Antibodies are glycoproteins whose main function is to protect the body. They are mainly developed to combat external agents that can threaten the organism (viruses, bacteria and fungi, for example).
A new method, developed by scientists, can detect small amounts of antibodies present in a person’s blood, which can indicate how vulnerable they are to disease.
The researchers developed a microfibre (the size is about a quarter of a human hair) that contains a sensor capable of identifying 10 molecules of antibodies in 20 minutes.
Although there are methods that already do this counting, they need millions of cells and take, on average, a day to get ready.
Thus, this new technology can be used to assist in the analysis of patients’ health, especially in places with little infrastructure.
The researchers hope that it can be used in clinical consultations, in which the patient would already know how the immunity is and whether or not he has a viral infection.
The research was done at the University of Colorado in the United States and will be published in the medical journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics .
So far, the most widely used test for detecting antibodies is the ELISA test (Enzyme-Linked Immunoabsorbent Assay) used by most hospitals and laboratories.
The ELISA is mainly used to determine whether a patient has a viral disease. The collection of material can be done in offices, but the analysis needs a laboratory.
American researchers estimate that there are about 320,000 viruses in mammals. Since the mutation of some types is very fast, that number never stops growing.
Contact with infectious agents can happen in several ways: infected insect bites, unprotected sex or even swallowing and inhaling the virus.
New, faster methods of diagnosing viral infections are invented. Accurate and speedy diagnosis can save lives.