Research continues at VUMC into the causes, treatment and prevention of COVID-19. See below to learn more about basic/translational, clinical/interventional and population health research now in progress.
Are you conducting COVID-19 research at Vanderbilt? Please use this brief survey to tell us about your ongoing basic, clinical and/or population sciences research efforts related to SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19: https://redcap.link/COVID19Research
Recent Research Highlights
- Resources for enhancing community engagement and health equity in clinical research are available through the Office of Health Equity and VICTR, including a variety of training modules developed by Community Engaged Research Core (CERC) faculty, staff and community partners specifically for academic researchers.
May 14, 2020: The Front Lines: Vanderbilt physicians, researchers join worldwide fight against COVID-19
May 5, 2020, From Science: The race is on for antibodies that stop the new coronavirus
Research conducted at VUMC into the causes, treatment and prevention of COVID-19
Mark Denison, Andrea Pruijssers, and team (Pediatrics Infectious Disease) contributing to development and characterization of COVID-19 vaccines and antiviral therapies, including remdesivir and EIDD-2801, a new oral bioavailable drug for treatment of COVID-19
Publications & Funding
- Published in New England Journal of Medicine: An mRNA Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 — Preliminary Report
- Published in Science Translational Medicine: An orally bioavailable broad-spectrum antiviral inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in human airway epithelial cell cultures and multiple coronaviruses in mice
- Published in Cell Reports: Remdesivir inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in human lung cells and chimeric SARS-CoV expressing the SARS-CoV-2 RNA polymerase in mice
- Funded by NIAID, the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund, and a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Program Award
- VUMC Reporter: VUMC studies provide key positive results for COVID-19 vaccine in early-stage clinical trial
- VUMC Reporter: VUMC team aids development of potential antiviral drug for COVID-19
- VUMC Reporter: New study supports remdesivir as COVID-19 treatment
- New York Times: How Remdesivir, New Hope for Covid-19 Patients, Was Resurrected
James Crowe, Robert Carnahan, and team (Vanderbilt Vaccine Center), studying human monoclonal antibodies for prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection
Publications & Funding
- Published in Nature: Potently neutralizing and protective human antibodies against SARS-CoV-2
- Funded by DARPA, NIAID, and the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund at Vanderbilt
- VUMC Reporter: Antibody research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center shows promise in fight against COVID-19
- VUMC Reporter: Researchers developing potential coronavirus antibody therapies
- VUMC Reporter: Vanderbilt University Medical Center and AstraZeneca join forces to identify potential COVID-19 treatments
- VUMC Reporter: Vanderbilt, AstraZeneca collaborate on new COVID-19 antibody research
- VUMC CTTC: VUMC and IDBiologics Ally in Race to Develop Breakthrough Medicines for COVID-19
- Human Vaccines Project Global COVID-19 Lab Meeting: Human MAbs for SARS-CoV-2
Interdisciplinary team of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty is innovating to develop open-source ventilator design
Justin Balko (Medicine), with co-PIs Suman Das (Medicine) and Jonathan Schmitz (Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology), leads in-house development of a high-throughput-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test for COVID-19 antibodies
VUMC joins international COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative to share resources that advance genetics research. Participating Vanderbilt researchers include Nancy Cox (Medicine), Jennifer “Piper” Below (Medicine), Lea Davis (Medicine), Simon Mallal (Medicine), Elizabeth Phillips (Medicine).
Josh Peterson (Biomedical Informatics) and Lisa Bastarache (Biomedical Informatics) developing COVID-19 patient registry from electronic health records as a foundational resource for the Initiative and other studies.
- VUMC Reporter: VUMC joins global effort to explore COVID-19 genetics and VUMC team creates COVID-19 research registry
Jonathan Kropski (Medicine) and Jennifer Sucre (Pediatrics) collaborate with investigators of the Human Cell Atlas Lung Biological Network to use single-cell genomic approaches to determine mechanisms regulating susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2
- Published in Nature Medicine: SARS-CoV-2 entry factors are highly expressed in nasal epithelial cells together with innate immune genes
- Published in Cell: SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 is an interferon-stimulated gene in human airway epithelial cells and is detected in specific cell subsets across tissues
- Published in bioRxiv pre-print: Integrated analyses of single-cell atlases reveal age, gender, and smoking status associations with cell type-specific expression of mediators of SARS-CoV-2 viral entry and highlights inflammatory programs in putative target cells
- Published in bioRxiv pre-print: Age-related expression of SARS-CoV-2 priming protease TMPRSS2 in the developing lung
- Funded by NHLBI
Wes Ely and the VUMC Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS) Center collaborators study the cognitive function and physical outcomes of COVID-19 survivors to unravel the relationship between COVID-19 and long-term health. Learn more about all CIBS studies and their extensive press coverage here.
- BRAIN-2: National study in which deceased patients’ families are consenting to provide a priceless donation to science to study COVID-19 effect on the brain
- Funded by NIH-NIA
Meghan Kapp (Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology), Manus Donahue (Radiology and Radiological Sciences), and colleagues deploy imaging and diagnostic pathology to determine how SARS-CoV-2 affects the heart
Isaac Thomsen (Pediatrics) and Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program colleagues have developed a liquid bead-based assay for the quantification of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies following COVID-19 disease. Now using the assay to investigate whether severity of COVID-19 disease correlates with antibody titers, and working with the Mark Denison lab to determine the amount of antibody required to neutralize the virus.
- Funded by Hays Foundation
Ivelin Georgiev (Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology) developing antibody-based therapeutics and vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2 infection
- Funded by Hays Foundation and Fast Grants (Fast Funding for COVID-19 Science program)
Eric Gamazon (Medicine) joins international collaboration to conduct the largest genetic study of 179 host proteins that interact with SARS-CoV-2 or are involved in host response to COVID-19. The team identified >200 genetic variants that can inform genetics-driven drug discovery or drug repurposing initiatives to target COVID-19, or that can be used to study why only certain individuals suffer from adverse effects and complications.
- Genomic and proteomic study data from over 10,000 individuals are freely available to researchers: https://omicscience.org/apps/covidpgwas/
- Published in bioRxiv pre-print: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.01.182709v1
- Funded by NIH (NHGRI and NIA), Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
View list of COVID-19 IRB Approved Clinical & Translational Research Projects (login required)
Buddy Creech (Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program) leads clinical trials for evaluation of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Currently underway are a phase-3 clinical trial of Moderna Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine and a trial to treat COVID-19 inpatients with remdesivir.
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial
- VUMC Reporter: Vanderbilt University Medical Center to recruit up to 1,000 volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine Trial
- More about the vaccine: VUMC studies provide key positive results for COVID-19 vaccine in early-stage clinical trial
- Funded by NIAID
Remdesivir Clinical Trial
- Published in New England J. Medicine: Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report
- NCT04280705 on ClinicalTrials.gov
- VUMC Reporter: Vanderbilt investigators encouraged by early results of placebo-controlled remdesivir trial
- Funded by NIAID
Wesley Self (Emergency Medicine) partners with Massachusetts General Hospital on clinical trial recruiting inpatients for treatment with hydroxychloroquine
- NCT04332991 on ClinicalTrials.gov
- VUMC Reporter: Study launched to test hydroxychloroquine as treatment for COVID-19
- Update from VUMC Reporter: Study has stopped enrollment based on analysis showing no evidence of benefit or harm.
- Funded by NHLBI
Ingrid Mayer, Justin Balko and Brian Rini (Medicine) are collaborating with University of Minnesota on a national trial testing HCQ or placebo in high risk (pre-exposure) health care workers. This includes a substudy for collection of blood-based correlatives on ~300 health care workers for seroconversion studies.
VUMC efforts in Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes (HERO) research program led by HERO steering committee co-chair Russell Rothman (Institute for Medicine and Public Health), and VUMC lead PI Sean Collins (Emergency Medicine)
- Details and enrollment information
- VUMC Reporter: Study aims to shield health workers from COVID-19 infection
- Funded by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
Allison Wheeler (Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology) and Todd Rice (Medicine) lead multi-stage Passive Immunity Trial of Nashville (PassItOn) study to collect and evaluate SARS-CoV-2 convalescent plasma as a treatment for patients with critical COVID-19 infections
- Learn more about donating convalescent plasma for the study
- NCT04362176 on ClinicalTrials.gov
- VUMC Reporter: VUMC seeks plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients
- Funded by the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund at Vanderbilt
Todd Rice (Medicine), Edward Qian (Medicine), Cheryl Gatto (VICTR, Biostatistics) and colleagues with the Learning Healthcare Initiative are evaluating the impact of patient positioning in the management of COVID-19. An ongoing, embedded, pragmatic trial focuses on encouraging patients with supplemental oxygen needs to self-prone with the goal of preventing an escalation in their respiratory support care.
Kyle Kimura (Otolaryngology) studies the impact of nasal saline irrigations on viral shedding/viral load and viral transmission, secondary bacterial load, and nasopharyngeal inflammation in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2
Todd Rice (Medicine) and team collaborating with Blade Therapeutics to evaluate the safety and antiviral activity of novel small molecule BLD-2660 in a Phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in hospitalized subjects with recently diagnosed COVID-19
- NCT04334460 on ClinicalTrials.gov
- Funded by Blade Therapeutics
Mayur Patel (Surgery) and Wes Ely (Medicine) investigate cognitive rehabilitation intervention for ICU survivors, including COVID-19 survivors, through Returning to Everyday Tasks Utilizing Rehabilitation Networks (RETURN) III study
- VUMC Reporter: Study to test cognitive rehab therapy for ICU survivors
- Funded by VA Merit Award
Wesley Self (Emergency Medicine) and collaborators are evaluating razuprotafib, a drug used to treat glaucoma, in a new randomized, investigational trial for the prevention and treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in adult patients with moderate to severe COVID-19.
- VUMC Reporter: Investigational glaucoma drug studied to prevent respiratory distress in COVID-19 patients
- Funded through an agreement with Aerpio Pharmaceuticals and Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium, part of the Military Infectious Disease Research Program
The Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) and RTI International, a non-profit clinical research organization based in North Carolina, have been named Administrative Coordinating Center (ACC) of a national effort to streamline the research response to life-threatening lung and heart problems caused by COVID-19. The ACC will ensure the efficient and effective operation of a COVID-19 Clinical Trials Platform with the goal to enable rapid and rigorous testing of potential treatments for the pulmonary and cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19.
- Supported by a one-year, $2.1-million federal grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- VUMC Reporter: VICTR named to key role to streamline COVID-19 research response
Department of Health Policy launches resources to inform COVID-19 response
- Public reports and advisory memos are available on the Health Policy website: Advisory Memos on the COVID-19 Response
- VUMC Reporter: New analysis finds association between masking requirements and slower growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations
Jeremy Warner (Medicine), Brian Rini (Medicine), Yu Shyr (Biostatistics), and Samuel Rubenstein (Medicine) launch the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19): https://ccc19.org/
- Published in The Lancet: Clinical impact of COVID-19 on patients with cancer (CCC19): a cohort study
- VUMC Reporter: Multinational consortium reports COVID-19 impact on cancer patients
- Funded by NCI and NCATS (for REDCap support)
- Published in Cancer Cell: The COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium: A Collaborative Effort to Understand the Effects of COVID-19 on Patients with Cancer
- Published in Cancer Discovery: Utilization of COVID-19 treatments and clinical outcomes among patients with cancer: A COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) cohort study
- NCT04354701 on ClinicalTrials.gov
- AACR blogpost: COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium Forms to Collect and Share Information
- ASCO Daily News: The Blind Leading the Blind: COVID-19, Cancer, and the Need for More Data
- VUMC Reporter: Initiative to explore COVID-19 outcomes in cancer patients
Tina Hartert (Medicine) leads nationwide Human Epidemiology and RespOnse to SARS-CoV-2 (HEROS) surveillance study to define the magnitude of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the US population
- NIH News Release: Study to determine incidence of novel coronavirus infection in U.S. children begins
- VUMC Reporter: Study to determine rate of novel coronavirus infection in U.S. children
- Funded by NIH NIAID
Daniel Byrne (Biostatistics) and team developing patient-level predictive models of COVID-19 diagnosis and prognosis to improve health outcomes
George Nelson (Medicine) and Chris Fiske (Medicine) lead multi-center collaborative in the southeastern US to describe clinical characteristics and outcomes in patients hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2
Miriam Lense (Otolaryngology) leads study of family well-being and music engagement during COVID-19
- Participate via survey at https://is.gd/MusicChildrenFamilies.
- Learn more on the Art Works blog
- Funded by National Endowment for the Arts
Hendrik Weitkamp (Pediatrics) teams up with Duke Clinical Institute to study pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and safety profile of understudied drugs administered to children under standard of care for treatment of COVID-19 and other conditions
- NCT04278404 on ClinicalTrials.gov
- NIH News Release: NIH-funded study to evaluate drugs prescribed to children with COVID-19
- Funded by NICHD
Robert Lentz (Medicine) and colleagues launch international COVIDBRONCH Initiative, an network of airway specialists formed to quickly share knowledge regarding the performance of airway procedures during the COVID‐19 pandemic
- Study 1: With Fabien Maldonado (Medicine), assessing COVID-19 transmission to healthcare workers. >1000 responses from 50 countries and 40 states. Participate here.
- Study 2: Global database describes bronchoscopy indications, outcomes, and adverse events in patients with known or suspected COVID-19. 100s of responses from >20 countries. Participate here.
- More about the COVIDBRONCH initiative: Medical information and social media in the time of COVID‐19
Wes Ely and the VUMC Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS) Center collaborators study the cognitive function and physical outcomes of COVID-19 survivors to unravel the relationship between COVID-19 and long-term health
- Jin Han serves as Principal Investigator of this national study to understand long-term cognitive function, PTSD, and depression in COVID-19 survivors
- VUMC Reporter: Study to explore how COVID affects cognition over time
- Funded by NIH-NIA
- ISOLATE-ICU: Impact of Solitude On Patients, Loved Ones And Healthcare Teams’ Experiences in the ICU
- National study of the effect of COVID-related isolation policies on patients, families, and healthcare providers in the ICU
- COVID-D: Delirium in Critically ill patients with SARS-COV-2 Infection
- Brenda Pun serves as American lead investigator on this international, 100-site retrospective study of the risk factors and epidemiology of delirium and coma in COVID-19 patients while admitted to the ICU. Study aims to report the prevalence of delirium at initial management in critical care, to report its morbidity and mortality and to identify prognostic factors.
- Science Magazine: For survivors of severe COVID-19, beating the virus is just the beginning
Justin Gregory (Pediatrics) teams up with Allison McCoy (Biomedical Informatics), Chris Slaughter (Biostatistics), Sara Duffus, Jordan Smith, Daniel Moore and Sarah Jaser (Pediatrics), and UCSD colleagues to quantify excess risk for adverse outcomes among patients with type 1 diabetes who have COVID-19
Brad Malin (Biomedical Informatics) and colleagues developing the first patient data sharing framework specifically keyed to dynamics of pandemics
- VUMC Reporter: Team to develop patient data sharing framework for pandemics
- Funded by National Science Foundation (NSF RAPID)
Leora Horn (Medicine) steers the global TERAVOLT consortium (Thoracic cancERs international coVid 19 cOLloboraTion) to study long-term outcomes of thoracic cancer patients sickened by COVID-19
- Published in Lancet Oncology: COVID-19 in patients with thoracic malignancies (TERAVOLT): first results of an international, registry-based, cohort study
- Published in Cancer Cell: TERAVOLT: Thoracic Cancers International COVID-19 Collaboration
- VUMC Reporter: ASCO press program highlights COVID-19 outcomes in lung cancer patients
- VUMC Reporter: TERAVOLT registry tracks outcomes of treatments among people with thoracic cancers sickened by COVID-19
Ryan Hsi (Urology) leads study to understand the experiences of patients with kidney stone disease during the COVID-19 pandemic
Consuelo Wilkins (Medicine) with colleagues Elisa Friedman (Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance), Sunil Kripalani (Medicine), and others across VUMC, are working to disaggregate data by primary language – as well as race, ethnicity, ZIP code and insurance status – of those who received COVID-19 tests at VUMC and tested positive. Early data illustrates the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on racial or ethnic communities.
- Published in Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law: Equitable Pandemic Preparedness and Rapid Response: Lessons from COVID-19 for Pandemic Health Equity
Carlos Grijalva (Health Policy) and Keipp Talbot (Medicine) lead research team's "pivot" to examine the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within households in Nashville. The longitudinal study is one of the few in the US to examine coronavirus infections among close contacts.
- VUMC Reporter: New study examines coronavirus transmission within households
- Funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Wesley Self and Bo Stubblefield (Emergency Medicine) lead IVY Research Network epidemiology studies of COVID-19 in health care workers and patients. Early findings show that nearly half of healthcare workers positive for COVID-19 antibodies reported having no symptoms, and more than half of COVID-19 patients could not identify prior close contact with a person known to have COVID-19.
- VUMC Reporter: About half of health care workers positive for COVID-19 by serology have no symptoms
- Published in Clinical Infectious Diseases: https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa936/5868028
- Published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6926e3.htm?s_cid=mm6926e3_w
- Funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Adam Wright (Biomedical Informatics) and Shriji Patel (Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences) lead research efforts to identify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine healthcare screening and treatment
- VUMC Reporter: Study finds patients defer routine health care during pandemic
- Published in General Internal Medicine: The Invisible Epidemic: Neglected Chronic Disease Management During COVID-19
- Published in NEJM Catalyst: Critical Insights from Patients during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Stephen Patrick (Pediatrics) and Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy colleagues study how COVID-19 is affecting the health, well-being, and food security of U.S. families with children
VUMC's many shared resources and facilities are available to support COVID-19 research and other needs
Users of core facilities/shared resources should contact the facility manager in advance to plan for core-specific guidance and restrictions regarding any COVID-19 adjustments to operations
Shared resources enabled by VICTR and the CRC:
- Staff trained to join float pool, as needed
- CRC CDRU rooms held open to allow COVID-19 patients, both research and clinical
- CRC facility is currently utilized for remdesivir (Former inpatients at 15, 29 day post-diagnosis visits)
Shared Resource News & Research Projects
Paul Harris (Biomedical Informatics) supports new technical tools and resources using REDCap, e-Consent for inpatient and outpatient trial recruitment
- VUMC Reporter: Many groups turning to REDCap for COVID-19 tracking
- VUMC Reporter: VUMC’s REDCap serves pandemic response around the world
Arna Banerjee (Anesthesiology) and the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment (CELA) deploy unique resources for training and innovation to support advanced COVID-19 patient care
- VUMC Reporter: VU engineers, VUMC doctors team for open-source ventilator design
- VUMC Voice: VUMC uses computerized mannequins to teach proper technique for caring for COVID patients
ACCRE (Vanderbilt’s Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education) powers COVID-19 research through the Open Science Grid
VISE (Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery & Engineering) faculty spearhead re-design of the intubation box to better capture aerosols