September 30, 2020

New study to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in patients with acute kidney injury

Maria Blasi, PhD, in collaboration with Duke's Bryan Kraft, MD and Christina Wyatt, MD have started a new COVID-19 study looking for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in urine samples of patients with acute kidney injury.

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an important complication of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), affecting more than a third of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and up to 90% of those requiring mechanical ventilation. Possible contributors to AKI in patients with COVID-19 include systemic inflammation and cytokine release, hemodynamic compromise, and intravascular coagulation. Additionally, several reports have suggested the presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral particles or viral RNA in the kidney tissue of patients who died from COVID-19, suggesting a potential role for local viral infection in the kidney.

The primary goal of the study will be to characterize the role of local viral infection and viral genomics in COVID-19-related kidney injury. Dr. Blasi and team will isolate and genetically characterize SARS-CoV-2 in urine samples from patients with COVID-19 and explore the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 infection of renal cells and clinical evidence of AKI or other kidney manifestations. These studies may inform the design of antiviral and adjunctive therapies for SARS-CoV-2 infection.