SARS-CoV-2 Immune correlates of protection in Nigeria (SIP-NG)

camafrica4 v2

SARS-CoV-2 Immune correlates of protection in Nigeria (SIP-NG)*

PIs: Alphonsus Chinedu Ugwu (Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Disease (ACEGID) Redeemers’ University, Nigeria) & Jonathan Heeney (Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge,UK)

The COVID-19 epidemic in Nigeria is in its early stages; with over 1,300 infected and fewer than 50 deaths reported but the actual numbers are unknown. For a country of over 200 million people, the scale and course of the epidemic are difficult to predict. Given the limited availability of PCR test kits and the unknown questions of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 re-infection, the country is on an unknown trajectory. Critical is the need to understand the impact of co-infections on SARS-CoV-2 and if these immune responses are protective. Focused community based serological studies will help to determine the size of the exposed population in Nigeria, while T-cell responses will provide indicators of protective immune responses.

There is no licensed vaccine for COVID-19, and time is of the essence for Nigeria. Though many candidate vaccines are in the pipeline, there are no clear or assays that indicate what a protective immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is.

Project SIP-NG aims to define the correlates of protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 from COVID-19 survivors in Nigeria. We will establish important baseline data of the B- and T-cell responses as well as innate cytokines signatures associated with protection from SARS-CoV-2. Our data will provide the clinical benchmark to which vaccines can be evaluated.

As the world races towards producing a vaccine against COVID-19, a better understanding of immune correlates of protection (ICoP) will accelerate the development of the best candidates.

 *This project is supported by a Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA Research Fund COVID-19 Emergency Award