General information on the coronavirus pandemic

SARS-CoV-2, the in December 2019 newly identified coronavirus strain, has already infected 318.648.834 people worldwide (confirmed cases as of 12 January 2022, WHO). The corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 infections imposes a major threat for the world’s health care systems and is leading to thousands of deaths. As of 01 December 2021, already 5.518.343 confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infected patients died (WHO). The virus binds to and invades the alveolar lung cells through the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Most common symptoms are fever and dry cough. Most patients have mild cold symptoms, the rather severe cases suffer from dyspnea, low blood oxygen saturation and lung infiltrates. The critical patients (around 5%) experience respiratory failure, and/or multiple organ dysfunction or failure. ACE2 is not only expressed on lung cells but also in the heart and vascular endothelium and COVID-19 is linked to increased morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease.

Current publications on COVID-19 from CPI members

  • Baumeier C, Aleshcheva G, Harms D, Gross U, Hamm C, Assmus B, Westenfeld R, Kelm M, Rammos S, Wenzel P, Münzel T, Elsässer A, Gailani M, Perings C, Bourakkadi A, Flesch M, Kempf T, Bauersachs J, Escher F, Schultheiss HP. Intramyocardial Inflammation after COVID-19 Vaccination: An Endomyocardial Biopsy-Proven Case Series. Int J Mol Sci 23, 2022.
  • Shaban MS, Mayr-Buro C, Meier-Soelch J, Albert BV, Schmitz ML, Ziebuhr J, Kracht M. Thapsigargin: key to new host-directed coronavirus antivirals? Trends Pharmacol Sci, 2022. review
  • Gruendner J, Deppenwiese N, Folz M, Köhler T, Kroll B, Prokosch HU, Rosenau L, Rühle M, Scheidl MA, Schüttler C, Sedlmayr B, Twrdik A, Kiel A, Majeed RW. Architecture for a feasibility query portal for distributed COVID-19 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) patient data repositories: Design and Implementation Study. JMIR Med Inform, 2022.
  • Sauerhering L, Kuznetsova I, Kupke A, Meier L, Halwe S, Rohde C, Schmidt J, Morty RE, Danov O, Braun A, Vadász I, Becker S, Herold S. Cyclosporin A Reveals Potent Antiviral Effects in Preclinical Models of SARS-CoV-2 Infection. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2022.
  • Kohli A, Sauerhering L, Fehling SK, Klann K, Geiger H, Becker S, Koch B, Baer PC, Strecker T, Münch C. Proteomic landscape of SARS-CoV-2- and MERS-CoV-infected primary human renal epithelial cells. Life Sci Alliance 5, 2022.
  • Rajpoot S, Solanki K, Kumar A, Zhang KYJ, Pullamsetti SS, Savai R, Faisal SM, Pan Q, Baig MS. In-Silico Design of a Novel Tridecapeptide Targeting Spike Protein of SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern. Int J Pept Res Ther.28:28, 2022.
  • Wendisch D, Dietrich O, Mari T, von Stillfried S, Ibarra IL, Mittermaier M, Mache C, Chua RL, Knoll R, Timm S, Brumhard S, Krammer T, Zauber H, Hiller AL, Pascual-Reguant A, Mothes R, Bülow RD, Schulze J, Leipold AM, Djudjaj S, Erhard F, Geffers R, Pott F, Kazmierski J, Radke J, Pergantis P, Baßler K, Conrad C, Aschenbrenner AC, Sawitzki B, Landthaler M, Wyler E, Horst D, Hippenstiel S, Hocke A, Heppner FL, Uhrig A, Garcia C, Machleidt F, Herold S, Elezkurtaj S, Thibeault C, Witzenrath M, Cochain C, Suttorp N, Drosten C, Goffinet C, Kurth F, Schultze JL, Radbruch H, Ochs M, Eils R, Müller-Redetzky H, Hauser AE, Luecken MD, Theis FJ, Conrad C, Wolff T, Boor P, Selbach M, Saliba AE, Sander LE. SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers profibrotic macrophage responses and lung fibrosis. Cell. 2021.
  • Halawa S, Pullamsetti SS, Bangham CRM, Stenmark KR, Dorfmüller P, Frid MG, Butrous G, Morrell NW, De Jesus Perez VA, Stuart DI, O’gallagher K, Shah AM, Aguib Y, Yacoub MH. Potential long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the pulmonary vasculature: a global perspective. Nat Rev Cardiol:1-18, 2021. review
  • Wygrecka M, Birnhuber A, Seeliger B, Michalick L, Pak O, Schultz AS, Schramm F, Zacharias M, Gorkiewicz G, David S, Welte T, Schmidt JJ, Weissmann N, Schermuly RT, Barreto G, Schaefer L, Markart P, Brack MC, Hippenstiel S, Kurth F, Sander L, Witzenrath M, Kuebler W, Kwapiszewska G, Preissner KT. Altered fibrin clot structure and dysregulated fibrinolysis contribute to thrombosis risk in severe COVID-19. Blood Adv, 2021.
  • Cremer S, Pilgram L, Berkowitsch A, Stecher M, Rieg S, Shumliakivska  M, Bojkova D, Wagner JUG, Aslan GS, Spinner C, Luxán G, Hanses F, Dolff  S, Piepel C, Ruppert C, Guenther A, Rüthrich MM, Vehreschild JJ, Wille  K, Haselberger M, Heuzeroth H, Hansen A, Eschenhagen T, Cinatl J, Ciesek  S, Dimmeler S, Borgmann S, Zeiher A. Angiotensin II receptor blocker  intake associates with reduced markers of inflammatory activation and  decreased mortality in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities and  COVID-19 disease. PLoS One 16:e0258684, 2021.
  • Mclaughlin KM, Bojkova D, Kandler JD, Bechtel M, Reus P, Le T,  Rothweiler F, Wagner JUG, Weigert A, Ciesek S, Wass MN, Michaelis M,  Cinatl J, Jr. A Potential Role of the CD47/SIRPalpha Axis in COVID-19  Pathogenesis. Curr Issues Mol Biol 43:1212-1225, 2021.
  • Wenzel J, Lampe J, Müller-Fielitz H, Schuster R, Zille M, Müller K,  Krohn M, Körbelin J, Zhang L, Özorhan Ü, Neve V, Wagner JUG, Bojkova D,  Shumliakivska M, Jiang Y, Fähnrich A, Ott F, Sencio V, Robil C,  Pfefferle S, Sauve F, Coêlho CFF, Franz J, Spiecker F, Lembrich B,  Binder S, Feller N, König P, Busch H, Collin L, Villaseñor R, Jöhren O,  Altmeppen HC, Pasparakis M, Dimmeler S, Cinatl J, Püschel K, Zelic M,  Ofengeim D, Stadelmann C, Trottein F, Nogueiras R, Hilgenfeld R, Glatzel  M, Prevot V, Schwaninger M. The SARS-CoV-2 main protease M(pro) causes  microvascular brain pathology by cleaving NEMO in brain endothelial  cells. Nat Neurosci 24:1522-1533, 2021.
  • Petersen SE, Friedrich MG, Leiner T, Elias MD, Ferreira VM, Fenski  M, Flamm SD, Fogel M, Garg R, Halushka MK, Hays AG, Kawel-Boehm N,  Kramer CM, Nagel E, Ntusi NaB, Ostenfeld E, Pennell DJ, Raisi-Estabragh  Z, Reeder SB, Rochitte CE, Starekova J, Suchá D, Tao Q, Schulz-Menger J,  Bluemke DA. Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance for Patients With  COVID-19. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging, 2021.review
  • Yekelchyk M, Madan E, Wilhelm J, Short KR, Palma AM, Liao L, Camacho  D, Nkadori E, Winters MT, Rice ES, Rolim I, Cruz-Duarte R, Pelham CJ,  Nagane M, Gupta K, Chaudhary S, Braun T, Pillappa R, Parker MS, Menter  T, Matter M, Haslbauer JD, Tolnay M, Galior KD, Matkwoskyj KA, Mcgregor  SM, Muller LK, Rakha EA, Lopez-Beltran A, Drapkin R, Ackermann M, Fisher  PB, Grossman SR, Godwin AK, Kulasinghe A, Martinez I, Marsh CB, Tang B,  Wicha MS, Won KJ, Tzankov A, Moreno E, Gogna R. Flower lose, a cell  fitness marker, predicts COVID-19 prognosis. EMBO Mol Med:e13714,  2021.
  • Shaban MS, Müller C, Mayr-Buro C, Weiser H, Meier-Soelch J, Albert  BV, Weber A, Linne U, Hain T, Babayev I, Karl N, Hofmann N, Becker S,  Herold S, Schmitz ML, Ziebuhr J, Kracht M. Multi-level inhibition of  coronavirus replication by chemical ER stress. Nat Commun 12:5536, 2021.
  • Koczulla AR, Ankermann T, Behrends U, Berlit P, Böing S, Brinkmann  F, Franke C, Glöckl R, Gogoll C, Hummel T, Kronsbein J, Maibaum T,  Peters EMJ, Pfeifer M, Platz T, Pletz M, Pongratz G, Powitz F, Rabe KF,  Scheibenbogen C, Stallmach A, Stegbauer M, Wagner HO, Waller C, Wirtz H,  Zeiher A, Zwick RH. [S1 Guideline Post-COVID/Long-COVID]. Pneumologie,  2021.
  • Reus P, Schneider AK, Ulshöfer T, Henke M, Bojkova D, Cinatl J,  Ciesek S, Geisslinger G, Laux V, Grättinger M, Gribbon P, Schiffmann S.  Characterization of ACE Inhibitors and AT(1)R Antagonists with Regard to  Their Effect on ACE2 Expression and Infection with SARS-CoV-2 Using a  Caco-2 Cell Model. Life (Basel) 11, 2021.
  • Husain-Syed F, Villa G, Wilhelm J, Samoni S, Matt U, Vadász I, Tello  K, Jennert B, Biol HD, Trauth J, Kassoumeh S, Arneth B, Renz H, Sander  M, Herold S, Seeger W, Schunk SJ, Speer T, Birk HW, Ronco C. Renal  markers for monitoring acute kidney injury transition to chronic kidney  disease after COVID-19. Nephrol Dial Transplant, 2021.
  • Cremer S, Jakob C, Berkowitsch A, Borgmann S, Pilgram L, Tometten L, Classen A, Wille K, Weidlich S, Gruener B, Dimmeler S, Massberg S, Rieg S, Zeiher AM. Elevated markers of thrombo-inflammatory activation predict outcome in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities and COVID-19 disease: insights from the LEOSS registry. Clin Res Cardiol 110:1029-1040, 2021.
  • Mukherjee R, Bhattacharya A, Bojkova D, Mehdipour AR, Shin D, Khan KS, Hei-Yin Cheung H, Wong KB, Ng W, Cinatl J, Geurink PP, Van Der Heden Van Noort GJ, Rajalingam K, Ciesek S, Hummer G, Dikic I. Famotidine inhibits Toll-like receptor 3-mediated inflammatory signaling in SARS-CoV2 infection. J Biol Chem:100925, 2021.
  • Wagner JUG, Bojkova D, Shumliakivska M, Luxán G, Nicin L, Aslan GS, Milting H, Kandler JD, Dendorfer A, Heumueller AW, Fleming I, Bibli SI, Jakobi T, Dieterich C, Zeiher AM, Ciesek S, Cinatl J, Dimmeler S. Increased susceptibility of human endothelial cells to infections by SARS-CoV-2 variants. Basic Res Cardiol 116:42, 2021.
  • Altincekic N, Korn SM, Qureshi NS, Dujardin M, Ninot-Pedrosa M, Abele R, Abi Saad MJ, Alfano C, Almeida FCL, Alshamleh I, De Amorim GC, Anderson TK, Anobom CD, Anorma C, Bains JK, Bax A, Blackledge M, Blechar J, Böckmann A, Brigandat L, Bula A, Bütikofer M, Camacho-Zarco AR, Carlomagno T, Caruso IP, Ceylan B, Chaikuad A, Chu F, Cole L, Crosby MG, De Jesus V, Dhamotharan K, Felli IC, Ferner J, Fleischmann Y, Fogeron ML, Fourkiotis NK, Fuks C, Fürtig B, Gallo A, Gande SL, Gerez JA, Ghosh D, Gomes-Neto F, Gorbatyuk O, Guseva S, Hacker C, Häfner S, Hao B, Hargittay B, Henzler-Wildman K, Hoch JC, Hohmann KF, Hutchison MT, Jaudzems K, Jović K, Kaderli J, Kalniņš G, Kaņepe I, Kirchdoerfer RN, Kirkpatrick J, Knapp S, Krishnathas R, Kutz F, Zur Lage S, Lambertz R, Lang A, Laurents D, Lecoq L, Linhard V, Löhr F, Malki A, Bessa LM, Martin RW, Matzel T, Maurin D, Mcnutt SW, Mebus-Antunes NC, Meier BH, Meiser N, Mompeán M, Monaca E, Montserret R, Mariño Perez L, Moser C, Muhle-Goll C, Neves-Martins TC, Ni X, Norton-Baker B, Pierattelli R, Pontoriero L, Pustovalova Y, Ohlenschläger O, Orts J, Da Poian AT, Pyper DJ, Richter C, Riek R, Rienstra CM, Robertson A, Pinheiro AS, Sabbatella R, Salvi N, Saxena K, Schulte L, Schiavina M, Schwalbe H, Silber M, Almeida MDS, Sprague-Piercy MA, Spyroulias GA, Sreeramulu S, Tants JN, Tārs K, Torres F, Töws S, Treviño M, Trucks S, Tsika AC, Varga K, Wang Y, Weber ME, Weigand JE, Wiedemann C, Wirmer-Bartoschek J, Wirtz Martin MA, Zehnder J, Hengesbach M, Schlundt A. Large-Scale Recombinant Production of the SARS-CoV-2 Proteome for High-Throughput and Structural Biology Applications. Front Mol Biosci 8:653148, 2021.
  • Birnhuber A, Fliesser E, Gorkiewicz G, Zacharias M, Seeliger B, David S, Welte T, Schmidt J, Olschewski H, Wygrecka M, Kwapiszewska G. Between inflammation and thrombosis – endothelial cells in COVID-19. Eur Respir J, 2021. letter
  • Von Stillfried S, Acker T, Aepfelbacher M, Baretton G, Bülow RD,  Bürrig KF, Holtherm HU, Jonigk D, Knüchel R, Majeed RW, Röhrig R,  Wienströer J,Boor P. [Cooperative approach of pathology and  neuropathology in the COVID-19 pandemic : German registry for COVID-19  autopsies (DeRegCOVID) and German network for autopsies in pandemics  (DEFEAT PANDEMIcs)]. Pathologe 42:216-223, 2021. review
  • Ellinger B, Bojkova D, Zaliani A, Cinatl J, Claussen C, Westhaus S,  Keminer O, Reinshagen J, Kuzikov M, Wolf M, Geisslinger G, Gribbon  P,Ciesek S. A SARS-CoV-2 cytopathicity dataset generated by high-content  screening of a large drug repurposing collection. Sci Data 8:70, 2021.
  • Klann K, Münch C. Den molekularen Wirtszellveränderungen durch  SARS-CoV-2 auf der Spur. Biospektrum (Heidelb). 2021;27(1):40-45. doi:  10.1007/s12268-021-1535-3. review
  • Von Stillfried S, Acker T, Aepfelbacher M, Baretton G, Bülow RD,  Bürrig KF, Holtherm HU, Jonigk D, Knüchel R, Majeed RW, Röhrig R,  Wienströer J,Boor P. [Cooperative approach of pathology and  neuropathology in the COVID-19 pandemic : German registry for COVID-19  autopsies (DeRegCOVID) and German network for autopsies in pandemics  (DEFEAT PANDEMIcs)]. Pathologe:1-8, 2021.
  • Booz C, Vogl TJ, Joseph Schoepf U, Caruso D, Inserra MC, Yel I, Martin SS, Bucher AM, Lenga L, Caudo D, Schreckenbach T, Schoell N, Huegel C, Stratmann J, Vasa-Nicotera M, Rachovitsky-Duarte DE, Laghi A, De Santis D, Mazziotti S, D’angelo T,Albrecht MH. Value of minimum intensity projections for chest CT in COVID-19 patients. Eur J Radiol 135:109478, 2020.
  • Mathew S, Fraebel C, Johnson V, Abdelgwad S, Schneider N, Müller P, Chasan R, Hamm C,Schmitt J. Cardiac arrhythmias in patients with SARS-CoV‑2 infection and effects of the lockdown on invasive rhythmological therapy. Herzschrittmacherther Elektrophysiol:1-6, 2020.
  • Dobler CL, Krüger B, Strahler J, Weyh C, Gebhardt K, Tello K, Ghofrani HA, Sommer N, Gall H, Richter MJ, Krüger K.  Physical Activity and Mental Health of Patients with Pulmonary Hypertension during the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Clin Med. 2020. doi: 10.3390/jcm9124023
  • Husain-Syed F, Vadász I, Wilhelm J, Walmrath HD, Seeger W, Birk HW, Jennert B, Dietrich H, Herold S, Trauth J, Tello K, Sander M, Morty RE, Slanina H, Schüttler CG, Ziebuhr J, Kassoumeh S, Ronco C, Ferrari F, Warnatz K, Stahl K, Seeliger B, Hoeper MM, Welte T,David S. Immunoglobulin Deficiency as an Indicator of Disease Severity in Patients with COVID-19. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol, 2020.
  • Nef HM, Elsässer A, Möllmann H, Abdel-Hadi M, Bauer T, Brück M, Eggebrecht H, Ehrlich JR, Ferrari MW, Fichtlscherer S, Hink U, Hölschermann H, Kacapor R, Koeth O, Korboukov S, Lamparter S, Laspoulas AJ, Lehmann R, Liebetrau C, Plücker T, Pons-Kühnemann J, Schächinger V, Schieffer B, Schott P, Schulze M, Teupe C, Vasa-Nicotera M, Weber M, Weinbrenner C, Werner G, Hamm CW,Dörr O. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular mortality and catherization activity during the lockdown in central Germany: an observational study. Clin Res Cardiol:1-10, 2020.
  • Cremer S, Jakob C, Berkowitsch A, Borgmann S, Pilgram L, Tometten L, Classen A, Wille K, Weidlich S, Gruener B, Dimmeler S, Massberg S, Rieg S Zeiher AM. Elevated markers of thrombo-inflammatory activation predict outcome in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities and COVID-19 disease: insights from the LEOSS registry. Clin Res Cardiol:1-12, 2020.
  • Vadász I, Husain-Syed F, Dorfmüller P, Roller FC, Tello K, Hecker M, Morty RE, Gattenlöhner S, Walmrath HD, Grimminger F, Herold S Seeger W. Severe organising pneumonia following COVID-19. Thorax, 2020.
  • Bojkova D, Bechtel M, Mclaughlin KM, Mcgreig JE, Klann K, Bellinghausen C, Rohde G, Jonigk D, Braubach P, Ciesek S, Münch C, Wass MN, Michaelis M Cinatl J, Jr. Aprotinin Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication. Cells 9, 2020
  • Puntmann V Nagel E. Cardiac Involvement After Recovering From COVID-19-Reply. JAMA Cardiol, 2020.
  • Shchedrygina A, Nagel E, Puntmann VO Valbuena-Lopez S. COVID-19 myocarditis and prospective heart failure burden. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther, 2020.
  • Klann K, Bojkova D, Tascher G, Ciesek S, Münch C Cinatl J. Growth Factor Receptor Signaling Inhibition Prevents SARS-CoV-2 Replication. Mol Cell, 2020.
  • Bojkova D, Wagner JUG, Shumliakivska M, Aslan GS, Saleem U, Hansen A, Luxán G, Günther S, Pham MD, Krishnan J, Harter PN, Ermel UH, Frangakis AS, Milting H, Zeiher AM, Klingel K, Cinatl J, Dendorfer A, Eschenhagen T, Tschöpe C, Ciesek S Dimmeler S. SARS-CoV-2 infects and induces cytotoxic effects in human cardiomyocytes. Cardiovasc Res, 2020.
  • Nagel E Puntmann VO. Errors in Statistical Numbers and Data in Study of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients Recently Recovered From COVID-19. JAMA Cardiol, 2020.
  • Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its implications for cardiovascular care: expert document from the German Cardiac Society and the World Heart Federation. Böhm M, Frey N, Giannitsis E, Sliwa K, Zeiher AM. Clin Res Cardiol. 2020 May 27. doi: 10.1007/s00392-020-01656-3. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
  • Mclaughlin KM, Bechtel M, Bojkova D, Münch C, Ciesek S, Wass MN, Michaelis M Cinatl J, Jr. COVID-19-Related Coagulopathy-Is Transferrin a Missing Link? Diagnostics (Basel) 10, 2020.
  • Puntmann VO, Carerj ML, Wieters I, Fahim M, Arendt C, Hoffmann J, Shchendrygina A, Escher F, Vasa-Nicotera M, Zeiher AM, Vehreschild M Nagel E. Outcomes of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients Recently Recovered From Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Cardiol, 2020.
  • Shin D, Mukherjee R, Grewe D, Bojkova D, Baek K, Bhattacharya A, Schulz L, Widera M, Mehdipour AR, Tascher G, Geurink PP, Wilhelm A, Van Der Heden Van Noort GJ, Ovaa H, Müller S, Knobeloch KP, Rajalingam K, Schulman BA, Cinatl J, Hummer G, Ciesek S Dikic I. Papain-like protease regulates SARS-CoV-2 viral spread and innate immunity. Nature, 2020.
  • Zoghbi WA, Dicarli MF, Blankstein R, Choi AD, Dilsizian V, Flachskampf FA, Geske JB, Grayburn PA, Jaffer FA, Kwong RY, Leipsic JA, Marwick TH, Nagel E, Nieman K, Raman SV, Salerno M, Sengupta PP, Shaw LJ Chandrashekhar YS. Multimodality Cardiovascular Imaging in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ramping Up Safely to a New Normal. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 13:1615-1626, 2020.
  • Escher F, Pietsch H, Aleshcheva G, Bock T, Baumeier C, Elsaesser A, Wenzel P, Hamm C, Westenfeld R, Schultheiss M, Gross U, Morawietz L, Schultheiss HP. Detection of viral SARS-CoV-2 genomes and histopathological changes in endomyocardial biopsies. ESC Heart Fail doi: 10.1002/ehf2.12805, 2020.
  • Single-Cell Transcriptomics Data Survey Reveals SARS-CoV-2 Entry Factors Highly Expressed in Nasal Epithelial Cells Together with Innate Immune Genes. Waradon Sungnak et al., Nat Med (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0868-6
  • Cell type-specific expression of the putative SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 in human hearts. Nicin L, Abplanalp WT, Mellentin H, Kattih B, Tombor L, John D, Schmitto JD, Heineke J, Emrich F, Arsalan M, Holubec T, Walther T, Zeiher AM, Dimmeler S. Eur Heart J. 2020 May 14;41(19):1804-1806. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa311. No abstract available.
  • Proteomics of SARS-CoV-2-infected host cells reveals therapy targets. Bojkova D, Klann K, Koch B, Widera M, Krause D, Ciesek S, Cinatl J, Münch C. Nature. 2020 May 14. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2332-7. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Morty RE Ziebuhr J. Call for Papers: The pathophysiology of COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2020.
  • Wild PS, Dimmeler S Eschenhagen T. An epidemiological study exploring a possible impact of treatment with ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers on ACE2 plasma concentrations. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2020.

The CPI is working with great effort on understanding COVID-19 pathology and the development of potential treatment options.

We are currently investigating the following major questions:

How can lung injury induced by SARS-CoV-2 be prevented?

There are immense activities world-wide to identify novel therapeutic options for treating COVID-19. Based on previous studies of CPI researchers demonstrating that inhaled GM-CSF prevents lung failure of acute pneumonia (Cakarova et al, AJRCCM, 2009; Unkel et al, JCI, 2012), and a multicenter phase II trial is currently testing this therapeutic strategy in pneumonia-realted ARDS including COVID patients. This approach might be also suitable to prevent detrimental development of COVID-19-ARDS from early stages of pneumonia. Depending on the availability of substance, a clinical trial is planned.

In addition, cell therapies showing that immunosuppressive mesenchymal stromal cells protect bronchopulmonary stem cells destruction caused by virus infection were shown to prevent detrimental courses of the disease (Salzig et al, EMBOJ, 2019). In collaboration with the LOEWE Center for Cell- and Gene Therapy, highly efficient, off the shelf available immune suppressive MSCs were developed, which might be usable also as therapeutics for COVID-19.

Does SARS-CoV-2 directly affect the vasculature and the heart?

The putative receptor for SARS-CoV-2 ACE2 is not only expressed on lung cells but also in the heart and vascular endothelium (Wevers and Hoek, Futur Med, 2010). Moreover, patients with underlying cardiovascular disease represent a significant proportion of patients, who may suffer from severe courses after COVID-19 infections (Zhou et al, The Lancet,2020; Wang et al., JAMA, 2020; Zheng, Nat Rev. Cardiol., 2020). Therefore, the CPI is addressing the impact of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system. First data suggest that particularly pericytes and cardiomyocyte showed highest expression of the putative SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 in human hearts. Therefore, CPI researchers now test whether SARS-CoV-2 can directly affect cells of the cardiovascular system by assessing the effect of SARS-CoV-2 isolates on primary human cells in collaboration with Prof. Ciesek (Frankfurt).

Could ACE-inhibitor treatment be detrimental in COVID-19 patients?

First studies show that ACE-inhibitor treatment, which is often used to treat patients with cardiovascular diseases, augments the expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 in lung cells. This is supposed to be mediated by an effect on angiotensin II, which is known to reduce ACE2 expression. Thus, ACE inhibition decreases angiotensin II, leading to an indirect up-regulation of ACE2 (Wevers and Hoek, Futur Med, 2010). To test whether this indeed is relevant in the context of COVID-19, CPI researchers are currently determining the regulation of ACE2 in patients, which were treated with ACE2 inhibitors. In addition, ex vivo lung explants (precision-cut lung slices, PCLS) are treated with angiotensin-II-receptor blockers or ACE-inhibitors to study effects on lung cells. Moreover, the CPI teamed up with the European registry LEOSS (https://leoss.net/about/) to clarify, whether there is any hint for detrimental courses of ACE inhibitor treated COVID-19 patients.

How does the host cell respond to SARS-CoV-2 infection?

So far, there is little knowledge regarding the cellular pathways activated upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, these cellular processes are key to understanding how the virus replicates in cells and how this could be pharmacologically perturbed. CPI researcher Christian Münch, together with the Cinatl laboratory (Virology, University Hospital Frankfurt), addressed this question. They developed a human epithelial cell infection system with viral isolate from a COVID-19 patient and studied the protein and translation changes after infection over time. They discovered several key pathways and showed that inhibition of these pathways prevents viral replication in cells (preprint: https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-17218/v1). This opens up several new avenues of therapeutic strategies to target COVID-19.

CPI joined “Frankfurt Debate”

The “Frankfurt interdisciplinary debate” is an attempt at dialogue between representatives of different scientific disciplines on current issues – currently (and certainly for a while) in the context of the corona crisis.

To visit the “Frankfurt Debate” website click here…

CPI sites joined LEOSS

The Lean European Open Survey on SARS-CoV-2 Infected Patients studies SARD-CoV-2 collectively.

Why: To gather information on the best possible clinical management of patients as well as prediction and prevention of severe outcomes

How: LEOSS establishes a quick and simple register that allows anonymous documentation of patients. This data can be used to identify independent predictors of outcome in patients with diagnosed infection by SARS-CoV-2.

For more information visit: 

How does COVID-19 crisis affect CPI members

Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Braun, coordinator CPI

How does the COVID-19 pandemia affect basic science research?

COVID-19 has turned our research upside down. We try to cope as best as we can with the situation but regular routines have been disrupted and most colleagues work in home office. On the other hand, this unusual and challenging situation offers new opportunities, allowing us to finish manuscripts and think about innovative projects and concepts. Despite the current limitations, we have intensified our research on lung regeneration. which seems more important than ever to cope with the devastating effects of viral infections of the lung.

Dr. Guillermo Luxan, postdoc

How does COVID-19 affects science and society in Spain as compared to Germany?

My family and friends live in Madrid that has become into one of the main centers of COVID-19 in Spain, and in Europe. This pandemic affects everything in Spain, from human relationships to science, of course, as all the efforts are devoted to stop the spread of the virus. My parents, my grandmother, my friends and colleagues have not abandoned their flats in the last two weeks, and now the government has ordered two more weeks of confinement with even more strict restrictions. The country has been brought to a stop and this also means its science. Research Institutes are closed, and yes, data can be analyzed from home and papers and thesis can be written from home but the laboratories are not producing any new data and at some point, the whole research effort in Spain will also come to a complete stop.

The differences with Germany are enormous. Although our lives have been affected by the spread of the disease, it can’t be compared at any level with Spain, or Italy. Here, live goes on. I see, in one hand, responsibility regarding social distancing. We, in the lab, have reduced the our presence to a minimum. We take shifts in the labs to reduce amount of people at the same time in one room and all our meetings are gone online. But on the other hand, it is not uncommon to see people gathering in the river and in the parks in the evening.

I really hope that all the measures and preparations that Germany has undergone expecting this ticking bomb to explode are enough and that we don’t need to stop our lives like my family and friends in Madrid. I also hope, that once this is over, Germany and the other EU countries help Spain, and Italy, to recover from the economic crisis that will come after the clinical crisis because there is going to be a lot of help needed.

Dr. Nuno Guimarães Camboa, junior research group leader

How does it feel to start living in a shut down country and how does the situation affect your scientific work?

Start living in a shut down country: We moved the entire family (including two 8-month-old babies) just before the crisis exploded in Italy. The day we left Milan there were some people wearing masks on the street, but life was proceeding normally, with all essential and non-essential businesses functioning as usual. Immediately after our arrival in Frankfurt, the number of cases in northern Italy started escalating dramatically and the government implemented strict lockdown measures. Since we closely followed the situation in Italy and the first cases were also being reported in Germany, we placed our family in social isolation even before the German Federal government imposed current restrictions. This scenario is certainly not the one we were hoping for when moving to Frankfurt. We were looking forward to introducing our twin daughters to our friends and taking advantage of the beautiful sunny days to explore the city and enjoy strolls by the Main on weekends. Nonetheless, this is still a much better scenario than the one we would be facing if the family would still be in Milan where the lockdown is much more strict: you are not authorized to leave your home except for essential needs (and whenever you go out you need to carry a declaration stating the reason why you are outside your place) and even simple tasks such as going to the grocery store become complex, with most supermarkets having waiting lines of 30 mins to one hour just to get in.
Impact of COVID-19 on scientific work: the social distancing measures necessary to stop spreading the virus significantly affect our capacity to perform experiments. Our institute did not shut down, but has implemented strict rules allowing a single person per room at all times, which tremendously reduces the number of people who can be at work at any given moment. Currently, we are mostly doing maintenance work and concluding experiments we had previously initiated. Lab members are encouraged to work from home as much as possible (specially those who would need to take public transportation to get to work) and we are taking this forced break to carefully organize data generated in recent months and plan future experiments. This situation will certainly have an impact on the timeline of our projects. Similarly to other professional areas, the degree of this impact will ultimately depend on how long the need for social isolation extends.

CPI in (online) newspapers and TV about the current Corona Virus Outbreak:

Prof. Susanne Herold, “Eigentlich ist es zu spät: Gießener Allgemeine 19.11.2021

Prof. M. Kracht, Interview mit BILDplus „Pflanzengift Thapsigargin gegen Covid-19 – Dieses Mittel könnte helfen, Corona zu besiegen“, https://www.bild.de/ratgeber/gesundheit/gesundheit/pflanzengift-thapsigargin-ist-das-das-wundermittel-gegen-corona-75184390.bild.html 08.02.2021

Prof. M. Kracht über die Großbestellung von Jens Spahn /MedAUDIO-Der Podcast von Ärzten für Ärzte: „COVID-19: US-Antikörper gegen deutsche Impflücke?!“, https://www.medical-tribune.de/news/medaudio-der-podcast-von-aerzten-fuer-aerzte/ 01.02.2021

Prof. Susanne Herold SWR extra: Corona Impfung – wie gehts weiter? 01.02.2021

Prof. Susanne Herold with other DFG experts in Frankfurter Rundschau, “Mehr wissen, informiert entscheiden” 20.01.2021.

Dr. István Vadász, Gießener Anzeiger, UKGM Gießen: Mehr Corona-Intensiv-Patienten als bei erster Welle, 16.11.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold, ARD Extra Halbzeit Bilanz der Anfang November verschärften Corona-Maßnahmen, 16.11.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold, FAZ “Gerade wurde der letzte Patient aus der ersten Welle entlassen”, 13.11.2020

Prof. Stefanie Dimmeler, FAZ “Coronavirus kann im Labor Herzzellen infizieren” 13.11.2020

Prof. Andreas Zeiher, Tagesspiegel, Mediziner warnen vor COVID-19-Folgen für Herzpatienten, 12.11.2020

Prof. Werner Seeger, Wetterauer Zeitung “Es hilft nichts, Betten in Hallen zu stellen”, 10.11.2020

Prof. Ardeschir Ghofrani, Wetterauer Zeitung, Corona in der Wetterau: “Notfall-Szenario” in Bad Nauheimer Kerckhoff-Klinik absehbar, 29.10.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold, Gießener Allgemeine, 24.10.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold bei Maybrit Illner, ZDF 22.10.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold im ARD Extra zur Herbststrategie gegen Corona, 08.10.2020

Prof. Ardeschir Ghofrani, Wetterauer Zeitung, Corona: Arzt über Langzeitfolgen für den Körper, 24.08.2020

Prof. Ardeschir Ghofrani, Giessener Allgemeine, Corona und die Langzeitfolgen, 23.08.2020

Protein gegen Covid-19: Gießener Forscher testen Wirkstoff, RTL, 21.08.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in der Tagesschau, 13.08.2020

Prof. Eike Nagel, FAZ, Wie schwer eine Corona-Infektion das Herz schädigen kann, 11.08.2020

Prof. Ivan Dikic, FAZ, Mit “Doppelschlag” gegen Corona, 29.07.2020

Prof. Andreas Zeiher, Focus, Gefahr Bluthochdruck: Herz-Professor erklärt, für wen das ein Corona-Risiko ist, 24.07.2020 

Dr. István Vadász, Gießener Anzeiger, Corona-Patient bis zu 8 Wochen auf Intensivstation, 30.05.2020

Prof. Andreas Zeiher, Die Welt, Mehr Herzkranke und Krebstote durch Corona?, 16.05.2020

Dr. Christian Münch, MDR, Frankfurter Forscher finden neue Wirkstoffe gegen das Coronavirus, 14.05.2020

Prof. Werner Seeger in Gießener Allgemeine – Überraschend ist, dass das Lungenversagen sich so lange hinzieht

Prof.  Werner Seeger in ARD Extra in the UKGM, minute 7:30, 30.04.2020

Prof. Werner Seeger in Hessenschau, 30.04.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in Hart aber fair, 27.04.2020

Prof. Christos Samakovlisi, DZL press release Wie SARS-CoV-2 in den Körper gelangt, original publication in naturemedicine: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0868-6, human cell atlas: https://www.humancellatlas.org/, 23.04.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold cited in the New York Times “A German Exception? Why is the Country´s Coronavirus Death Rate is Low”, 04.04.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in hartaberfair-extra: Das Virus befällt die Wirtschaft: Wieviel bleibt von unserem Wohlstand?, 30.03.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold with the Minister of Health Jens Spahn and RKI-President Prof. Lothar Wieler in a press conference, 26.03.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in an Interview in Steingarts Morgenbriefing, 23.03.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in maischberger. die Woche, 18.03.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in the BMBF Press Conference “Corona-Krise: „Achtsamkeit ja, Alarmismus nein“,  11.03.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in an interview “Gießener Allgemeine – Kampf dem Lungenversagen“, 09.03.2020

BMBF-Interview with Prof. Susanne Herold “Welche Therapien gegen das Virus gibt es?”, 09.03.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in Anne Will ” Quarantäne, Hamsterkäufe, abgesagte Veranstaltungen – wie berechtigt ist die Angst vor dem Coronavirus?”, 08.03.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in an interview at h+ live, 25.02.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in an interview with Garbor Steingart about SARS-CoV-2, 29.01.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold gave an interview for the Abendzeitung ,30.01.2020

Prof. Susanne Herold in the ZDF special – Kampf gegen das Coronavirus,  05.02.2020.