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Oxford Immunotec releases the T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 kit for COVID-19 research

This research kit could make a significant contribution towards development of a new tool to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn could help to bring nations out of their current lockdowns in a faster, safer and more controlled manner

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Oxford Immunotec Global, a global diagnostics company, announced the release of the T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 test kit. This kit is for research use only and launched under the T-SPOT Discovery brand. This research kit could make a significant contribution towards development of a new tool to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn could help to bring nations out of their current lockdowns in a faster, safer and more controlled manner.

T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 builds on Oxford Immunotec’s experience with TB diagnosis and the assessment of immune response to CMV in transplant patients, to apply the Company’s established, proprietary T-SPOT technology to the fight against COVID-19. While serology is able to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the blood of some individuals after infection, little is currently known about how this confers immunity to COVID-19. T-SPOT technology goes further than simple serology by interrogating the immune system’s T cell response and will enable research into the measurement of the strength of that response to SARS-CoV-2. The strength of this response may be linked to protection from reinfection.

T-SPOT technology is a proven technology, approved for clinical use to detect TB infection in over 60 countries including the US, China, Japan and Europe.

With over 20 million clinical tests manufactured since release, T-SPOT technology:

Uses a standardized sample prepared from peripheral blood which:

  • Reduces the influence of factors which might affect results, such as other treatments
  • Standardizes cell numbers in the test to normalize for cell number variations between samples
  • Allows the number of responding T cells to be enumerated for a more precise assessment of the T cell response
  • Is able to maintain performance, even in samples from immunosuppressed individuals
  • Can be run in high-volume labs enabling large testing programs to be rolled out

T-SPOT technology can also be automated using the T-Cell SelectTM reagent kit. Automation solutions are available for low, medium and high throughput settings[1].

Phill Keefe, Senior Vice President Product Design, Development and Delivery at Oxford Immunotec said, “Not everyone with COVID-19 infection has detectable antibodies in serology tests, and this may be a bigger problem in the majority who experience only mild or no symptoms. Also, it is not yet clear whether the presence of antibodies confers immunity. T cell responses develop before antibody generation and can independently provide protection, so studying T cells could give us new insights into immunity to COVID-19.”

Oxford Immunotec CEO, Peter Wrighton-Smith commented, “We are really excited about the release of this RUO T-SPOT Discovery product in such an important area for current research. This allows us to make our contribution to the battle against COVID-19. The data generated using this RUO kit, if favourable, will help us develop a T-SPOT kit which could be approved for clinical use and may help support our return to a more normal lifestyle”.

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