Covid-19: CIRI mobilizes its teams to understand the immune response against Coronavirus in patients

A CIRI project, in collaboration with HCL, has united CIRI immunologists to work on understanding the immune response to Coronavirus in patients.

The International Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases (CIRI - UDL, Inserm, CNRS, UCBL, ENS de Lyon) was involved in the fight against COVID-19 very early on, through the involvement of its clinicians in the diagnosis [1] and the epidemiological follow-up, care and implementation of a large-scale therapeutic clinical trial "Discovery" [2], as well as the immediate mobilization of the Virpath team, already working on coronaviruses, and who therefore dealt with the virus in its early stages, which meant that they were able to carry out initial studies [3]. As soon as lockdown is over, other virologists from CIRI will be helping to further identify this new virus.

CIRI’s expertise in the field of immunology and its strong links with the hospital HCL and its patients, have led to a new partnership studying patients’ immune response against Coronavirus. This cooperation was named HPI-COVID-19 for "Host-Pathogen Interactions". Indeed, an inappropriate immune response appears to be associated with the most severe forms of the disease. Studies conducted on this group, by CIRI teams, will provide a detailed analysis of the immune response in infected patients to understand the essential factors that protect against the virus. The fact that the CIRI teams are each specialized in the various key stages of the immune response will cover the entire spectrum, from the initial innate immune response to the establishment of immune memory, focusing on all levels of response to the cell types and effectors involved (cytokines, antibodies, etc.).

By providing a better understanding of how the body responds to the Coronavirus infection, these studies could:

  • determine signals to identify patients most at risk at an early age (gravity biomarkers)
  • identify new therapeutic ways to control the inappropriate immune response observed in high risk patients

References
[1] Clinical description of the five first cases of COVID-19 identified in France and in Europe
[2]  Launch of a European clinical trial against Covid-19
[3] Covid-19: repositioning medicine to speed up the provision of treatments


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