Associate Professor Sarosh Irani, who heads up our Autoimmune Neurology Group, has been funded by Mologic to help develop diagnostics for COVID-19.
The 14-month project involves taking blood samples from people who have had COVID-19 and deriving COVID-reactive antibodies from the B cells in the blood. This is the same process that his group uses for the autoimmune neurological diseases which are their focus.
This is achieved by identifying and capturing the COVID-reactive B cells, and cloning out their antibodies. The very best of these cloned antibodies are to be used by Mologic as the basis for improved rapid diagnostic tests (so called 'lateral flow tests') which detect the presence of the virus in saliva or nasal swab extracts, giving the result in 10-15 minutes.
These tests are designed for use at point-of-care. A high proportion of these will be distributed on a not-for-profit basis to under-resourced countries to enable affordable COVID testing.