The Daily Telegraph

Finger prick test shows who is at risk of Covid reinfectio­n

- By Sarah Knapton SCIENCE EDITOR

A FINGER-PRICK blood test that can identify people most at risk of being reinfected with Covid-19 could help tailor the booster programme to those who need it most.

Scientists at Cardiff University and biotech firm Immunoserv have developed a test that measures the presence of immune T-cells that recognise Covid19, and mount an immune response.

Trials on 300 volunteers showed that individual­s with the best T-cell response were less likely to pick up an infection in the following three months, regardless of their levels of antibodies.

Researcher­s say the tests will help determine who might need booster vaccinatio­ns, or could skip a jab.

Dr Martin Scurr, lead author, said the study highlighte­d the potential for more accurate assessment of an individual’s immunity to Covid-19.

“Many individual­s worry about their risk of contractin­g Covid-19, whether they have been vaccinated or not.

“Our test identified that it is the level of T-cell response induced by prior vaccinatio­n or infection that is associated with the risk of that individual contractin­g Covid-19 in the months following the blood test.”

T-cells are a white blood cell which stores the details of a past infection and can multiply on re-exposure. They can also fight variants.

While antibodies wane over time, T-cell responses are more resilient. However, it has been challengin­g to test T-cell responses on a large scale.

The new test used a simple fingerpric­k blood sample collected at home and sent to a laboratory.

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