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Researchers and NHS working together to tackle COVID-19

14 May 2020

Research lab

Researchers in the Division of Infection and Immunity, School of Medicine, have mobilised in response to the current coronavirus pandemic.

They have initiated a multi-faceted and collaborative research approach to help tackle this global crisis.

In collaboration with colleagues in the NHS, using cutting-edge technologies and infrastructures in Cardiff University, researchers are addressing a number of key questions regarding COVID-19 that will assist in the development of vaccines, new treatments, and other strategies that will help in the management of patients and their disease.

Key questions

Does our immune system determine whether we suffer from severe COVID-19?

Our response:

  • We are identifying immune signatures in the blood and lung that help predict who will suffer from severe COVID-19 or not.
  • We are studying what genetic features of our cells predict severe disease to help identify at-risk patients.
  • We are investigating how our age and DNA may affect these factors.

What is a ‘helpful’ immune responses to SARS-CoV-2?

Our response:

  • We are defining what immune responses including antibody protect from SARS-CoV2.
  • We are seeking to understand how the virus may ‘hide’ from these responses so that  we can overcome these ‘virus tricks’.
  • We are designing and testing next-generation vaccines to boost ‘good’ immune responses.

What are ‘bad’ immune responses to SARS-CoV-2?

Our response:

  • We are defining what immune responses, when they go wrong, cause severe COVID19 and we are trying  to predict whether, early in disease, we can see these bad responses coming so that we can stop them.
  • We are treating patients with novel therapies to stop ‘bad’ immune responses from causes fatal COVID-19.

What about other coronaviruses?

Our response:

  • There are other less harmful coronaviruses that infect some of us every year.
  • We seek to understand whether our immune responses to these viruses helps or maybe hinders our ability to cope with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Can we use existing tools to stop SARS-CoV-2?

Our response:

  • We are exploring innovative ways in which we can prevent SARS-CoV-2 replication and survival inside and outside of the body using pre-existing technologies and solutions to directly target and stop SARS-CoV-2.