MBL's Response to COVID-19
Fight against COVID-19
MBL offers clinical diagnostics and research reagents taking advantage of our strength in immunological and gene detection techniques.
Since the situation of new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection is getting worse rapidly in the world, our mission is to make contribution to protect the health of human beings and facilitate medical development. In other words, MBL group maximizes all the resources that we have to face the threat of COVID-19.
COVID-19 and PCR test
/ antibody test / antigen test
There are seven types of coronavirus that infects human beings, in which four of these viruses diffuse for a long time that cause common cold. The rest of three types are SARS-CoV found in 2002, MERS-CoV found in 2012 and the currently spreading SARS-CoV-2 found in Dec, 2019.
Even no or slight symptoms are shown in most of the people after infection, symptoms in some of the patient can be severe and long-term. Effective treatment has not yet been found at this moment.
There are many ways of screening SARS-CoV-2 infection. People often find them very confusing.
Here is a table that explains what the different tests are and why they are done.
|What is tested||More Details||What the test shows||Method||Pros and Cons|
|Genes||SARS-CoV-2 genes||If you are infected Now||PCR test, LAMP test||Pros: High specificity, more sensitive than lateral flow tests|
Cons: Can be used only up to 2 weeks after infection starts
|Antigen||Proteins that SARS-CoV-2 is made of||If you are infected Now||lateral flow tests,
|Pros: Quick, convenient and simple tests available|
Cons: Sensitivity may not be as good as PCR
|Antibody||Proteins that the body produces in response to infection||If you were infected in the past||lateral flow tests,
ELISA, automated analyzer
|Pros: Highly sensitive, can complement PCR test in late stage of infection|
Cons: Not detected in early stage of infection
|Neutralizing Antibody||Antibody that defends the body’s cells from infection or prevents it from getting worse||Immune strength produced by antibodies; Vaccine effectiveness||lateral flow tests,
ELISA, automated analyzer
|Pros: Safe kit without using virus and automated device available|
Cons: Live viruses not used, not a full substitute for tests using infectious virus
|T cells||A type of immune cell that is capable of attacking cells infected by the virus||Number of antigen-specific T cells that fight SARS-CoV-2||MHC tetramer||Pros: High antigen specificity|
Cons: Separate preparation needed for each HLA
|Cytokines, cytotoxic factors, etc.||Weapon used by T cells when attacking infected cells (e.g. interferon and cytotoxic factors)||Immune strength produced by T cells||ELISA, ELISPOT||Pros: Convenient, suitable for polyspecimen|
Cons: May lack antigen specificity
Sensitivity: Ratio of how many positives can be identified among all infected people
Specificity: Ratio of how many negatives can be identified among all non-infected people
PCR test is a genetic test that detects the presence of viruses in human body at the moment of testing. Since the virus also have genes, we can artificially amplify and detect the specific gene sequence of virus. Therefore, the specific gene of virus can be detected even in a low concentration of virus.
However, the PCR test also has its detection limit. For example, the PCR test can only test negative if there are only a few viruses in body, so in clinic, the PCR test should be used carefully with the strategies including repeatedly testing.
The purpose of virus antibody test is to check the "infection history" which tells if someone has been infected before or not. Antibody is produced by the immune cell which patrols in the human body that can respond to pathogens including viruses or cancer cells via specific reaction that attacks the pathogens or makes the pathogen unharmful.
There are five classes of antibodies including IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG and IgM. The most important ones in diagnostics are IgM and IgG. Normally, IgM is increased at early infection in order to respond to the pathogens instantly. IgG will be increased several days or a week later to target the specific pathogens with stronger conjugation reaction.
Even antibodies are produced in human body after the infection of SARS-CoV-2, clinical usefulness of the information to predict reviving or reinfection is still under discussion at this moment which more clinical research is required.
Antigen test (Rapid Diagnostic Tests)
Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) detect SARS-CoV-2 antigen in human specimen. RDT detect virus with high specificity between first week before and after symptom onset, so it is useful to identify the most infectious status of a positive patient.
Since asymptomatic patient of COVID-19 could be super spreaders, RDT is an important to detect infection before the onset of the symptoms.
RDT is an ideal test for large population screening which does not require equipment and specially trained person.
COVID-19 related products
- The following information of product is only for health workers and researchers.
PCR kit for detecting new coronavirus
With the genetic testing technique from our subsidiary company, G&G science, our real-time PCR kit is allowed to be commercialized in a very short time. The MEBRIGHT™ SARS-CoV-2 Kit is developed with the cooperation of NIID (National Institute of Infectious Diseases) and provides better operability using our genetic technique.
Antibody test kit for SARS-CoV-2
MBL imports and sells the testing kit and instrument of a Chinese company, YHLO (Shenzhen YHLO Biotech Co., Ltd.), from China to Japan. YHLO is a famous IVD manufacturer that manufactures and sells IVD products in China and to Europe and other countries.
MBL has been working on diagnostic reagent business in China with a long history. Since YHLO is a very important customer for our subsidiary company, MBLB, we can import the high quality testing kit from YHLO promptly.
SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Antibody Detection Kit
Human immune system generates many kinds of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 when infected. The neutralizing antibodies prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection by disrupting the interaction between the virus and its receptor on the human cells.
It is very important to evaluate if neutralizing antibodies are effectively produced in SARS-CoV-2 infected patients or vaccinated individuals in order to understand the risk of re-infection and the acquisition of immunity to the virus, respectively.
MBL successfully has developed the “SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Antibody Detection Kit” in the collaboration research with Keio University.
The kit enables researchers to evaluate the existence of neutralizing antibodies in the human samples.
The urgent development of effective treatments and vaccines are required under the situation of SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.
“SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Antibody Detection Kit” is useful for evaluating the efficacy of vaccination and the research for plasma therapy.
SARS-CoV-2 Anti-RBD Antibody Profiling Kit
SARS-CoV-2 infection prompts the production of antibodies against the spike protein of the virus
. Some anti-spike (RBD#) antibodies neutralize the virus while the others do not neutralize the virus (non-neutralizing antibodies). Among non-neutralizing antibodies, there are some antibodies which enhance the severity of the disease. Therefore, knowing the type of antibodies in clinical samples is critical for the prevention and treatment of the disease.
MBL successfully has developed the “SARS-CoV-2 Anti-RBD Antibody Profiling Kit” in the collaboration research with Keio University.
The kit enables researchers to profile the anti-RBD antibodies produced against SARS-CoV-2.
#RBD: Receptor Binding Domain
MBL sells RDT with a assay principle of a colloidal gold immunoassay (CGIA) with IVDD registration. The kit contains test Cassettes, Extraction Reagent, Sample Extraction Tubes with a dispensing tip and Sterile Nasopharyngeal Swabs. It takes only 15 min to get the result.
Gene extraction kit
Nucleic acid extraction reagent that can be used with MEBRIGHT™ SARS-CoV-2 kit.
The RNA samples extracted from the upper respiratory tract samples (nasopharyngeal swab samples) or lower respiratory tract samples (sputum or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid) of patient by SMITEST EX-R&D can be used with MEBRIGHT™ SARS-CoV-2 Kit.
Also, it is verified that the sample extracted from saliva can also be used.
SMITEST EX-R&D provide an efficient extraction of nucleic acid from various biological samples without harmful organic solvents such as phenol and chloroform.
There are many Citations.
T cell research reagents
It has become clear that not only antibodies but also T cells, a particular type of immune cells, are active in the body to combat the novel SARS Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
T cells attack and kill infected cells via the recognition of peptide fragments from the novel coronavirus in those infected cells.
MBL sells more than 40 antigenic peptides derived from the novel coronavirus as well as MHC Tetramers presenting the antigenic peptides.
These antigenic peptides can not only be used to induce antigen-specific T cells but also to synthesize MHC Tetramers. MHC Tetramers mimic MHC molecules from infected and antigen-presenting cells and can be used in experiments to detect antigen-specific T cells.
MBL provides the "QuickSwitch™ Tetramer Kit" that allows MHC Tetramers to be easily created in-house. Please take a look at the detailed information.