The Search for COVID-19 Solutions

Research Helping to Solve the Coronavirus Pandemic

There is an urgent need to better comprehend the pathobiology of COVID-19, its clinical implications and the threat of other novel viruses. This is the foundation of the American Lung Association’s inaugural COVID-19 and Respiratory Virus Research Award helping to advance research against emerging respiratory pathogens.

Announcing Our Awardees

We have announced the awardees for the COVID-19 and Respiratory Virus Research Award. Funded at $100,000 a year for two years, these awards are exploring important avenues to reduce the burden we have experienced due this virus:

  • Exploring bold new approaches to treatment, such as developing antibodies to attack the virus, and using nanoparticles to help deliver agents to kill the virus.
  • Understanding the complex immune response of the body to the virus; in the early stages of infection the virus seems capable of "hiding" from a proper therapeutic immune response; in the late stages the body's immune response can be excessive leading to massive and fatal lung inflammation.

These areas of focus—the immune system’s response, how the virus causes pathology and applying public health to help identify risk factors and how we can reduce community spread—are important lynchpins in our ability to reduce the burden of COVID-19 in the U.S.

The Lung Association continues to fund innovative research through our annual awards and grants program which can include COVID-19 work.  

With 12 COVID-19 projects currently funded, here are a few highlights:

Tishra Beeson, DrPH

Tishra Beeson, DrPH

Central Washington University Foundation
Examining Prevention Behaviors That Minimize Spread of COVID-19 

Examining preventive behaviors that minimize the spread of COVID-19 among the nation’s most vulnerable population who live in the city ranked fifth worst for short-term air quality.

Marcia B. Goldberg, M.D.

Marcia B. Goldberg, M.D.

Massachusetts General Hospital
Response of Inflammatory Cells to COVID-19 Infection 

Defining the response of multiple types of inflammatory cells to COVID-19 infection to better understand the nature of lung inflammation and potentially identify new targets for treatment.

Dan Jane-Wit, M.D., Ph.D.

Dan Jane-Wit, M.D., Ph.D.

Yale University
Immune Proteins’ Role in Blood Vessel Changes in COVID-19 

Exploring the role of a set of immune proteins in triggering gene changes in endothelial cells to promote the blood vessel changes and, ideally, improve survival of COVID-19 patients.

More COVID-19 and Respiratory Virus Research Award winners:

  • Stephen Chan, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Brandon DeKosky, Ph.D.
  • Marta Maria Gaglia, Ph.D.
  • Sharon Morley, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Irina Petrache, M.D.
  • Kurt Randall Stenmark, M.D.
  • Gary A. Weisman, Ph.D.
  • Daniel Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Andrew A. Wilson, M.D.

Clinical Research Cornerstone

A cornerstone of the COVID-19 Action Initiative is leveraging our existing clinical research network and funding additional and novel respiratory virus research.

We immediately expanded COVID-19 research within the current studies of the Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) Network. We were also among the clinical networks invited to join the NHLBI’s CONNECTS initiative.

Ancillary COVID-19 Studies 

LEEP COVID-19 Study
The LEEP COVID-19 ancillary study will evaluate the effects of losartan (versus placebo) on the risk of and severity of COVID-19 among the available participants in our ongoing LEEP clinical trial, evaluate the development and persistence of COVID-19 antibodies in this group, and aim to understand the effect of social distancing measures and the pandemic on their mental health status and social support networks.

The CONNECTS Network
The ACRC was invited to become a member of the NHLBI’s Collaborating Network of Networks for Evaluating COVID-19 and Therapeutic Strategies. The goal of CONNECTS is to build on NHLBI’s existing clinical research networks across the nation to better understand the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and to identify therapies that will slow the disease progression and help speed recovery.

Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) Network

As the nation’s largest not-for-profit network of clinical centers dedicated to asthma and COPD research, the ACRC Network includes an impressive bandwidth of experts working together to produce results directly affecting patient care.
Learn More

Page last updated: October 14, 2020

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