Learn how researchers and clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital are working to identify and test potential therapies for COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 Clinical Trials

Summaries of active clinical trials for COVID-19 at Massachusetts General Hospital, including treatment strategies and outcome measures. (Regularly updated) Learn more.


COVID-19 Therapy Updates

  • Tocilizumab does not improve symptoms or prevent death in moderately ill hospitalized patients with COVID-19 – The drug tocilizumab (Actemra) does not reduce the need for breathing assistance with mechanical ventilation or prevent death in moderately ill hospitalized patients with COVID-19, according to a new study led by Mass General researcher John Stone, MD, MPH. (Oct. 21)
  • 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 The video has been archived for your reference.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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Consensus Statement: Management of Patients with Cerebellar Ataxia During the COVID-19 Pandemic — There are no data yet about the specific effects of COVID-19 on patients with cerebellar ataxia (CA), but the pandemic is likely to affect their well-being. CA patients are reliant on caregivers, which increases their risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and they are at high risk of complications if they do become infected. Jeremy D. Schmahmann, MD, director of the Ataxia Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues have formed a COVID-19 Cerebellum Task Force to understand the concerns of patients with CA during the pandemic. They published their initial consensus statement in The Cerebellum. (6/19)
  • Skepticism of Reported Dexamethasone COVID-19 Breakthrough — Excitement over a potential new treatment for COVID-19 left many doctors skeptical without seeing the data supporting it. On June 16, 2020, University of Oxford researchers reported in a press release that dexamethasone, a steroid medication commonly used for inflammation in other diseases, reduced COVID-19 mortality by about a third. Shortly after the announcement, health officials from South Korea and the U.S. cautioned against its use due to potential side effects and a lack of data on the subject. Kathryn Hibbert, MD, director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that published data on the use of dexamethasone in COVID-19 patients would help her evaluate the findings and get a better picture of which patients benefitted the most from the treatment. (6/18)
  • Pharmacologic Treatment of COVID-19: What Nephrologists Need to Know — Patients with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGRF) < 30 represent a large proportion of the patients who become critically ill from COVID-19. On May 21, 2020, as part of a Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine Grand RoundsMeghan Sise, MD, of the Division of Nephrology at Mass General, reviewed what nephrologists should know about the experimental therapies being used to treat COVID-19. (6/4) 
  • ACTT-1 Trial of Remdesivir Provides Limited Guidance About Candidates — The FDA's emergency use authorization of remdesivir for COVID-19 was based on data from the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial-1 (ACTT-1), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, which has now been published in the New England Journal of MedicineArthur Kim, MD, director of the Viral Hepatitis Clinic in the Infectious Diseases DivisionEric Meyerowitz, MD, infectious diseases fellow, Alyssa Letourneau, MD, medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, and Rajesh Gandhi, MD, physician in the Infectious Diseases Division, all of Massachusetts General Hospital, explicate the trial in a fast literature update posted on May 26, 2020. (6/4) 
  • Grand Rounds: VACCINE DEVELOPMENT FOR COVID-19: A STATUS UPDATE ON THE CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS — On June 4, 2020, the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital held its 14th Virtual Grand Rounds presentation related to COVID-19. The presentation provided an update on efforts to develop a safe, scalable vaccine for COVID-19. The panel featured Mason W. Freeman, MD, director and founder of the Translational Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. The session was moderated by Katrina Armstong, MD, physician-in-chief in the Department of Medicine at Mass General. Other speakers included Daniel Barouch, MD, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Lindsey Robert Baden, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. (6/4) 
  • A Guide to Understanding Clinical Trials: Part 1 – What They Are and How They Work — There are numerous clinical trials for COVID-19 therapeutics across the globe, and results from these trials (often uncontrolled and published in non-peer reviewed journals) are being released on a regular basis. With all of the new information coming out so rapidly, it can be confusing to understand what these results mean. The Mass General Research Institute is providing a resource to explain how clinical trials work and share what makes for a strong clinical trial with clear and promising results. (6/3) 
  • Course and Outcomes of COVID-19 in Series of Patients with Myasthenia Gravis — Neurologic sequelae of COVID-19 include cerebrovascular events, impaired consciousness, skeletal muscle injury and meningoencephalitis. In addition, like other infectious diseases, COVID-19 can trigger exacerbations of myasthenia gravis (MG) that result in neuromuscular respiratory failure. In Muscle & NerveAmanda C. Guidon, MD, director of the Myasthenia Gravis Clinic in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Pria Anand, MD, of Boston University Medical Center (BMC), and colleagues report the clinical course and outcomes of five patients with MG who receive MG care at either Mass General or BMC and were hospitalized for COVID-19. (5/31) 
  • CT Should Not Be Used to Guide Ventilation in COVID-19 Respiratory Failure — Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid division of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) into "H" and "L" subphenotypes was proposed based entirely on qualitative descriptions of patients at a single center. Subsequent publications have failed to validate these subphenotypes, but discussions persist. In part this is due to a perception that imaging abnormalities in patients with COVID-19 are unexpectedly mild compared with prior experience, despite evident clinical severity. (5/29) 
  • Choice of Tidal Volume in COVID-19 Patients Without ARDS Should Be Individualized — SARS-CoV-2 infection commonly leads to hypoxemic respiratory failure that falls within the spectrum of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and is optimally managed with lung-protective ventilation, including low tidal volume ventilation (LTVV). However, not all patients with hypoxemic  respiratory failure meet criteria for ARDS. (5/29) 
  • Study of Interferon + Antivirals in COVID-19 Is First Published Randomized Trial with Positive Results — The combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir and ribavirin has become the first COVID-19 therapy to show promising results in a published randomized trial in The Lancet. Tiara Calhoun, MD, Internal Medicine and Global Medicine resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, reports and critiques the study in a fast literature update. (5/19) 
  • Helmet Ventilation May Be Considered for Selected Patients with Mild COVID-19–Associated ARDS — In light of feared ventilator shortages, or to provide care aligned with a patient's goals and preferences, some clinicians have advocated the use of helmet ventilation in COVID-19. Camille Petri, MD, a fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, discussed this strategy in a fast literature update. (5/19) 
  • Study of Interferon + Antivirals in COVID-19 Is First Published Randomized Trial with Positive Results — The combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir and ribavirin has become the first COVID-19 therapy to show promising results in a published randomized trial in The Lancet. Tiara Calhoun, MD, Internal Medicine and Global Medicine resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, reports and critiques the study in a fast literature update. (5/19) 
  • Developing a Gene-based Vaccine Candidate for COVID-19 — Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a vaccine candidate for COVID-19, which they plan to test in humans within the year. The vaccine, called AAVCOVID, is the product of a unique, gene-based approach that uses adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector technology to help the body develop an immune response to the virus. (5/8)
  • Early Results of Remdesivir Trial Are Promising, But More Research Needed — The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) reported on April 29, 2020, that a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial testing the antiviral drug remdesivir for treatment in COVID-19 has preliminarily produced positive results. These data, based on the results from 460 of the 1,063 participants enrolled in the study, indicate that patients with advanced COVID-19 symptoms recovered 31% faster under remdesivir treatment than with placebo. The median time to recovery was 11 days for patients in the treatment group, compared to 15 days for the control group. The mortality rate was also lower in the treatment group—8% compared to 11.6% under placebo. Elizabeth Hohmann, MD, an infectious disease specialist and principal investigator of the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT) at Mass General, commented that she is cautiously optimistic that the results will look even better with more patient data analyzed. (5/8) 
  • Surfactant Worth Studying as Treatment for COVID-19–Related ARDS — Exogenous surfactant is among the previously studied therapies for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that have been proposed for patients with COVID-19–associated respiratory failure. In a fast literature update posted on April 26, 2020, Raghu Chivukula, MD, PhD, and Corey Hardin, MD, PhD, physician-scientists in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, explain why this idea may be worth exploring. (5/8) 
  • How a Mass General Vaccine Accelerator Could Play a Crucial Role in the COVID-19 Response — The current COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how quickly an emerging infectious disease (EID) can spread across the globe, threaten individual heath and wreak havoc on the economy and our way of lives. Almost a decade before the current COVID-19 outbreak, Mass General investigator and Infectious Diseases Physician, Mark Poznansky, MD, PhD, received funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a platform for accelerated vaccine development in the event of a rapidly spreading EID. (5/8) 
  • The Ideal Model for Telemedicine and Digital Health Care Delivery — After decades of overcoming the hurdles of provider and system adoption, the COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed the widespread utilization of telemedicine with unprecedented urgency. Previously an occasional adjunct to in-person care, virtual visits will now replace routine outpatient cardiac clinic visits for an undetermined period. In-office visits will be reserved for urgent presentations and those requiring a physical exam. Fortunately, cardiology presents itself as the ideal foundation for developing a reproducible structure for health information technology to support virtual care delivery. (5/7) 
  • Mass General Provides Guidance for Anticoagulation in Patients with COVID-19 — For reasons unknown, patients hospitalized for COVID-19 appear to be at high risk of acute venous thromboembolism (VTE). Ido Weinberg, MD, vascular medicine specialist in the Fireman Vascular Center, Annemarie Fogerty, MD, clinical director of the Center for Hematology at the Mass General Cancer Center, and Kenneth Rosenfield, MD, section head for Vascular Medicine and Intervention at Massachusetts General Hospital, reviewed this clinical conundrum and explained the hospital's current approach in a Division of Cardiology grand rounds presentation on April 22, 2020. (5/7)
  • Study Reveals Most Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19 Survive With Standard Treatment — Clinicians from two hospitals in Boston report that the majority of even the sickest patients with COVID-19—those who require ventilators in intensive care units—get better when they receive existing guideline-supported treatment for respiratory failure. The clinicians, who are from Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, published their findings in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. (5/6) 
  • Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital Advancing Novel Experimental Gene-based COVID-19 Vaccine, AAVCOVID — Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), members of Mass General Brigham, today announced progress towards the testing and development of an experimental vaccine called AAVCOVID, a novel gene-based vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. (5/5) 
  • Preliminary Results of Remdesivir Trial are Promising, But More Research is Needed — For the first time, a double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial testing a new therapy for COVID-19, the antiviral drug remdesivir, has produced positive results. (5/1)
  • Review: Doubt Cast on Use of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 — The drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were first introduced as treatments for malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. A new review led by Mark Poznansky, MD, PhD, director of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center in the Infectious Disease Division of Massachusetts General Hospital, published in The FASEB Journal, covers the science and clinical experiences of the two drugs in treating the SARS-CoV-2 virus. (5/1)
  • Will Humans Develop Immunity After SARS-CoV-2 Infection? — People infected with SARS-CoV-2 will likely develop protective immunity, evidence suggests, but it may wane over time. Rod Rahimi, MD, PhD, of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses these issues and vaccine development in a fast literature update posted on April 24, 2020. (5/1) 
  • International Perspectives: Optimizing Cardiac Critical Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic — David M. Dudzinski, MD, director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Jason N. Katz, MD, MHS, of Duke University, and Sean van Diepen, MD, MSc, of the University of Alberta Hospital, and colleagues from heavily impacted regions of Europe and the U.S. suggest how critical care cardiologists can lead adaptations to cardiac ICU staffing, apply triage protocols and promote multidisciplinary collaboration. In many hospitals around the world, critical care cardiologists have been deployed to lead clinical teams in non-cardiac ICUs. (5/1) 
  • Unconventional Ventilation Strategies not Recommended for COVID-19-Related ARDS — Reported mortality for mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19 ranges widely from <20% to >80%, mostly limited by incomplete data. The possibility of poorer than expected outcomes have prompted some to propose that outdated modes of ventilation, airway pressure release ventilation (APRV) and high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV), should be revived for COVID-19 patients who develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Jonah Rubin, MD, and Corey Hardin, MD, PhD, physicians in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, explain these approaches and their limitations in a fast literature update posted on April 23, 2020. (4/30) 
  • Update on Use of Hydroxychloroquine to Treat COVID-19: Q&A With Raghu Chivukula, MD, PhD — In the month since sharing commentary from Raghu Chivukula, MD, PhD, on the use of chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), there has been a flurry of scientific activity and media interest in repurposing these drugs as a therapy for treating patients with COVID-19. Recently, based on clinical data in the United States and elsewhere, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health have each released formal statements expressing concern regarding the safety and efficacy of these agents. In this new Q&A, Dr. Chivukula, a physician-scientist in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, gives us an update on the use of these drugs to treat COVID-19. (4/29) 
  • Mass General Treatment Guidance for COVID-19 — Clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital are collecting and curating resources to help medical professionals stay up to date during the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources span across services and provide guidance on evaluations, recommended lab work, medications and documentation of patients under investigation for and confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. This is an overview of some of the guidance, resources and protocols being utilized across the hospital. (4/24) 
  • ECMO as a Rescue Therapy for COVID-19 Patients — Massachusetts General Hospital is utilizing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a rescue therapy for severely ill COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) patients. (4/23)
  • Consensus Statement: Caring for Patients Taking Clozapine During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Constraints on physician offices and laboratories during the COVID-19 pandemic may make it difficult for patients to access the absolute neutrophil count (ANC) monitoring usually required for dispensing of clozapine. In addition, patients on clozapine who become infected with the novel coronavirus need special care. Oliver Freudenreich, MD, of the Schizophrenia Clinical and Research Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues address these issues in a consensus statement published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. Many of the authors are also members of the Treatment Response and Resistance in Psychosis (TRIPP) working group, an independent, international expert panel. (4/23) 
  • Gottleib Outlines Strategy to Accelerate Diagnostic, Vaccine and Therapeutics Development for COVID-19 Response — Scott Gottlieb, MD, former chief of the FDA and partner at New Enterprise Associates, was a featured speaker at Massachusetts General Hospital's virtual medical grand rounds held on April 9, 2020. He called on the FDA to partner with pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the development of diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a summary of takeaways on the timeline and challenges in developing, manufacturing and distributing these technologies to manage the pandemic.(4/20) 
  • Favipiravir to Treat COVID-19: Q&A with Boris Juelg, MD, PhD — On April 9, 2020, FUJIFILM Corporation announced the initiation of a U.S. phase II clinical trial of its influenza antiviral drug Avigan (favipiravir) for patients with COVID-19 at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Early results of studies in China have generated much excitement around the drug, but randomized controlled trials are needed to prove its efficacy. (4/17)
  • Does Childhood BCG Vaccination Protect Against COVID-19? — There's no credible evidence yet that national childhood Bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination programs protect against COVID-19, Vladimir Vinarsky, MD, a physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Massachusetts General Hospital, concludes in a fast literature update posted on April 12, 2020. (4/17)
  • Diuresis Often Appropriate for ARDS Related to COVID-19 — In line with guidance from the Society of Critical Care Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital recommends conservative fluid management for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) related to COVID-19. Rene Bermea, MD, a fellow in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Mass General, explains why in a fast literature update posted on April 14, 2020. (4/17)
  • Mass General Launching Randomized, Controlled Trial of Tocilizumab for COVID-19 — The pathogenesis of COVID-19 and early small studies suggest that intervention with immunomodulatory agent (e.g., a monoclonal antibody)—including several already approved in the U.S. for other indications—may be an effective treatment. A multidisciplinary COVID-19 Immunomodulation Group at Massachusetts General Hospital, formed to study this therapeutic strategy, has designed a randomized, controlled trial of tocilizumab, a monoclonal antibody that blocks the interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor. (4/16) 
  • Challenges to Therapies for ARDS Related to COVID-19 — During the COVID-19 pandemic, many novel approaches to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) have been suggested for immunomodulation and targeting the host response to SARS-CoV-2. However, these novel therapies must be evaluated in the context of the history of failed investigational therapies for ARDS. (4/15) 
  • Early Inflammation in COVID-19 Is Not a Straightforward Therapeutic Target — Targeting the dysregulated inflammatory response in COVID-19 seems to be an obvious strategy but research in other disease states suggests it won't be easy. (4/9) 
  • Medical Grand Rounds: Advancing New Therapies for COVID-19: Antiviral, Immunomodulation and Beyond — Keith Flaherty, MD, at the Mass General Cancer Center, and Scott Gottlieb, MD, former FDA commissioner, along with other members of the Greater Boston medical community, presented on advancing experimental therapies to treat COVID-19. (4/9) 
  • Mass General Takes Platform Approach to COVID-19 Clinical Trials — The COVID-19 clinical trials platform, led by Keith Flaherty, MD, director of Clinical Research at the Mass General Cancer Center, facilitates collaboration between experts across disciplines and institutions. (4/7) 
  • Using Chloroquine to Treat COVID-19: Q&A with Raghu Chivukula, MD, PhD — Dr. Chivukula, a physician-scientist in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, who spends much of his time studying lung and lysosome biology (including using chloroquine in the lab), explains what is currently known about the drug and its use to treat COVID-19 patients. (3/27)
  • Massachusetts General Hospital is the First Center in New England to Test Novel Drug for Coronavirus — The Infectious Disease Division at Mass General is the first center in New England to enroll patients in an international study of the antiviral drug Remdesivir, which aims to treat those with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). (3/20)