Inflammation in COVID-19 Exploration of Critical Aspects of Pathogenesis – The ICECAP COVID-19 post-mortem

University of Edinburgh

Active award

Principal Investigator: Dr David Dorward

Year Award Started: 2020

The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is causing illness and death at a scale unprecedented in modern times. Severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) leads to life-threatening lung damage and high mortality despite life support on a ventilator. COVID-19 is a new disease and we do not understand the mechanism of lung damage: is it directly due to the virus, or is the body’s immune system contributing? Our ability to design specific treatments is limited until we answer this question. Other organs might also be infected, contributing to the symptoms people experience. Understanding the mechanism of lung damage, and involvement of other organs, is an urgent un-met need to inform treatment of COVID-19. Authorised hospital post-mortem examinations of people who have died from COVID-19 provide an opportunity to study the whole body in a level of detail not possible during life. Only through this approach can we understand the nature of lung damage and extent of multi-organ involvement. This will allow us to rapidly answer important clinical questions and develop a resource of tissue that will support ongoing national and international research. We are uniquely placed to deliver this work, with the required multi-disciplinary team, infrastructure and ethical approval already in place.

Research area: Infections, inflammation or immunology