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Quest for Covid-19 T cell blood test

4 August 2020

Dr James Hindley
Dr James Hindley

A leading biotech company co-founded by a Cardiff University alumnus has been awarded funding from Innovate UK to develop a new immunity test for Covid-19.

Current methods focus on finding antibodies in blood samples, but Cardiff-based Indoor Biotechnologies is developing a test to examine T cells, which play a critical role in controlling and eradicating viral infections.

If successful, the Simple Cellular Immunity Test (SCIT) can identify the presence of T cells that respond to the virus which causes Covid-19 from a single tube of blood, within 24 hours.

Cardiff alumnus Dr James Hindley, executive director of Indoor Biotechnologies, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded funding to develop this unique product which may help in the fight against this pandemic."

Dr Martin Scurr, a post-doctorate researcher in the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, who has secured a secondment as project manager at Indoor Biotechnologies to set up the test, said: "The aim is to develop a T cell test that can be easily used by labs across the world, enabling mass testing of Covid-19 T cell immunity to be performed."

Professor Andrew Godkin, also from the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, added: "We are delighted to be teaming up with Indoor Biotechnologies on this project. Coupled with the range of work being done here at Cardiff University and the University Hospital of Wales, it will help us understand how the immune system sees this virus, and hopefully enable us to understand what a protective immune response looks like."

The test may also be valuable during vaccine development to help identify whether an adequate immune response has been generated to protect people from COVID-19, and for testing how long that immune response remains.

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