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COVID-19 and AbBaltis

Written by Giedre on 26th March 2020



With COVID-19 (also know as the Coronavirus) dominating the news, our MD Giedre offered her thoughts on the current pandemic. Giedre has extensive experience in in Biology, Biotechnology and Bioscience so she is expertly placed to offer comment and advice. She was recently interviewed on television about the outbreak, and you can watch what she said here.


The biggest concern with Coronavirus is that we are now seeing the exponential growth of the outbreak. Widespread diagnostic testing to identify asymptomatic patients as well as social distancing are both key to stopping the spread of the infection. AbBaltis has been operating a social distancing policy for many weeks now by cutting out any non-essential interactions and we are working on ELISA based COVID-19 IgA/IgG and IgM tests.

The thing I am most concerned about is that without comprehensive and thorough testing in place, people who may be carrying the virus but not showing symptoms are missed entirely. In addition to this, with PCR only we may get a number of “false negatives”, where people are told they are free of the virus when really they are not. This can lead to people who believe themselves to be free of the virus but in reality are going on to infect others. This poses a similar danger to as a phenomenon known as “Typhoid Mary” – people who are carriers of the infection but may not exhibit symptoms themselves.

The best way to combat this is with multiple tests. If someone potentially had HIV they would not just get one test to check. They would take multiple tests in conjunction with each other. For Coronavirus, we should not be relying on PCR tests alone, we should be running IgG tests to see if someone has been exposed to the virus, as well as antigen and IgM antibody to detect the current infection.  In addition to this, more clinicians may need additional training about interpreting the results.  Presence of IgG antibodies does not mean that the patient is no longer infectious.  It is absolutely possible that they are still shedding the virus, even with some antibodies present. Until we are running multiple tests, I do not feel that we can be confident in saying that a negative is definitely a negative. 

In order to help with this,  AbBaltis have started developing control samples for COVID-19 assays, so that these can be passed on to test kit manufacturers, helping to offer more comprehensive testing. I am also making myself available to local authorities if they would like advice on the best way to handle this pandemic.


If you would like to contact Giedre to discuss how Coronavirus, either to provide advice or expert comment for media enquiries, please email info@abbaltis.com.

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