Grants awarded

A comprehensive study of immunopathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection

Grantholder:

Prof Xiao-Ning Xu

Imperial College London

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Dr Nigel Temperton

University of Kent

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Dr Peter Kelleher

Imperial College London

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Prof Gavin Screaton

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Prof Honglin Chen

University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Grantholder:

Prof Kwok Yung Yuen

University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Grantholder:

Prof Zhiwei Chen

University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Since December 2019 the emergence of severe acute respiratory infections (COVID-19) in China, caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has posed a huge threat to global health. Fatality rates are up to 10% in elderly patients. 

Almost 100% of patients show bilateral patchy shadows or ground glass opacity in their lungs in chest CT scans, indicating acute lung injury (ALI). Therefore, understanding the underlying mechanism(s) of ALI induced by SARS-CoV-2 is very important to inform vaccine safety and immunotherapeutic strategies. 

We will investigate the host immune responses and their association with severity of ALI in patient samples and animal models. We will bring together a team of experts with complementary expertise, including immunopathology in coronavirus infections and up-to-date lab technologies to ensure the feasibility of this study.

Our goals are to: 

  1. define SARS-CoV-2 specific serum profiles (epitopes) using a yeast display antigen library
  2. determine antibody functions including antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) versus neutralising activities in vitro assays
  3. study T cell (CD4 and CD8) responses to the whole SARS-CoV-2 genome
  4. evaluate ALI in response to live SARS-CoV-2 infection with or without passive immunity (antibody or T cells) generated from vaccine candidates in a humanised mice model.