Molecular and cellular therapies against COVID‑19 using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)

Zhang, Haibo | $1,000,000

Ontario Keenan Research Centre 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

An epidemic caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has spread rapidly in China and 27 other countries. As of 15 February 2020, over 69,000 cases of COVID‑19 have been reported, with 1,666 deaths. The enormous health, economic and social impact clearly make it paramount to better understand the pathogenesis of COVID-19, as no specific drugs are available to combat COVID-19. To address this issue we have put together a world-class international research team of basic scientists and clinicians who have a track record of working together and have access to resources [SARS-CoV-2, cell and animal models, a candidate drug, biotech company, and patients (in China)]. This research proposal focuses on the role of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a SARS-CoV-2 receptor to enter human body. We propose to do basic studies to examine the specific mechanisms involved, as well as to perform a clinical trial in COVID‑19 patients in China using recombinant human ACE2 (rhACE2).

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