The study is led by Professor Graham Ogg, who currently heads the MRC Human Immunology Unit at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, and Professor Neelika Malavige at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Professor Malavige is also a visiting researcher at Oxford University.
“We have worked together for 12 years to understand the response to dengue infections, and we now want to bring the expertise and knowledge we’ve acquired to understand the immune responses in individuals with COVID-19,” said Professor Ogg.
Current research indicates that immune responses to the novel SARS-CoV2 may be a key that distinguishes only a mild illness after infection from a more serious condition, but the workings of these immune responses are still poorly understood.
By comparing immune markers in blood samples from the UK versus Sri Lanka, the researchers hope to understand how existing immunity to different viruses (including other coronaviruses) might influence the immune response to a COVID-19 infection.