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Immune markers

Profile: Tao DongProfessor Tao Dong, Supernumerary Fellow in Medicine and Professor of Immunology, is leading work investigating the immune response in cells from coronavirus infected patients who are doing well compared to those who are getting very sick.

Professor Dong is the Professor of Immunology and the Oxford Director of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Oxford Institute (COI). The main aim of COI, a collaboration between the University of Oxford and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, is to find new ways of managing cancer and infectious diseases. This, in addition to its links with Chinese clinicians and researchers, puts it in a good position to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

Professor Dong says, “We started prioritising research on COVID-19 back in January 2020. In March, the COI has already provided funding to seven separate research projects unpicking the immunobiology of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, helping Oxford-affiliated researchers to get research started at record speed.”

Photo: CDC Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Professor Dong’s research group is also testing samples from COVID-19 patients from various points in their illness, trying to figure out why people’s immune systems respond differently.

She explains, “We are analysing immune markers in patients to see if we can identify markers that predict how a patient is going to respond, and also to identify targets for drugs to make things better. The immune response to this novel coronavirus is quite unusual. Some of the immune responses it appears to be triggering may actually be making things worse, and if we can predict who is going to respond this way, or even better, find ways to change it, we might be able to help patients.”

You can read more about Professor Dong in her profile on the website.

Are you involved?
If you are involved in research or frontline work relating to COVID-19 that you would like to bring to the attention of the Univ community worldwide, please email communications@univ.ox.ac.uk.

Published: 28 April 2020

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