May 27, 2021

3 Things the COVID Pandemic Has Taught Us About Immunity

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Headshot of Lance Baldo
Lance Baldo, Chief Medical Officer
Adaptive Biotechnologies and the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) co-hosted a congressional briefing to explore the rapidly emerging knowledge about the role of the adaptive immune system in combatting COVID-19. You can find a recording of the event here. The panel, moderated by Cynthia Bens, head of public policy at PMC, brought together a diverse group of experts – representing doctors, scientists and patients. The briefing was held in collaboration with the Congressional Personalized Medicine Caucus, co-chaired by Sen. Tim Scott, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Rep Eric Swalwell, and Rep. Tom Emmer. Three important points from the briefing include:

Immunity is complex and continued research is essential.

We heard about some of the important research being done through the SeroNet program and the COVID-19 Prevention Network to study individual differences in disease response and protection from vaccines or prior infection. The conversation highlighted the incredible complexity of immunity and underscored the need for expanded research efforts as these data are critical for informing public policies around vaccines, boosters and other public health measures to control the pandemic.

T cells are a fundamental piece of the immunity puzzle.

Antibodies are a critical part of our immune response, but they are only a fraction of the story. T-cell technologies are now available that have established that T cells can not only help us detect disease, but they may also provide a complementary measure of disease severity and protection. For example, T cells may provide key insights into vulnerable, immunocompromised populations who may not make sufficient antibodies. Studying the full adaptive immune response – both antibodies and T cells – may be the only way to answer critical questions for these populations.

Progress comes from collaborating across sectors, together with patients.

These 15 months of unprecedented medical advancements were accelerated by partnerships between public and private entities across industry, academia and non-profits, and – of course – none of this would have been possible without the millions of patients, survivors and their families. Fostering this spirit of collaboration will help drive medical progress against disease and better prepare us for a future pandemic. Learn more about Adaptive Biotechnologies’ contributions to COVID research and detection.

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