SeromYx and Systems Serology: supporting responses to the COVID 19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the most destructive infectious disease outbreak in living memory, with over 30 million cases reported globally and over 900,000 deaths. In addition to the direct impact of the disease, the economic impact of the disease has been huge, as public health measures to contain or reduce the spread have led to country-wide lockdowns, forcing the closure or near closure of many sectors of the economy. In addition to the urgent and immediate response to the pandemic through public health measures and care for the ill, there is a pressing need for therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics, to improve management and ultimately control of the disease.
One of the biggest hurdles in the development of a vaccine against SARS CoV2 is that no one knows what a protective immune response looks like. Initial studies have been focused largely on the activity of neutralizing antibodies. Intriguingly, however, in both natural infection and in animal studies, survival is seen in the absence of neutralizing antibodies and death can still occur despite high levels of neutralizing antibodies, suggesting that neutralizing antibodies are neither necessary nor sufficient for survival. Only now, via studies in natural infection and animal models, are we beginning to better understand the extra-neutralizing function of antibodies and how they contribute to protection and exacerbation of disease
Given the potential important role of extra-neutralizing antibody functions in SARS CoV2 infection, SeromYx has devoted significant effort to adapting the Systems Serology suite of assays for the analysis of SARS CoV2–specific immune responses. To help accelerate the development of effective vaccines and immunotherapeutics, SeromYx is proud to offer this technology to vaccine and immunotherapeutic developers.
Our CoV2 efforts have been broadly focused into three areas:
- Understanding the humoral correlates associated with resolution or exacerbation of disease
- Characterizing the extra-neutralizing effector function of monoclonal antibodies
- Evaluating vaccine-induced antibody effector functions
Figure 1: Photo credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MSMI; Dan Higgins, MAMS https://phil.cdc.gov/Details.aspx?pid=23312