COVID-19 Briefing for 9th July 2020

Notes from a conversation held by Lara Marks with Stephen Baker, professor of molecular microbiology, Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre, Cambridge University on Thursday July 8 2020

COVID-19 screening

We are no longer doing the COVID-19 screening tests as Cambridge University has found a spare laboratory to undertake the screening of healthcare workers and university staff for COVID-19. The new laboratory has space to conduct screening for a potential second COVID-19 wave.

Serology testing

We now have £25,000 to begin a pilot study of the immune response to COVID-19 in collaboration with Addenbrooke’s Hospital. So far 2,500 hospital workers have had their blood collected. The serum is being analysed with the help of the Centaur machine. Overall 7.5% of people have tested positive for the antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. At present we do not know what this data means in terms of the immune response to the disease. The results need to be cross-validated with the ELISA test. Work also needs to be done to assess the reaction of the antibodies to different antigens.

Re-establishing laboratory routine

Our laboratory has now got a rota in place to ensure staff safety. It requires people spending two and half days in the laboratory and the remainder at home. This will inevitably slow down the progress we can make with our experiments.

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