The role of flow cytometry in Sars-CoV-2 research

In their recent publication, Cosarizza et al. (PMID: 32187834)  highlight how important flow cytometry can be in gaining a better understanding of viral infection, in particular COVID-19. Analyzing the immune cells might help us, for example, understand why some patients show severe complications while others are nearly asymptomatic.  

Flow cytometry can also help researchers identify potential targets for new vaccines, or with the screening of compounds for anti-viral activity.   

If this is of interest to you, we have listed below Miltenyi Biotec’s flow cytometry resources to help you find answers to some of your most pressing questions, understand COVID-19 better, and discover new vaccines. 
 

The effect on the immune system of COVID-19 
 

  • COVID-19 patients have demonstrated high plasma levels of innate and pro-inflammatory cytokines; Miltenyi Biotec’s MACSplex Cytokine kits enable bead-based detection and subsequent profiling of cytokines direct from plasma via high-throughput flow cytometry
  • The MACS® Marker Screen helps collect valuable biomarker identification information, which can help to stratify virus-infected individuals
  • The 8-color Immunophenotyping Kit is a pre-titrated antibody cocktail which offers the most reliable immunophenotyping in a variety of samples. This enables you to identify human immune cell subsets such as monocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, T cells, B cells, and NK cells in one sample – quickly, easily, and reproducibly
  • The MACSQuant® Tyto® Cell Sorter is a closed cartridge–based system that allows sterile sorting of infectious material while increasing operator safety by preventing the formation and release of aerosols
  • The wide range of REAfinity™ Recombinant Antibodies allows comprehensive immunophenotyping of T cell subsets and other effector cells in the viral response

MACSQuant X Flow Cytometer fits in a laminar flow cabinet

Related documents:

Multicolor flow cytometry panels: Find out optimized and pre-designed panels to characterize different immune cell subset via flow cytometry

Towards new targets for vaccine development
 

Identification of viral targets, target binding, and expression are crucial in the development of vaccines

  • The MACSQuant X Flow Cytometer is built for automation, helping to reduce human interaction with potentially infectious samples and enabling high-throughput target binding studies, such as receptor binding and receptor expression profiling. Its benchtop footprint enables easy integration under protective laminar hoods, further increasing user safety
  • Absolute cell counting ensures the quantification of positive target binders and the generation of reliable data regarding potency, and can be achieved with the MACSQuant Analyzer Family

MACSQuant Analyzer 16 integrated into a liquid handling station

Effectiveness and safety of new antiviral therapy and vaccine candidates
 

Scientists are trying to repurpose existing antiviral therapy and viral vaccines or study newly developed candidates in both in vitro and in vivo models (e.g. non-human primate models) to better understand safety and efficacy. Immunophenotyping is an important part of such testing procedures. 

Antibodies validated for non-human primates: this list (right) highlights antibodies, such as lineage marker, receptors, secondary antibodies, and more that are cross-reactive to different NHP species.

Publications using MACSQuant Analyzers in COVID-19 research

Read on how our flow cytometry resources have been used in COVID-19 research.

  • SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in healthy donors and patients with COVID-19, Nature (PMID: 32726801)
  • A SARS-CoV-2 Infection Model in Mice Demonstrates Protection by Neutralizing Antibodies, Cell (PMID: 32553273)
  • Rapid production of clinical-grade SARS-CoV-2 specific T cells, Advances in Cell and Gene Therapy (PMID: 32838213)
  • Natural antiviral compound silvestrol modulates human monocyte‐derived macrophages and dendritic cells, Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (PMID: 32374474)
  • A single-dose intranasal ChAd vaccine protects upper and lower respiratory tracts against SARS-CoV-2, Cell (PMID: 32931734)

Further resources