Amid the increasing cases of novel coronavirus around the globe, researchers have mapped the immune response from one of the first novel coronavirus patients in Australia, showing the ability of body’s immune system to battle against COVID-19 and recover from its infection.
Scientists at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity have successfully tested blood samples at four distinct time points in a woman who showed novel coronavirus infection and had moderate symptoms requiring hospitalization.
The outcomes of the study on the immune response towards the novel coronavirus are published in Nature Medicine.
One of the authors, Dr Oanh Nguyen said that they have keenly observed the immune response in the patient using all their knowledge related to immune responses. He shared that after three days of hospitalization, they observed large populations of various immune cells which are the indication of recovery during seasonal flu, they predicted that the woman would recover in three days and it actually happened.
The team of researchers was able to do this with the help of SETREP-ID ((Sentinel Travellers and Research Preparedness for Emerging Infectious Disease) which is led by the Infectious Diseases Physician, Dr Irani Thevarajan at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
SETREP-ID is a research platform for infectious diseases that enables the broad range f biological sampling and testing of returned travellers in the circumstances of newly emerged and unexpected infectious outbreaks, exactly how the COVID-19 outbreak started in Australia. This Australian project is the first step in the national deployment of the research preparedness platform which will help in rapid sharing of biological samples, diagnostics, analysis and related information in such outbreaks.
Dr Thevarajan said that they already had their protocols in place when the outbreak emerged so that they could observe the virus and the immune response in detail. They were already prepared. They are already established at several hospitals in Melbourne and now planning to roll out SETREP-ID as a national study.
Working together with the Professor of the University of Melbourne, Katherine Kedzierska who is also a laboratory head at the Doherty Institute, the team of researchers successfully dissect the immune response which led to successful recovery from the novel coronavirus which might help in developing an effective vaccine.
Dr Kedzierska said this is an encouraging step in knowing what drives the recovery of the novel coronavirus. She said that their method can be helpful in understanding the response of the immune system in larger cohorts and also understanding which thing is lacking in cases which have deadly outcomes.
Dr Thevarajan said that current observation showing mild to moderate symptoms in more than 80 per cent of novel coronavirus cases and understanding the response of the immune system in such mild cases is really important to research.
She said that they are focusing to expand their work both nationally and internationally to understand the causes that have fatal outcomes and to expand understanding and further knowledge to assist in the response of highly contagious COVID-19 and future emerging viruses.