About this Research Topic
On March 11th, after a sharp increase in the confirmed cases, WHO announced COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Given the current global public health threat, social chaotic and economic impact, there is an urgent need for fast diagnosis, preventive and therapeutic measures. The symptoms of early stage infection are non-specific, therefore improved technologies for screening and diagnosis are needed in addition to studying the molecular mechanisms, pathophysiology of the disease during its progression in healthy and at-risk populations.
As the virus has spread across over 180 countries, comparative analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome will determine the mutation rate as well as help understand the transmission. Current measures are preventive, therefore studying host-pathogen interactions will be crucial towards advanced molecular diagnostics, the development of new therapies or repurposing of existing drugs and targeted drug delivery. Wider in-silico approaches will also help identify novel targets or drug candidates for testing. In addition, current advances in biotechnology are crucial to treat certain patients who may be at risk due to genetic susceptibility or underlying health conditions.
This Research Topic aims at highlighting current advances made in the clinical diagnosis of COVID-19, as well as the study of molecular mechanisms and pathology of the disease in different populations. It will expand to cover the study of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, using the latest genome editing technologies and computational methods. This collection proposes to encompass translational approaches in COVID-19 pathology, diagnostics, therapeutic target identification and drug development towards patient treatment. The themes covered include but are not limited to:
• COVID-19 related pathophysiology in different organs (e.g. lung, heart, brain, gut) and biomarkers of disease evolution, especially for patients with poor prognosis
• Advances in the diagnostics and treatment of COVID-19, including the study of its pathophysiology using imaging techniques for screening and diagnosis
• Molecular mechanisms of disease progression, pathology, diagnosis and treatment. This includes advances in innate and acquired mechanisms of defense against the coronavirus (interferon pathway, cytotoxic responses, antibody responses), structural and molecular simulation studies of coronavirus host-pathogen interactions and host genetic susceptibility towards COVID-19
• Detection through next-generation sequencing (NGS), immunological detection of IgM and IgG, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and digital PCR (dPCR) assays for COVID-19 testing- diagnosis and vaccine development
• Human genetic and functional genomic studies in population and patient cohorts aimed to understand mechanisms regulating COVID-19 susceptibility and severity, human genetic and functional genomic studies to inform drug efficacy and safety for potential COVID-19 treatments and comparative genomics or comparative genetic studies to assess host-virus genomes interactions in the context of COVID-19 susceptibility and severity
• Study of susceptible animal models for the coronavirus infection; drug repurposing, antiviral therapies against the novel coronavirus pandemic and vaccine development for coronavirus as well as biomarkers of drug response in COVID-19 patients and localized, time sensitive, target specific drug delivery
• Active compounds and their mechanisms in the context of pre-clinical and clinical pharmacology of drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 associated disease
• Patient-centered health outcomes of treatments and medicine regulatory aspects
• Toxicological aspects related to novel therapeutic approaches to combat the novel coronavirus
• Treatment of the novel coronavirus, specifically CRISPR-based assays
• Bioinformatic approaches in COVID-19 patient data analysis and viral mutation analysis
• Use of big data and artificial intelligence in the management of COVID-19, and drug development
• Impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of standard pharmaceuticals and development of experimental pharmaceuticals for immune compromised patients including those with cancer
• Biomaterials and drug delivery systems for COVID-19 therapeutics
• Recombinant proteins and RNA therapeutics for COVID-19
• Adaptive trials in quest for effective therapies for COVID-19.
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***Due to the exceptional nature of the COVID-19 situation, Frontiers is waiving all article publishing charges for COVID-19 related research.***
Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, detection, pathophysiology, molecular mechanism, treatment, drugs, therapies, susceptibility, critical, patient, data, pandemic