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DRFZ versus SARS-CoV-2

Tracking immunity to the novel coronavirus

Recommendations for Rheuma patients during the corona pandemic

Please pay attention to the current recommendations and information of the German Society for Rheumatology and the German Patient Organization for Rheumatic Diseases during the Corona Pandemic.

The German Society for Rheumatology and the German Rheumatism League have provided up-to-date information for patients and physicians on their websites. (Please click on the logos).

The most urgent recommendation to patients is to not stop taking medication without consulting their doctor.
A request to all physicians: Work with the German Register covid19-rheuma, the register for the registration of people with inflammatory rheumatic diseases and COVID-19 infection.

DGRh LogoDRL-Deutsche Rheuma-Liga


The DRFZ and the coronavirus – latest news from research

At the Leibniz Institute German Rheumatism Research Center Berlin, interdisciplinary scientists investigate the basics of immunity and autoimmunity, i.e. the difference between protective and harmful immune reactions. The DRFZ is one of the world’s leading research institutes in the fields of antibody-producing plasma cells and B lymphocytes, innate lymphocytes, T lymphocytes and immunological memory, i.e. long-term immunity. Unique technologies for research on immune reactions have been developed here. This expertise is now offered for research on SARS-CoV2 immunity and immunopathology, in collaboration with virological and clinical research groups.

SARS-CoV2 is a challenge for everyone – technological competence helps to cope with

Here is an overview of the DRFZ’s technological expertise, a unique arsenal for the diagnosis of Covid-19 immunity and the generation of monoclonal antibodies against SARS-Cov2:

  • Platforms for identification, isolation, analysis and use of single human immune cells from blood and tissue (fluorescence-based and mass cytometry, fluorescence-based and magnetic cell sorting (MACS technology)
  • The DRFZ has developed worldwide unique methods for the identification of inflammation-associated monocytes (Siglec-1), virus-specific NK cells, reactive T lymphocytes (ARTE technology), reactive B lymphocytes and plasma cells (HLA-DR).
  • Platform for global investigation of such cells on single-cell level (single-cell omics, CITE-Seq, antigen receptor repertoire, bioinformatics)

Contact at the DRFZ

Fluorescence activated cell sorting

Fluorescence activated cell sorting @Jacqueline Hirscher


The Corona virus and our immune system – latest interviews with Prof. Andreas Radbruch

The outbreak and spread of the coronavirus is changing lives around the world. There is a lot of information and still many open questions. Scientists can provide answers – read more in interviews given by the scientific director of the DRFZ Andreas Radbruch.


11. Mai 2020, (Link to the video recording see below)
Webinar with Prof. Andreas Radbruch, initiated by IUIS:

Adaptive Immunity: Memory, Protection and Immunopathology in COVID-19

  • What do we know about the adaptive immune reaction to Sars-CoV-2?
  • Why do humans react so heterogeneously to Sars-CoV-2?
  • Does the adaptive immune system provide protection and for how long?
  • How can we challenge the system with a vaccine to establish longlasting, efficient immunity?
Presenter: Andreas Radbruch

As Scientific Director, Andreas Radbruch is in charge of the thematic orientation of the biomedical research at the DRFZ since Professor Andreas Radbruch is a biologist by training, having done his PhD at the Genetics Institute of Cologne University. He has been the Director of the German Rheumatism Research Centre Berlin, a Leibniz institute, since 1996 and Professor of Rheumatology at the Charité Medical School of the Humboldt University of Berlin since 1998.

Moderator: Rita Carsetti

Rita Carsetti is the Head of the Diagnostic Immunology Unit and of the B cell pathophysiology Research Unit of the Bambino Gesù Children Hospital IRCCS in Rome. She has spent a large part of her scientific career in Germany, at the Max-Planck for Immunobiology in Freiburg. Thanks to the long experience in basic research combined with the clinical involvement, she has contributed to the understanding of important basic mechanisms of human B cell biology and function in health and disease. In the last years, she has been involved in several projects related to the development of the immune system in children and adults and the changes due to different types of immunodeficiency. She is also involved in increasing the knowledge and public awareness on vaccines and vaccination and collaborates with patient associations. She is a founding member of the European B cell network and is the chair of the PUB committee of the IUIS.

Recording of the talk here
Source: https://iuis.org


21. April 2020

Strategies to fight the corona pandemic – is the Swedish way reasonable?
Repeatedly, Sweden is used as a reference when it comes to a different – supposedly better – approach to fight the corona pandemic. For good reason?

In German only


10. April 2020
Interview – Immunologist on Covid-19: “Vaccines against the new coronavirus already exist”.
By Melanie Weiner, t-online.com

“There are many open questions about the coronavirus. Scientists all over the world are researching new tests, drugs and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. An expert explains what approaches are available and how reliable the tests are.

The rheumatologist and immunologist Prof. Dr. Andreas Radbruch is currently in great demand. After he was already a guest in the podcast “Tonspur Wissen”, he talks with t-online.de about vaccine development, possible immunity in recovery and the advantages and disadvantages of the individual test procedures.  … “

The interview (in German only)
Quelle: www.t-online.de


Cell sorting in immunological memory and the past, present and future of immunology – Interview with Prof. Dr. Andreas Radbruch, Scientific Director, German Rheumatism Research Centre (DRFZ), Berlin, and President, European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS).

An article about the research background and the methods at the DRFZ. The focus is not on the corona pandemic. But it gives insight into the state of research on the immune system and why a disrupted immune system attacks the own body instead of protecting it. (Only available in English)

Interview with Andreas Radbruch
Source: "Flowcytometry News" of BD Biosciences


23. März 2020
Podcast – Tonspur Wissen – Andreas Radbruch answers questions about the coronavirus

Prof. Andreas Radbruch explains how exactly the corona virus affects the body, which type of drug search would probably be the fastest and what can be learned from corona cases in China and Australia in a podcast initiated by the Leibniz Association and t-online.de, moderated by Ursula Weidenfeld (in German only):


Healthcare and research join forces against SARS-CoV2 – latest overview

New research initiatives
Click here to read more about research initiatives on fighting SARS-CoV2
Information for patients
Latest recommendations for rheuma patients from the German Society for Rheumatology and the Deutsche Rheuma Liga (in German only)


Contact at the DRFZ

Scientific Director Prof. Dr. Andreas Radbruch Phone +49 (0)30 28 460-601 durez@drfz.de more
Therapeutic Gene Regulation || Regine von Ramin Lab Molecular Rheumatology || BCRT/DRFZ Single-Cell Laboratory for Advanced Cellular Therapies Dr. Mir-Farzin Mashreghi Phone +49 (0)30 28460-752 mashreghi@drfz.de more

Further research topics