Menarini Silicon Biosystems, Bologna, Italy, is exploring the possible use of its proprietary CellSearch platform to study the progression of covid-19 disease—and potentially to identify patients who may be at risk of developing the most severe complications of the disease.

Fabio Piazzalunga, Menarini Silicon Biosystems.

Fabio Piazzalunga, Menarini Silicon Biosystems.

“In this global health crisis we are applying all our resources, in terms of technology and know-how, to provide to researchers and clinicians new instruments to better understand covid-19 pathogenesis,” says Fabio Piazzalunga, president of Menarini Silicon Biosystems.

When the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 infects the lungs, it targets both components of the lung epithelial-endothelial barrier, through a receptor called angiotensin‐converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The infection can damage the cells lining the inner surface of the blood vessels in the lungs, or the endothelium.

The damaged endothelium then may play a central role in amplifying and perpetuating the proinflammatory cascade that can lead to the most severe covid-19 complication, acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Studies have shown that a very specific and sensitive marker of endothelial damage in a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular events, is the number of endothelial cells that are circulating in the bloodstream. Menarini’s CellSearch technology is able to automatically capture and precisely count these circulating endothelial cells. As a result, the technology could represent an important tool for investigating the role of the damaged endothelium in covid-19 clinical manifestation.

For more information, visit Menarini Silicon Biosystems.