Yale University to Research COVID-19 with Funding from American Lung Association

Dr. Dan Jane-Wit joins American Lung Association research team, seeks to study COVID-19 genetic respiratory complications

With more than eight million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and an ongoing surge this fall, the American Lung Association is funding promising research through its COVID-19 Action Initiative to accelerate the search for COVID-19 solutions. Joining the American Lung Association’s research team is Dan Jane-Wit, M.D., Ph.D., of Yale University studying the role of a specific gene (ZFYVE21) in COVID-19 respiratory complications.

Dr. Jane-Wit joins 11 other awardees for the inaugural COVID-19 and Respiratory Virus Research Award, who are funded at $100,000 a year for two years. This award explores important avenues to find better treatments to reduce the burden we have experienced due this virus. Many patients afflicted with COVID-19 show serious blood vessel abnormalities including bleeding, blood clots, and vessel leakiness that contribute to the severe symptoms associated with infection. Dr. Jane-wit hopes to understand the molecular basis of these changes, focusing specifically on a group of blood proteins called complement, in an attempt to uncover new drug targets to block vascular complications of COVID-19.

“I am very excited to be involved in COVID-19 research, and I am very thankful to the American Lung Association for giving me this opportunity. I hope that my work will contribute in a meaningful way to help patients that I see in the clinic. I have seen first-hand how devastating COVID-19 complications can be, and I believe that more research is needed to find drug therapies that are safe and effective for patients.”

“For more than a century, the American Lung Association has served as the nation’s champion of lung health, and today we’re pleased to fund promising COVID-19 research from the nation’s leading scientific minds,” said American Lung Association Division Director of Health Promotions in Connecticut, Michelle Caul. “We’re pleased to have Dr. Jane-Wit join our research team through the COVID-19 Action Initiative to seek bold new approaches to treatment in our shared goal to save more lives.”

These new research efforts are made possible through the American Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative, a $25 million investment in research, education, advocacy and coalition building over the next three years with an aim to end COVID-19 and defend against future respiratory viruses. The COVID-19 Action Initiative will be used to provide free lung health education to those in need, protect public health by advocating for COVID-19 and flu vaccines in underserved communities of color and prevent future outbreaks by investing in respiratory virus research.

Since the launch of the COVID-19 Action Initiative, the organization announced a new research award and placed an urgent call for applications for the most promising research studies on COVID-19, and immediately expanded an existing research clinical trial to include COVID-19 research. The American Lung Association’s Airways Clinical Research Centers network (ACRC) is the nation’s largest network of nonprofit clinical trials focusing on asthma and COPD, and now – COVID-19.

“By funding the most promising research and leveraging our existing ACRC network, we were able to nimbly implement new and promising research to support the lung health of Americans during this pandemic,” said Caul.

For more information about the COVID-19 Action Initiative or the American Lung Association’s COVID-19 research award recipients and projects, visit Lung.org/covid19-award. For media seeking an interview with a COVID-19 researcher or lung health expert, contact Jennifer Solomon at 516-680-8927 or [email protected]

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Solomon
(516) 680-8927
[email protected]

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