Knowing whether the vaccines are effective is of great concern. To know ifthe vaccines have been effective, it would be necessary to check if antibodies to COVID-19 have been generated. In this regard, can serological tests measure the efficacy of vaccines? The answer is that it depends on what type of antibodies the test detects.
This question is a growing topic that has been commented on by scientific disseminators and current newspapers. We will tell you about it!
Virus structure and technical explanation.
As we mentioned in the previous post, the structure of the virus is as follows:
Going into the detail of the structure, there is a specific region in the S protein, called the RBD region (Receptor Binding Protein) that functions as a “key” (the blue area in the image) for the virus to bind to the cell, specifically to the ACE2 receptor, and for the virus to enter the cell and, therefore, the infection.
When a person is naturally infected with the virus, his or her body generates antibodies against the multiple proteins that form the structure of the virus. However, only those antibodies that block the binding between RBD and the cell are the ones that really have the potential to be neutralizing.
The other antibodies that are generated upon entry of the virus against the N, E or M proteins prepare the immune system for possible reinfection, but only the antibodies against RBD are those that prevent the virus from entering the cell.
What serological tests can measure the efficacy of vaccines?
As we have already explained, the vaccines that are currently available on the market have the ability to cause the body to generate copies of the Spike protein (protein S) of the virus.
Most of the commercially available serological tests are designed to measure the antibodies generated against the N protein. Therefore, these tests could identify those persons who have been infected by the virus and have generated immunity against this protein, but not those persons who have been vaccinated, since it has been proven that, with vaccines, only antibodies against the S protein are generated.
Therefore, to the question of whether serological tests can measure the efficacy of vaccines, the answer would be that only those that detect antibodies against protein S would be useful.
At BIOLAN HEALTH we have developed a rapid serological test that is able to identify those neutralizing antibodies, the antibodies generated against the RBD region of the S protein of the virus, so it would be a very effective tool to measure the effectiveness of vaccines and also to know if people have generated those antibodies that prevent the entry of the virus into the cell.
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