OXFORD, UK AND MARLBOROUGH, MA — May 19, 2020 — Oxford Immunotec Global PLC (Nasdaq: OXFD), a global, high-growth diagnostics company, today (May 19) 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
“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," said Phill Keefe, senior vice president of product design, development, and delivery at Oxford Immunotec. "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.”
“We are really excited about the release of this RUO T-SPOT Discovery product in such an important area for current research," commented Oxford Immunotec CEO, Peter Wrighton-Smith. "This allows us to make our contribution to the battle against COVID-19. The data generated using this RUO kit, if favorable, 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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Oxford Immunotec is committed to supporting the global efforts to stop TB and fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to sponsor The International Union Against Tuberculosis webinar, “How to Prevent 1.4 Million Deaths: Advancing TB Care and Prevention in the Time of COVID-19.” Registration for the webinar, which is being held on Wednesday, May 20 at 16:00 CEST, and more information is available here https://join.theunion.org/205webinar.