From figuring out how SARS-CoV-2 is spread or infects a person, to distinguishing the antibody response to the virus, to recognizing the effects of COVID-19 on our community, Mass General researchers have ramped up collaborations to accelerate our understanding of this disease to inform new public health strategies, diagnostics, therapies and care.
A new artificial intelligence–based score considers multiple factors to predict the prognosis of individual patients with COVID-19 seen at urgent care clinics or emergency departments.
Mass General researchers assessed test-based return to work vs. "time-and-symptoms" approaches and report that the "time-and-symptoms" approach avoids more lost worktime and is the optimal system.
Widespread testing and tracing are crucial to managing the spread of COVID-19, but there are several different kinds of tests that each have a specific use.
All Research Coverage
- Two new models boost accuracy in assessing which COVID-19 patients face the greatest risk of mechanical ventilation and death – By inputting clinical and laboratory factors at the time of admission into a novel online calculator, physicians can determine with high accuracy which patients will require the most intense care. – Feb. 26
- New tool helps clinicians assess patients who develop COVID-19 symptoms – The newly developed COvid Risk cALculator (CORAL) standardizes the assessment of emergency department and hospitalized patients who develop symptoms of COVID-19. – Feb. 10
- Electronic health records can be a valuable predictor of those likeliest to die from COVID-19 – Mass General study identifies key predictors of COVID-19 mortality among different age groups from patient longitudinal medical records. – Feb. 4
- Admission Laboratory Values May Improve Prognostication for Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients – In a retrospective study, Vikas Thondapu, MD, PhD, research fellow in the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center, and Sandeep Hedgire, MD, assistant clinical director of Cardiovascular Imaging and director of Vascular Imaging, and colleagues report that elevated D-dimer at COVID-19 hospital admission was independently associated with increased risk of intubation and death. – Feb. 3
- Screening asymptomatic health care personnel for COVID-19 not recommended by experts, based on new review – Routine screening of asymptomatic health care personnel (HCP) in the absence of confirmed exposures to COVID-19 is not a recommended strategy for preventing transmission of the coronavirus causing the current global pandemic. – Jan. 28
- Neuroimaging Should Be Considered for Severe COVID-19 Patients with Neurologic Symptoms – In a retrospective study, Byung C. Yoon, MD, PhD, and Sandra P. Rincon, MD, staff neuroradiologists in the Department of Radiology, Thabele Leslie-Mazwi, MD, director of Endovascular Stroke Services in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology, and colleagues link neuroimaging manifestations of COVID-19 to several markers of disease severity. – Jan. 7
- Feasibility of a Viral Filter for Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Gregory D. Lewis, MD, medical director of Cardiac Transplantation, and director of the Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Laboratory, Rajeev Malhotra, MD, associate director of the Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Laboratory, and colleagues find it is feasible to conduct cardiopulmonary exercise testing with a commercially available electrostatic viral filter ordinarily used for pulmonary function testing. – Jan. 7
- A New Playbook: COVID-19, Athletes’ Hearts and Return to Play – A group led by sports cardiologists at Mass General offers guidance for athletes’ return to play after they have recovered from COVID-19 (Oct. 27)
- Risk score predicts prognosis of outpatients with COVID-19 – Multidisciplinary team designed the COVID-19 Acuity Score (CoVA) based on input from information on 9,381 adult outpatients seen in Mass General’s respiratory illness clinics and ED. AI-based tool can be used to rapidly and automatically determine which patients are most likely to develop complications and need to be hospitalized. (Oct. 26)
- Infectious Disease Physicians Effectively Guide Evaluation of Hospitalized Patients With Suspected COVID-19 – The Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends repeating a nucleic acid test when suspicion of COVID-19 remains moderate or high after the first test. To inform physicians' decisions, Caitlin M. Dugdale, MD, and Emily P. Hyle, MD, MSc, of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and colleagues have devised an approach to reduce the need for repeat testing among low-suspicion patients and prevent inappropriate removal of precautions in patients with false-negative tests. (9/25)
- Home-based SARS-CoV-2 Testing by EMS Personnel Improves Care of Vulnerable Populations – In an effort to increase testing accessibility, a Mass General Brigham team has designed a home-based SARS-CoV-2 testing program that leverages the use of ambulance agencies, a resource that already exists in most U.S. communities. (9/10)
- Review: COVID-19 Diagnostics – Ralph Weissleder, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Systems Biology and attending clinician in Interventional Radiology, Hakho Lee, PhD, director of the Biomedical Engineering Program at the Center for Systems Biology, and Mikael J. Pittet, PhD, director of the Cancer Immunology Program at the Center for Systems Biology, and colleagues review challenges of current diagnostics for COVID-19 and address the need for more longitudinal testing for the virus. (6/24)
- The Impact of Troponin Levels on the Care of COVID-19 Patients – In this Q&A, James L. Januzzi, Jr, MD, director of the Dennis and Marilyn Barry Fellowship in Cardiology Research at Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, discusses cardiac injury in COVID-19 patients and what elevated troponin and other biomarker levels can tell providers about the prognosis of and care for their patients. (6/5)
- Antibody Testing Vital to Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic — Small initial studies have demonstrated that most patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop antibodies against the virus. The promise and current pitfalls of antibody testing are reviewed in a fast literature update posted on May 22, 2020, by Alison Witkin, MD, associate director, Pulmonary Hypertension and Thromboendarterectomy Program with advisory review by Rod Rahimi, MD, PhD, both of the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. (5/29)
- 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)