The robot whizzes away, quickly sampling 384 wells on 15 different plates in a single instrument run, with each tiny well measuring antibodies from a diluted blood sample. It doesn’t matter if the person acquired antibodies through natural infection, vaccination, or both — the robotic system has been designed to catch it all.

The assay was developed and validated by a team of scientists from across Canada, with senior investigator Dr. Anne-Claude Gingras taking a leading role. An assay is an investigative procedure done in a laboratory for measuring the presence of something in a test sample, like antibodies in blood.

“Throughout the pandemic, antibody testing has been instrumental for detecting previous exposures and analyzing vaccine-elicited immune responses,” said Dr. Gingras. “We’ve been able to prove our assay is a scalable serology solution that is highly accurate in discriminating between natural infection- and vaccination-induced responses.”

In the two years that followed the assay’s development, the team has not only helped answer critical questions surrounding immunity and COVID-19, but has provided critical data needed for public health decisions around immunization timing and frequency.

Read the full story in our 2021-2022 Annual Report here.