COVID-19 Antibody Test Developed In Kalamazoo

Jul 16, 2020

IONTOX scientists David Austin (foreground) and Jeff Pregenzer working on the ELISA test for COVID-19 antibody
Credit Greg Vanden Heuvel / WMU Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine

Researchers in Kalamazoo have developed a new antibody test for COVID-19.


It's a joint effort by the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine and the biotech company IONTOX.

Greg Vanden Heuvel is the school's associate dean for research.

"It's a type of test that allows one to determine how much an individual has generated against the virus, and what type of antibody."

Vanden Heuvel says that could help develop a corona virus vaccine as well as track the spread of the disease. Heuvel says there are actually two kinds of antibodies that fight the coronavirus, known officially as SARS CoV2.

"And this particular test can measure both of those, and it can also measure how much antibody, which is called the titer."

The WMU Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine by night
Credit Courtesy WMed

Vanden Heuvel says knowing how many antibodies a person has could help other researchers develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

"What we're hoping is that we can determine the level of antibodies that are required for immunity."

There's a lot we still don't know about the corona virus. But Vanden Heuvel says the new test could help answer several questions.

"How long does it take to develop an antibody response? How severe does the disease have to be for someone to develop an antibody response? And, how many individuals in a community have been exposed to the virus?"

Vanden Heuvel says people interested in getting the antibody test should talk to their doctor.