Current and Planned COVID-19 Research Projects at Texas Biomed
Point of Care Diagnostic Development for SARS- CoV-2
One of the biggest issues in the outbreak is identifying how many people are infected,which would provided details on where the virus is emerging and a true fatality rate. Point-of Care diagnostics are needed for diagnosis without having to send samples out.Texas Biomed scientists have two projects with UCSC and UCSF one in nanopore-based multi-target analysis and a new CRISPR diagnostic test of SARS-CoV-2.
Isolation and characterization of SARS-CoV-2 spike(S)-specific broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies(BNhMAbs)
Scientists expect to identify several COVID-19 S protein binding hMAbs, which will have therapeutic and prophylactic activity against COVID-19 infection in vivo for the implementation as effective immunotherapeutics against COVID-19 infections in humans
Generation of LAV for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections
Scientists aim to successfully identify an attenuated form of COVID-19 for employment as a Live-Attenuated Vaccine, which is urgently needed for prevention of COVID-19 infections
Development of reverse genetics (RG) systems for SARS-CoV-2
Scientists aim to facilitate the study of COVID-19 infections, including the identification of antivirals and neutralizing antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19 infections
Production of viral stocks and complete genomic analyses of SARS-CoV-2
Production of viral stocks and complete genomic analyses to ensure consistency across all experiments on SARS-CoV-2 that occur at Texas Biomed.
Tested efficacy of the Xenex LightStrike Robot against SARS-CoV-2
Tested efficacy of the Xenex LightStrike Robot against SARS-CoV-2. The LightStrike disinfection robot inactivated SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, on both hard surfaces and N95 masks. This study was done in the BSL4 lab as contract research for Xenex Disinfections Services. The study was completed in just two weeks from the time of contract signature to QC results reported.
Determine the best non-human primate (NHP) species for modeling human disease
An ongoing study in ABSL3 and ABSL4 to determine the best non-human primate (NHP) species for modeling human disease. Texas Biomed investigators are studying rhesus macaques, baboons and marmosets of two different ages with the goal to identify the best model that can be used to test vaccines and therapeutics for human use. Results of this study will be completed in 30-45 days and will inform future NHP COVID-19 research.
Scientists aim to demonstrate that the baboon can serve as a validated animal model for consistent infection with SARS-CoV-2. The availability of a valid NHP model of SARS-CoV-2 infection will facilitate studies related to diagnosis, pathogenesis and transmission, as well as pre-clinical testing of vaccines and therapeutics against this virus.
Immune function research in elderly Rhesus Macaques
Studies of immune function in elderly rhesus macaques, and determine if re-infection is possible. These studies will determine why the elderly are more susceptible to COVID-19. Studies are pending a supplement approval and potential award from NIA.
Mice research with SARS-CoV-2
Mice are being infected with SARS-CoV-2, virus isolated, and re-infected to the same species. The goal is to drive mutations in the virus that make it adapted to infected mice and guinea pigs a manageable model to quickly understand disease and immunity.
Study of SARS-CoV-2 disease and immunity in a transgenic mouse model that expresses the human ACE2 receptor (the receptor for SARS-CoV-2). This provides a small rodent model for rapid screening of vaccines and therapeutics. Studies are pending IACUC approvals and shipment of mice from an external vendor.
Syrian Hamster research with SARS-CoV-2
Study of SARS-CoV-2 in Syrian Hamsters, a natural model of infection. Studies include determining natural transmission, the impact of the lung alveolar lining fluid, and disease outcome with increasing age.
San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics and the Vaccine Development Center
The San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics and the Vaccine Development Center have awarded $200,000 for a collaborative study between Southwest Research Institute, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, UTHealth San Antonio and the University of Texas at San Antonio to develop a novel vaccine to combat COVID-19. The team’s goal is to develop a novel vaccine to combat COVID-19 based on decades of work on a tularemia vaccine platform.
Study the role of a polybasic furin cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 biology and therapeutic implications
Texas Biomed is participating in a rapid response pilot grant to study the role of a polybasic furin cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 biology and therapeutic implications.
Disinfectant efficacy testing
Texas Biomed researchers have established agreements with a variety of local and national groups to study disinfectant efficacy, decontamination protocols, the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on pregnancy and heart disease and potential diagnostic tests.