COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). 20% of affected patients develop lung inflammation and damage and this results in low oxygen levels in the body. Prior work from our labs, and others’, has demonstrated that low oxygen levels in the body alters the responses of the white blood cells (WBC). These cells are responsible for clearing infections and orchestrating the repair of damaged organs. We propose to investigate the WBC of patients admitted to hospital with severe and critical COVID-19, to ascertain how WBC change with disease, whether these cells are fuelled in a different way and if this affects their function. To understand if these changes are longstanding, we aim to study cells isolated from patients during acute illness and up to one year after recovery. This work will help us to better understand how the immune system contributes to the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and identify new treatment strategies.
We have two aims: