8 projects

Leveraging Systems Biology to Target Hyperinflammation in COVID-19

The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic implies new challenges for the Health Systems worldwide. A small percentage of the patients require hospitalisation and specialised attention in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Furthermore, accumulating evidence suggests that a subgroup of patients with severe COVID-19 might have a cytokine storm syndrome. Therefore, the main goal of the proposal is to elucidate the potential role of cytokine storm in COVID-19 disease severity, and to propose novel strategies for counteracting this hyperinflammatory response. In this context, we propose to develop a single...

Cytokines as biomarkers and therapeutic targets in COVID-19 infection

Cytokines play an important role in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 infection. A subgroup of patients develops a cytokine storm syndrome, correlating with a bad clinical outcome. For example, the concentration of the inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been recognized as a risk factor for mortality and for respiratory failure in Chinese and German patient cohorts, respectively. Tocilizumab, an antibody directed against the IL-6 receptor alpha chain, is used in clinical trials as well as an FDA-approved inhibitor of Jaks, tyrosine kinases which mediate the signal transduction of mult...

Rapid serological profiling of SARS-CoV-2 antibody response

Development of antibodies is the method by which we derive immunity to a pathogen. Tracking of the development of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) is important in our understanding of this pandemic and formation of an exit strategy. Antibodies can identify different parts or proteins of a pathogen known as antigens. Current tests do not distinguish which antigens antibodies have been developed against or the level of antibody production. Using protein arrays, printed at the LIH RPPA facility we will provide a more complete analysis of the antibody development.

Relation of severity of COVID-19 infection to nutrient status, oxidative stress, inflammation & v...

Background: Severity of COVID-19 infection is related to host-factors including the immune and respiratory system, gut health, and pre-existing cardio-metabolic diseases. Enhanced inflammation and oxidative stress may worsen the prognosis of COVID-19 subjects. An imbalanced diet poor in essential micronutrients, dietary fiber and phytochemicals and containing insufficient proteins and antioxidant properties can aggravate these aspects, worsening the immune system and infection risk, especially in conjunction with enhanced visceral adiposity exacerbating chronic inflammation. Individuals wit...

Multi-omics evaluation of microbial co-infection as marker of COVID-19 severity -(CO-INFECTOMICS)

The main goal of this project is to understand if SARS-CoV2 co-infections are a predictive marker of disease severity in the Luxembourgish population. To achieve this, the study will compare the respiratory and stool samples of mild and severe SARS-CoV2 positive patients. Using metagenomics and metatranscriptomics, microbial profiles of the respiratory and intestinal tracts will be investigated, with a specific attention for co-infections. Moreover, individual microbial profiles will be correlated to the health parameters and immune response. We hope that the CO-INFECTOMICS project will ena...

MicroRNA biomarkers of COVID-19 severity

The Cardiovascular Research Unit of LIH proposes to apply its know-how on RNA biomarkers to identify circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) able to predict COVID-19 severity. This project is included in COVID-19 Task force WP02 and aims to fulfill the medical need of identifying patients at high risk of developing complications after infection by SARS-CoV-2 virus. The discovery of novel prognostic biomarkers will help tailoring healthcare to each individual for patient's benefit. Considering the importance of the inflammatory storm on disease severity and patient outcome, we will focus on inflamma...

HUMAN GENETIC VARIANTS AS PREDICTORS OF THE IMMUNE RESPONSE TO COVID-19

One of the main unanswered questions is why some individuals infected with COVID-19 develop severe disease, whilst others do not. Current evidence suggests that genetic variations influence human immune reactions to microbial infections, including both innate and adaptive immune responses. Here, we aim to evaluate the impact of genetic factors on the variability of the innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. On top of a large screening of the classical immune response genes (e.g. IFNs, ILs, TLRs, MHCs), we are particularly interested in the IRG1/ACOD1 gene, which we previously di...

Low-cost breath sensors for SARS-CoV-2 for home usage

Based on our research on liquid crystal droplets and shells demonstrating their responsiveness to specific substances in their surrounding, e.g. lipids, I would like to explore the possibility of making low-cost tests for SARS-CoV-2 that people can use in their home. We also make polymer fibers in our labs, and by using the right polymer, we can make a filter that a persons breathers through (mounted in, e.g., a face mask), and then the filter is dissolved in water, which is the natural surrounding for our liquid crystal droplets and spheres. If viruses have been caught in the filter, they ...

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