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Molecular and cellular therapies against COVID-19 using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Vaccines & Treatments

An epidemic caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has spread rapidly in China and 27 other countries. As of 15 February 2020, over 69,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, with 1,666 deaths. The enormous health, economic and social impact clearly make it paramount to better understand the pathogenesis of COVID-19, as no specific drugs are available to combat COVID-19. To address this issue we have put together a world-class international research team of basic scientists and clinicians who have a track record of working together and have access to resources [SARS-CoV-2, cell and animal models, a candidate drug, biotech company, and patients (in China)]. This research proposal focuses on the role of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a SARS-CoV-2 receptor to enter human body. We propose to do basic studies to examine the specific mechanisms involved, as well as to perform a clinical trial in COVID-19 patients in China using recombinant human ACE2 (rhACE2).