Profile Url: roey-lazarovits
Researcher at Wyss Institute
Tests for COVID-19 generally measure SARS-CoV2 viral RNA from nasal swabs or antibodies against the virus from blood. It has been shown, however, that both viral particles and antibodies against those particles are present in saliva, which is more accessible than both swabs and blood. We present methods for highly sensitive measurements of both viral RNA and serology from the same saliva sample. We developed an efficient saliva RNA extraction method and combined it with an ultrasensitive serology test based on Single Molecule Array (Simoa) technology. We apply our test to the saliva of patients who presented to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms, some of whom tested positive with a conventional RT-qPCR nasopharyngeal swab test. We demonstrate that combining viral RNA detection by RT-qPCR with serology identifies more patients as infected than either method alone. Our results suggest the utility of combining viral RNA and serology testing from saliva, a single easily accessible biofluid.
Lymphoid follicles (LFs) are responsible for generation of adaptive immune responses in secondary lymphoid organs and form ectopically during chronic inflammation. A human model of LF formation would provide a tool to understand LF development and an alternative to non-human primate models for preclinical evaluation of vaccines. Here, we show that primary human blood B- and T-lymphocytes autonomously assemble into ectopic LFs when cultured in a three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrix gel within an organ-on-a-chip microfluidic device. Dynamic fluid flow is required for LF formation and prevention of lymphocyte autoactivation. These germinal center-like LFs contain B cells expressing Activation-Induced Cytidine Deaminase and exhibit plasma cell (PC) differentiation upon activation. To explore their utility for vaccine testing, autologous monocyte-derived dendritic cells were integrated into LF Chips. The human LF chips demonstrated improved antibody responses to split virion influenza vaccination compared to 2D cultures, which were enhanced by addition of a squalene-in-water emulsion adjuvant, and this was accompanied by increases in LF size and number. When inoculated with commercial influenza vaccine, PC formation and production of anti-hemagglutinin IgG were observed, as well as secretion of cytokines similar to those observed in vaccinated humans over clinically relevant timescales.