Japan develops COVID-19 antibody test with silkworms

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Researchers at Kyushu University in southwestern Japan and a medical equipment manufacturer in the country have developed a antibody test of COVID-19 using silkworms, for which it is not necessary to go to a medical center.

The start-ups Kaico, a unit of the university institution, and Protects, from the city of Wako (west of Tokyo), are responsible for the kit, which requires that whoever uses it sends by post a small blood sample, according to details published this Saturday by the local Kyodo news agency.

Kit benefits

The results take about a week to be known and the service that has been in operation since mid-October is aimed at companies and organizations. The kit “can contribute arreduce the risk of infection among the employees, “said the president of Kaico, Kenta Yamato, to the aforementioned Japanese media.

The system by mail avoid visiting medical institutions and based on its results, companies can better manage their staff, recommending, for example, that those who have tested negative avoid traveling abroad to minimize risks, he said.

Protein with crown of peaks

The Kyushu University She is known for her research on silkworms, on which she has been working for over a hundred years.

The promoter of the new kit has been the work of Professor Takahiro Kusakabe and his team, who have discovered that a certain type of silkworm produces a protein used in the production of a potential vaccine for COVID, in which they have been working for months.

Shortly after the explosion of the spread of COVID-19, a team led by Kusakabe succeeded in cultivating within a silkworm an artificial protein that has an identical structure to the one. protein with crown of spikes on the surface of SARS-CoV-2. The firms used this artificial protein to develop the kit to detect the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in blood.

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