Mass General investigators are working to develop new strategies for diagnosing COVID-19 patients and determining how long patients are infectious after symptoms stop.

  • COVID-19 Virtual Seminar: Breakthroughs in Testing and Tracing — As the COVID-19 curve flattens in the United States, medical experts and policymakers discuss what to expect throughout the remainder of the year and what will be necessary to resume daily life. In a Massachusetts General Hospital COVID-19 Virtual Seminar Series, a panel of experts—including Timothy Ferris, MD, MPH, chair of the board and chief executive officer, Mass General Physicians Organization; Eric Rosenberg, MD, director of Microbiology Laboratories; and Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases—discussed breakthroughs in testing and tracing as well as implications for the future. (5/22)
  • The Role of Imaging for COVID-19 Testing —  Accurate and efficient testing is a powerful weapon in the fight against COVID-19, helping to direct medical resources and minimize community spread. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests using a nasal/throat swab are presently the recommended method for detecting an active coronavirus infection. However, what happens when these tests are not widely available or are inconclusive? In the case of COVID-19, imaging tests, such as computerized tomography (CT) scans, have proven to be helpful tools—with a few important caveats. Brent Little, MD, a thoracic radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging, has been doing research on the use of imaging in diagnosing the virus. (5/18)
  • Meaning of Elevated Procalcitonin Unclear in COVID-19 — In isolation, elevations of procalcitonin are insufficiently specific to guide antibiotic therapy in COVID-19, according to Viral Shah, MD, PhD, a fellow in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Massachusetts General Hospital. He gives details in a fast literature update posted on April 9, 2020. (4/20) 
  • Scientists Facing Challenges to Develop Additional Methods to Detect the Novel Coronavirus — Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is currently the method of choice to diagnose novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Physicians Laura Brenner, MD, and Vladimir Vinarsky, MD, of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care in the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, explain why—and review potential forthcoming alternatives—in a fast literature update posted on April 6, 2020. (4/15) 
  • A Team Effort to Fast Track New Testing Strategies for COVID-19 — In a recent virtual town hall, members of the MassGeneral Brigham Center for COVID Innovation outlined the parameters that new diagnostic tools will have to meet: (4/14)

  • Developing New Diagnostics for COVID-19 — David Louis, MD, pathologist-in-chief, discusses how the faculty at Mass General is collaborating with local researchers and companies to develop rapid testing for COVID-19 that can provide diagnosis at the point of care. (3/27)