T cells are becoming increasingly recognised for their role in SARS-CoV-2 infection and immunity; measuring the presence and size of any T cell response can give adjunctive information to that available by serology. The UK Vaccines Taskforce therefore is including T cell analysis in COVID-19 vaccine trials.
Oxford Immunotec – which is based in Oxford, UK and Marlborough, Massachusetts - will be the sole supplier of T cell testing for SARS-CoV-2 specific responses in the UK’s COVID-19 vaccine trials.
Its T-SPOT technology has been in operation for 15 years in the field of tuberculosis diagnosis. It will now offer the UK Vaccines Task Force its T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 assay (research use only): which uses the same technology to allow SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells to be detected and enumerated.
The award includes the measurement of the magnitude of the SARS-CoV-2 protein-specific T cell response using T-SPOT Discovery and is ‘recognition of the company’s ability to deliver clinical grade, consistent and reproducible diagnostic products.’
The UK Government will provide up to £3m ($3.9m) investment for this testing.