Like many laboratories at BRI and elsewhere, we have been impacted by the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, which has required a lot of adjustments and changes in pace and focus. We have been actively working to find ways in which we can contribute our knowledge, expertise and resources to help understand how COVID19 develops and how we can treat infections and prevent disease.

In our lab, we are now applying our forward genetic screening approaches to identify genes and cell pathways that can increase cellular resistance to SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. We hope that this allows us to quickly find new genes and therapeutic targets that can be used to combat infections, or help to understand why some people develop severe disease, while others have mild symptoms, or none at all. We are also working with our lung immunity team here at BRI, including Dr. Steven Ziegler, Dr. Jessica Hamerman and Dr. Daniel Campbell, along with collaborators at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington, to test whether the antiviral mechanisms discovered in our Ebola and Influenza studies can also act against SARS-CoV2.