Experts from the Department of Global Health are spearheading research projects to help stop the spread of COVID-19

As the world's leading global health experts turn their attention to the coronavirus, Department of Global Health researchers are conducting groundbreaking research into prevention, home-testing, how the virus affects pregnancies, modeling, and more.

How widespread is mask-wearing in Washington? UW study aims to find out, starting with King County (includes Judith Wasserheit and Brandon Guthrie) 

With novel coronavirus infections soaring to their highest levels since the pandemic started, researchers at the University of Washington are conducting the first systematic survey of mask usage in the state. Starting this week in King County, they hope to identify the types of public settings where inconsistent mask-wearing could be contributing to the ongoing explosion of cases. They also want to find out which groups of people, by age and gender, are more or less likely to take the mask mandate seriously.

Pfizer Coronavirus vaccine could be cleared by mid-December following release of data showing it is more than 90 percent effective (quotes Beth Bell)

The agency has said it will convene its outside advisory committee to consider each vaccine application; a meeting on the Pfizer vaccine could occur in early December, with the agency making a final decision days or weeks afterward. If the vaccine is cleared by the FDA, an advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — is expected to hold a public meeting within 24 to 48 hours to vote on how the vaccine should be used and who should get the first shots.

Evidence related to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic

A small number of well documented outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 in schools and overnight camps have demonstrated the potential for widespread transmission among school-age children, but successful examples of the application of coordinated control measures in schools and other large gatherings of children without widespread transmission indicates that it may be possible to reduce the risk of school-based transmission, particularly when rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection are relatively low in the community.

Researchers recruiting patients for regeneron antibody trial (includes Ruanne Barnabas)

Researchers at UW Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are jointly testing monoclonal antibodies created by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to prevent COVID-19. The prevention trial is recruiting 2,000 people at more than 100 sites across the United States.


Baseline T cell signatures predict clinical outcomes of SARS-CoV infection (includes Jennifer Lund) 


A new study looks at identifying baseline immune predictors in humans to help identify individuals at high risk of severe clinical outcomes upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, and thus allow them to benefit from the best clinical interventions available to mitigate infection and disease. 

UW team developing model to help lower COVID-19 infections in King County, guide eventual vaccine distribution (includes Judy Wasserheit and Jennifer Ross)

Policymakers continue to have uncertainties on how to answer important questions about the novel coronavirus — such as when and how to reopen businesses and schools, and how to distribute a vaccine once one becomes available. Now a UW team has received a grant to develop a model that uses local data to generate policy recommendations that could help lower COVID-19 infections in King County.

COVID-19 vaccine has hefty response in nonhuman primates 

A single dose induced antibodies in young and old animal models. The vaccine's design has advantages of safety, cost, scalability, and storage. The vaccine candidate has several advantages, says Deborah Fuller, the microbiologist whose UW Medicine lab has been the site of its development.

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Summary of School Re-Opening Models and Implementation
Approaches During the COVID 19 Pandemic

This report offers a brief summary of the models and implementation approaches to re-opening schools that focuses on the approaches  used in 15 countries for which we were able to identify data. (Compiled by the COVID-19 Literature Report Team co-led by Brandon Guthrie and Jennifer Ross)

Researchers Enrolling COVID-19 Patients for Treatment Trial

The International Clinical Research Center (ICRC) and University of Washington Department of Global Health is seeking people who have tested positive for COVID-19 for a controlled trial. The trial is looking at the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine with and without azithromycin. Christine Johnston of ICRC is a co-principal investigator.


Researchers Enrolling Those Recently Around Someone with COVID-19 for Prevention Trial 

A multi-site clinical trial, led by the University of Washington Department of Global Health/International Clinical Research Center (ICRC) in collaboration with NYU Grossman School of Medicine, aims to definitively determine whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent transmission in people exposed to the virus.


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Senior Community Protected in 'Outbreak That Didn't Happen'

Newly reported research findings may help in detecting and preventing the spread of COVID19 at independent and assisted living community for senior adults. One of the valuable lessons from the study at an affected retirement center in Seattle: Health-professionals should not rely solely on symptoms to determine if an older adult should receive a lab test for the coronavirus. This study was led by Alison Roxby, DGH Assistant Professor.

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Can Pets Get COVID-19?

With reports of animals around the world contracting coronavirus, researchers are recruiting people who have tested positive, and their pets, for a new pilot study. This study is led by Peter Rabinowitz, professor in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and the Department of Global Health.

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Study Shows Link Between COVID-19 and Heart Issues, Poor Outcomes for Patients on Ventilators

A University of Washington study provides some of the first details of 21 critically ill patients with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States, most of whom were linked to exposures at a nursing home at the center of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak. Matt Arentz, a DGH doctoral student, led this study.

Analysis of a SARS-CoV-2 infected individual reveals development of potent neutralizing antibodies to distinct epitopes with limited somatic mutation

Antibody responses develop following SARS-CoV-2 infection, but little is known about their epitope specificities, clonality, binding affinities, epitopes and neutralizing activity. Global Health faculty Leo Stamatatos and Helen Chu are authors on this study, published in Immunity.


Global Health Professor Receives Grant to Develop Antigen-Based COVID-19 Test

With a new grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Health professor Paul Drain will lead a study to develop an antigen-based COVID-19 test. This test can be used in either community-based or resource-limited settings, and the study will also evaluate several point-of-care diagnostic tests that may also help to expand COVID-19 testing.


Studies Show that COVID-19 Can Spread Quickly in Homeless Communities

Researchers have been studying COVID-19 in homeless communities, specifically in shelters with two or more confirmed cases in the weeks prior to their study. They found that in these shelters with clusters of cases, the proportion of positive tests was higher than in shelters with lower amounts of previously reported cases.

UW Researchers Study Effects of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Populations in Africa

A new $1.38 million UW research project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will monitor the spread of COVID-19 in sites in Africa in order to increase understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on vulnerable children and adults, healthcare workers and researchers in low-resource settings. This project is led by Judd Walson.

Zeroing in on COVID-19

The Coler Lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute is using their expertise to support the clinical trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine funded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Seattle Team Gets Funding to Start Human Trials of Potentially Groundbreaking Coronavirus Treatment      

Corey Casper, a Clinical Professor in the Department of Global Health and Associate Director of the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), received funding for him and his team to begin human trials on a potentially groundbreaking novel coronavirus treatment. Read an update from the Seattle Times here.

UW Obstetrician to Study COVID-19 Impacts on Pregnancy

Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf is researching whether COVID-19 can affect a fetus' growth or placental health and whether this virus heightens the risk for preterm birth or stillbirth.

Forecasting COVID-19 impact on hospital bed-days, ICU-days, ventilator days and deaths by US State in the next 4 months

A study from the institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) presents estimates of predicted health service utilization and deaths due to COVID-19 for each state in the U.S. IHME developed a statistical model forecasting deaths and hospital utilization against capacity by state for the US over the next four months. 

Tracking Coronavirus Information in Real Time

UW Assistant Professor David Pigott is part of a team tracking publicly reported confirmed cases of the 2019 novel Coronavirus throughout the world. The constantly updated data is being made available to all via HealthMap, and promoted by the New England Journal of Medicine

Gates-funded program will soon offer home-testing kits for new coronavirus

A project funded by the Gates Foundation will begin offering home-testing kits for people who fear they may be infected. This grew out of the Seattle Flu Study, a UW research project co-led by Helen Chu, an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health.

Genome Detective Coronavirus Typing Tool for rapid identification and characterization of novel coronavirus genomes

A web-based software application called Genome Detective has been developed to quickly and accurately assemble virus genomes from sequencing datasets. With Genome Detective, researchers will have the ability to identify phylogenetic clusters and genotypes while tracking viral mutations as the virus spreads globally. This may accelerate the development of COVID-19 drugs and vaccines. Tulio de Oliveira, an Affiliate Professor of Global Health, is part of the research team.