19 March 2020, 17:00 GMT - £29,668
20 March 2020, 09:00 GMT - £33,978
20 March 2020, 16:00 GMT - £40,598
23 March 2020, 09:00 GMT - £53,227
24 March 2020, 08:00 GMT - £61,593
25 March 2020, 08:00 GMT - £66,303
26 March 2020, 08:00 GMT - £80,458
26 March 2020, 17:45 GMT - £84,444
30 March 2020, 17:00 BST - £92,286
01 April 2020, 16:00 BST - £104,346
03 April 2020, 15:00 BST - £108,749
04 April 2020, 17:00 BST - £118,901
09 April 2020, 12:00 BST - £119,151
Thank you for your support!
Coronavirus Fightback - Emergency Appeal from the University of Exeter
The University of Exeter is launching an Emergency Appeal to trial a new test for antibodies to Coronavirus. If successful, it will give the NHS a rapid and cheap tool to track recovery rates and identify people who have developed immunity to the virus.
If successful, we will be able to answer vital, life changing questions:
- Is the patient sick and raising an immune response to the virus?
- Is the patient’s immune response going to be protective?
- Has the patient recovered, no longer sick but protected?
This work is being supported by Attomarker Ltd, a spin-out company from the University of Exeter which has developed technology designed to measure patients’ response to Covid-19 in just five minutes. This contrasts with several hours using current diagnostic technology.
Professor Andrew Shaw’s research group, in collaboration with Professor Chris Hyde at Exeter’s Medical School, will perform diagnostic accuracy tests at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, starting next Monday.
The Exeter team is being hosted by Professor Jonathan Edgeworth at St Thomas’s Centre for Clinical Infection and Diagnostics, one of the technology assessment centres contributing to the government’s response to the pandemic.
If successful, the test should provide a key tool to keep this pandemic under control. For example, one hundred test instruments could test the entire population of Exeter in less than a week.
We need to refine the test and understand its accuracy.
Projected costs for the 12-week, 1,800 tests campaign are £48,000 for the tests themselves, £45,000 to pay for the production of five new instruments and £12,000 to fund an increased team. £105,000 in total.
This is the biggest global crisis that we will experience in our lifetime.
We hope that you will want to help fund Exeter’s contribution in the fight against the virus.
It goes without saying that the sooner you can contribute, the sooner we can commission the tests.
20 April 2020
Conducted over the past four weeks, the trial that you supported is the first quantitative study on COVID-19 antibody responses.
Currently, around 12-15 percent of intensive care patients test false negative with swab testing, which can cause infection control and treatment issues throughout their stay. The Attomarker test has shown a much higher accuracy rate and delivers results in 5-10 minutes, enabling A&E departments to separate infected from non-infected patients quickly.
So far test results on 153 COVID-19 patients are ready for publication. Tests are detecting antibody response in acutely ill patients after 10 days with an accuracy of 73% rising to 83% after 20 – 25 days.
Thanks to this trial we have learned the point at which antibodies develop and how long they last, we can identify which convalescent patients have blood with enough antibodies that can be used to help patients who are taking longer to recover, and we can identify patients who have had the virus unknowingly. We can therefore help return self-isolating staff to work on the frontline.
The trials have been successful enough for St Thomas’ to want to install several devices and to extend testing throughout the hospital.
It is a complex virus and there is a lot more to be learned, but right now there are enough proven advantages of Attomarker technology to be in advanced talks with production partners and Government about a potential roll-out throughout the country.
We will share more information in the coming days and weeks as developments progress.
Thank you again for supporting our emergency appeal and enabling this crucial research to take place.
01 April 2020
Rapid Antibody technology provides promising results in understanding COVID-19, initial tests show.
Testing for COVID-19 currently relies on detecting virus RNA in a swab sample from the patient’s throat or nose. Laboratory analysis tells you if you have the virus where you were swabbed – it does not tell you if you have the virus in your lungs or if you have had the virus and recovered from it. Nor does the swab test tell you if you have a high degree of immunity to the virus.
Blood tests work by measuring the patient’s immune response and hence the level of antibodies in a sample of blood serum (hence their other name, serological tests). These antibodies are produced as part of the body’s mechanism to fight disease, and give an indication of a disease’s course, and the degree of recovery and subsequent protection from reinfection.
Detection of serological response to COVID-19 would thus be valuable, particularly if the test provided fast results together with a measure of patient immunity. Immune people would be safe to return to work.
Last week, we analysed 83 samples of COVID-19 infected blood over two days at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. The results based on this initial first sample provide early support for the validity of the technology as well as early information on the time course of the serological response in hospitalised patients. The team is testing again this week, boosting the sample size in order to ensure that conclusions are robust.
Professor Andrew Shaw of the University of Exeter is working with Professor Chris Hyde of the University Medical School and Professor Jonathan Edgeworth of the Centre for Clinical Infection and Diagnostics Research at St Thomas’.
The tests are being performed on a portable Attomarker Liscar 4 bench-top instrument, each providing results in just ten minutes. Such fast results would enable hospital staff to be placed under daily surveillance, returning immune staff to the front line and testing self-isolating staff.
With a much larger sample size tested by the close of this week, the intention is to complete an academic paper for urgent peer review, and share the conclusions immediately with leaders in Public Health England, the NHS and government.
25 March 2020
Last day for the team in the lab at St Thomas' Hospital today. Steady progress is being made on understanding how the human body responds to this virus and how the antibodies the immune system produces to fight it can be detected by testing. It is thought this is the only multiplex test currently out there, which means if Andrew and the team achieve their objectives as it can account for other factors affecting the immune response. The kit Andrew has designed can also test the efficacy of other tests - RNA, uniplex and duplex - which they will be doing today; we need to know more clearly the accuracy of the tools we are bringing to bear on Covid-19. Back at Exeter the analysis will continue and the findings will be rushed for peer review. Andrew has asked to convey his heartfelt thanks to you. This work would not be possible without your ongoing support.
23 March 2020
Today Andrew and his team arrived at St Thomas' hospital today and have set up and begun testing. The virus is a tricky customer, to which the patients' immune systems respond in unexpected ways. Andrew is having to work up innovative methods of reaching and analysing the patients' antibodies on the spiky ball that is Covid-19.
20 March 2020
Professor Andrew Shaw and the team spent 12 hours working in the lab today and before travelling to London to begin the trials.