Eric Verdin, MD

President and CEO, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Recorded: Wednesday, April 15th

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Join Eric Verdin, live Wednesday, April 15th, as he shares his perspective on how to think about, deal with, and potentially treat the COVID-19 pandemic.

President and CEO of the Buck since November 2016, Eric was previously associate director and senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology and has held faculty positions at the University of Brussels, the National Institutes of Health, and the Picower Institute for Medical Research.

Eric is also currently a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. A native of Belgium, he earned his MD from the University of Liege and completed additional training at Harvard Medical School.

The Verdin lab focuses on how nutrition modulates immune system aging. In response to the current pandemic, the lab is now researching the over-active innate immune response implicated in many deaths from COVID-19. Eric is leading an international collaborative team which is investigating the role of metabolism and evaluating 69 potential drugs that act on molecular targets of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The Buck wants to understand the biology at play in the virus’s host organism – humans.

–Eric Verdin

Help shape the upcoming conversation.

In his session, Dr. Verdin will respond to the questions registered attendees sent in through this page, in the live discussion and social media.

  • 17

    votes

    Why does this virus hit the lungs so severely? (is there anything I can do now to get them in shape?)

  • 12

    votes

    I’ve heard that 80% of vaccines fail in older adults. Assuming that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be developed, will it be helpful for those who need it most?

  • 9

    votes

    It has been widely reported that older people die from Covid-19 at a higher rate than younger people–Italy was cited as a country with one of the highest average ages in the world, which “explains” why Italy suffered a very high death rate with Covid-19, media have reported. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard an explanation: what exactly are the reasons that older people have a tougher time surviving Covid-19? Have you learned anything from Covid-19 patients over 60, 70, 80 years old who got the disease and survived?

  • 8

    votes

    Question: do you have any research going on that isolates why African Americans and Hispanics have twice the obesity that whites do and why they have much less vitamin D than whites do, both of which seem to be contributors to the much higher rate of mortality of African Americans and Hispanics.

  • 8

    votes

    How might metabolism aging affect drug efficacy and how will experimental models account for this?

  • 6

    votes

    Some research suggest that the TLR8 gene (rs3764880) risk allele (A) may increase risk of fatality from COVID-19. This gene is found on the X chromosome (https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/why-some-covid-19-cases-are-worse-than-others-67160). What do you have to share about how genetic risk is involved with severity and/or mortality of COVID-19? Thank you for your valuable time in offering your insights with this presentation; it is much appreciated!

  • 6

    votes

    What do you think about the role of senescent cells on the infection by coronavirus. could be a possible therapy against coronavirus the senolytics drugs?

  • 5

    votes

    How did covid go from a disease transmitted by eating wild animals to one transmitted through the air and not by eating infected food?

  • 4

    votes

    Should we take any lessons from HIV/AIDS epidemic in fighting SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19? E.g. do you think we have a better chance with antivirals or will we (unlike in the HIV case) took control of the pandemic with finding a vaccine?

  • 4

    votes

    What would be a conservative length of time for someone who may have been exposed to the virus to quarantine before rejoining his family in isolation?

  • 4

    votes

    The publication coming out of UCSF, which is being led by Dr. Nevan Krogan, has identified a catalogue of human proteins with which proteins of SARS-CoV-2 interact. Prohibiting these interactions could result in novel drugs stalling the viral replication. Do you favor any of the identified interactions?

  • 4

    votes

    When do you estimate there will be 0 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the SF Bay Area? 14 days after 0 new COVID-19 cases have been reported, does it make sense to relax restrictions and reopen businesses in the SF Bay Area?

  • 3

    votes

    How would Coronavirus affect teenagers in good health, what are the risks for them?

  • 3

    votes

    COVID-19 started relatively early in the SF Bay Area. While the curve is flattening here, the rest of the country and other parts of the world are in the early part of the curve. Why aren’t all airports closed, with the only exception of absolute medical emergencies?

  • 3

    votes

    Do you see promise in wide spread antibody testing? What is the most recent science discovery about degree and time of immunity? Is it possible to sign up as a participant in vaccine or antibody clinical trials?

  • 2

    votes

    How is Covid19 and MRSA related? Is it possible to be misdiagnosed with MRSA

  • 2

    votes

    Given the rapid,societal changes in the wake of the pandemic (I have in mind the rising blend of corporate forces and right-wing governments), what gives you hope in the coronavirus crisis? How much could the scientific community contribute to a more positive outcome of current global trends? Do you think finding a cure or vaccine will put us on a path ‘back to normal’, or will political reality be such that COVID-19 is this era’s 9/11?

  • 2

    votes

    Covid19 causes fibrosis of the lung. T3 Thyroid hormone produced by the Liver is known to reverse fibrosis of lung tissue and other tissues. To ensure the Liver produces enough T3 to prevent or reverse fibrosis it’s imperative that the Liver is not depleted of Glycogen. My question is : Isn’t it important that we include sucrose in our diet to keep our Liver’s Glycogen at optimal level to prevent to reverse fibrosis caused by Covid19?

  • 1

    votes

    As a compromised immune system (whether health or age-related), is the Achilles Heel of the fight against COVID-19, would it make sense to encourage enhancing health on a cellular level. By attempting to enhance mitochondrial health thru promising nutraceuticals such as , for instance, Nicotinamide mononucleotide, Resveratrol and alike?

  • 1

    votes

    What is the status on antibody testing? May have had virus in Vietnam in January. If yes, would my antibodies be helpful to others?

  • 1

    votes

    Why is China reluctant to giving us samples of the CV virus. What are they protecting or hiding ?

  • 1

    votes

    Those of us who are active and in our 60s already face a challenge finding part time work. As we reopen California, how will this new environment impact our initiative to find a place that can utilize our corporate experience and wisdom on a part-time basis?

  • 1

    votes

    Can C19 overpower it’s ability to infect the body above all immunity levels regardless of how fit and healthy you are. It is unstoppable?

  • 1

    votes

    Can you address false negatives test results? There seem to be a considerable amount of them.

  • 1

    votes

    If one were a super-spreader – or asymptomatic – how long would they be able to spread the virus? Would that person also follow a normal time period for an ability to shed the virus?

  • 1

    votes

    The recent studies show that this virus has origin from bats, and possibly entered the mammalian species by the oral route. Eating bats would enable the virus to enter the gut, and since there are some ACE2 receptors in the intestine as well, it might have bound them and infected. How do think it entered the lungs in the first place? Would it be through the blood, to the pulmonary circulation directly, and further spread through droplets?

  • 1

    votes

    A handful of young people with no pre-existing health conditions have died from COVID-19. Why is the immune response in 18-24 year olds so unpredictable/severe?

  • 1

    votes

    does this virus spark any chemical reactions in the body once it finds a host to infect? does it create any reactions with the brain that may or may not be seen in physical appearance or in scans?

  • 1

    votes

    Hi,

    This question may be bit too specific for this forum or for the expertise those who are conducting it. However, I am interested in any initial research, which indicates a comparison/correlation between BCG vaccination vs. BCG intravesical instillation for BCan, in regard to any protection/mediation of symptoms/mortality from viruses (including Covid19).
    While vaccination benefits are systemic, instillation benefits are generally topical to endothelium.

    However, with a 5 day ‘assumed’ systemic illness from BCG instillation involving 104° fever, chills, and total body muscular ache, I am curious if, ANY systemic viral antibodies might have been produced and remain present.

  • 1

    votes

    What medications we are currently taking may be problematical or helpful for COVID-19 avoidance?

  • 1

    votes

    Can you please comment on the role that surfactant plays in the lungs and how Covid-19 creates such an issue with it?

  • 1

    votes

    Hi Eric. Thanks for doing this. When do you think is an ideal time for intervention to manage the cytokine storm in moderate and severe cases of ARDS caused by SARS-CoV-2? Are there any drugs in the clinic that you think look promising to engage the inflammatory response?

  • 1

    votes

    I’m almost 60 years old and Covid19 causes fibrosis of the lung. T3 Thyroid hormone produced by the Liver is known to reverse fibrosis of lung tissue and other tissues. To ensure the Liver produces enough T3 to prevent or reverse fibrosis it’s imperative that the Liver is not depleted of Glycogen. My question is : Isn’t it important that we include sucrose in our diet to keep our Liver’s Glycogen at optimal level to prevent or reverse fibrosis caused by Covid19 and age related disease?

  • 0

    votes

    Are autopsies being performed on those people that died with COVID 19? And maybe even a DNA test to narrow down the populations that could potentially have a poor outcome if becoming infected?

  • 0

    votes

    why is this virus smaller than any other virus and what is it’s origin?

  • 0

    votes

    In 1902 the plague escaped from San Francisco into the squirrel population and continues to be a problem in the Sierras. What animal vector might pose a risk for continuing transmission in decades to come?

  • 0

    votes

    Does it can adversely affect people with myasthenia gravis who have underwent thymectomy because the person is immunocompromised. Does these people are at high risk of having complication from virus

  • 0

    votes

    I have heard that there are often HARMFUL ingredients in vaccines. Do you know about that?

  • 0

    votes

    Please weigh in on the plethora of discussion around the fact that ending pandemic will only happen when vaccine is widely available.

  • 0

    votes

    Re immunotherapy/anti-inflammatory therapies: what do you think of anti-IL6 treatments?

  • 0

    votes

    Can you address in condensed form facts and myths about this virus.

  • 0

    votes

    I heard that if you got sick sometime during late November going into December of last year, there’s a chance that you’ve already had the virus. Is that true?