The Knoxville Based Company Providing COVID-19 Antibody Testing
At The IT Company we not only aim to help you provide the best business outcomes through IT, but to provide opportunities to hear from experts in our community on topics happening in our community. Several weeks ago The IT Company’s Kenneth Herring spoke with Eric Mayer from Knoxville’s EDP Biotech to gain insight on the local company providing COVID-19 antibody testing.
EDP (Early Detection Products) Biotech was founded as a colorectal cancer blood testing company. Their mission was to detect disease early while creating cost effective diagnostic tools to help catch diseases in its earliest forms. In the beginning of 2020, EDP wrapped up a very large clinical research study surrounding colorectal cancer, including nearly 2,000 patients. Around the same time, the pandemic began to hit. EDP was at the right place during this time to start shifting their focus to COVID-19. They had expertise, the equipment for different blood tests, team members that were previously medical technologists or board licensed clinical lab directors, and they had the capacity for the need. They saw the need and the jumped on board to the team worldwide trying to get more answers about COVID-19.
There are a lot of unknowns that continue to surround COVID-19. One thing that is known, is that our bodies will naturally create an immune response when met with any pathogen, whether that’s a bacteria, virus or even certain foods. The way our immune system works is that when our bodies encounter that pathogen again in the future, the antibodies that were created in response and are now there, can often fight off the said infection through the natural immune response. The hope is that COVID-19 is no different. But because of how many unknowns there are around the disease, experts say they need to go out and get more data to confirm that is the reality. Which is where antibody testing comes in.
Eric was cautious to say that antibody testing will show if people are immune to COVID-19. But what it will show is if people have been exposed and if their body has started making antibodies against the disease.
Another thing that experts know about this disease is that it travels through the nose and mouth into the lungs. Because of this, it is tested through the culture from the nasal passage. Through the idea of blood testing, experts will look for our natural antibodies- our response to the virus- rather than looking for the presence of the virus itself.
Previously testing was centered around high risk people and people who were presenting symptoms. What is now happening is that the shift is being aimed more and more toward the general population to see who presents antibodies to the virus. As Eric shared, wide scale testing is crucial in order for the real prevalence of the disease to be known.
Eric stated that EDP wants to make an impact locally. By getting the certifications, and board and state licenses to provide antibody testing, they hope for it to be a service to Tennessee.
“We are learning a lot about COVID-19, quickly. Because the entire international science community has turned their attention to COVID-19, small local labs as well as big nationwide labs, are seeking to find answers to this disease."
As things continue to evolve surrounding COVID-19, people and businesses like EDP Biotech, are so critical to our community. Thank you EDP Biotech for what you are doing.