Audio Interview

The immune system response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus: July 2020 update

Published on July 9, 2020   22 min

Other Talks in the Playlist: Interviews on Covid-19

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Interviewer: Professor Klenerman, thank you for taking the time to record this update on what we now know about the immune system response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. What are some of the key points which have been found in the immune system response in COVID-19 infection since your last interview? Prof Klenerman: Hi, if we split the immune response into two, so the antibody response, and the cellular immune response or the T-cell response, then maybe I'll address those in turn. In terms of the antibody response it's been an enormous effort to create tests which can pick up antibodies. People have been using those quite widely, and the very first ones that came out at the beginning, some of the stick-tests were not very sensitive, and people have worked hard to improve on that. So lots of different labs have created individual assays, which allow people to measure whether you've made antibodies against particularly the spike-protein, which is the big protein that allows the virus to enter cells. And those actually work very well in individual labs, but there's always an additional complication in trying to make these into essentially a clinical tool so that they work day in day out, the same in every lab in the globe. I think though it looks as if different companies have created different versions of a test, which all actually perform reasonably well. I mean, there will be small differences between them, but fundamentally they can measure an immune response. The difficulty for all the tests is, what's the cut off? That's much harder for this virus than others, because there is quite a wide range of responses.

The immune system response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus: July 2020 update

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