08 July 2021


Cellular immunity to COVID-19 can be determined using a new test system developed at NMIC Hematology

Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation

On July 5, a new Corona-T-test test system for the determination of T-cell immunity was put into use, developed in the Laboratory of Transplantation Immunology of the NMIC of Hematology under the supervision of Ph.D. Grigory Efimov.


Antibodies are not the only means of protecting our body from infections. The cellular branch of immunity, represented by T-lymphocytes, plays an important role. These are living blood cells that recognize a virus-infected cell and destroy it, thus interrupting the chain of virus spread.

Studies conducted in the Laboratory of Transplantation Immunology of NMIC Hematology have shown that the T-cell response in people who have been ill or in contact with COVID-19 is very diverse and has no direct correlation with the level of antibodies. The Corona-T-test test system allows you to determine the number of T-lymphocytes sensitive to fragments of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is an additional tool for assessing the readiness of the immune system to re-encounter with the coronavirus.

The operation of the test system is based on the ELISPOT method. For analysis, live lymphocytes are isolated from peripheral blood, which are incubated with fragments of coronavirus in sterile conditions for 16-18 hours. If the cells from the test sample have already had contact with the antigen, they are activated and begin to produce gamma interferon. After special manipulations, including washing from cells and staining, spots from those T-lymphocytes that recognized the virus are formed on the substrate. Their number is calculated using the reading equipment and compared with the threshold value.

Fragments of coronavirus for use in the test system were selected according to two criteria:

– the presence of a pronounced immune response in the majority of those who have been ill or vaccinated, regardless of their genetic characteristics;

– lack of a cross-response to exclude a reaction to seasonal coronaviruses.

Testing with the Corona-T-test kit, developed at the NMIC of Hematology, will complement the picture of individual immunity against coronavirus, which was formed as a result of vaccination or after a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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