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αvβ6-Targeted Molecular PET/CT Imaging of the Lungs After SARS-CoV-2 Infection.

  • Author(s): Foster, Cameron C;
  • Davis, Ryan A;
  • Hausner, Sven H;
  • Sutcliffe, Julie L
  • et al.

The true impact and long-term damage to organs such as the lungs after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection remain to be determined. Noninvasive molecularly targeted imaging may play a critical role in aiding visualization and understanding of the systemic damage. We have identified αvβ6 as a molecular target; an epithelium-specific cell surface receptor that is low or undetectable in healthy adult epithelium but upregulated in select injured tissues, including fibrotic lung. Herein we report the first human PET/CT images using the integrin αvβ6-binding peptide (18F-αvβ6-BP) in a patient 2 mo after the acute phase of infection. Minimal uptake of 18F-αvβ6-BP was noted in normal lung parenchyma, with uptake being elevated in areas corresponding to opacities on CT. This case suggests that 18F-αvβ6-BP PET/CT is a promising noninvasive approach to identify the presence and potentially monitor the persistence and progression of lung damage.

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