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Microsoft and Adaptive Biotechnologies' Immune System Partnership Takes on Coronavirus

By Prosper Junior Bakiny - Mar 20, 2020 at 5:33PM

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The companies teamed up in early 2018 to try to map how the immune system responds to various diseases. Next on their agenda: SARS-CoV-2.

The number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 continues to grow rapidly around the world, and while many companies are working on potential treatments and vaccines, there are still no approved therapies. With that said, it is worth noting that efforts to fight the novel coronavirus across a range of technologies continue to ramp up. 

Open vial with "COVID-19" written on it.

Image Source: Getty Images.

Back in January 2018, Microsoft (MSFT 3.42%)  partnered with Adaptive Biotechnologies (ADPT 0.57%) -- a biotech company headquartered in Seattle, Washington -- to study how diseases affect the body's immune system. Specifically, they're attempting to map the T-cell receptors that immune cells develop to respond to specific signals of diseases (antigens).

Now, they are bringing that partnership to bear on SARS-CoV-2. Next month, Adaptive Biotechnologies will start collecting blood samples from patients who have recovered from COVID-19, and, using DNA sequencing machines made by Illumina (ILMN 0.20%) will decode their immune responses to the novel coronavirus. 

Microsoft's iCloud and machine learning technologies will be used to analyze the data, which will be available on an open portal to enable researchers across the world to access it. This data could help researchers understand why some people have only moderate reactions to infection with the virus, while others have much more severe -- sometimes fatal -- cases. And solving that puzzle may bring us closer to developing successful treatments for the disease. 

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Stocks Mentioned

Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
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Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation Stock Quote
Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation
$8.75 (0.57%) $0.05
Illumina, Inc. Stock Quote
Illumina, Inc.
$193.93 (0.20%) $0.38

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