The Scholars

of the WANIDA network

WANIDA > Scholars > Kesego Tapela

Study program :
PhD- Molecular cell biology of infectious diseases

ACE affiliated :
West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), University of Ghana.

Thesis title :
Study of the composition and kinetics of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in Ghanaian patients.

WANIDA > Scholars > Kesego Tapela

Start-up year :
August 2019

Problem statement:
Although more and more is known about the immunological impact of COVID19, many other questions remain. Current control measures against COVID-19 are hampered by the lack of information on the mechanism of the host immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. This lack of knowledge is particularly important in Africa, where, although the disease appears to have milder clinical manifestations, the absence of adequate screening means that many infections go undetected and viral spread is rampant. In Ghana, and much of Africa, most infections are asymptomatic or benign, and the number of deaths is significantly lower than elsewhere. Understanding the molecular mechanism of the specific immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in African populations will be crucial to any meaningful eradication effort.

Expected result:
A quantitative serological test that detects antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 will be developed. The study will also generate monoclonal antibodies specific for SARS-CoV-2 proteins from human B cells. This is particularly important if SARS-CoV-2 is to become an endemic pathogen. These monoclonal antibodies will be useful for producing local antigen kits that can be used for diagnosis, detection and surveillance at population level. In addition, we will identify the best correlates of severity and protection between specific types of cytokines, antibodies and PBMC composition.

Impact of the study :
Knowledge of the kinetics of cytokine and antibody production, and the isolation of SARS-CoV-2-specific monoclonal antibodies, will be useful for understanding the pathogenesis of the disease, developing new diagnostic and treatment tools, and could contribute to vaccine development efforts.

Supervisor :
Peter Kojo Quashie, PhD, WACCBIP

Co-supervisor :
Yaw Bediako, PhD, WACCBIP

Other contributors
Osborne Quaye, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Ghana
Emmanuel Tagoe, PhD ,Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Ghana