COVID-19 Infection and Epithelial Cell Markers

Covid-19 has emerged as a major health concern in 2020, with a mortality rate of 11%. Covid-19 is due to a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which enters the human body through a receptor called ACE-2 in the airway. Asthmatics are usually at increased risk for viral infections, which exacerbated their asthma symptoms, however early clinical studies suggest that asthma is not a main risk factor for developing Covid-19, and that asthmatics taking inhaled steroids possibly have less of the ACE-2 receptor in their airways. We will compare the level of the ACE-2 receptor and inflammatory cells in the upper and lower airways of asthmatics and healthy controls. We will also compare the levels of ACE-2 receptor and inflammatory cells in patients with Covid-19 confirmed infection (asthmatics and non-asthmatics) to a hospitalized group without Covid-19 infection, and examine if inflammatory cells which drive asthma protect against developing Covid-19 disease. This will increase our understanding of the role of the ACE-2 receptor and inflammatory cells in asthmatics, and their role in the development of Covid-19 disease.

Christiane Whetstone;Ruth Cusack
Faculty Supervisor: 
Gail Gauvreau
Partner University: