccines being developed to ward against the infection produce the desired result.

The neutralizing antibodies have the ability to fight viruses, but researchers say it remains unknown what level of the neutralizing antibodies is needed to create protective immunity or how long the antibodies remain in a person's body following a coronavirus infection.

The new test, which should become available by the end of this month, was developed and clinically validated at the Mayo Clinic with the support of Vyriad, Regeneron, and Imanis Life Sciences.

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