London researchers team up with Diagnostics Biochem Canada to study COVID-19


LONDON, ON – Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) and Western University have teamed up with local biotech company, Diagnostics Biochem Canada Inc. (DBC), to help us better understand COVID-19 and the body’s immune response to the infection. 

A recently published study followed 28 critically ill patients at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC); 14 who tested positive for COVID-19 and 14 who tested negative. They also followed 14 mildly ill non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and 14 healthy controls. The researchers tracked their body’s immune responses and found that all COVID-19 positive patients had a robust antibody response to the infection, even those with poorer outcomes.   

“Our previous research showed that in severe cases of COVID-19, the body produces what’s called a cytokine storm, or an intense, initial immune response. However, in this new study, we observed that after a few days and weeks in critical care, the body produced a later, humoral antibody response that is equivalent to what we would expect with any similar infection,” explains Dr. Douglas Fraser, lead researcher and Critical Care Physician at LHSC. 

Patients with COVID-19 reacted to the infection and produced ample anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, including those who passed away. This finding suggests that blunted immune responses – when there is a lack of antibody production - did not contribute to mortality. Dr. Fraser says that based on their data, the focus of treatment should shift to combatting the viral load a person receives, and the body’s more immediate reaction to the infection. 

This research was made possible through a collaboration between Lawson, Western and DBC, with DBC providing the serological testing kits. 

“DBC was the first Canadian company to launch Health Canada-authorized serological tests for COVID-19 and we are happy that our scientists have been working with Lawson on this important study. We look forward to continuing this collaboration and supplying Canadian labs with much needed serological tests,” says Manon Hogue, CEO at DBC. 

Analyzing serum antibody levels using a blood test could help improve patient outcomes by allowing early identification of who may require certain treatments, and guide decisions around patient cohorting. In addition, serological testing allows for viral surveillance and its immunity in the community. 

London West MP, Kate Young adds, “London is once again showing the world that we are leading the way in scientific research into our most pressing health issues. It’s great to see a local business, Diagnostics Biochem Canada Inc., team up with the Lawson Health Research Institute to help better understand Covid-19.  Working together they will help us unlock the keys to how Covid-19 impacts the body’s immune system.” 

The study, “Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients Exhibit Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Serological Responses,” is published in the journal Pathophysiology. 




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About Lawson Health Research Institute

Lawson Health Research Institute is one of Canada’s top hospital-based research institutes, tackling the most pressing challenges in health care. As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, our innovation happens where care is delivered. Lawson research teams are at the leading-edge of science with the goal of improving health and the delivery of care for patients. Working in partnership with Western University, our researchers are encouraged to pursue their curiosity, collaborate often and share their discoveries widely. Research conducted through Lawson makes a difference in the lives of patients, families and communities around the world. To learn more, visit

About Diagnostics Biochem Canada Inc.

We have been exporting our products around the globe for over 47 years. As a leader in the industry, it has always been our goal to offer a wide range of test kits and continually introduce new and unique products to the marketplace. It is our strong commitment to research, development, and manufacture that has enabled us to offer our customers ongoing, unique, and quality products. 

About The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada’s preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery. 

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