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UK Diagnostic Company Collaborates With UK COV-AD Trial

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Oxford Immunotec a global, high-growth diagnostics company part of PerkinElmer, announced that its T-SPOT®.COVID test will be used for T cell testing in the COV-AD (COVID infection in patients with Antibody Deficiency) study in collaboration with the University of Birmingham. The study will monitor the clinical course of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the immunological response of patients to vaccination. The study will collect samples from 13 sites around the UK.

The COV-AD study aims to build on the UK Primary Immunodeficiency Network (UKPIN) data by determining the prevalence, course and outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with Primary Antibody Deficiency (PAD)/Secondary Antibody Deficiency (SAD). This study should lead to a clearer understanding of whether individuals with antibody deficiency mount durable immune responses, and if they do not, the impact that has on the virus itself. Development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunity to COVID infection or vaccination will be tested by blood sampling to measure specific antibody titre and for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 T cells. The results of this study will be widely applicable to immunosuppressed patients, development of vaccination strategies and the understanding of risk for continuous virus transmission.

Oxford Immunotec’s T-SPOT.COVID kit is CE marked for IVD use and will be used to assess the T cell response in patients following SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination. The kit uses the T-SPOT technology platform, a commercialized, modified ELISPOT platform, which allows for the standardized and reproducible measurement of T cells reactive to SARS-CoV-2. The T-SPOT technology has previously been used in TB testing (the T-SPOT.TB test) where it is known to maintain its high performance even in immunosuppressed individuals. PAD/SAD are a diverse group of disorders, characterised by various degrees of dysfunctional antibody production. Understanding the T cell response to infection or vaccination in study subjects is therefore of critical importance to determining if the immune system is responding in these individuals at all. It could also help to increase the understanding of the role T cells play in combating COVID-19 in the general population.

Chief Investigator of COV-AD Professor Alex Richter, of the University of Birmingham, said: “Nationally, a number of patients with immunodeficiency have had severe or prolonged illness with COVID-19. Understanding why some patients do well and others don’t is so important. Being unable to clear the virus is not just a problem to the patient but is potentially a public health problem too”.

Dr Andrew Makin, VP of Medical Affairs at Oxford Immunotec stated: “We are pleased to be partnering with the University of Birmingham on this clinical trial which will help characterize COVID-19 infection in patients with antibody deficiency. Measuring the T cell response in immune deficient patients will allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the immune response and inform on the vital role T cells may play in SARS-CoV-2 infection.’’