A note about the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Vercelli lab is studying the impact of asthma-inducing type-2 cytokines (primarily IL-13 ) and asthma-protective bacterial lysates on the expression of ACE2, the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor on human airway epithelial cells.
The Churko lab is exploring the impact that SARS-CoV-2 plays on the heart. Specifically, their lab is exploring drugs that can block and facilitate SARS-CoV-2 entry into the heart.
The Cusanovich lab has been evaluating novel SARS-CoV-2 viral testing technologies that are cheaper, more scalable, and less resource-intensive than traditional assays. The group developed a sequencing-based assay called "Swab-Seq” that works on traditional swab samples, as well as less invasive saline gargle and saliva samples.
The Ledford lab has been working on a cross-departmental collaboration. A collaboration between the Drs. Ledford (CMM), Vercelli (CMM) and Kraft (DOM) shows that Surfactant Protein-A (SP-A) interacts with SARS-CoV-2. Early studies have shown that SP-A can bind to ACE2, the main receptor for SARS-CoV-2, which may prevent viral entry into respiratory cells and COVID infection.