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:

  1. 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? 
  2. 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? 
  3. What role do T cells play in effective viral/disease control in naïve humans? What about re-infection? 
  4. 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? 
  5. What have we learned from autoimmunity and allergy that could be put to good use here? 
  6. If antibody titer and viral neutralization aren’t a sufficient correlate of protection, what else is important to measure in early vaccine studies? 
  7. What is driving the age difference in morbidity/mortality if it isn’t the underlying conditions? 
  8. Why do some individuals remain asymptomatic? 


Following projects were selected for funding starting May 1, 2020: