Daily Record

How 'game-changing' coronvavirus antibody test is carried out at Scots lab

Daily Record logoDaily Record 24/05/2020 05:30:00 John Ferguson
a person sitting on a table: Sunday Mail man John Ferguson becomes one of the first people in Scotland to take the test © Jamie WilliamsonSunday Mail man John Ferguson becomes one of the first people in Scotland to take the test

Walking into Quotient's glass-fronted facility on the outskirts of Penicuik feels a bit like gatecrashing Tony Stark's Iron Man laboratory.

After being swiped through security, I found dozens of scientists in white coats, masks and goggles working studiously among racks of test tubes, centrifuge machines and blood analysis computers.

I was here to become one of the first people in Scotland to receive the firm's ground-breaking coronavirus antibody test.

Blood was taken and plasma separated before a sample was loaded on to a patented MosaiQ microarray cartridge and fed into a huge ­diagnostics machine capable of delivering thousands of results a day.

After a short wait, a screen on the side of the unit informed me that I had not, as yet, ­contracted coronavirus and so would not have antibodies likely to give me immunity.

It was a slightly ­disorientating experience to find myself disappointed not to have been infected by a deadly virus.

If I had been ­positive, it would most likely have meant that - social distancing rules notwithstanding - I could safely return to life as it was before Covid-19 struck.

Now I know I could still catch the virus and pass it on, resulting in myself or someone I come into contact with becoming seriously ill.

It is not difficult to see the massive potential using this system on a society-wide basis could have in the fight against Covid-19.

Right back at the beginning of the crisis, Prime Minister Boris Johnson predicted ­antibody testing technology would be "game-changing" when it became available.

Now that it is available, the question has become how quickly governments can roll it out and harness its potential to help speed up a safe return to normality.

24. toukokuuta 2020 8:30:00 Categories: Daily Record The Boston Globe

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