COVID-19 Research - Pilot Projects
at Center for Human Systems Immunology
In collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation we launched an RFA in April 2020 to address following critical questions:
- What is driving lung organ damage in SARS-CoV-2 infection, and can this be targeted for therapeutics/ host directed therapy? How does the host response develop over time, and what drives subsequent progression to systemic inflammation and multi-organ failure in a subset of patients as opposed to resolution?
- Vaccine candidates in the pipeline aim to drive high (and ideally durable) neutralizing antibody titers. How can we understand which adjuvants are best for this?
- What role do T cells play in effective viral/disease control in naïve humans? What about re-infection?
- The potential for antibody-enhanced disease and vaccine-enhanced disease weighs heavily on those trying to develop vaccines and biologics. What are the other immunological features that are important to have or avoid? Will we know disease-enhancement when we see it? Do we know how to avoid it?
- What have we learned from autoimmunity and allergy that could be put to good use here?
- If antibody titer and viral neutralization aren’t a sufficient correlate of protection, what else is important to measure in early vaccine studies?
- What is driving the age difference in morbidity/mortality if it isn’t the underlying conditions?
- Why do some individuals remain asymptomatic?
Following projects were selected for funding starting May 1, 2020:
- Evaluating the potency and durability of slow-delivery SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccines and testing of cGAMP as an innate immune adjuvant
Eric Appel, PhD; Lingyin Li, PhD
- Systems analysis to characterize effective vs. ineffective COVID-19 immune profiles and establishing the role of granulocytes in progression of COVID-19
Catherine Blish, MD, PhD; Angela Rogers, MD; Holden Maecker, PhD
- SARS-CoV-2 tissue tropism and its role in progression to multi-organ failure
Scott Boyd, MD, PhD; Sandra Abel Nielsen, PhD
- Identifying robust T cell determinants for SARS-CoV-2 responses
Mark M. Davis, PhD; Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD; Tho Duc Pham, MD; Vamsee Mallajosyula, PhD
- Single cell profiling of SARS-CoV-2 infection of human lung cells
Mark Krasnow, MD, PhD; Catherine Blish, MD, PhD, Stephen Quake, PhD
- Human lung organoid models of SARS-CoV-2 infection
Calvin Kuo, MD, PhD; Manuel Amieva, MD, PhD; and Catherine Blish, MD, PhD
- The Spatial Immune Landscape of Respiratory Coronavirus Infections
Garry Nolan, PhD ; David McIlwain, PhD; Sizun Jiang, PhD
- SARS-CoV-2 vaccine designed to enhance immunogenicity of the receptor binding domain
Taia Wang, MD, PhD
- Differential Immune Responses in Pediatric versus Adult Patients with COVID-19
Katja Gabriele Weinacht, MD, PhD; Lael Yonker (MGH, Harvard Medical School)