SPANISH scientists have developed a new low-cost skin test that shows COVID-19 immunity and determines whether a third vaccine dose is required.

The test which is nearly 100% accurate has been developed by a research team in the Canary Islands and using a very simple testing process similar to that used in allergy detection.

It could revolutionise Covid testing with analysis performed remotely from a photograph of the skin test area.

Within 24-72 hours the test is able to detect T-lymphocytes specific for the Spika protein found in Covid-19 in a person who has been vaccinated or recovered from the virus.

The test has been developed by Dr Yvelise Barrios, immunologist, and Dr Victor Mathey, allergist, both from the Hospital University of Canarias.

The doctors explained their methodology to the Spanish medical information portal iSanidad

The test can be analysed remotely, being very convenient for testing masses, where a photo of the skin is sent to a phone number provided.

If the person has immunity, the skin test area will  produce an inflammatory reaction. 

“The reliability is very high. We tested a group of people who had not been exposed to the virus and in that group all the tests were negative” says Dr. Barrios. 

“In all patients with competent cellular immunity, we know that this skin test shows a positive”.

“We know that antibodies are circulating proteins that will disappear after a few months, but what remains, the T cells, have immunological memory. We are able to measure these T cells with this skin test, which cannot be assessed with antibodies”.

The doctors assure that this skin test will revolutionise the data we have on cellular immunity, which until now has been very difficult to obtain.

It would show whether a person is immune or requires a booster of the vaccine.

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