The new coronavirus continues to spread across the world and many LifeTimers are channeling their efforts into fighting the disease. With infectious diseases already featuring prominently in the LifeTime Science and Technology Roadmap, LifeTime has assembled a core task force to identify appropriate short-term and long-term measures to study the disease within the scope of the initiative.

For this purpose, the LifeTime community has also reached out to additional virologists and colleagues from the infectious diseases field  who are currently working at the frontline to combat the disease. The measures identified in the LifeTime task force are summarized below:

Facilitate and coordinate communication, together with other initiatives, between scientists/clinicians involved in mitigating the current crisis, provide community with a registry of relevant knowledge, resources, and other capabilities as well as on-going research activities.

  • LifeTime will facilitate coordination and harmonisation of sample collection, clinical data records, sample processing, research protocols as well as data analysis and management at the European level. 
  • Identification of biomarkers based on single-cell analysis of patient samples using available and scalable technologies. 
  • Use of biomarkers for patient stratification, testing available immunotherapies and repurposing of drugs.

This activity is coordinated by Giuseppe Testa and his colleagues at European Institute of Oncology in Milan, in partnership with HumanTechnopole​ and University of Milan.

Implement the LifeTime Roadmap in infectious diseases to study COVID-19. The work plan is in its final revision steps and will be available soon and specifically include COVID-19 as a use case.

Specific aspects include:

  • Develop and integrate novel single-cell modalities, machine learning technologies and patients derived disease models to understand immune response to infection.         
  • Identify single-cell multi-omic based biomarkers for cellular immunopathology and patient stratification
  • Develop new immunotherapy concepts for infections: based on single cell resolution of patient disease trajectories
  • Find novel approaches to improve vaccination efficacy in patients at risk (e.g. elderly, immunosuppressed), including using novel controlled models of human infection

Human Cell Atlas (HCA) and LifeTime are joining efforts to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we are creating a common framework for openly sharing knowledge, tools, data, and other resources. This aims to enable in-depth analyses of the SARS-CoV-2 virus effect on the human body and help contribute to the identification of possible solutions to mitigate the current health crisis. 

The current coronavirus pandemic demonstrates in an alarming way how important it is to understand and prepare for the fight against infectious diseases. As this is an integral part of the LifeTime roadmap, we want to share with you the thoughts and recommendations of leading experts from LifeTime. We learn from today so we can be prepared for tomorrow!