Adaptive Biotechnologies launched a trial that uses machine learning technology from Microsoft to detect COVID-19 infections, with the aim of filling a significant gap left by standard antibody tests.
The exam, called T-Detect Covid, look for answers from goal T against the disease, rather than the immune proteins detected by conventional tests. Seattle-based Adaptive indicated that Your product can help people who believe they have been infected, but have not tested positive with currently available tests.
This includes so-called long-distance patients, those who suffer persistent COVID symptoms, often for months.
“Some of these people were never diagnosed,” Lance Baldo, Adaptive’s chief medical officer, said in an interview last month. “Sometimes your doctors wonder and frankly, this is where it gets ugly, sometimes your insurers wonder.”
Antibody tests Abbott Laboratories, Roche and other manufacturers they are inexpensive and abundant, but they face doubts about accuracy in previous infections.
Meanwhile, research in the UK suggests that a characteristic T-cell response remains in the body six months after a COVID-19 infection, potentially longer than antibodies.
T-cell responses emerge quickly and “they have this long tail,” Baldo said. “It’s those biological properties of T cells that make them a really great target for trying to track disease and for diagnosis.”
Partnership with Microsoft
T-Detect Covid extracts and sequences DNA from T cells present in a person’s blood sample. It uses machine learning software obtained through a partnership with Microsoft to determine whether harvesting of T cells in the body is consistent with a previous covid infection.
The test costs 150 dollars (just over 3,000 Mexican pesos), not including the extraction of blood and a medical consultation, and has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Available online with a prescription, it’s a new technology from Adaptive, whose shares have risen more than 66 percent in the past year amid heightened interest in diagnostics amid the pandemic.
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