The Feinstein Institute of Medicine has raised $ 11.3 million in federal funding to study antibodies against the coronavirus and expand testing.
“The timing is perfect,” said Dr. James Crawford, one of the lead researchers in antibody research at Feinstein, a Manhasset-based study. Northwell Health Arms.
“Understanding how good and bad human immune responses to the virus work will help us better understand the stimulation of the immune system’s vaccines to fight the virus,” he said. Stated.
Vaccines stimulate the body’s immune system to produce antibodies that fight viruses and other disease-causing organisms.
By studying antibodies, researchers can better understand how the virus works, which could lead to the development of improved treatments, Crawford said.
COVID-19 is a new disease, and antibodies to it remain unknown. Scientists aren’t even sure if coronavirus antibodies will produce some immunity, but “more certainty,” Crawford said.
People exposed to the virus are probably “immunized, at least this season,” he said.
It seems to be in conflict with a case like a 25-year-old Nevada man who was infected twice. The details were published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases on Monday and were the first known reinfection in North America.
However, the rarity of his reinfection suggests that the overwhelming majority of people are immune, Crawford said.
But he said, “We need to understand our strength. [immune] The response is how effective it is and how long it lasts … So the doctor can look into the patient’s eyes and say, “I feel your resistance to the coronavirus pretty well.”
Another question: Do people with high levels of coronavirus form a stronger immune response and therefore develop stronger immunity?
He said that some COVID-19 treatments can blunt immunity. Crawford used President Donald Trump as an example. He received an experimental antibody cocktail.
“If he gets an experimental antibody, does that mean he didn’t form himself?” He asked. “It’s an open question. To answer such a question, we need to do some research.”
Feinstein is one of four institutions receiving grants from the National Cancer Institute as a “capacity development center” for antibody testing.
“These centers are responsible for developing and expanding the capabilities and practices of serological testing in the community,” Dr. Dinah Singer, Deputy Director of Science Strategy and Development at the Institute, said in a recent media briefing. Stated.
The grant stipulates that recipients perform at least 5,000 antibody tests per week. Northwell is currently running about 17,000 a week, and the money will help expand it by thousands, Crawford said.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Arizona State University, and the University of Minnesota in Manhattan have also received capacity building funding. This is part of the $ 306 million federal funding received by the Cancer Institute for research and testing of coronavirus antibodies.
Three other members of the consortium are working on developing new antibody tests, and Feinstein researchers will evaluate these new tests in samples from volunteers infected with the coronavirus, Crawford said. The goal is to increase the availability of high quality antibody tests, understand when to use more detailed tests, and create more detailed tests.
In addition, Feinstein said he would follow 1,200 people immediately after infection and follow the immune system’s response for over a year.
The grant spans over 5 years. This shows that scientists do not expect the coronavirus to be vaccinated.
“I think the coronavirus is with us, but we hope we can mitigate and minimize its malicious intent, especially for vulnerable people,” he said.