WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 50 million people in the country are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Most of America is already speeding towards normalcy," said former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen.
However, one question is emerging: how long will the vaccines remain effective in protecting the human body against the coronavirus?
“It's obviously a new virus here on the planet relatively speaking, and I don't think people know everything about it yet,” said John Huemoeller, CEO of AXIM Biotechnologies, a company that just developed ImmunoPass, a new test now undergoing FDA emergency approval.
The test helps determine how many neutralizing antibodies a person has against COVID-19.
“The endpoint of all vaccines is to create as many neutralizing antibodies,” Huemoeller said. “So, these neutralizing antibodies will actually attach to the spike protein on the virus and that stops the virus from then attaching to your ace to protein in your body, which is how it gets into your body just to begin with.”
Over time, those neutralizing antibodies begin to diminish. When a booster shot might be needed is unclear. ImmunoPass checks antibody levels in the blood within 10 minutes.
“Everybody is different and whether or not the vaccine will last for six months, nine months, a year, nobody knows at this point because it's too early,” Huemoeller said. “But with our test, you're actually able to monitor your neutralizing antibodies.”
Testing for those neutralizing antibodies will become critical across the globe as more people get vaccinated, because experts say COVID-19 is likely to circulate around the world for years to come.
If approved, the test would first be administered by medical professionals, before potentially moving to over-the-counter.
“If this virus is going to stick around, which means a lot of people think it's going to be here for the rest of our lives and you do need that annual shot, kind of like the flu shot,” he said. “Then, we hope to be able to have the test that can tell you when that is, because again, everybody is different.”
Every person is different, but all are still facing the same COVID-19 threat.