Anne Marie Singh, MD (Associate Professor, Division of Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology), along with Lisa Arkin, MD (Director of Pediatric Dermatology, Department of Dermatology), and a team of investigators from the University of Wisconsin and Medical College of Wisconsin, were recently awarded a one-year $125,000 grant for their project “Interferon Responses in COVID toes, the link to SARS-CoV-2 Infection” through the Wisconsin Partnership Program. In spring 2020, dermatologists worldwide observed an increase in the number of patients with reddish-purple blotches on their toes and suspected this observation suggested a link to COVID-19. These blotches resemble chilblains, a rare condition that occurs due to exposure to extreme cold, though they were appearing at uncommon times for chilblains. Appearance of chilblains typically signify a genetic disorder that also produces elevated levels of Type I interferons. Type I interferons are critical in the early response to viral infections, and patients with severe COVID-19 have been shown to have attenuated and delayed Type 1 interferon production, suggestion a link between these skin findings and increased levels of interferon early in COVID-19 infection. This project will seek to understand the role of interferon responses in dermatologic manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infection, ranging from mild disease (COVID toes) to severe disease (multisystem inflammatory disease in children, or MIS-C) in children. More information on this project can be found here.