Predicting and Preventing COVID-19: 1 million euros for Corona Research

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has quickly turned into global a pandemic and is a complex disease with a wide range of moderate, severe and critical symptoms. Where most COVID-19 patients only have mild or moderate symptoms, a group of patients (27,6%; from 38416 reported patients in the Netherlands, April 27 2020) develops severe to critical symptoms requiring hospitalization and assisted respiration.

Why do some people react so much stronger to Covid-19 than others? Can we predict who will become critically ill from Covid-19? How should these patients be treated? A diverse consortium of universities, academic hospitals and industrial partners, including Danone Research & Innovation, is looking to answer these questions. They will receive a 1 million euro grant from Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (Health~Holland) for their research. 

The consortium focuses on metabolomics research. Metabolomics is the technology that enables systematic analyses of metabolites in a biological system. With this approach hundreds of  human and microbial metabolites are measured simultaneously in biological samples with the goal of identifying metabolic pathways that are activated or deactivated in health or disease. These metabolic fingerprints provide a good picture of a person’s current health. The insights from these fingerprints can be used to develop tailor-made diagnostics or personalized treatments of diseases, such as dementia, heart or liver failure and potentially Covid-19.

Better care
This project will address the urgent need to find prognostic biomarkers and pharmaceutical and nutritional strategies.
Metabolic profiling of COVID-19 patients will shed new light on the mechanisms underlying COVID-19 progression and aims to deliver clinically relevant prevention and treatment strategies for defined groups of patients.

“In this project, Danone Research & Innovation will bring a deep understanding on the role of nutrition and the type of feeding (parenteral or enteral) for hospitalized or critically ill patients, as well as the impact on their gut microbiome and immune status. Through unique initiatives like this, we can make a significant contribution to the key health challenge facing the world right now,” concludes Dr. Guus Roeselers (Senior Team Leader Gut Microbiology) at Danone Research & Innovation.