The Global T cell Expert Consortium (GTEC) has officially kicked-off including eleven founding members from eight labs across three continents. The Consortium is focussed on maximising the use and direction of T cell research in the global battle against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
T cell response in COVID-19
Oxford Immunotec Global announced last month the formation and initial meeting of the GTEC. The GTEC aims to be the leading voice for T cell expertise during and beyond the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic, evidence has accumulated that has shown the importance of T cell responses during SARS-CoV-2 infection. It has shown that T cells are produced to diverse epitopes during infection. Additionally, results have shown that responses may be more durable than serum antibodies post-infection. Simultaneously, there is a growing interest in studying T cells to support diagnosis and in assessing immunity. This is particularly relevant as we look at identifying the impact of vaccines. As a result, in order for long-term control of COVID-19 there will need to be combined assessments of antibody and T cell responses, standardisation in research and increased data pools. All of these elements are critical areas that the GTEC intends to tackle.
The GTEC goals
The GTEC will function as a virtual community with the hope of long-term engagement. As well as the global collaboration of experts to maximise the potential in T cell testing and research, the more immediate goals of the GTEC are to:
- Drive further study into the role of T cell measurement for SARS-CoV-2
- Increase education on the role of T cells in immunity
- Stimulate creation of new, innovative research studies by facilitating enhanced networking amongst T cell researchers
GTEC Chair, Danny Altmann, Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London, stated:
“We’ve gone from a standing start to racing forwarding in a period of ten months. We know more about immunity to this infection [SARS-CoV-2] than we know about some other viruses that we’ve been aware of for 100 years. Now is absolutely the right time for us to galvanise this engagement more deeply and broadly across the world. More than ever, we require a greater understanding of the immune response, the role of T cells in cell-mediated immunity against infectious diseases such as COVID-19, and how we can harness T cell responses in the fight against COVID-19. Ultimately, we must ensure continued momentum and preparedness to swiftly take action against whatever infectious disease might be next – we will not stand still.”
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