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Verily Life Science signs new contract with Oncimmune for long COVID study

The project will analyse potential patterns of autoantibodies, which are associated with developing long COVID

Coronavirus

Alphabet’s Verily Life Science has signed a new contract with UK biotech Oncimmune to  investigate autoantibodies found in people who have developed long-lasting symptoms, known as ‘long COVID’, after contracting COVID-19.

The project will analyse potential patterns of autoantibodies, which are antibodies that react with self-antigens. These are often present in COVID-19 in the early stages of the infection and are associated with the development of long COVID.

So far, studies have shown that some COVID-19 patients experience notable increases in autoantibody reactivities, including some which appear to target immune components like chemokines, cytokines and complement proteins.

Although this area of research is still relatively new, scientific developments have shown that autoantibody activation occurs more often after an asymptomatic COVID-19 infection in women and a symptomatic infection in men.

By using Oncimmune’s infectious disease panel of biomarkers to find autoantibodies that are indicators of long COVID, researchers are able to see if levels are the same in long COVID patients during their recovery.

Oncimmune’s chief executive, Dr Adam Hill, said: “The real impact on society of long COVID is only beginning to be understood.”

He added the contract includes the “potential for the initial discovery work in autoantibodies to progress onto the identification of intellectual property rights, and to the development of viable commercial companion diagnostic devices”.

Verily has been involved in the COVID-19 response since the beginning of the pandemic, using some of its laboratories to test and develop screening tools for hospitals and healthcare systems, while working with Janssen to understand the impact COVID-19 can have on a patient’s immune system immediately after receiving a positive test result.

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

2nd March 2022

From: Research

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