LSU Health Shreveport gains serology testing capabilities

Louisiana Radio Network

LSU Health Shreveport is bringing testing online that will allow them to check a person’s blood for antibodies that may indicate they are immune to coronavirus.

But Immunology Professor Matthew Woolard says it’s not just enough to know if you have anti-coronavirus antibodies, they need to know how effective they are, and how many are needed to be effective.

“Do those antibodies you have to neutralize the ability of the virus to infect cells? That is really the gold standard,” says Woolard.

If a person is found to have effective antibodies they could return to a normal life without fear of getting themselves or others sick.

Woolard says their work will also be to document over time the rate at which a person loses antibodies by retesting a person’s blood every so often.

“As we continue to test and retest individuals we can see how long the antibodies stick around after someone gets the infection and clears the infection,” says Woolard.

This research will be done using blood donated to the lab from the LifeShare Blood Center for plasma therapy trials.

The federal plan to reopen the economy uses wide-scale coronavirus testing, but Woolard says their work is important because basic testing can only provide so much information.

“As someone clears the infection and virus, you can’t find the virus anymore so the question because how do you find someone who has seen the virus? That is what the serology assay does,” says Woolard.