“My ultimate goal is to study the factors associated with obesity-induced disease severity in SARS-CoV-2 patients. The data from this project can reveal new target proteins for better vaccine development.”
What if we can understand how obesity impairs T cell and antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2?
The COVID-19 pandemic is caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, and its emerging variants continuously pose new threats to public health and socioeconomic stability. The susceptibility of individuals with obesity to severe COVID, evidenced by increased rates of hospitalization and mortality, is an important facet of the pandemic. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the factors caused by or associated with obesity that enhance COVID-19 severity. The results of this study will be useful to develop novel vaccines or therapeutics to prevent and treat COVID-19 in obese and other vulnerable populations. They may also lead to development of vaccines that are longer-lasting and more broadly protective than those that are currently available. As a first step towards accomplishing this goal, I propose to identify candidate pathways that contribute to impaired T cell and antibody responses during SARS-CoV-2 infection using obese mice and spatial transcriptomics.