QBI and Director Krogan’s COVID and infectious disease efforts continue to make waves

A study led by the labs of Nevan Krogan, PhD, director of the School’s Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) and senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes, was published online in CELL, reporting breakthrough findings on convergent evolutionary mechanisms shared by COVID-19 variants that allow them to overcome both adaptive and innate immune system barriers.

The breakthrough is the result of a collaborative effort involving 16 institutions in six countries. As detailed in two papers, scientists carried out an unprecedented, systematic comparative study using the most infectious COVID-19 variants to identify specific viral mutations responsible for hijacking a common host pathway, thereby leading to increased transmissibility, infectivity, and survival.

Krogan also received special recognition as the recipient of the first-ever Discovery | Innovation | Health Prize from Research!America for his “trailblazing efforts to address future pandemic threats.” The award acknowledges his approach to building global collaborations in advance of future health threats as a preemptive strategy to protect human life, health, and opportunity and includes a $200,000 prize, intended to provide support for his vision for progress against pandemic threats.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see new mutations and strains of SARS-CoV-2 despite innovations in new vaccines,” said Krogan. “With our additional research across SARS-CoV-2 variants, we now see this as a crucial finding that, if targeted effectively, could be turned into a significant vulnerability for this virus, which also has important implications for management of future pandemics.”

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School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, BMI, QBC, CCB, PSPG, Bioinformatics, Biophysics

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.