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Exploring alternate infection pathways for COVID-19

Researchers from McMaster and the University of Waterloo received funding to investigate how the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the body, and how that can inform care of at-risk individuals.
By: Heather Marie Connors
August 12, 2020
Photo provided by McMaster University / University of Waterloo

Using nasal swabs collected from clinical diagnoses, Ontario researchers are examining the infection pathways for COVID-19 and how they relate to the immune response. With funding from three grants, including the Ontario COVID-19 rapid research fund, this research challenges the current prevailing knowledge. Namely, that ACE2 receptors, present in the cells of most organs, are the entry point for SARS-CoV-2. Having found very low levels of ACE2 in human lung tissue,co-research leads Dr. Andrew Doxey (University of Waterloo) and Dr. Jeremy Hirota (McMaster University) believe that alternate additional pathways may be more relevant.

The samples they are collecting will provide genetic information related to the development of the disease, and the hope is this will lead to predictive algorithms that can optimize care for those who are most at risk.

“We think it is the lung immune system that differs between COVID-19 patients, and by understanding which patients’ lung immune systems are helpful and which are harmful, we may be able to help physicians proactively manage the most at risk-patients,” Hirota told Global News.

Source: Global News

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