Quantitative Approaches to Understand Differential Immune Responses in COVID-19

Craig, Morgan | $47,000

Quebec Université de Montréal 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that emerged in late 2019 is the source of a global pandemic and ongoing public health crisis. Mounting evidence points to dysregulated and hyper-reactive inflammatory responses, including hyperinflammation and cytokine storms, as particular presentations in severe COVID-19. Further, since the start of the pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID‑19 has evolved from its original RNA sequence that came from human transmission of an animal viral strain. Overall, the mechanisms of the immune response after infection (by the original or a mutated strain) remain to be delineated. Here we will develop quantitative tools with which we can interrogate SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID‑19 clinical manifestation to distinguish clinically-actionable diagnostic markers. This will be accomplished through a broad, international collaboration between academic, industrial, and health care partners who will work together to develop mathematical and computational platforms whose results will be immediately translated into pre-clinical and clinical settings, aiding to refine experimental questions and improve patient care. Ultimately, by improving our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection and immune responses to novel coronavirus, our results will rationalize the search for candidate therapies and the pre-clinical decision making process, and contribute to reducing clinical trial failures and bettering patient outcomes.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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