Mass General Research Institute's latest COVID-19 research in the areas of mobilizing response, diagnostics, therapies, clinical trials and disease biology.

October

September
August
July
  • Range of COVID-19 skin signs linked to disease severitySkin signs of COVID-19 can range from purple toes, known as “COVID toes” seen in patients with mild infections, to a net-like rash signaling the presence of life-threatening blood clots in patients with severe disease. Certain skin changes may also be the only sign of COVID-19 infection, or may accompany or follow other COVID-19 symptoms, an analysis of data from 716 patients in 31 countries shows.(July 20)
  • Five Things to Know About COVID-19 and Intimate Partner Violence — When a person is infected with COVID-19, the first thing a physician will advise is to self-isolate and stay home. But what if home isn’t safe? Eve Valera, PhD, a psychiatry researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, has been investigating the effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) for almost 25 years. Here are five important things to know. (July 16)
  • Mass General Hospital Study Finds No Relationship Between Blood Type and Severity of COVID-19 — Blood type is not associated with a severe worsening of symptoms in people who have tested positive for COVID-19, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have reported, dispelling previous reports that suggested a correlation between certain blood type and COVID-19. (July 16)
  • COVID-19 & Diabetes Risks and Complications: A Q&A with Janaki Vakharia, MD — For patients with existing medical conditions or who are immunocompromised, complications from COVID-19 can be especially severe. One explanation for the severe presentations could be a result of altered or impaired immune systems due to chronic inflammation. In this Q&A, Janaki Vakharia, MD, clinical fellow in the Endocrinology Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the connection between COVID-19 and people with diabetes. (July 15)
  • Medical Grand Rounds: COVID-19 Patient Recovery and Rehab — In this latest Medical Grand Rounds virtual event, Jason H. Maley, MD, research fellow, George A. Alba, MD, physician in the Department of Medicine, and Ginger Polich, MD, instructor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehab, as well as experts from the Boston community, talked about COVID-19 patient recovery and rehab. The video has been archived for your reference. (7/17) [All Therapies Updates]
  • Five Things to Know About COVID-19 and Intimate Partner Violence — When a person is infected with COVID-19, the first thing a physician will advise is to self-isolate and stay home. But what if home isn’t safe? Eve Valera, PhD, a psychiatry researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, has been investigating the effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) for almost 25 years. So, when she learned about the mitigation strategies for COVID-19, many of which included stay-at-home orders or recommendations, her first thought was how dangerous it could be for those who live with IPV. Here are five important things to know. (7/16) [All Understanding the Disease Updates]
  • Mass General Hospital Study Finds No Relationship Between Blood Type and Severity of COVID-19 — Blood type is not associated with a severe worsening of symptoms in people who have tested positive for COVID-19, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have reported, dispelling previous reports that suggested a correlation between certain blood type and COVID-19. A study published in Annals of Hematology did find, however, that symptomatic individuals with blood types B and AB who were Rh+ were more likely to test positive for COVID-19, while those with blood type O were less likely to test positive. (7/16) [All Understanding the Disease Updates]
  • COVID-19 & Diabetes Risks and Complications: A Q&A with Janaki Vakharia, MD — For patients with existing medical conditions or who are immunocompromised, complications from COVID-19 can be especially severe. One explanation for the severe presentations could be a result of altered or impaired immune systems due to chronic inflammation. In this Q&A, Janaki Vakharia, MD, clinical fellow in the Endocrinology Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the connection between COVID-19 and people with diabetes. (7/15) [All Understanding the Disease Updates]
June
  • Mass General Emergency Room Physician Details the Toll of Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Crisis — For Mass General’s Alister Martin, MD, MPP, working as a Black emergency room doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic has felt like “walking on a tightrope during a hurricane.” Martin gives examples of how these inequities played out in terms of testing, containment and the allocation of resources. (6/29) [All Understanding the Disease Updates] 
  • Depression & COVID-19: A Q&A with Maurizio Fava, MD, On Resources for Patients and Providers — In this Q&A, Maurizio Fava, MD, psychiatrist-in-chief within the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains the connection between COVID-19 and rising mental health concerns and what providers can do to help their patients and themselves.(6/26) [All Therapies Updates]
  • Veno-Venous ECMO Feasible and Beneficial for Respiratory Failure in COVID-19 — In March 2020, during the early days of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, a team of cardiac and medical intensivists, pulmonologists and cardiac surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital created an internal protocol for using veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as additional support for COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure. In Annals of Surgery, Yuval Raz, MD, physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Mass General, Masaki Funamoto, MD, PhD, cardiac surgeon in the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, and colleagues describe the protocol and the early experience with ECMO for management of COVID-19 at Mass General. (6/26) [All Therapies Updates] 
  • Use of Human Antibodies to Treat COVID-19: Q&A with Michael Dougan, MD, PhD — On June 1, 2020, Eli Lilly announced the launch of its first antibody clinical trial to treat COVID-19. The placebo-controlled phase I trial will assess the safety and dosage of LY-CoV555, a neutralizing IgG1 monoclonal antibody directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. The LY-CoV555 antibody was identified from one of the first recovered COVID-19 patients and then rapidly developed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, therefore neutralizing the virus. Massachusetts General Hospital is one of the trial sites, which is being led by Michael Dougan, MD, PhD, physician in the Division of Gastroenterology at Mass General and director of the GI Center for Cancer Complications at Mass General Cancer Center. In this Q&A, Dr. Dougan explains what is currently known about this therapy and its potential to treat COVID-19 patients. (6/25) [All Therapies Updates] 
  • Review: Modifications in Obstetric Care During Viral Pandemics — Obstetrics is one of the most frequently used health care services in the U.S. and is a logical target when a viral pandemic is straining community medical systems. However, providers face medico-legal liability when deviating from standards of care, especially if no alternative access is provided. Christina M. Duzyj, MD, MPH, maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues have published an evidence-based review in Obstetrics & Gynecology that discusses pandemic-related modifications in obstetric care. (6/25) [All Therapies Updates] 
  • Lessons from the Backcountry in Finding a Potential COVID-19 Treatment — Brian Strickland, MD, a fellow in the Division of Wilderness Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, expected to spend the first few months of 2020 finding innovative ways to take care of patients in acute respiratory distress. But he thought it would be in a remote mountainside setting in the Himalayas—not back in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital. (6/24) [All Therapies Updates] 
  • Survival of the Most: Why Multiple Vaccines May Be the Best Way to Stop the COVID-19 Pandemic — The race to develop a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is progressing at an unprecedented speed and scale, with approximately 135 vaccines now in development worldwide. Unlike most races, however, the goal here is not to produce one winner, but to identify and accelerate all of the most promising candidates into production. This was one of the key messages from vaccine experts at a recent Grand Rounds session co-hosted by the Departments of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). (6/23) [All Vaccines Updates]
  • Study Examines the Prevalence of COVID-19 Infections in Pregnant Women About to Give Birth — Research published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology reports the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in pregnant women admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital's labor and delivery units. They found that 7.9% of symptomatic women tested positive and 1.5% of asymptomatic women tested positive. As part of a multipronged approach to reduce transmission of the virus, Mass General implemented universal testing of pregnant women at the four major hospitals affiliated with Mass General Brigham. From this widespread testing, the clinicians collected data on 757 women over 18 days. 45% of pregnant women who tested positive had no symptoms at all. Additionally, none of the women developed symptoms during their stay at the hospital, and no newborns tested positive for COVID-19. (6/19) [All Understanding the Disease Updates] 
  • Public Health: Surveying COVID-19 Symptoms — As COVID-19 cases gradually decrease, federal and local governmental bodies must decide how to begin easing restrictions and reopening aspects of society. While these decisions are generally based on the intersection of political, economic and public health factors, it is evident that there is a great need for more accurate estimates of the virus's impact on communities. In a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece, co-author Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, director for Cancer Epidemiology in the Mass General Cancer Center, chief of the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit (CTEU) in the Department of Medicine and vice chief for clinical research in the Division of Gastroenterology, explains the effectiveness of mobile symptom-surveillance tools in predictive modeling. (6/19) [All Understanding the Disease Updates] 
  • Transgender Health Care in the Current Climate: A Q&A with Robbie Goldstein, MD, PhD — On Friday, June 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Human Health Services finalized a rule on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, allowing providers to refuse care to patients who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary or queer, effectively removing nondiscrimination protections for patients in the LGBTQ community. Three days later, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling to expand employment discrimination protections for LGBTQ employees. The new policy and ruling also come amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests continuing around the country. In this Q&A, Robbie Goldstein, MD, PhD, medical director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Transgender Health Program, discusses what all of this means for the LGBTQ community in Massachusetts and beyond, and how providers can create affirming spaces for transgender and nonbinary patients. (6/19) [All Therapies Updates]