LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Thursday said it would partner with an Oxford-based firm to provide testing for the T cell response of coronavirus vaccine candidates to try to assess their immune responses.
T cell immunity is thought to be essential to protection against infection from the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus, and could provide longer term immunity than antibodies.
The UK Vaccine Taskforce has chosen Oxford Immunotec to supply T cell testing for its assessment of different vaccine candidates.
"It is important to be able to assess the different vaccines head-to-head and the T cell response is part of our portfolio of accredited assays that we are employing for cross comparisons," Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccines Taskforce, said in a statement.
Britain has signed supply deals for six different coronavirus vaccine candidates, including those being made by AstraZeneca <AZN.L> and Pfizer <PFE.N> and BioNTech <22UAy.F>, seen as among the frontrunners in the race for a vaccine.
Oxford Immunotec said its techonology platform enabled the centralisation of fresh blood samples from different locations to measure the T cell response in a standardised way.
It said the platform, known as T-SPOT, was being used to identify the T cells made in response to the pathogen that causes tuberculosis.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Barbara Lewis)