SARS-CoV-2: understanding the entry, multi-organ spread, and immune response in the context of vaccination and re-infection
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with fatal acute respiratory disease has rapidly spread worldwide. Our knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 is accumulating, but its spread to the entire organisms with deleterious consequences and the immunology responses to virus, vaccination and treatment in the context of reinfections are still scarcely understood. The main goal of the project is to characterize the so far elusive biology of entry and pathological organ-specific consequences of SARS-Cov-2 and its variants via ACE2, Neuropilin 1 and Transferrin receptors and the development of the immune response, including the possibility that antibodies, elicited by natural response to infection, vaccination or immunotherapy, could generate serious adverse effects through Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE). This project is based on our successful pre-work, established technologies, and on our recent joint publication designing and characterizing novel anti-SARS-Cov-2 therapeutic antibodies (De Gasparo et al., Nature, 2021).