Israeli Scientists Claim New Test can Gauge Response of Vaccine before Antibodies Form

A test has been developed by scientists in Israel, which will let people know their response to the COVID-19 vaccination, even before antibodies begin forming in their body. The test involves sequencing of the tiny fragments of DNA that exist in the blood. It extracts data from these DNA fragments about the response of the systems responsible for antibody production, which get into action after vaccination. Ilana Fox-Fisher, a researcher from Hebrew University, said that their test could be used for potentially telling people whether their immune system is responding quickly after the vaccine has been administered. 

She added that the existing antibody tests require at least a period of two weeks for delivering accurate results after the initial vaccination. She said that they had recently published a study showing if those who had received the influenza vaccine were preparing to produce the correct antibodies, along with memory B cells for ensuring protection. According to the researcher, they were now considering responses to the coronavirus vaccines and were expecting to get similar results. This could prove to be useful for immunocompromised and elderly patients, who wish to know if their bodies are developing protection. 

According to Fox-Fisher, this could also come in handy for researchers who are responsible for shaping the vaccination policy, depending on the data accumulated on immune responses. The researcher said that the technology that has been utilized in her recently peer-reviewed study can have a variety of applications that go beyond assessing the response of the body to the vaccine. She said that this could even work with a ‘liquid biopsy, which will enable doctors to diagnose some cancers and also provide detailed information regarding the different aspects of the functioning of the immune system. The blood count is the primary method used for testing the health of the immune system, which takes the white blood cells into account.

However, this often fails to identify the activity of the immune system in the remote tissues of the body, such as the ones that are found in lymph nodes, bone marrow, and other organs. The new approach, on the other hand, is able to pick up a number of these. Therefore, it can even be used for detecting lymphoma, a kind of cancer that usually cannot be identified through blood tests. Fox-Fisher said that tiny fragments of DNA are released by cells into the bloodstream when they die and they are only there for 15 minutes. She said that a lot of information can be gained from these fragments and that’s what they are doing through sequencing.

Prof. Yuval Dor supervised the research and said that accumulated information allows them to monitor the dynamics of the human immune system and provide useful information that cannot be obtained through standard blood count. He said that this tool could illuminate pathologic and healthy immune processes that occur deep within the tissues and are not currently accessible. Fox-Fisher said that clinicians will be able to use the test for getting a more accurate picture of their patient’s health. 

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