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The University of Southampton
Medicine

Research project: Drug therapies that can up or downregulate ACE2 receptors in COVID-19 infection: A systematic review

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To review the existing evidence on drug therapies prescribed in the UK that could alter ACE2 regulation and potentially promote or prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Purpose: The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes the covid-19 infection is a global public health emergency. It has affected 190 countries with nearly 50 000 confirmed deaths. In the absence of vaccination and the need for timely treatment, there is growing interest in repurposing existing drug therapies for mitigation. In particular, drugs affecting the Renin-Angiotensin System (RAS) have been highlighted as potential candidates for investigation. This is because the virus utilises and upregulates Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors within the RAS for entry into lung cells. Lower ACE2 in cell membranes could theoretically lower the virus’s ability to penetrate the lungs, while higher ACE2 could make viral transmission into the lungs easier. Many existing drug therapies are known to mediate their effects through the RAS pathway and could, in turn, impact ACE2 regulation, but their role in the covid-19 pandemic has not yet been examined.

Aim: To review the existing evidence on drug therapies prescribed in the UK that could alter ACE2 regulation and potentially promote or prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Methods: We will search for previously published or unpublished works in animals or humans that have studied drugs in relation to ACE2 receptors. We will bring this information together, examine the quality of the evidence and summarise it to generate a list of all potential drugs that could be relevant to coronavirus.

Implication: Understanding which drugs may be important will allow us to then model their potential effects or test them in a covid-19 infected population.

Lead Investigator: Hajira Dambha-Miller

Duration: April 2020 - November 2020

Research group: Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education

Affiliated research group: Primary Care group

Related research groups

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education
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