University of Dundee

Given the importance of the immune system in responding to threats such as viruses, it is important to understand how the cells that make up the immune system act in response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and how this differs between people who experience mild disease and those who have more severe symptoms. 

We plan to look at the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 by taking different populations of immune cells circulating around the body in the blood and analysing what proteins these cells have using a technique called mass spectrometry. Immune cells responding to a threat such as a virus will often change which proteins they make as they become activated, and these changes can give us information about how a particular type of immune cell is responding. 

By comparing which proteins are present and the abundance of different proteins in immune cells in people not infected with SARS-CoV-2 to patients with mild and severe COVID-19 symptoms, we hope to see how immune cells are responding to infection, and which responses are associated with a milder course of disease and which are associated with more severe disease.