Adaptive Biotechnologies and Microsoft Launch Virtual ImmuneRACE Study

Adaptive Biotechnologies announced it has begun enrolling a virtual clinical study, ImmuneRACE, as part of a broader effort it has undertaken with Microsoft to rapidly map and measure the immune response to the COVID-19 virus to inform improved diagnostics to fulfill the need for more reliable testing. The study calls for 1,000 participants in select U.S. metropolitan areas impacted by COVID-19.

De-identified data will be made freely available to public health officials, academia and industry to help accelerate solutions to the pandemic. LabCorp, through its Covance drug development business, will manage the collection of blood samples and nose/throat swabs from participants in the comfort and safety of their own homes. There are currently two types of tests for COVID-19. PCR tests indicate the presence of live virus from a nose or throat swab, and serology tests indicate exposure to and potential immunity against the virus by measuring the presence of antibodies in the blood.

Adaptive and Microsoft believe a third type of test can potentially help address current challenges with testing, resulting in complementary or alternative diagnostic testing for individuals with known exposures or symptoms, ability to triage patients and inform treatment strategies based on risk and ongoing immunity surveillance testing of the population to inform decisions on restrictions.

“We’ve spent the past decade learning how the adaptive immune system naturally detects and treats all disease, and we are well-positioned to apply our immune medicine platform specifically to COVID-19. We’re hopeful that we can contribute important information that will become part of an immune scan to help reopen society,” said Chad Robins, CEO and co-founder of Adaptive Biotechnologies.

As part of the study, the partners will measure the presence of specialized cells of the immune system in the blood, called T cells, that identify the disease early on and proliferate to combat the infection. Together, Adaptive and Microsoft are mapping and measuring the immune response of T cells specific to many diseases and are now applying their combined capabilities to COVID-19.

“We are dedicated to being part of the solution against COVID-19,” said Peter Lee, corporate vice president, AI and Research, Microsoft. “Immune response data may augment what we have been learning to date to help determine who is at greater risk of developing more severe symptoms and may help with future containment efforts. Anyone who has been affected by COVID-19 holds key information that can help contain and manage the virus.”

In March, the companies announced an expansion of their existing partnership to use machine learning to map the immune system response to many different diseases, including infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders and cancer, at scale to study COVID-19. The information obtained from participants, including how the immune system identifies the virus and how people are responding to the virus, will be integrated with data obtained from samples provided by hospitals and other institutions across the globe.

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