Oxford University biotech spin out Oxford BioDynamics, has been selected to take part in a Scottish Government funded trial on COVID-19 to identify patients at risk of severe disease caused by significant immune complications e.g. cytokine storms, as well as predicting if a patient is likely to respond to treatment with the anti-viral drug favipiravir.
COVID-19 infection can prove very harmful and even fatal due to overreaction of the patient’s immune system. The response of the body goes into overdrive triggering excessive release of key regulators of inflammation – cytokines, leading to excessive tissue damage by the immune system. Such “cytokine storms” are well known complications in a number of other infectious diseases such as flu and SARS, or sepsis. Similar cytokine storms are also observed in patients with multiple sclerosis, pancreatitis, or as a common side effect of immuno-oncology treatments such as CAR-Ts and TCRs.
Oxford BioDynamics’ EpiSwitchä biomarker platform cano provide prognostic and theragnostic signatures that can be used to identify patients who will benefit from immune treatments and potentially who are at risk of severe disease and cytokine storm.
Jon Burrows, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford BioDynamics, said:“In susceptible individuals coronavirus can be devastating, attacking not only the lungs but heart, kidneys, blood vessels, GI tract and liver. It is imperative that we learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. We are confident that the EpiSwitchT platform will be of great advantage in this endeavour.”
Professor Carl S. Goodyear, Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, said: “To have the greatest impact on the current clinical challenges associated with COVID-19, it is essential that we have the ability to rapidly stratify individuals into those that will progress to severe disease, and those that will respond to available therapies. Evaluation of the immunological set-point via EpiSwitchTM will provide that much needed stratification tool.”