Zuckerman Israeli postdoctoral fellow Dr. Tal Gilboa chose to research single-molecule sensing for advanced diagnostics at Harvard Medical School’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Tal shifted her focus to COVID-19 detection.
Working with researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Gilboa and her research team developed a method to profile the immune response by measuring interactions between immunoglobulin isotypes and viral proteins in a multiplexed assay at the single molecule level.
With just an extremely small blood sample – less than a microliter – the researchers can sense changes from negative to positive conditions in COVID-19 patients as early as one day after the onset of symptoms, and quantify the full range of the disease from its earliest to its latest stages. They are also able to detect the smallest variations in the immune response between patients, as well as within a single patient.
“This serological platform provides a powerful analytical tool that will benefit current and future research in understanding the immune response to COVID-19,” explains Dr. Gilboa. “It will also answer important questions about the heterogeneity of the clinical presentation we see in the ongoing pandemic.”
Dr. Gilboa is currently working with clinicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to profile convalescent plasma in order to predict its neutralization potential.