UK diagnostic company Oxford Immunotec has collaborated with the UK COVID-19 human challenge study to analyse the T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in participants using its T-SPOT Discovery testing kit.

The UK COVID-19 human challenge study, funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the UK Vaccines Taskforce, is the first study of its type in the world.

In March, the first stage of the trial launched to enable the identification of the most appropriate dose of the SARS-CoV-2 virus required to cause COVID-19 infection in a ‘safe and controlled’ environment.

Participants in the study will undergo a complete analysis of their immune response to infection, including T cells, to better understand the profile, magnitude and duration of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2.

Following this stage, researchers will have established an optimised dose and study design that will then be used to evaluate the efficacy of treatment and vaccine candidates in subsequent studies.

The study will use a custom version of Oxford Immunotec’s T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 testing kit to detect the T cell immune response in participants.

In a statement, Oxford Immunotec said understanding T cell immune response, as well as antibody response, could offer additional insights into how the complete immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2 and vaccination.

3“The UK COVID-19 Human Challenge Study has global significance, and the potential to be a much more efficient and faster way to understand the disease and how our immune system fights it,” said Magdalena Dudek, VP, product development at Oxford Immunotec.

“We are very excited to be a part of this trial which should accelerate the development of vaccines and treatments against COVID-19. We are proud of our continual partnership with the UK Vaccines Taskforce which enables us to provide T cell testing for this critical clinical trial,” she added.