Like any new infection, characterisation of the immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus is critical to understand the clinical course of the infection and to monitor the response of patients to new therapeutics for this new illness. A better understanding of the immunology of COVID-19 could also help with development and validation of new diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccine candidates and discovery of biomarkers.
Some information is already coming out such as that COVID-19 patients who go on to develop severe disease are lymphocytoenic prior to infection and that levels of certain markers, such as C-reactive protein, can have some prognostic value in patients. In the area of treatments, reports suggest the BCG vaccine may provide some benefit and there has been a lot of talk around chloroquine. However, the clinical evidence for all of these is currently lacking and immunology researchers will play a central role in elucidating COVID-19 risk factors, treatments and vaccines.
From an immunological point of view the workflow for research can be broken into a number of stages, based on the course of the disease:
Characterisation of virus induced inflammation
Viral infections induce inflammation and SARS-CoV-2 is no different. MSC can supply a range of products from our partners which can be used to analyse this virus induced inflammation in depth.
ELISA kits can be used for a range of liquids, including BAL, plasma, serum and cell culture supernatants. ELISAGenie, Biolegend and Raybiotech all have extensive ranges of ELISAs against cytokines associated with viral infection such as interferons.
With complicated patterns of inflammation and limited sample size multiplexing is often a great choice for analysing virus induced inflammation. There are many options for fully quantitative multiplexing, these solutions save time, sample and money compared to singleplex ELISAs and come in fully validated panels providing fully quantitative information you can trust.
- ELISAGenie have a multiplex ELISA called Genieplex which can measure up to 24 analytes in as little as 15µl of sample by flow cytometry. Pre-designed or custom panels are available.
- Raybiotech provide the Quantibody glass slide based array system. This system allows the researcher to measure up to 40 analytes in quadruplicate from only 50µl.
Monitoring the cellular response
The cellular response to SARS-CoV-2 is very important to the production of cytokines in response to the infection and in the patients recovery. Like other viral infections T cells are likely major players in the body’s response to SARS-CoV-2, however there are also significant roles for C cells, NK cells, monocytes and other immune cells.
Characterisation of the T and B cell receptors could be an important part of understanding the immune response to the virus and in vaccine development and validation. MSC have reagents compatible with both 10x and Illumina platforms.
- Takara-Bio have vast experience in development of NGS library prep kits and have a wide range of kits available for B and T cell receptor profiling as well as low input sequencing for both DNA and RNA.
- Biolegends TotalSeq reagents are antibodies tagged with oligonucleotides, this allows the researcher to study the transcriptome and proteome of cells simultaneously using the 10x platform.
MSC also supply a range of other cellular response characterisation reagents such as recombinant proteins, MojoSort magnetic cell sorting kits and cell stimulating antibodies. Contact your rep for more information or quotes.
Anti-viral signalling pathway analysis
Understanding the impact SARS-CoV-2 has on intracellular signalling pathways is crucial in the development of novel therapeutics. Antibodies against Toll-like receptors and downstream signalling pathways like STAT and NF-κB which control IRF-mediated transcription of interferons. AntibodyGenie, Biolegend and Raybiotech are leading suppliers of cell signalling antibodies. Get in touch with your local rep for more information.
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Read our blog about other COVID-19 research reagents here
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