GeNeuro and Northwestern University Engage in Research Collaboration on HERV-W ENV in Long-Haul COVID
The research aims to confirm the evidence for the expression of the human endogenous retrovirus W envelope protein (HERV-W ENV or W-ENV) in long-distance COVID patients, and to identify affected patients who may benefit from it. treatment with GeNeuro temelimab.
Northwestern University, Chicago, USA, is a pioneer in the comprehensive treatment of long-term COVID-19 symptomatology, including through its Neuro COVID-19 clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital led by Professor Igor Koralnik, MD, chief of Neuroinfectious Diseases and Global Neurology at Northwestern Medicine.
GENEVA, September 24, 2021– (BUSINESS WIRE) – GeNeuro (Paris: GNRO) (Euronext Paris: CH0308403085 – GNRO), a biopharmaceutical company developing new treatments for neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, today announced have entered into a research agreement with Northwestern University to further study the relationship between HERV-W ENV (W-ENV) and neuropsychiatric syndromes with long COVID.
Northwestern University is a pioneer in the comprehensive treatment of long-term COVID-19 symptomatology, having established a Neuro COVID-19 clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital as early as May 2020. This clinic, initiated and led by Professor Igor Koralnik, MD, Head of Neuro-infectious Diseases and Global Neurology at Northwestern Medicine, has provided personalized treatments to more than 800 patients to date who suffer from neurological complications from COVID-19.
The objective of the research agreement is to establish evidence for the expression of W-ENV at the transcriptional and protein level, in order to determine whether this protein may be a blood biomarker of the neurological complications of COVID in the long term. The pathogenic properties of W-ENV on cells of the neuronal system are well established, and its continued presence may provide a biological justification and a therapeutic lever for treating affected patients. Identifying the characteristics of patients who would be most likely to benefit from treatment with temelimab, an anti-W-ENV antibody, is a critical success factor in this new indication.
“At Northwestern, we’re committed to finding treatments for patients with long-haul COVID-19, and this research agreement will test an interesting hypothesis,” noted Prof Igor Koralnik, MD, head of neuro-infectious diseases and global neurology at Northwestern Medicine. “We will determine whether the continued and self-sustaining expression of W-ENV after the acute phase of the disease could be associated with some of the neurological and psychiatric symptoms experienced by long-distance COVID patients.. “
“We are delighted to work with Professor Koralnik and the Neuro COVID-19 Clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to validate W-ENV’s contribution to neuropsychiatric syndromes developed by long-distance COVID patients.,” noted Prof. David Leppert, Chief Medical Officer of GeNeuro. “Their leadership in the area of long-haul COVID will accelerate our understanding of this complex disease to identify patients most likely to benefit from treatment with temelimab.“
This research agreement complements the previously announced efforts in the long-haul COVID field that GeNeuro has launched in Europe with the FondaMental Foundation and the CIRI (International Center for Research in Infectiology, Lyon, France).
About W-ENV and COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to trigger W-ENV expression in the white blood cells of approximately 20% of healthy donors, suggesting a genetic and / or epigenetic susceptibility to the production of this pathogenic protein when it is produced. is exposed to the virus.
W-ENV expression was detected in lymphocytes from hospitalized COVID-19 patients, compared to none in healthy subjects, and the level of W-ENV was correlated with the severity of the disease course.
Post-mortem studies of COVID-19 patients have now shown that expression of W-ENV can be triggered in the brain, particularly on microglial cells as well as in the endothelial cells of cerebral blood vessels. Previously, expression of W-ENV in the brain had only been observed in patients who died of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, which corresponds to a role in long-term neurodegeneration. W-ENV is not found in the brain of other neurological controls, such as patients with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.
Analyzes of samples from the first pilot cohorts of patients with post-COVID depressive and cognitive symptoms showed that the W-ENV protein is still present at consistently detectable, and sometimes elevated, levels in the blood. This may allow early identification and treatment of patients who might benefit from anti-W-ENV therapy such as temelimab.
GeNeuro’s mission is to develop safe and effective treatments for neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, by neutralizing the causal factors encoded by HERVs, which make up 8% of human DNA. .
GeNeuro is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and has R&D facilities in Lyon, France. It holds rights to 17 patent families protecting its technology.
For more information, visit: www.geneuro.com
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