Antibodies are a type of immune cell and while testing antibody levels can help assess an individual’s response to vaccination (or prior infection) – it may not give all of the information that may be available about that person’s immune response.
An antibody, is a protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralise alien substances in the blood such as bacteria, viruses, etc.
However, antibodies do not exist in isolation. We have a number of cells within the body that already work together before antibodies even start – these are T-cells : one type of T cell is essential to antibody production, another type kills cells that viruses have infected.
We do not have readily available tests that look for T cells, BUT antibody testing is relatively simple – a pin-prick sample of blood, that can be done at home.
Please note : even if your antibody level is low, this does not necessarily mean you do not have T cell protection against bacteria and viruses.
Launching this month is a survey:
“To improve understanding of the protection provided by antibodies generated following either COVID infection or vaccination”
The aims are to:
“provide access to a quality test programme, irrespective of geographic location, in England”
“aid wider, national efforts to safeguard, protect and monitor vulnerable (and potentially vulnerable) groups”
The survey looks to include 10,000 cancer patients – who have received a cancer treatment anytime over the last 12 months – this includes those diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer and ALL Neuroendocrine Cancer treatments e.g. somatostatin analogues, PRRT, as well as chemotherapy and / or targeted molecular therapies such as Everolimus and Sunitinib.
The survey investigators are keen to include as many less common and rare cancers, as common cancers – and that includes those with Neuroendocrine Cancer (NETs and NECs).
You can find out more and self-register to get involved online when the survey launches on Monday (20th September) – via the gov.uk website
We will publish the link and further information as it is made available.
Once again we would like to reiterate that even if your antibody level is low, this does not necessarily mean you do not have (T cell) protection against the coronavirus.