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Our response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Systems Immunity University Research Institute (SIURI) researchers have mobilized in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

We have been working with colleagues in NHS Wales, Public Health Wales and Welsh Government and have played important roles in UK-wide initiatives in virus sequencing and understanding the role of the immune system during coronavirus (COVID-19), amongst a wide range of research activities.

Understanding the immune system during COVID-19

SIURI scientists made major contributions to coronavirus COVID19 immunology-related research, gaining new insight into how the immune system functions during SARS-CoV-2 infection, investigating new therapeutic strategies to modulate the immune response in severe COVID patients, and developing diagnostics designs to detect whether individuals have mounted immune responses to SARS-CoV-2.

Researchers involved

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Research activities

Examining immune responses in asymptomatic individuals

We are performing a national Core Study (in collaboration with Nottingham and Cambridge), coordinating COVID-19 asymptomatic testing programmes in university settings nationally, including the Cardiff University qPCR pipeline, providing insight on acquired immunity across the student population.

Researchers involved - Andrew Westwell, Andy Godkin, Awen Gallimore and Tomasz Jurkowski

Studying COVID vaccinations

Protecting the most vulnerable individuals is a key priority for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination strategy. We are examining the effect of vaccination on both SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell and antibody responses in cancer patients, in collaboration with the Velindre University NHS Trust and the Wales Cancer Bank

Researchers involved - Awen Gallimore, Andrew Godkin, Mererid Evans and Alison Parry-Jones.

With the Wales Kidney Research Unit, we are studying vaccine-induced immune responses in renal dialysis patients.

Researchers involved - Argiris Asderakis, Stephen Jolles, Ian Humphreys and Soma Meran.

Tracking and attacking SARS-CoV-2

We have made major contributions to national efforts, as part of the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, tracking SARS-CoV-2.

We have participated in local efforts in establishing the Cardiff University PCR pipeline for asymptomatic testing of our staff and students, to help detect SARS-CoV-2 infections. We have also developed strategies for controlling SARS-CoV-2 infection, investigating whether mouthwash can be exploited to control SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Researchers involved - Valerie O’Donnell, David Thomas, Richard Stanton and Thomas Connor.

Multi-morbidity and predicting outcome

Beyond immunology, SIURI researchers have made significant impact in understanding how other diseases and conditions, termed multi-morbidity, impacts on COVID-19 severity. We have investigated whether we can predict clinical outcome of COVID-19 by early biomarkers.

Researchers involved - Matthias Eberl, Jon Underwood, Stephen Jolles, Simon Jones and Ian Humphreys.

Dealing with the information pandemic

Working with researchers in Oxford University, we have established a literature review system for immunology-related COVID-19 scientific literature.

The initiative, driven by PhD students and postdocs has led to the development of ‘Living Reviews’, which enable constant updating to keep up with the ever-changing research topic of COVID-19.

The reviews are available in the new open access journal of the Oxford University Press (OUP), Oxford Open Immunology.

Find out more

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‘Living reviews’ launched by Cardiff and Oxford in wake of COVID-19 research

New review format will summarise key scientific literature around the virus