Pinprick Test Graphic
The test uses highly sensitive protein complementation chemistry in which a light-emitting luciferase protein is reconstituted from separate fragments as test readout. (Credit: University of Toronto)

A pinprick test accurately measures the concentration of coronavirus antibodies in blood in under one hour. And it’s cheap — costing about tenth of current tests.

The new method is called SATiN, which stands for Serological Assay based on split Tripart Nanoluciferase. It is the first COVID-19 serology test that uses highly sensitive protein complementation chemistry in which a light-emitting luciferase protein is reconstituted from separate fragments as test readout.

By binding simultaneously to the coronavirus spike protein and the bacterial protein, the antibody helps lock luciferase pieces together into a whole molecule. The result is a flash of light that can be detected and converted into antibody concentration by a plate reader instrument. All reagents can be prepared from scratch and in bulk, helping to keep costs down.

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