Assisting the global
COVID-19 response


COVID-19 Research

Bio-Rad is committed to empowering your research in the battle against COVID-19. From viral genomic characterization to immunological host response, our innovative products enable scientists to gain a clearer understanding of SARS-CoV-2.

Viral Characterization

Characterization of SARS-CoV-2 is essential in understanding the viral mechanisms of infection, replication, pathogenesis, and transmission. Additionally, determining the genetic variants that contribute to host susceptibility and disease severity is of paramount importance. Bio-Rad offers solutions that can improve the fundamental knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 and accelerate the discovery of vaccine or therapeutic targets.

Genotype Screening for Host Susceptibility

In infectious disease research, determining genetic variation between individuals in a population distinguishes predispositions to infection and pathogenicity. Genetic variations such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and copy number variations (CNVs) can lead to susceptibility or resistance to disease and influence symptomatic outcomes. The examination of SNPs and CNVs of identified genetic markers can explain unique predispositions to infectious disease. This type of analysis can call for an exhaustive number of targets and samples; therefore, a high-throughput method for multiplex-screening is essential to identify these differences quickly.

Bio-Rad has a suite of real-time PCR instrumentation and reagents to support your assay development. Built to provide efficient and accurate multiplex screening results, the CFX Real-Time PCR Detection Systems feature a robust optical design that requires no calibration and minimal maintenance. The system paired with the intuitive CFX Maestro software, performs multi-plate analysis with statistics easily. Ideal for viral detection, Reliance One-Step RT-PCR Supermix is optimized for highly sensitive and reliable detection of up to 5 targets directly from RNA. Easily earn a free service contract and receive exclusive promotions on reagents through the Bio-Rad Loyalty Rewards Program.

Supporting publications:

Common human Toll-like receptor 4 polymorphisms — Role in susceptibility to respiratory syncytial virus infection and functional immunological relevance

Summary: Real-time PCR was used to genotype children with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and compared them to healthy individuals to examine polymorphisms within a TLR4 allele. It was determined that there are no differences in severe RSV infection and the polymorphism in the TLR4 allele.

Association of polymorphisms in TNF-α, IL-1β, GSTM and GSTT genes with apical periodontitis: Is there a link with herpesviral infection?

Summary: Real-time PCR was used to determine TNF‐α and IL‐1β SNPs and their association with increased risk of apical periodontitis development.

Differential expression of interferon-lambda receptor 1 splice variants determines the magnitude of the antiviral response induced by interferon-lambda 3 in human immune cells.

Summary: Real-time PCR was used to examine the role of various interferon-lambdas (IFN-λ) on viral infection and immune response. Demonstrates that IFN-λs could suppress viral infection in mucus and blood.

Viral Quantification

Working with low target amounts or challenging sample types such as formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue could result in poor quantification, and therefore highly accurate and sensitive methods for viral detection are necessary.

Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) provides highly precise, absolute quantification of nucleic acid sequences. ddPCR measures absolute quantities by counting nucleic acid molecules encapsulated in discrete and volumetrically defined water-in-oil droplet partitions. Droplet Digital PCR enables measurement of low abundance targets, targets in complex backgrounds, and subtle changes in target levels undetectable by real-time PCR. The SARS-CoV-2 ddPCR test is based on highly sensitive and precise Droplet Digital PCR technology and is optimized for use on Bio-Rad Droplet Digital PCR Systems.

Viral Genomic Variation

When identifying different viral strains of SARS-CoV-2, detection of single nucleotide variants will be needed to characterize differences in transmission and virulence. It may be difficult to distinguish these small nucleotide changes using traditional methods.

Droplet Digital PCR is a useful tool for the detection of single nucleotide variants and can discriminate between closely related viral strains with high specificity and sensitivity.

Supporting publications:

Highly precise measurement of HIV DNA by Droplet Digital PCR

Summary: Droplet Digital PCR was used to evaluate the measurement of HIV DNA in infected patients on effective combination antiretroviral therapy. Analysis of over 300 clinical samples demonstrated between a 5-fold and 20-fold improvement in precision and accuracy compared to real-time PCR. The additional benefits highlighted were absolute quantification without reliance on an external standard, and relative insensitivity to mismatches in primer and probe sequences.

Coinfection of human herpesviruses 6A (HHV-6A) and HHV-6B as demonstrated by novel Digital Droplet PCR assay

Summary: In samples from healthy donors and patients with MS, a disease in which HHV-6 is thought to play a role, a multiplex ddPCR assay was used to investigate the frequency of HHV-6A and HHV-6B coinfection. This method differentiated and accurately quantitated the two viral species of HHV-6, which may provide clinically relevant information.

Characterization of oseltamivir-resistant influenza virus populations in immunosuppressed patients using digital-droplet PCR: Comparison with qPCR and next generation sequencing analysis

Summary: ddPCR detected a single nucleotide substitution in neuraminidase, which confers oseltamivir-resistance in A(H1N1) influenza viruses. Using an NGS assay as a gold standard, RT-ddPCR performed better than RT-qPCR in estimating oseltamivir-resistant influenza virus proportions for two immunosuppressed patients.

Viral Protein Characterization

Characterization of SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins as well as host cell receptors that mediate viral entry is critical for comprehending infection and can aid in vaccine and therapeutic development. Furthermore, identification of antigenic domains within these proteins may be useful for the development of serological assays. Speed and accuracy may be of paramount importance.

Bio-Rad’s complete Western blotting workflow can reduce electrophoresis and transfer time to 30 minutes. This improved workflow, incorporating stain-free gel technology, saves time, and increases the accuracy of your protein quantitation. The ChemiDoc MP Imaging System is a single solution for gel imaging and blotting applications, including DNA and protein stains, as well as chemiluminescence and fluorescence Western blots.

Supporting publications:

Characterization of spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 on virus entry and its immune cross-reactivity with SARS-CoV

Summary: A SARS-CoV-2 S protein pseudovirus system examined the viral entry pathway resulting in identification of several potential drug targets. Western blotting confirmed protein expression and evaluates cross-neutralization between convalescent sera from SARS and COVID-19 patients.

Characterization of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of 2019 novel coronavirus: Implication for development of RBD protein as a viral attachment inhibitor and vaccine

Summary: The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 was identified and demonstrated that recombinant RBD protein bound strongly to human ACE2 receptor and may serve as a viral attachment inhibitor. Western blotting analyzed the purified RBD proteins as well as tested the cross-reactivity of SARS-CoV RBD-specific and MERS-CoV RBD-specific antibodies with SARS-CoV-2 RBD protein.

Immunological characterization of the spike protein of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus

Summary: In this study, truncated fragments encompassing the whole spike protein were generated in bacterial or baculovirus expression systems. Western blotting screened these fragments for reactivity with SARS infected patient serum samples. The C fragment of spike protein was identified as an immunodominant epitope which could be useful for serological detection of SARS-CoV infection.

Immune-mediated Response

Understanding the complex role that the immune response plays to SARS-CoV-2 infection and potential vaccines and therapeutics is important to improving clinical outcomes. This involves investigating cell-mediated responses, such as cytokine profiling, and characterizing cell populations involved in the innate and adaptive immune system. Bio-Rad's solutions enable multi-parameter analysis while preserving precious patient samples that support your research.

Cytokine Profiling

Monitoring and analyzing cytokine and chemokine profiles are critical to discerning the immune response associated with a disease, as well as the response to vaccine or therapeutic dosing. Examining them typically calls for investigation of multiple targets, yet often samples collected from patients are limited.

The Bio-Plex Multiplex Immunoassay Solution offers high-performance readers and easy to use, industry-leading software for collecting and seamlessly analyzing data. Bio-Rad’s Pro Human Cytokine Screening assays come in multiple panel options or can be customized to detect up to 48 of the most researched and relevant cytokines and achieve high levels of sensitivity while quickly producing results.

Multiple off-the shelf and customized assays to detect up to 48 of the most researched cytokines
Industry leading acquisition and analysis software
Requires only 12.5μL of input sample

Supporting publications:

Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China

Summary: Multiplex immunoassays were used to characterize the effect of coronavirus on the production of cytokines or chemokines in the acute phase of the illness for discerning of physiological processes related to 2019-nCoV. Infected patients demonstrated increased amounts of cytokines. Furthermore, patients requiring ICU admissions had higher cytokine concentrations than those not requiring ICU admissions, suggesting that a cytokine storm is associated with disease severity.

Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in children compared with adults in Shandong Province, China

Summary: Multiplex immunoassays were used to characterize the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on the biochemical indicators and production of cytokines in the acute phase of the illness. These results were analyzed and compared along with other disease-associated characteristics of children and adults to ascertain development of diagnosis and treatment.

Aberrant Cytokine Activity in the Host Immune Response to COVID-19 Leads to Cytokine Release Syndrome

Summary: A review of the current literature suggests that cytokine release syndrome (CRS) may be responsible for severe complications, including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and death, as well as many of the milder symptoms. In two of the studies, elevated circulating inflammatory cytokines were observed in COVID-19 patients using multiplex immunoassays.

Cellular Immune Response Characterization

While there is increasing evidence that the adaptive immune response plays an intricate role in SARS-CoV-2 infection, how it affects clinical outcomes is not yet understood. Characterization of the cellular immune response in asymptomatic individuals compared to those with mild or severe disease is needed. Comprehensive phenotyping panels necessitate the ability to analyze many parameters on small patient samples.

With up to five lasers and 30 parameters, the ZE5 Cell Analyzer is well suited to provide the deep level of information needed to assess critical immune cell populations in patient samples.

For a complete listing of our antibodies for innate and adaptive immune responses click here

Supporting publications:

Characteristics of peripheral lymphocyte subset alteration in COVID-19 pneumonia

Summary: Flow cytometry analyzed peripheral lymphocyte subsets in 60 COVID-19 infected patients before and after therapy with oxygen inhalation, corticosteroid, antiviral treatment, or immune enhancer. Peripheral lymphocyte alteration showed a clear association with clinical characteristics of COVID-19. CD8+ T cells tended to be an independent predictor for COVID-19 severity and therapeutic efficacy.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID‐19: Cytometry and the new challenge for global health

Summary: Flow cytometry can enable the study of the innate and adaptive immune response. PBMC of severely infected COVID-19 patients were analyzed using flow cytometry to examine the differentiation, activation, and exhaustion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets.

Targets of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in humans with COVID-19 disease and unexposed individuals

Summary: Targets of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 were examined in recovered COVID-19 patients compared to unexposed individuals. Using T cell receptor dependent activation induced marker assays, the ZE5 identified and quantitated SARS-CoV-2 specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells.


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