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Novel COVID-19 Immunity Test Predicts Both Infection Risk in Healthy Individuals and Disease Severity in Patients

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 20 Oct 2020
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A novel immunity test for COVID-19 infection that measures cell-mediated immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can aid immunity assessments in individuals who have never been exposed to the virus, and those who may develop short-lived antibodies after exposure to the virus.

Plexision (Pittsburgh, PA, USA) has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop the widely available version of PlexCOVID-19, its novel COVID-19 immunity test. Pre-existing cell-mediated immunity has been detected in over half of healthy individuals who have never been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, and reflects prior exposure to other coronaviruses which cause flu-like illness in the general population. This immunity is greatly compromised in severe COVID-19 infection. Therefore, in addition to assessing infection-risk among vulnerable unexposed individuals, cell-mediated immunity can also identify those patients at risk for severe COVID-19 infection.

PlexCOVID-19 is a lab-developed blood test that measures the level of cellular immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Severe forms of COVID-19 infection may be associated with decreased cell-mediated immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Knowledge about cell-mediated immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and therefore, the risk of COVID-19 infection can be combined with available clinical data to assess disease severity in those with COVID-19 infection and the infection risk in vulnerable populations.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”

“We are delighted that the NSF has supported further development of Plexision’s blood test to measure cell-mediated immunity to the novel coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rajeev Sindhi, Plexision’s CEO. “Defining COVID-19 infection-risk in healthy individuals, and predicting disease severity in patients with this infection are unmet needs of these challenging times. With its strong background in translating immune cell function into clinical solutions, Plexision’s scientific team is committed to improving patient care with personalized risk assessment.”

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