Could immunosuppressant therapy provide protection against Covid -19

13 January 2021
Could immunosuppressant therapy provide protection against Covid -19

The ADAPT Centre, and Trinity College Dublin Professor Mark Little has been awarded HRB funding under the SFI COVID-19 Rapid Response Research and Innovation Funding Programme for the DeCOmPRESS study which will examine the question above.

Dublin, 1st May  2020: Professor Mark Little, Professor of Nephrology in Trinity College Dublin, Consultant Nephrologist at Tallaght University Hospital and Principal InvestigatorADAPT and Trinity  at SFI ADAPT Research Centre has been awarded nearly €200.000 to fund his “Defining the disease course and immune profile of COVID-19 in the immunosuppressed patient (DeCOmPRESS)” study. The aim of the study is to address whether immunosuppressant therapy treatments, such as those that patients with chronic autoimmune diseases undergo, provide protection against the severe immune response often triggered by SARS-CoV-2. This study was among 6 other TCD submissions to secure government funding for vital research into various fields pertaining to the current Coronavirus pandemic.

The first report of the DeCOmPRESS study will be delivered within 3 months. Through previous work with the FAIRVASC project that connects databases across Europe to analyse patient information from people suffering from a rare condition called vasculitis, Professor Little and his team have been able to assemble 850 volunteer immunosuppressant therapy patients who have consented to provide information and regular blood samples for analysis.

Professor Mark Little said, “Conventionally, we assume that, when the immune system is suppressed, the ability to fight infection is impaired. While this is certainly true generally, these medications may actually protect against the “cytokine storm” that characterises severe COVID-19. The project will build on work in the Irish Rare Kidney Disease registry and biobank, and will incorporate six clinical research facilities around Ireland, a dedicated smartphone app developed by patientMpower, the immunology expertise of St James’s Hospital and the data integration capability of the ADAPT SFI Centre.”

By using a smartphone app, the results of the study will be rapidly and directly disseminated to patients, while the healthcare community, public health infrastructure, and WHO will be kept updated via regular updates and through the appropriate channels.

A key aspect of this study is the use of a FAIR COVID-19 dataset which is designed to be interoperable with other international data collection initiatives. This, along with sharing the data through an open science repository will ensure maximal integration with other studies and thereby increasing its impact on the fight against COVID-19.

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