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miR-451a as a possible biomarker of severity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Grant number: 21/12387-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2022
Effective date (End): March 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Pharmacy
Principal Investigator:Patricia Moriel
Grantee:Carolini Motta Neri
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCF). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the agent responsible for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), has become the latest worldwide emergency. The dysregulated expression of some microRNAs (miRNAs) can, for example, modulate the transcription and translation of genes related to immunomodulatory factors that may inhibit or potentiate the inflammatory response, which is quite pronounced in severe cases of COVID-19. Thus, these small RNA molecules could serve as potential biomarkers, offering promising diagnostic value and prediction of severity of the inflammatory response. The identification of more sensitive and specific biomarkers of COVID-19 severity will allow better control of itself in clinical practice and, consequently, improving treatment. An early recognition of which patient may have a more serious COVID-19 is important to guide better care for patients and to improve the treatment strategy. We conducted a scoping review titled Role of microRNAs as biomarkers of COVID-19: a scoping review of the status and future directions for research in this field (Biomarkers in Medicine journal) which showed that untilJune 2021, fifteen studies have been conducted in humans to identify possible miRNAs as diagnostic or severity biomarkers of COVID-19 and so far there are no studies that validate these or other miRNAs as COVID-19 biomarkers in larger cohorts. Therefore, the hypothesis of this project is that COVID-19 induces the differential expression of miR-451a depending on the severity of the disease and the present proposal aims to quantify miR-451a, a possible biomarker of severity of COVID-19, in the plasma of a larger group of patients and by Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) technique. This is an observational, analytical and retrospective study. Ninety patients who tested positive for COVID-19 will be included. Patients will be stratified by the severity of the disease (mild-moderate and severe-critical). The miRNAs will be extracted from plasma samples from 45 patients who presented mild-moderate disease and from samples from 45 patients who presented severe-critical disease. After that, complementary DNA (cDNA) and miR-451a quantification by RT-PCR will be performed. Finally, the expression of miR-451a will be related to the severity of the disease.

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