A new COVID immunity test being developed in Victoria

Published: 20 September 2021

A new finger prick test that can quickly assess a person’s immunity to COVID-19 and whether they need a coronavirus booster shot is being developed with funding support from the Victorian Government.

In less than 20 minutes, the COVID-19 NAb-Test shows the level of immunity present in individuals by accurately measuring the level of neutralising antibodies to COVID-19.

The new technology will also be able to predict a person’s immunity to new and emerging variants of COVID-19 and it can be used at scale for large groups.

The test could be used to determine whether a person may need a booster shot by analysing their current level of immunity to the virus. The test doesn’t check for current infection.

Neutralising antibodies are a key measure of immunity to COVID-19 and are part of the body’s natural immune response that is triggered by either prior infection or vaccination against the virus.

Funded through a $500,000 grant as part of the Victorian Government’s $31 million investment into coronavirus research, world-leading experts from the Burnet Institute and Doherty Institute developed the test inside 12 months.

While the test is still at the prototype stage, the Burnet Institute and Doherty Institute are in commercial discussions to progress the COVID-19 NAb-Test so it can be used to benefit Victorians as soon as possible.

The Victorian Government has invested more than $580 million in medical research in the past year, including $400 million for a new Australian Institute of Infectious Diseases. The government has separately created a $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund to back the next generation of research and innovation and drive jobs growth.

For more information on the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 Research Fund, visit the Medical Research page.