Researchers from Duke University have developed a test that can distinguish between different types of coronaviruses. The hope is that this technology can be used to predict the severity of a COVID-19 infection.

Early test results show 100% accuracy in distinguishing between antibodies produced in response to SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — and four other coronaviruses. The new tablet-sized device can detect multiple antibodies and biomarkers simultaneously.

The same device was shown to detect Ebola infections a day earlier than the standard PCR test. Duke researchers say this shows how flexible the technology can be to adapt to other current or future diseases.

The researchers don't think this particular test will be deployed in large numbers given the waning status of the pandemic in the U.S. But they point out the platform could be a prime candidate for use in future outbreaks. 

It could also potentially be used to test whether someone has immunity to the various strains of COVID-19 that continue to emerge.

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