Kobe University and Sysmex are conducting a joint study of the ELISPOT method for identifying COVID-19

Kobe University (location: Kobe, Japan; president: Hiroshi Takeda) and Sysmex Corporation (headquarters: Kobe, Japan; president and CEO: Hisashi Yetsugu) are engaged in a joint study of the ELISPOT method, a new blood test to identify the novel coronavirus disease (COVID) -19).

This method enables the detection of the immune response of T cells to the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Here we provide an overview of the method and results of the clinical evaluation. This information will also be available through conference presentations and the submission of papers.

Although SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious and can quickly develop into a severe condition, many carriers of the virus are asymptomatic. To address this situation, research has been conducted to develop ways in which the efficacy and safety of vaccines can be assessed, in addition to tests performed in the period immediately following SARS-CoV-2 infection to the treatment / recovery phase.

“T-SPOT® Discovery SARS-CoV-2 “(hereinafter” the kit “), a research reagent kit developed by Oxford Immunotec Ltd. (headquarters: Oxford, United Kingdom), measures the number of T cells that secrete interferon (IFN) – γ by stimulating the infected antigen specific for SARS-CoV-2 and can confirm past exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and latent infection, and will allow research into immune surveillance and the strength of the immune response to COVID-19.

Recently, a research group from the Kobe University Hospital Center for Biological Resources (location: Kobe, Japan; director: Hiroshi Matsuoka) and Sysmex used this kit to test blood samples collected from 10 uninfected Japanese subjects and 15 Japanese subjects who had recovered from COVID- 19.

The results so far show an enhanced T cell immune response in all individuals who recovered from COVID-19, while no improved T cell immune response was found in uninfected individuals.

This result suggests that the kit can be used to assess the immune response of T cells to SARS-CoV-2 and in the Japanese population. It could also be used to supplement PCR assays to measure gene expression and antibody / antigen assays to measure protein characteristics (Figures 2 and 3).

This kit was selected by the Working Group on Vaccines established by the British government and is used to assess the activation of immune functions by vaccines. It can also provide important findings that will help develop future treatment strategies.

Sysmex and Kobe University will conduct further joint research at the molecular and cellular levels. Both parties will continue to contribute to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 by revealing further details regarding T cell immunity and expeditiously establishing a test method suitable for clinical use.