Featured Research

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.

Electronic health records can be a valuable predictor of those likeliest to die

Mass General study identifies key predictors of COVID-19 mortality among different age groups from patient longitudinal medical records.

Admission Laboratory Values May Improve Prognostication for Hospitalized Patient

Researchers report that elevated D-dimer at COVID-19 hospital admission was independently associated with increased risk of intubation and death.

Algorithm Supports Eval of Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients After Negative Test

Researchers describe the creation of the COvid Risk cALculator (CORAL), a diagnostic algorithm and clinical decision support system.

All Research Coverage

September 2021

  • Plasma sST2 Provides Prognostic Information in COVID-19 Respiratory Failure – Jehan W. Alladina, MD, and Benjamin D. Medoff, MD, of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and colleagues advise that high plasma concentrations of soluble suppression of tumorigenicity-2 may signify persistent lung injury in COVID-19 respiratory failure and the need for continued ventilatory support. (9/16/21)

August 2021

July 2021

  • COVID-19 ARDS Has Distinct Phenotypes Different from Those in "Classic" ARDS – Sylvia Ranjeva, MD, PhD, physician in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine; Corey Hardin, MD, PhD, physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine; Taylor Thompson, MD, director of Critical Care Translational Research; Lorenzo Berra, MD, anesthesiologist and medical director for Respiratory Care; and colleagues describe two distinct phenotypes among patients with ARDS. (7/19/21)
  • Mass General Researchers Find Link Between Protein Signature and Severe Health Decline in COVID-19 Patients — Marcia Goldberg, MD, clinician-researcher in the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Michael Filbin, MD, MS, head of clinical research at the Emergency Department, along with Nir Hacohen, PhD, director of Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, and colleagues analyzed the protein composition of blood samples from patients with severe COVID-19, specifically those who required intubation or died within 28 days of admission to the hospital (7/2/21)

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

  • Translation App Streamlines Imaging Exams During COVID-19 Pandemic – In this Q&A, Marc Succi, MD, executive director of the MESH Incubator and radiologist, discusses the web app RadTranslate and the role it has played in caring for patients who primarily speak a language other than English. Learn more about how the app can help in radiology and other specialties. –  April 16
  • Diagnostic Algorithm Supports Evaluation of Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients After Initial Negative Test – Caitlin M. Dugdale, MD, infectious diseases physician, David M. Rubins, MD, physician in the Department of Medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Mass General Brigham Clinical Informatics, Emily P. Hyle, MD, MSc, infectious diseases physician, Erica S. Shenoy, MD, PhD, associate chief of the Infection Control Unit, and colleagues describe the creation of the COvid Risk cALculator (CORAL), a diagnostic algorithm and clinical decision support system. – April 15

March 2021

  • Chest X-rays Predict Adverse Outcomes in COVID-19 Pneumonia Patients – Shadi Ebrahimian, MD, research fellow, and Mannudeep K. Kalra, MD, DNB, director of the Webster Center for Quality and Safety in the Department of Radiology, and their colleagues from the Mass General & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science, demonstrate additional benefits of chest X-rays for evaluating hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. – March 18 
  • Leukoencephalopathy Related to Severe COVID-19 Has Clinical, Laboratory Correlates – Otto Rapalino, MD, director of Brain Tumor Imaging in the Division of Neuroradiology, Michael H. Lev, MD, director of Emergency Radiology and Emergency Neuroradiology, Shibani S. Mukerji, MD, PhD, associate director of the Neuro-Infectious Diseases Unit of the Department of Neurology, and colleagues are the first to systematically analyze the clinical, imaging and laboratory correlates of COVID-19 leukoencephalopathy. – March 18
  • The implications of swollen lymph nodes following COVID-19 vaccination – When patients undergo imaging tests for various medical reasons shortly after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in the arm, their tests may show swollen lymph nodes in the armpit area. Radiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital say that this is usually a normal finding, and they offer recommendations on when and if follow-up tests are needed. The team has published an approach to help avoid delays in both vaccinations and imaging tests. – March 2

February 2021

  • 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
January 2021
  • 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
October 2020
  • 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)
September 2020
  • 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)
June 2020
  • 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)
May 2020
  • 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)
April 2020
  • 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)
March 2020
  • 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) 


COVID-19 Updates

Learn how researchers and clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital Research Institute are mobilizing to develop new strategies to diagnose, treat and prevent COVID-19.