Therapy Areas: Inflammatory Diseases
GoodCell Partners with New York Blood Center to Investigate COVID-19 Risk
5 October 2020 - - US-based biobanking and diagnostics specialist GoodCell has started a three-stage program with blood products and services and research organization the New York Blood Center to study how specific acquired and inherited genetic variations in blood contribute to COVID-19 severity and recovery, the company said.

The research aims to advance a global understanding of susceptibility to severe disease and COVID-19 risk factors that could ultimately inform the creation of a COVID-19 susceptibility test.

This type of test could serve as a critical tool in managing the disease with greater precision, support preemptive detection and treatment of high-risk patients, aid ongoing reopening efforts, and inform therapeutic research and vaccine prioritization.

As part of the collaboration, NYBC will supply samples of cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) acquired from COVID-19 positive patients who have donated to the organization and given consent for research.

GoodCell will analyse the samples using its proprietary assays to identify and validate indicators of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.

Among the goals of the research is to understand correlations between COVID-19 severity and the presence of accumulated genetic variation that culminate in the expansion of detrimental mutations and damage to DNA within blood cells, a phenomenon known as clonal hematopoiesis.

Recent studies have established linkages between such genetic changes and an aberrant inflammatory response characterized by increased cytokines, which has been associated with severe COVID-19 clinical manifestations.

A recent statistical study has also revealed a linear correlation between age-related increase in the frequency of such accumulated genetic variations measured by our assay and the age-related increase in mortality of COVID-19 infected patients.

This finding indicates that the virus' high mortality rate among older individuals may be tied to these genetic mutations. It is hypothesized that these changes in DNA may contribute to extreme viral complications, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, chronic lung injury, venous thrombosis, acute cardiac injury and chronic cardiac damage, resulting in cardiomyopathy.

Founded in 1964, New York Blood Center is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the world.

GoodCell's platform combines personal biobanking, diagnostics and data to provide individuals and their families the ability to securely test, track and respond to health risks, while enabling the scientific community to advance diagnostics and drug development at scale to create next-generation safeguards for global health.
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