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.

COVID-19 Safety Measures are Still Crucial as Vaccination Rates Rise

aniel Horn, MD, shares what he has witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, what clinicians have learned and the importance of being vigilant as we move forward.

Will Social Distancing Have a Lasting Impact on 'Personal Space'?

Faculty members in the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging demonstrate an increase in subjects' "personal space" requirements since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What We Have Learned About COVID: Part 1

Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19, clinicians have treated hundreds of thousands of patients. At the same time, over 55,000 COVID-related research articles have been published. Much was learned.

All Research Coverage

September 2021

  • U.S. COVID-19 Test Results Strongly Correlate with Race/Ethnicity, Income – Marcela del Carmen, MD, chief medical officer of Mass General, and Jason H. Wasfy, MD, MPhil, medical director of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization and director of Quality and Analytics at the Cardiology Division, and colleagues confirmed that among tested patients, low-income patients and people of color in the U.S. are more likely to have been infected. – Sept 16

August 2021

June 2021

  • Study reveals changes in cigarette smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic - During the COVID-19 pandemic, some smokers have increased their use of cigarettes while others have quit. Those who believed that smoking increases the risk of getting COVID-19 or having a more severe case were more likely to quit, while those who perceived more stress tended to increase their smoking. – June 8
  • How Past Pandemics Inform Pregnancy Care During COVID-19 (VIDEO) - Ilona Goldfarb, MD, MPH, maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses how past pandemics like H1N1 have informed the department's approach to the care and treatment of pregnant people during COVID-19. – June 8

April 2021

March 2021

  • Will Social Distancing Have a Lasting Impact on 'Personal Space'? – Daphne J. Holt, MD, PhD, physician investigator in the Department of Psychiatry and MGH Research Scholar 2018-2023, and Roger Tootell, PhD, assistant biologist, both faculty members in the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging demonstrate an increase in subjects' "personal space" requirements since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. – March 5
  • Researchers call for greater awareness of delayed skin reactions after Moderna COVID-19 vaccine – As the speed and scale of vaccinations against the SARS-CoV-2 virus ramps up globally, researchers at Mass General are calling for greater awareness and communication around a delayed injection-site reaction that can occur in some patients who have received the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine. – March 3
February 2021
  • COVID-19 Prompted Integrating Palliative Care into Emergency Departments – In a national qualitative study, Emily Aaronson, MD, MPH, assistant chief quality officer and attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine, Christine S. Ritchie, MD, MSPH, director of research in the Division of Palliative Care, and colleagues identify innovations in palliative care delivery, staffing, technology and training within emergency departments during the COVID-19 pandemic. – Feb. 19
  • Outpatient Tracking and Telehealth For Pregnant Women with Symptomatic COVID-19 – Marti Soffer, MD, MPH, maternal-fetal medicine fellow, Ilona Goldfarb, MD, MPH, maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and colleagues report that most pregnant patients with symptomatic COVID-19 can be managed as outpatients with intensive monitoring for symptom progression. – Feb. 11
January 2021
December 2020
  • Embedded Palliative Care Early in COVID-19 Well Received by Emergency Clinicians – Christine S. Ritchie, MD, MSPH, director of research in the Division of Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine and director of the Mongan Institute Center for Aging and Serious Illness, Vicki A. Jackson, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine, Emily Aaronson, MD, MPH, assistant chief quality officer and attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine, and colleagues report the results of a survey in which emergency department clinicians evaluated the success of an eight-week pilot program. (12/9)
  • Estimating Radiology Volume During the First Wave of COVID-19—and the Next – Three models developed by the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Radiology have helped leaders plan for immediate and long-term financial stability over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. (12/4)
November 2020
  • Mass General Team Overcomes COVID Hurdles to Fast-track Tocilizumab Trial – Amidst the initial surge of COVID-19, John Stone, MD, MPH, rheumatologist and the Edward A. Fox chair in Medicine, and colleagues quickly launched a multi-center clinical trial to test tocilizumab as a potential treatment for the disease. While results were negative, they answered an important research question despite challenges posed by the pandemic. (11/25)
  • Telepsychiatry Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic – In March 2020, leaders in the Department of Psychiatry converted outpatient visits to telephone or video. Now, they discuss the experience and how it evolved since the beginning of the pandemic. (11/19)
September 2020
August 2020
  • Study Finds Social Distancing Slowed U.S. Growth of COVID-19 – According to a study led by Mark J. Siedner, MD, MPH, clinician in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Alexander Tsai, MD, PhD, a researcher and associate director for trainee development in the Chester M. Pierce Division of Global Psychiatry, government-issued social distancing orders in the U.S. led to an estimated reduction of more than 600,000 COVID-19 cases within three weeks of implementation. (8/21) 
  • Creating Digital Tools to Combat the Consequences of COVID-19 – Recognizing that digital tools can effectively coordinate the fight against COVID-19, the Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare, led by Sara Silacci, director, has partnered with various institutions to develop a series of applications that make use of real-time data to assess health and notify people if they have been in contact with someone who has the coronavirus. (8/20) 
  • Palliative Care Embedded into Mass General Emergency Department During COVID-19 Pandemic – Mark Stoltenberg, MD, of the Division of Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine, Emily Aaronson, MD, MPH, assistant chief quality officer and attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine, and colleagues describe results of a model they created for embedding palliative care into the Emergency Department. (8/7) 
July 2020
  • What Telemedicine Means for Pediatric Health Care – The transition to telehealth as a result of the pandemic presents some unique challenges to pediatric health care providers. In this Q&A, Katie Brigham, MD, pediatrician in the Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Clinic at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, addresses some questions and important differences providers should consider when caring for their pediatric patients via virtual visits. (7/15)
  • E-Consultations During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Neelam A. Phadke, MD, research fellow in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, and Jason H. Wasfy, MD, MPhil, cardiologist and medical director of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, and colleagues find that e-consults can help sustain outpatient consultative care during the COVID-19 pandemic. (7/10)
June 2020
May 2020
  • One Month, Nine Researchers, 2,000 COVID Tests: A Redeployment Story — In a typical year, the Department of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital is accustomed to dealing with astounding volume, processing about 13 million clinical lab tests. Yet when COVID-19 testing became a crucial aspect of care during the pandemic, the department’s microbiology lab saw the pace quickening and called in reinforcements. (5/29)
  • COVID-19 Urgent Resource Video Education Library Provides Resources to Clinicians and Educators Across the Globe — One of the strategic planning goals of the Executive Committee on Teaching and Education (ECOTE) at Massachusetts General Hospital is to support broad awareness and access to key education and training materials that enhance patient care—both internally and externally. This goal has never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Mass General clinicians and researchers are producing grand rounds videos, departmental lectures, protocols and other digital materials that are of great use to clinicians around the world. To collect and curate these digital assets, James A. Gordon, MD, MPA, chief learning officer and director of the Mass General Learning Laboratory, and Jarone Lee, MD, MPH, critical care and emergency medicine specialist in the Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery & Surgical Critical Care and medical director of the Blake 12 ICU, worked with colleagues to create the COVID-19 Urgent Resource Video Education (CURVE) library. (5/22) 
  • Electronic Consults Between Clinicians and Specialists Have Increased During the COVID-19 Pandemic — New research from Massachusetts General Hospital points to the usefulness of electronic consultations, or e-consults, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such technology allows clinicians to ask specific questions of specialists, who then provide recommendations after reviewing a patient’s electronic health record with no direct specialist-to-patient contact involved. An important part of telemedicine, e-consults—which have been used at Mass General since 2014 as a tool to improve population health—reduce unnecessary patient visits to specialists and decrease wait times for those patients who need in-person specialist visits. Neelam A. Phadke, MD, Jason Wasfy, MD, and their colleagues examined daily consultation requests from February 1, 2020 through April 1, 2020 at Mass General. Their findings are published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. (5/21)
  • Ragon Institute Members Receive Funding from MassCPR for COVID-19 Projects — As part of its COVID-19 response, the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard is working within the Massachusetts Consortium for Pathogen Readiness (MassCPR), a multi-institutional initiative convened by Harvard Medical School and the Ragon Institute, to combat the disease and prepare for future outbreaks. (5/14) 
  • PatientConnect Tool Provides Compassionate Care During COVID-19 — As in-person visitors of patients admitted to the hospital continue to be limited, a new tool is helping to unite hospitalized COVID-19 patients with their loved ones. Massachusetts General Hospital launched PatientConnect, a program that enables patients to spend time with friends and family through virtual meetings. (5/18) 
  • Mass General Provides Innovative, Expanded Telemedicine in Response to COVID-19 — Virtual care (also called telemedicine, telehealth and digital health) has proven critically important in the response to COVID-19. Lee H. Schwamm, MD, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for TeleHealth and vice president for virtual care at Partners HealthCare, and colleagues recently published commentaries in Lancet Digital Health and Nature Digital Medicine describing how virtual care is helping Mass General and Partners HealthCare minimize nosocomial infection, reduce the use of personal protective equipment and cope with the surge in demand for its services. (5/12)
  • The COVID-19 Pandemic Reveals the Potential of Telehealth to Improve Care — Two new articles provide insights on the use of telehealth or virtual care in the age of COVID-19 and beyond, pointing to its value to not only prevent contagious diseases but also to provide access to effective and equitable care. (5/11) 
  • COVID Innovation Center Continues to Identify New Ways to Protect Patients and Staff — Ideas, knowledge and advances are streaming from Massachusetts General Hospital's laboratories, bedsides, clinics, offices and workshops–and from a cluttered corner of Ruth Sleeper Hall. The Prototype Staging Center, part of the Mass General Brigham Center for COVID Innovation, is a modest suite of rooms, teeming with boxes, papers, laser-cut plastic sheets and strips of foam rubber padding. It is also a launching pad of sorts for novel devices that have been, or are being, developed in the fight against COVID-19. (5/8) 
  • A Nurse’s Perspective: COVID-19 and Homeless Populations — A blog post written by Kirsten Dickins, PhD, AM, MSN, FNP-C, Connell Postdoctoral Fellow in Nursing Research at the Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dickins’ research focuses on identifying and reducing the barriers that homeless individuals experience in accessing and optimally utilizing healthcare services. (5/6) 
April 2020
  • New Online COVID-19 Model Reveals How Lifting or Extending Different Social-distancing Measures Will Affect States — A new online tool, COVID-19 Simulator, developed by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Georgia Tech can help policy makers see how lifting or extending different social-distancing measures at various times can impact each state in terms of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The tool uses most recent data for each state and infectious disease modeling, as recommended by expert epidemiologists. (4/24) 
  • Editorial: Task Sharing for Neurosurgeons Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic — In an editorial in the Journal of Neurosurgery, Faith C. Robertson, MD, MSc, of the Department of Neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues outline how health care systems can implement task sharing to strengthen their workforces during the pandemic. (4/24) 
  • Medical Grand Rounds: A 66-Year-Old Man With Homelessness, with Cough and Rhinorrhea: Response to COVID-19 Among Boston's Homeless Population — On April 23, 2020, the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital held its focus on a case study which sheds light on the challenges associated with preventing and treating COVID-19 among Boston's homeless population. (4/23) 
  • COVIDSurg: An International Study to Quickly Improve COVID-19 Surgical Outcomes — An international cohort of surgeons, working as a rapid response research collaborative, has mobilized to collect real-world data as a way to inform surgical practices, policies and outcomes for patients infected with COVID-19. This study, called COVIDSurg, is spearheaded by a research team from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Surgery. (4/23)
  • How COVID-19 Could Affect Health Care Workers — A team of researchers led by Jianbo Lai, MSc, at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine recently published a study in JAMA Network Open that examined the mental health of health care workers exposed to COVID-19 in China. Roy Perlis, MD, MSc, director of the Center for Quantitative Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, has been following the research from China and said that it can apply to U.S. health care workers as well. (4/17) 
  • COVID Innovation Center Seeking Solutions to Reduce the PPE and Ventilator Shortage — Just a week after its formal launch, the Mass General Brigham COVID Innovation Center has made significant strides in identifying viable ways to increase the amount of personal protective equipment and ventilators available to health care workers (4/8)
  • Q&A with the Organizers of the CoVent Challenge — Upon learning about the predicted shortage of mechanical ventilators, a team of 12 residents in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital have stepped in with an idea to address the crisis: the CoVent-19 Challenge, an initiative to crowdsource solutions from the global medical community for rapidly deployable designs for ventilation alternatives. (4/3)
  • Partners HealthCare to Launch New Large Scale N95 Mask Sterilizing Facility — As part of its rapidly mobilizing response to the shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) caused by COVID-19 pandemic, Partners HealthCare has secured a machine that can sterilize up to 80,000 N95 respirator masks a day. (4/3)

  • Massachusetts General Hospital Researchers Mobilize to Fight Coronavirus —  On March 16, 2020, Harry W. Orf, PhD, senior vice president for research at Mass General Research Institute, announced the closure of the majority of lab operations, as researchers refocus their efforts on the novel virus. He recently discussed what the closure means for patients, how Mass General researchers are mobilizing in response to the COVID-19 epidemic and the impact this effort is having on medical research. (4/3)

  • COVID-19: New Center Speeds Innovation — Like a team of sprinters, hundreds of scientists, engineers and clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital are working at top speed to find solutions to the most pressing problems for health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19. (4/3) 

  • New COVID-19 symptom research app recruiting millions of Americans, including healthcare professionals, cancer patients and survivors, to beat the disease — A COVID-19 symptom research app is helping to track the onset and progression of symptoms of millions across the nation. The research is being led by Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH, at Massachusetts General Hospital. (4/1)

March 2020
  • A Team Effort to Tackle the Daunting Challenges of COVD-19 — Researchers and clinicians from Massachusetts General Hospital joined with colleagues from the Boston/Cambridge science ecosystem for a Grand Rounds session on March 12 to detail an unprecedented collaborative response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. (3/17)

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.