Melbourne Researchers Map Immune Responses from One of Australia’s First Coronavirus (COVID-19) Patients, Showing the Body’s Ability to Fight the Virus and Recover from the Infection

Melbourne researchers have mapped immune responses from one of Australia's first novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, showing the body's ability to fight the virus and recover from the infection. Researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) - a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne hospital - were able to test blood samples at four different time points in an otherwise healthy woman in her 40s, who presented with COVID-19 and had mild-to-moderate symptoms requiring hospital admission. Published online on March 16, 2020 in Nature Medicine is a detailed report of how the patient's immune system responded to the virus. The open-access article is titled “Breadth of Concomitant Immune Responses Prior to Patient Recovery: A Case Report of Non-Severe COVID-19.” One of the authors on the paper, research fellow Dr. Oanh Nguyen, said this was the first time that broad immune responses to COVID-19 have been reported. "We looked at the whole breadth of the immune response in this patient using the knowledge we have built over many years of looking at immune responses in patients hospitalized with influenza," Dr. Nguyen said. "Three days after the patient was admitted, we saw large populations of several immune cells, which are often a tell-tale sign of recovery during seasonal influenza infection, so we predicted that the patient would recover in three days, which is what happened." The research team was able to do this research so rapidly thanks to the SETREP-ID (Sentinel Travelers and Research Preparedness for Emerging Infectious Disease) platform, led by Royal Melbourne Hospital Infectious Diseases Physician Dr. Irani Thevarajan at the Doherty Institute.
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