Devices & Diagnostics

Diagnostic test determines if Covid-19 antibodies are from vaccination or infection

Pictor is partnering with Mobility Health to distribute Pictor’s novel Covid-19 antibody test, which can assess in one test if a person has antibodies to protect against Covid-19 and if that is due to infection or vaccination; Pictor also received a $6.1 million investment.

Auckland, New Zealand-based in vitro diagnostics company Pictor is partnering with Mobility Health, a laboratory service provider based in Mason, Ohio, to distribute Pictor’s Covid-19 antibody test that assesses if a patient has Covid-19 antibodies, and if they do, if the antibodies are from vaccination or from having contracted Covid-19. This partnership comes at the same time as a $6.1 million investment led by Marko Bogievski and K One W One Ltd. for Pictor. 

Pictor’s PictArrayTM SARS-CoV-2 assay can identify if a patient has antibodies for Covid-19 as well as determine if those antibodies can be attributed to a previous Covid-19 infection or if they are from vaccination alone. The test does so by identifying if a person has nucleocapsid protein (NP) antibodies as well as spike protein (SP) antibodies present or if the person only has SP antibodies. If only SP antibodies are identified, the person has not contracted Covid-19 and the antibodies present can be attributed to vaccination.

The test has an additional useful application: determining if at risk patients do not have an adequate antibody response even if they have previously been vaccinated or infected.

Pictor sees this test as an opportunity to inform if those patients should then receive additional boosters, explained Howard Moore, CEO of Pictor, in an interview. On the flip side, if someone has a very high antibody count, then the test could indicate that person should perhaps not receive a booster yet. For example, if patients have too high of antibody levels, they may benefit from delaying additional boosting, according to Moore.

“You have to be somewhat careful in administering vaccination. We believe you should be careful about administering vaccines to those people who have been infected. Their antibodies level may be reasonably high,” said Moore.

Though not proven, a correlation could exist between high antibody levels and autoimmune diseases, according to Moore. As a result, Pictor’s test could prove useful in this regard since it can determine the antibody levels in addition to their origin.

Patients will have access to the test via doctor or hospitals ordering it on their behalf, Moore explained in an email forwarded by a representative.

The $6.1 million investment will fund Pictor’s marketing for the test as well as its other diagnostics. This funding will go towards US, EU, and ANZ market development; it will also help fund research and development efforts, Moore said. To date, Pictor has raised $17 million.

Current tests that assess antibody levels can determine if a person has had Covid-19 and if the antibodies present are from that infection. However, a person has to take an entirely separate test to see if antibodies present are due to vaccination.

“The PictArra SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test is a high performance, all-in-one, NP/SP COVID-19  antibody test with serological differentiation. This is the only test that separately measures  antibodies from vaccines and SARS-CoV-2 infection in one test,” said Tadd Lazarus, chief medical officer of Pictor, in a news release. “The separate detection of SP and NP enables more precise clinical  intervention.”

Additionally, Pictor’s two-in-one test costs roughly the same as one of the competitor’s tests, allowing Pictor’s test to potentially cut down the total cost of testing by 50%, according to Moore. Further, money can be saved by paying a lab technician to administer only one test instead of two.

“They [our competitors] could do what we do, but they [would] have to sell two tests to do it,” Moore added. “The lab technician only has to administer one test. These are the advantages that we have. We intend to leverage them as we proceed with our U.S. launch in particular.”

Photo:, Getty Images