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Approved Research

Assessing the inflammatory processes in noncommunicable and communicable diseases, including COVID-19

Principal Investigator: Dr Yachana Kataria
Approved Research ID: 64276
Approval date: January 25th 2023

Lay summary

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2 has led to more than 325,000 deaths worldwide as of mid-May 2020. Although different mechanisms, cardiovascular diseases and COVID-19 share common risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, both diseases are characterized by a disrupted immune response. Disease severity in COVID-19 may be determined by genetic variation in the immune response which could provide insight into potential therapeutic targets.  Our research aims to identify pathways which could lead to therapeutic targets in COVID-19 & cardiovascular (i.e. heart disease) diseases.

Currently there is no specific cure or vaccine, and treatments are symptomatic for COVID-19. We aim to determine if genetic variation in the immune system and its association with the presence of one or more disease and its relation to outcome of COVID-19. This will help identify subsets of population that can benefit from these therapeutics.

Similarly, we also aim to determine if genetic variation in the immune system for chronic diseases (i.e. cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease etc.) as well. Studies have found genetic variation in the immune system are implicated in cardiovascular disease. However, we don't know how these genetic variants interact with risk factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, circadian rhythm, alcohol, smoking, and sunlight exposure and how these interact with cardiometabolic risk factors and the risk of disease.

Our study will take advantage of genetic epidemiological study designs. These approaches benefit from understanding the direction of cause and effect relationship. It also takes advantage of genetic variants as proxies for modifiable risk factors to understand the causal relationship.