New findings may help explain risk of COVID in asthma

Despite initial concerns that individuals with asthma would be highly susceptible to COVID-19, most studies show no clear increase in risk. We now report that stimulation of human bronchial epithelial cells with the central asthma mediator IL-13 inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection of these cells. Research scientist Luke Bonser, Ph.D. joined colleagues in the Erle lab and collaborators in the UCSF CoLabs BSL3 facility, the Genomics CoLab, and the UCSF Asthma Clinical Research Center to study the effects of IL-13 on SARS-CoV-2 infection in cultured cells and identify IL-13-induced gene expression changes that may contribute to its effects on infection.