Microsoft Is Buying COVID-19 Patients’ Blood for Biotech Research
Microsoft and the biotech company Adaptive are launching a new study on how the immune system fends off the coronavirus — and they’re paying patients for bags of their blood.
The goal is to learn how T cells, which function as the foot soldiers of the immune system, contribute to the body’s overall response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
While other scientists are already investigating the body’s immune response, Business Insider reports that Microsoft and Adaptive believe a specific emphasis on T cell research is a blindspot in other ongoing coronavirus research.
In order to fill in that gap, Microsoft and Adaptive are reportedly preparing to send phlebotomists to the homes of people who were exposed to the coronavirus, those who are currently sick, and those who recovered from it, to draw blood.
Those who might be interested can fill out an online questionnaire to enroll in the study. Microsoft will compensate participants who are selected with at $50 gift card, and those who are selected for blood drawings will get another $50 for each one of up to four blood drawings they agree to.
Once they’ve bought and paid for those blood bags, the two companies hope to compare the T cells of sick and recovered coronavirus patients. The ultimate goal, Business Insider reports, is to ascertain whether T cells that were already exposed to and fought SARS-CoV-2 can contribute to long-term immunization against future infections.