QIMR Berghofer receives million dollar boost for immunological COVID-19 research

QIMR Berghofer researchers have received a million dollar boost to further their understanding of COVID-19 immunology from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) as part of its Coronavirus Research Response.

Associate Professor Corey Smith, head of QIMR Berghofer’s Translational and Human Immunology Group, is leading the COVID-19 Immunity study, examining how the immune systems of those who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 responded to the virus.

A key area of their research is discovering how the human immune system fights the disease, so they can develop drug treatments to help very sick patients, with the end goal of developing a new T cell immunotherapy. Associate Professor Smith said control of viruses in humans is dependent on B cells that produce antibodies to recognise and neutralise virus particles, and T cells that recognise and remove virally infected cells.

“Currently, we do not know how long immune cells live for in individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. This must be determined in order to assess the risk of reinfection and identify which part of the population may benefit from vaccine boosters if a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available,” Associate Professor Smith said.

We are grateful to the National Health and Medical Research Council for supporting this vital immunological COVID-19 research.

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