Data-Based Approaches

Single Cell Transcriptome Analysis of the Sars-Cov-2 Receptor and Associated Proteases

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Which molecular cell properties influence the likelihood of infection and the development of a serious illness by SARS-CoV-2? This project will investigate how this is associated with various parameters such as gender, smoking status and age. This analysis is being carried out as part of the “Human Cell Atlas Lung Biological Network”. We examine how the expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor (ACE2) and associated proteases (CTSL, TMPRSS2) is related to the factors mentioned above.

Initial results show that the cells of older people, men, and smokers have more viral entry factors for the coronavirus. This could be an explanation for the more severe progression of COVID-19 in these groups. An exceptionally large number of biospecimens were included in the study. The results confirm the importance of evaluating as many data sets as possible in order to be able to make robust statements.

In cooperation with the University Hospital at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) and the Institute of Virology at Technische Universität München (TUM), cells infected with the virus from COVID-19 patients are now also being sequenced in a further project. The aim is to clarify how the gene activity of the host cells is altered by the entry of the virus and what the specific immune response in COVID-19 looks like.

The project has now succeeded in developing a new method for finding T cell receptors that respond to SARS-CoV-2. In the future, the method could probably also be used to check how many protective T cells are present after vaccination.

"Why smokers, men, and older people tend to be more severely affected by COVID-19" - more on this subject in the interview with Prof. Fabian Theis

Further Information on the first study results

Combat c19ir: Predict the Course of COVID-19 Progression

Using models of artificial intelligence, researchers aim to identify factors that predict the course and severity of COVID-19 disease. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is the funding body of this study.

The goal is to better understand individual disease progression and characterize it using clinical parameters and blood-based biomarkers in order to develop a targeted therapy and follow-up care for patients. To this end, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, the German Center for Lung Research, Technical University of Munich and Johns Hopkins University (USA) are cooperating on an interdisciplinary basis.