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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our world. This page aims to provide an overview of the immunology research currently taking place across the University and point you in the direction of University COVID activities.

image of coronavirus

Medical Sciences researchers have been working tremendously hard to understand the host response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. A number of work packages have been developed. We are working closely with OUH Trust clinicians and research nurses, who are providing samples from COVID-19 patients and none of these activities would be possible without their commitment and dedication.

Work Package 1; Humoral Immunity

Teams in NDM (Screaton, Stuart, Simmonds) and Zoology (Gupta) are developing serological assays for SARS-CoV-2 detection and neutralisation. These will allow investigation of seroprevalence, immunodominance, population immunity and the development of diagnostics. Monoclonal antibodies are being developed by the Screaton, Stuart and Townsend groups.

Work Package 2; Deep Phenotyping

Coordinated efforts will make the best use of samples to develop a high resolution atlas of the host immune response to COVID-19 infection. This aim will harness a range of techniques including scRNASeq, mass cytometry, TCR and BCR sequencing, circulating cytokine and biomarker measurements to define the quality and magnitude of immune responses in the periphery and in lung tissue (Klenerman, Knight, Napolitani, Bashford-Rogers, Todd).

Work Package 3; Inflammatory Response

Linking closely with WP2, WP3 will look at myeloid and granulocyte responses alongside innate populations. Investigations into the haematological compartment will also be an important aspect (Powrie, Udalova, Vyas, Pavord).

Work Package 4; T Cell Immunity

Aims to define the role of SARS-COV-2 specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in protection against, or pathogenesis of, COVID-19 (Dong, Ogg, Knight, Napolitani). Alongside this, identification of immunodominant epitopes will be used to inform vaccine studies and the effect of underlying disease, age and gender on outcome will be investigated (Dunachie, Barnes, Klenerman, Frater, Goulder).

Work Package 5; Data integration and analysis

We are also working hard to ensure data is shared effectively and resiliently across multiple projects locally, nationally and globally, and that  clinical data is incorporated. 

Vaccine development

Teams at the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group are developing novel vaccines to COVID-19 and clinical trials are already underway.