"Understanding what has happened to me and finding strategies to deal with Cluster Headaches and long-Covid has helped me and my family on what has been such a worrying health journey."
Dr Jonathan Snicker
Attomarker, a spin-out company from the University of Exeter, has launched its new COVID-19 seven-minute Triple Antibody test to the general public at Holmedale Health in the city. The test, which is unique in the market, will tell patients whether they have antibodies against the virus either from a previous infection or from the vaccine.
The launch in its home city follows positive results from an initial patient study at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London. It delivers laboratory quality, quantitative results in seven minutes, with a 95% sensitivity and 96% specificity, providing accuracy at point of care.
A small amount of blood is taken from the patient's arm before being passed through a special filter to separate out the cells. This is then diluted and run through its LiScAR 6 before the device produces levels of multiple COVID-19 antibodies and C-reactive protein in the patient's blood. Individuals can see the test generating data on screen. Results are shown in just seven minutes compared with up to 72 hours for tests that require to be sent away for laboratory analysis.
Dr Jonathan Snicker, who lives in Exeter, has been one of the first to use the service, with life changing results. “I started having extremely painful headaches over Christmas. By Boxing Day, I was unable to function. The pain was excruciating. My doctor diagnosed Cluster Headaches.
“I also felt so fatigued; like I was walking through thick soup. My antibody test indicated a previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 around the same time. I was flabbergasted at the result which explained my long-Covid symptoms. Luckily, I isolated anyway because of the Cluster Headaches, but I never even thought I had the virus as I’d not had the classic symptoms, no breathlessness nor cough. In that sense I was lucky, like everyone I considered the severity of what contracting full-Covid could mean and how hard it has been for sufferers and their families.
“The results of my test have provided vital information and honestly changed my life. Understanding what has happened to me and finding strategies to deal with Cluster Headaches and long-Covid has helped me and my family on what has been such a worrying health journey.
Jonathan’s results showed he had antibodies to the main part of the virus SARS-CoV-2, which is indicative of past infection. The results went further to show due to the antibody levels it would place the infection in December. It also showed that he had antibodies to the Spike protein of the virus, his first AstraZeneca (AZ) shot had worked.
Jonathan continued: “It was great to see Spike antibodies above the protective threshold after my first shot. I am due my second shot on 15 June; this is vital because a follow-up test a few days ago showed that my antibodies to the Spike had dropped below the threshold whilst my Nucleocapsid antibodies remain stable.”
CEO & Founder of Attomarker and Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Exeter, Professor Andrew Shaw, says: “We were delighted to be able to help Dr Snicker; it seems fitting because he was directly involved in the fundraising for my research. In my own case I have not generated sufficient levels of protective antibodies despite being double vaccinated with AZ; so, I will discuss this with my GP. I tested three nurses; all double vaccinated with AZ. Like me, two of them had not reached the protective threshold. A doctor, double vaccinated with Pfizer by January, has antibody levels below the threshold. This is vital information, for individuals and the NHS.
“Vaccination does not provide full protection for society. I believe this next generation of antibody tests, giving rapid laboratory level results on three classes of antibody in seven minutes and all at point of care, is vital for tackling this dangerous and persistent virus.
“The technology has been developed for over a decade and it’s another success story for British universities and British science in the global battle against COVID-19,” continued Professor Shaw.
“We were proud to have worked alongside St Thomas’ Hospital at the beginning of the pandemic and now to be offering the service in our home city before its roll-out nationally. The test will give people real clarity on if they have antibodies against the virus, and most importantly if these are above or below the recommended threshold. Also, whether they have contracted the virus previously and if their vaccine has worked.”
The test costs £125 – NHS workers get a 50% discount – and individuals can now book their appointment by using the online site:
Flexible appointment slots are available to ensure anyone over the age of 16 years can book the test.
The service comes with results shown on a screen as well as patients being able to download Attomarker’s Biomark iOS app which will allow them to access their result data. Its functionalities will allow individuals to carry their results around with them in a personalised format and share with others.
Holmedale Health is first clinic to offer the service, but Attomarker are keen to foster relationships across the UK with other clinical facilities and medical teams ahead of launching its national service.