COVID-19 Research Efforts

SARS-CoV-2, a new SARS-related Betacoronavirus first reported in December 2019, quickly spread around the world causing an outbreak that was declared a pandemic in March 2020. The clinical outcome after exposure to SARS-CoV-2 can range from asymptomatic infection to death, likely in large part caused by a dysregulated immune response and an inability to control viral replication. The molecular basis for the high variability in host responses to infection is not well understood. We are working closely with investigators at UCSF and Emory University to better understand the features of innate and adaptive immune responses associated resolution of infection, and to characterize the features of antigen-specific T and B cells in individuals that respond well to infection vs. those that manifest with severe disease. These studies are being conducted as part of the UCSF COVID-19 Host Immune Response Pathogenesis (CHIRP) Study. The first study to come out of these research efforts are summarized here


Longitudinal specimens from individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 are being examined for host responses associated with asymptomatic, mild, vs severe COVID-19. Shown on the right is an example of use of CyTOF to characterize total and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells from a convalescent individual. The high-dimensional datasets are visualized as t-SNE plots.