Research Solutions for COVID-19

NanoString is committed to advancing scientific understanding of the impact of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 on human health worldwide. As many of our customers shift their work to addressing urgent needs around therapeutic & vaccine development, and studying viral pathogenesis, we are joining them in this effort.

NanoString offers a broad range of high-plex gene expression panels enabling research on pathogenesis and the host response. In several recently published studies, nCounter® gene expression assays such as the Immunology Panel and Inflammation Panel have been used to describe the dynamic and varied host response that shapes the progression of COVID-19. Building on this success, NanoString has developed the Human and Mouse nCounter Host Response Panel that covers 700+ genes involved in the host response to pathogens as well as a Coronavirus Panel Plus spike-in, enabling measurement of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, additional human coronaviruses, and the human ACE2 receptor RNA in addition to the measurement of host immune response genes.  The Coronavirus Panel Plus can be spiked-in to any gene expression panel, expanding the range of biology that can be studied with COVID-19 samples.

The GeoMx® Digital Spatial Profiler (DSP) enables simultaneous high-plex spatial analysis of pathogens and host response with FFPE and fresh frozen tissue. The GeoMx COVID-19 Immune Response Atlas facilitates spatial studies of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and host response with over 1,800 RNA targets. The COVID-19 GeoMx-formatted Antibody Panel developed in partnership with Abcam is a five-antibody custom protein to run alongside GeoMx protein assays. These assays include SARS-CoV-2 viral markers and the ACE2 receptor, among other receptors, proteases, cell markers, and viral response markers, and are available through the GeoMx Technology Access Program.


The nCounter Host Response Panel contains 700+ probes for either human or mouse genes involved in the host response to pathogens.  Best suited for use with blood samples, the Host Response Panel covers the five stages of infection: incubation, prodromal period, peak illness, decline, and convalescence, with probes for genes involved in the innate and adaptive immune response, interferon signaling, host susceptibility, and homeostasis.  The panel includes NanoString’s unique immune cell typing signatures for quantifying the relative abundance of 14 different immune cell types, and data from the panel can be easily analyzed in minutes with the nSolver™ Data Analysis Software.  The panel is ideally suited for use to study SARS-CoV-2 but can be easily used to study other types of pathogens. Contact us using the form below for more information.

NanoString has developed a Coronavirus Panel Plus product that can be added as a spike-in to nCounter Gene Expression panels and/or Custom CodeSets

  • The Coronavirus Panel Plus is for experimental Research Use Only (RUO)
  • Probes are compatible for use with most nCounter Gene Expression Panels
  • The Coronavirus Panel Plus cannot be used as an individual assay (as with all Panel Plus products)

Download the Coronavirus Panel Plus Gene List

Probes for SARS-CoV-2 that are compatible with Elements and PlexSet™ Reagents as well as pre-amplification primers for low input experiments will also be made available.

If you would like more information on these reagents, please complete the form below.

Learn more about how researchers already use nCounter gene expression panels to study infectious disease and the host response for applications ranging from basic research to vaccine and therapeutic development.

Rapidly perform high-plex spatial analyses of the host response in FFPE or fresh frozen tissue using the GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler (DSP). NanoString’s GeoMx DSP platform enables high-plex protein and RNA experiments in key areas of biology such as molecular response, cellular (immune) response, tissue damage, and drivers of individual susceptibility to severe forms of disease.

The GeoMx COVID-19 Immune Response Atlas, a ~1,850-plex RNA assay, enables spatial studies of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and host response. RNA targets include COVID-19 receptors and proteases, pulmonary alveolar type I and II markers, lung biology markers, viral response markers, and SARS-CoV-2 probes. RNA targets are profiled simultaneously using the GeoMx DSP and an Illumina next-generation sequencer (NGS) for readout. Users can run ACD RNAscope™ probes alongside GeoMx RNA probes to identify regions of interest.

A five-antibody custom, ready-to-go protein panel, with receptor, protease, and viral markers is available through the GeoMx Technology Access Program or for order through Abcam. This COVID-19 GeoMx-formatted Antibody Panel is run with the 20-plex GeoMx Immune Cell Profiling Core (plus controls) with readout on the nCounter Analysis System. Users can add up to six 10-plex modules including the Immune Activation Status, Immune Cell Typing, and/or Cell Death modules to more deeply profile proteins involved in T cell activation and cell death. NanoString scientists can recommend commercially-available markers for lung epithelium, nasal epithelium, immune response markers, and the viral spike protein.

Study organ damage wrought by COVID-19 by adding up to 55 genes to the Host Response Panel as a Panel Plus or by adding custom targets to a GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiling RNA assay. Download the COVID-19 Tissue Reference Gene List to get ideas on which genes to add for studying the effect of COVID-19 on the kidney, GI tract, heart, liver, endothelium, lung, and brain. Check back often for updates as the NanoString Bioinformatics team continually adds to and refines these reference gene lists.

The content is mined from publications and represents genes associated multiple times in the literature as related to a tissue in the context of COVID-19, as well as the top ten genes associated with that tissue. The rationale for each gene’s inclusion and its presence or absence in the Host Response Panel and the GeoMx COVID-19 Immune Response Atlas is noted. Listed genes can be used alongside any nCounter gene expression panel or GeoMx RNA assay; please contact Bioinformatics for more information on which genes may already be present in a given panel or GeoMx RNA assay of interest.

  1. Ackermann M et al. Pulmonary Vascular Endothelialitis, Thrombosis, and Angiogenesis in Covid-19. N Engl J Med 2020;383:120-128.
  2. Bastard P et al. Autoantibodies against type I IFNs in patients with life-threatening COVID-19. Science. 2020 Oct;370(6515):eabd4585.
  3. Desai N et al. Temporal and Spatial Heterogeneity of Host Response to SARS-CoV-2 Pulmonary Infection. Nature Communications. 2020;11(6319).
  4. Hadjadj J et al. Impaired type I interferon activity and inflammatory responses in severe COVID-19 patients. 2020;369(6504):718-724.
  5. Kulasinghe A et al. Spatial Profiling of Lung SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza Virus Infection Dissects Virus-Specific Host Responses and Gene Signatures. medRxiv 2020.11.04.20225557.
  6. Laing AG et al. A dynamic COVID-19 immune signature includes associations with poor prognosis. Nature Medicine. 2020 Aug 17. doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-1038-6.
  7. Pizzorno A et al. Characterization and Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 in Nasal and Bronchial Human Airway Epithelia. Cell Rep Med. 2020;1(4): 100059.
  8. Ong EZ et al. A Dynamic Immune Response Shapes COVID-19 Progression. Cell Host Microbe. 2020;27(6):879-882.e2.
  9. Sohn KM et al. COVID-19 Patients Upregulate Toll-like Receptor 4-mediated Inflammatory Signaling That Mimics Bacterial Sepsis. J Korean Med Sci. 2020;35(38): e343.
  10. Trouillet-Assant S et al. Type I IFN immunoprofiling in COVID-19 patients. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020;146(1):206–208.e2.
  11. Wu H et al. AKI and Collapsing Glomerulopathy Associated with COVID-19 and APOL1 High-Risk Genotype. JASN 2020;31(8):1688-1695.

Contact us for more information on COVID-19 research tools from NanoString:

Provide 1-2 sentences describing the purpose of your research for COVID-19




The COVID-19 Panel Plus is a beta product for experimental Research Use Only (RUO).