The test can be administered during COVID-19 screening to help guide treatment before the most severe symptoms appear, the researchers said. “We found an antibody that can be detected for predictive diagnosis really early in the disease, within one to six days after the first COVID symptoms [appear],” study co-author Gregory Weiss told UPI in an email. RELATED Urine test may detect people at risk for severe COVID-19, study finds “Such information could help direct therapeutic interventions toward patients who need the most help early on in the course of the disease, when it’s the most treatable,” said Weiss, a chemical biologist at the University of California, Irvine. The technology used in the test, specifically to identify antibodies, is “readily available in labs,” according to Weiss. Antibodies are cells produced by the immune system to fight off viruses, but not all of them are effective at doing so, he said.