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In the recently published work in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Dr. Antoniak’s and Dr. Mackman’s groups from the UNC Blood Research Center show that SARS-CoV-2 encodes antimicrobial peptides (xenoAMPs) which can form proinflammatory complexes. These complexes induced a proinflammatory and procoagulant phenotype  in cells in vitro and in mice in vivo. The findings point to a potential explanation why COIVD19 is associated with severe cytokine storm and thrombosis. Interestingly, the highly active xenoAMPs are unique to SARS-CoV-2 and are not found in common cold coronaviruses. The study was initiated by Dr. Wong with Dr. Zhang as first author from the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California Los Angeles. Other contributors were from the UNC-CH, UCLA, UCSD, Havard Medical School, Stanford University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.


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