Nizamiye Hospital, Abuja, has introduced an antibody test that detects a person’s level of immunity against COVID-19.
Usman Habu Balbaya, Director Medical Laboratory Services of the hospital, disclosed this Monday during an exclusive interview with Daily Trust in Abuja.
- Flights may be disrupted as FG alerts Nigerians of heavy rainfall
- PODCAST: All You Need To About PIB Law
He said the COVID-19 antibody test is a simple test, which involves taking one’s blood sample, processing it and using the serum to detect the presence of antibodies against the virus.
“It is specifically for COVID-19 to see whether you have developed antibodies against the virus or not.”
He explained that antibodies are developed in two ways; either through being naturally exposed to the virus which means you have previously had COVID-19, and your body develops antibodies against the virus, or the antibody is developed after COVID-19 vaccination.
He said the main reason for vaccination is to develop antibodies against a particular disease, in this case COVID-19.
Balbaya said antibodies are just like the defense mechanism in the body, adding that, “In a layman perceptive, they are soldiers in the body that fight diseases or any foreign organism that gets into the system.”
Asked why Nigerians need COVID-19 antibody test, Balbaya said firstly, antibody testing does not only show whether a person has antibodies against a disease or not, but also certifies if vaccines taken against the disease are effective.
According to him, “Every potent vaccine should elicit an antibody response in the body. That is the main principle behind vaccination. Apart from that, you need to know whether you have the antibodies in circulation or not, because having the antibodies in circulation means so many things.
“It means you are less likely to come down with re-infection of COVID-19, because there is a possibility of reinfection for the second time.”
He said secondly, people that have antibodies in circulation are less likely to be admitted or to develop symptoms on second exposure.
The medical laboratory scientist said this implies that those who have been vaccinated, and discover they have low COVID-19 antibodies after antibody testing need to go for vaccination again.
“So it is very good that you know that you have these antibodies in your system. This will give you the perception or the idea that you are safe to a particular limit. If you take COVID-19 vaccine, do an antibody test and discover that you don’t have the antibodies in your system, that means you are not safe; that means you need to be very careful or even get revaccinated.
“It means the vaccination you did has not elicited a response and the main mission of the vaccination has not been achieved.”
He said this helps with fake vaccinations too.
“That is why I said it determines the potency of the vaccine you have taken. You may think ‘Ok I have taken the vaccine, so I’m safe.’ Meanwhile the vaccine you have taken has denatured and then the effect is not there, so you have not elicited any antibody response, and then you come down with the disease,” he said.