Medical research has advanced throughout the last decades and has helped cure people from a number of severe diseases, or has even prevented diseases to spread. An important aspect of that research is molecular biology and cell biology. The meticulous study of the smallest entities of our bodies gives the medical professionals clues about the reasons for allergies and diseases. And a lot of that work happens in laboratories, and the time it takes to find out about reactions is very long. One of the most promising research trends happens through the use of antibodies.
What are antibodies and what do they can do?
Antibodies are a kind of biological firewall. They are proteins which are able to identify and to counteract unwanted invaders of the body like viruses and bacteria. The antibodies are therefore one of the major components in the immune defense. They are produced by the plasma B cells. In many cases however, the complete activation of the B cell and the production of the antibodies depends on the so-called T helper cell, namely a specific white blood cell which literally “helps” other white blood cells to fully operate.
Therefore, antibodies play an important role in HIV testing. The abbreviation HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. And this virus is able to result in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, also called AIDS, for which there is no chance of healing until today. The problem with HIV is that it affects and destroys the T helper cells and thereby disables the body to activate the B cells in case of an infection. The result is that the body is not able to fight the bacteria and viruses anymore, no matter how harmless they are.
In short, the firewall breaks down. In order to find out whether a person is infected with HIV, researchers have developed an antigen test: monoclonal antibodies which are specific to the p24 protein of HIV and which can be provided by an antibodies supplier are mixed with a person’s blood. If the person is infected, the p24 proteins in the blood will react with the antibody which leads to a color change. Yet it has to be noted that the test is highly sensitive and only works shortly after the infection before the body produces its own antibodies. Yet, with the research done in this area, small steps can be taken to maybe cure and counteract the virus in the future.