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    COVID-19 Flash call: Two projects from Institut Cochin are selected by the ANR

    Studies led by Morgane Bomsel and by Guillaume Assié (team Bertherat)

    The MUCOLUNG and COVIDOMICS projects, led respectively by Morgane Bomsel and Guillaume Assié, are among the 86 projects selected by the ANR following a very competitive COVID-19 Flash call.


    The MUCOLUNG project, entitled “Role of SARS-CoV-2-infected pulmonary cells and antibody response in COVID-19 outcomes: From pathophysiology to testing candidate drugs in mucosal cell models”, is presented here.

    One of the relevant questions regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic is the broad spectrum of severity of the disease, particularly in a subset of patients who may develop cytokine storm syndrome accompanied by hyperinflammation. The lung is one of the main targets of viral infection, and severe COVID-19 has been linked to a massive influx of myeloid cells. However, the type or types of lung cells targeted by the virus remain to be determined.

    The immunoglobulin (Ig) / antibody response caused by infection is a key determinant in controlling virus replication in infected individuals. IgA is the first line of defense against microbial invasion of the mucous membranes, and is the predominant class of Ig in pulmonary secretion, while IgG has been detected in patients with high levels of inflammatory reactions and may contribute to the severity of COVID-19.


    The team led by Morgane Bomsel in collaboration with clinicians from l’AP-HP will help answer a critical question about COVID-19, how to inhibit the exacerbated inflammatory response responsible for acute respiratory syndrome in patients. For this, studies will be carried out on samples of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, making it possible to study in vivo and ex vivo the interaction between the virus and its target cells as well as the mucosal humoral immune responses. In addition, the team will develop models of mucosal lung cells to assess the activity of drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    All of this work will provide a better understanding of the factors controlling the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 and will help establish the protective character of the humoral immune response. The cellular models developed will contribute to the development of drug candidates.

    Legend: COVID-19 patients bronchoaveolar lavage. The nucleus are colored in blue. The macrophages are in green (CD68 labeling), The purple / magenta labeling shows the activation.


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