press release
Published: 06 May 2020

Surrey using mass spectrometry to analyse Covid-19 samples

Researchers from the University of Surrey are applying specialist skills in mass spectrometry to assist in accelerating the search for a Covid-19 vaccine.

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The team is taking ground-breaking techniques recently developed to deliver fast cocaine and heroin fingerprint testing technology and applying them to the analysis of test samples taken from Covid-19 patients.

The team answered a call from the British Mass Spectrometry Society, led by Professor Perdita Barran from the University of Manchester, for experts in this field of science to join together and analyse Covid-19 to help the wider scientific community gain a better understanding of the virus.

Surrey will be receiving samples from Frimley Park Hospital, with analysis starting immediately.

Dr Melanie Bailey, Reader in Forensic Analysis at the University of Surrey, said: “Like many people across the world, we want to do everything we can to stop the spread of this terrible virus. We believe the mass spectrometry expertise we have recently applied to rapid testing techniques for cocaine and heroin can be quickly applied to support our partners to develop a vaccine or therapeutic drugs that can ease some of the symptoms in Covid-19 patients.”

Professor Deborah Dunn-Waters from the University of Surrey said: “Monitoring the immune response to Covid-19 can help us to determine why some people get more poorly than others and provide important information for the vaccinologists to use.  We are glad we can contribute to the Covid-19 research effort and are extremely grateful to our amazing NHS colleagues at Frimley Park Hospital for all their help with this.”

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