32 projects

Rapid large-scale decontamination of viruses using Engineered Water Nanostructures

Engineered Water Nanostructures (EWNS) are nanometer-sized droplets of ionized or charged water containing reactive oxygen species (ROS) which provide a highly effective, low cost, green, non-toxic of humans solution for rapid decontamination of microbes. Unlike harmful chemicals currently used in disinfectants, charged water has no effect on humans and has been found to be a safer alternative. Additionally, CDC has already added superoxidized (containing EWNS) water among the list of disinfectants found to be effective against viruses. In this project, we propose design, development, ...

Rapid Development and Initial Preclinical Evaluation of an Effective Candidate Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2

The current pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is a threat not only to global health but also to the economy since it is dramatically affecting the socioeconomic layers of societies around the planet. Thus, it will be critically important to advance in the production of an effective vaccine, which will be crucial for building up sufficient population-based immunity to efficiently curb the pandemic. While SARS-CoV-2 can infect everyone at all ages, it is mainly the elderly population that is most at risk of a fatal outcome. Elderly persons are charecterized by a declining immune function, known a...

Impact of hypoxia on COVID-19 infection in lung epithelial cells

The international spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has recently caused over 120.000 deaths in Europe and 200.000 worldwide. The clinical picture goes from the absence of symptoms to critical conditions requiring admission to resuscitation units. The molecular pathways involved in COVID-19 infection and pathogenesis are still being explored. 'Silent hypoxia' is considered by some physicians as an early indicator of COVID-19 viral infection in patients. A key step in COVID-19 infection is the viral entry into pulmonary alveoli epithelial cells, leading to the disruption of surf...

Comparative antiviral efficacy of different autophagy inhibitors against COVID-19 infection

As of April 28, 2020, worldwide, over 3 million people have been diagnosed and over 211,000 deaths with ongoing deadly coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) also known as SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV). Currently, there is no approved treatment against COVID-19. Vaccines are under development, but they will take at least one year before reaching to the population. A fast track approach would be to reuse already approved drugs that have been broadly tested through multiple clinical trials. Virophagy is a catabolic autophagic pathway used by mammalian cells to destroy viruses. Viruses ...

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...

Virus-Surface Interactions in Dynamic Environments (V-SIDE)

Since the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing body of scientific literature has reported on the pre-infection viability and stability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, qualitatively indicating the role of physical surfaces in transmission of the virus. The nature of the surfaces (e.g., paper v/s plastic v/s metals) and their properties (smooth v/s rough), are believed to play a critical role in determining the stability and viability during the pre-infection phase. Virus-surface interactions are inherently biophysical in nature wherein the dynamics of the environmental parameters (va...

An integrative network-based drug repurposing approach for COVID-19

We aim at analyzing the publicly available transcriptomics data generated by exposing human lung epithelial cells to SARS-CoV particles and measuring the differences in the gene expression. We will use a molecular network analysis approach to identify a set of key genes, that represent key regulators in the SARS-CoV gene expression signature. This signature will be filtered to distinguish pathological from protective responses and used to identify drugs that could potentially reverse pathological features of the disease phenotype based on the anti-correlation of known drug-response gene exp...

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