• This test, which consists of small extraction of blood, is meant for patients with compromised immune systems who want to check their level of immunity, but also for people who want to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine or the consequences of Covid on their immune system.
  • This test is currently carried out in the laboratories at Alicante’s Immunology Center (Elche), Ribera Povisa Hospital (Vigo) and Juan Cardona Hospital (Ferrol).

Ribera Lab, Ribera healthcare groups laboratory division, has incorporated a new test into their portfolio of services which assesses a person’s cellular immune response to Covid. With this test, anyone can know the state of their immune system to combat the virus, after having been vaccinated or infected, although the test is aimed especially at patients with compromised immune systems and groups that are especially vulnerable to Covid.

As the Ribera Lab specialists explain, “there are two types of acquired adaptive immune response, humoral and cellular”. The cellular response to SARS-CoV-2 usually appears alongside the humoral response, through antibodies, although it usually lasts longer and is more sensitive”, they add, given that “it has been seen to be prevalent in asymptomatic patients, those with mild symptoms or even those that have barely generated any antibodies that are measureable with specific techniques”.

“The T lymphocytes or T cells form part of the cellular immune response and are the main defense mechanism against intracellular microorganisms”, explain the specialists from  Ribera group’s laboratory division. In fact, the response from the T cells when faced with a real infection and when the Covid vaccine is administered is similar. Contact with SARA-CoV-2 triggers the cellular response of the T lymphoctyes, which when stimulated by viral antigens, amongst others, release what is known as Interferon Gamma (INF-y)”, they affirm.

There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding the transmission of this virus and its variants, as well as the different immune system response of each person when they are infected. However, advances and developments regarding these types of serological tests allow us to provide more information to patients that are particularly vulnerable to Covid or those that want to know the cellular immunity generated after administering the vaccines, after having had the infection or the combination of both. Ribera Lab’s specialists explain: “The cellular response compliments the determination of antibodies and allows us to evaluate the response of patients with positive serology, that have had Covid-19 or have been vaccinated; to assess immunity in patients with compromised immune systems; and evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine”. And they add that “due to the nature of the test itself, it is especially suitable for patients with the suspicion or knowledge of having had Covid or those that have not produced antibodies having been vaccinated.”

But anyone can clear up any doubts with this test, consisting of a small extraction of blood, available in the centers that Ribera Lab has in Ribera Povisa Hospital (Vigo), Juan Cardona Hospital (Ferrol) and at the Alicante’s Immunology Center (Elche). The test to determine the degree of immunization is carried out by exposing a concentration of the patient’s lymphocytes to a protein extract of SARS-CoV-2 antigens (protein P, N, M and S), and, using the ELISA technique, the release of Interferon Gamma INF-y from the blood’s T lymphocytes is detected.