COVID-19 and the common cold: does pre-existing immunity to seasonally circulating coronaviruses influence the severity of COVID-19

Research Opportunity
Masters by Research, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Department / Centre
Medicine and Radiology
Location
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Associate Professor Siddhartha Mahanty smahanty@unimelb.edu.au 83441972
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Louise Randall louise.randall@unimelb.edu.au 83442181

Summary COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, presents as a spectrum of illness ranging from mild upper respiratory tract symptoms to a multisystem inflammatory syndrome but we do not know what causes this difference in disease severity amongst individuals. There are seasonally circulating coronaviruses that cause the common cold. This project aims to determine whether pre-existing antibodies against these seasonally circulating coronaviruses are associated with protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection or associated with the development of asymptomatic/mild COVID-19?

Project Details

COVID-19 disease is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although the global impact of infection is still evolving, it is apparent that COVID-19 presents as a spectrum of illness ranging from mild upper respiratory tract symptoms to a multisystem inflammatory syndrome. We do not know what causes this difference in disease severity amongst individuals.

There are a number of coronaviruses regularly transmitted within the community that cause illness like a common cold. Are antibodies against the common coronaviruses cross-reactive to SARS-CoV-2? Are pre-existing antibodies against the seasonally circulating coronaviruses associated with protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection or associated with the development of asymptomatic/mild COVID-19? This exciting project aims to answer these questions by using samples obtained from an ongoing prospective cohort study examining the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in health care providers.

This project will involve protein biology and ELISAs.



Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Integrated Critical Care in Medicine



Research Opportunities

Masters by Research, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre

Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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