All Research Coverage


  • Range of COVID-19 skin signs linked to disease severitySkin signs of COVID-19 can range from purple toes, known as “COVID toes” seen in patients with mild infections, to a net-like rash signaling the presence of life-threatening blood clots in patients with severe disease. Certain skin changes may also be the only sign of COVID-19 infection, or may accompany or follow other COVID-19 symptoms, an analysis of data from 716 patients in 31 countries shows.(July 20)
  • Five Things to Know About COVID-19 and Intimate Partner Violence — When a person is infected with COVID-19, the first thing a physician will advise is to self-isolate and stay home. But what if home isn’t safe? Eve Valera, PhD, a psychiatry researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, has been investigating the effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) for almost 25 years. Here are five important things to know. (July 16)
  • Mass General Hospital Study Finds No Relationship Between Blood Type and Severity of COVID-19 — Blood type is not associated with a severe worsening of symptoms in people who have tested positive for COVID-19, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have reported, dispelling previous reports that suggested a correlation between certain blood type and COVID-19. (July 16)
  • COVID-19 & Diabetes Risks and Complications: A Q&A with Janaki Vakharia, MD — For patients with existing medical conditions or who are immunocompromised, complications from COVID-19 can be especially severe. One explanation for the severe presentations could be a result of altered or impaired immune systems due to chronic inflammation. In this Q&A, Janaki Vakharia, MD, clinical fellow in the Endocrinology Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the connection between COVID-19 and people with diabetes. (July 15)
  • Mass General Emergency Room Physician Details the Toll of Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Crisis For Mass General’s Alister Martin, MD, MPP, working as a Black emergency room doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic has felt like “walking on a tightrope during a hurricane.” Dr. Martin gives examples of how these inequities played out in terms of testing, containment and the allocation of resources. (June 29)
  • Study Examines the Prevalence of COVID-19 Infections in Pregnant Women About to Give Birth As part of a multipronged approach to reduce transmission of the virus, Mass General implemented universal testing of pregnant women at the four major hospitals affiliated with Mass General Brigham. From this widespread testing, the clinicians collected data on 757 women over 18 days and found 45% of pregnant women who tested positive had no symptoms at all. Additionally, none of the women developed symptoms during their stay, and no newborns tested positive for COVID-19. (June 19)
  • Public Health: Surveying COVID-19 Symptoms — As COVID-19 cases gradually decrease, federal and local governmental bodies must decide how to begin easing restrictions and reopening aspects of society. In a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece, co-author Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, explains the effectiveness of mobile symptom-surveillance tools in predictive modeling. (June 19) 
  • Risk of Respiratory Failure Tripled in COVID-19 Patients with Existing Rheumatic Disease — Whether patients with rheumatic disease are at higher risk of COVID-19 and its complications is unknown. Research fellows Kristin M. D'Silva, MD, and Naomi Serling-Boyd, MD, and physician Zachary S. Wallace, MD, MSc, of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, and colleagues recently conducted the first comparative cohort study of COVID-19 outcomes in patients with existing rheumatic disease. (June 19)
  • Contact Tracing Relies on Individual Trust to Advance the Public Good — At its core, contact tracing is a people-centered process that requires trust, empathy and good communication skills, explains Louise Ivers, MD, MPH, the executive director of the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. (June 11)
  • Considerations for Nephrologists Caring for African Americans with COVID-19 — Both biologic and socioeconomic factors contribute to the disparities in outcomes among African Americans, according to a virtual Grand Rounds presentation by the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital on May 21, 2020. (June 5) 
  • Understanding COVID-19's Neurological Effects — Neurologist Shibani Mukerji, MD, PhD, associate director of the Neuro-Infectious Diseases Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, and her colleagues are investigating neurologically-related COVID-19 symptoms and their effects on treatment and recovery. (June 3) 
  • Mass General Neurologists Research Effects of COVID-19 on the Brain — Alongside the drug trials clinicians and researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have been leading and joining, there are also multiple COVID-19 studies underway through collaborations in numerous departments. Members of the Department of Neurology at Mass General discussed their research related to COVID-19 at a virtual Grand Rounds presentation on April 30, 2020. (June 3) 
  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Associated with COVID-19 — As the coronavirus has progressed, some children are experiencing symptoms similar to a rare pediatric illness called Kawasaki disease in addition to other signs of inflammation about a month after they have been exposed to the coronavirus. At Mass General Hospital for Children, a multidisciplinary group came together to understand this illness and raise awareness among pediatricians. (June 1)
  • Medical Grand Rounds: Impact of COVID-19 Among Older Persons — On May 28, 2020, the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital held its 12th Virtual Grand Rounds presentation related to COVID-19. The presentation focused on the impact of COVID-19 on older populations. (May 29) 
  • How Serology Testing Will Improve our Understanding of COVID-19 — A lateral flow assay is a small, handheld test that can be easily completed and produces rapid results. This can be used either at the point-of-care or in a clinical laboratory at the hospital. Mass General pathology researchers have evaluated a series of these tests, including some that detect the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. (5/26) 
  • Influence of COVID-19 on Delivery and Inpatient Postpartum Care — Because data are sparse, the care of SARS-CoV-2 infected pregnant women and their newborns is predominantly guided by society recommendations and expert opinion. To summarize current practices, Anjali J. Kaimal, MD, MAS, director of the Deborah Kelly Center for Clinical Research, Ilona Goldfarb, MD, maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Lauren Hanley, MD, medical director of the Lactation Clinic in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Megan Aurora, MD, associate medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, posted a fast literature update on May 16, 2020. (5/22)
  • Understanding Links Between COVID-19 and Obesity — Obesity is not a risk factor for becoming infected with COVID-19 that we are aware of today. However, new data suggests that patients who have obesity are more likely to require intensive care for COVID-19. (5/12)
  • Neutralizing SARS-CoV-2-specific Antibodies and Virus-Specific T Cells Detected in People Recovering from COVID-19  — Studies of SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and non-SARS coronaviruses, as well as a non–peer-reviewed, pre-print study of rhesus monkeys, suggest humans should possess protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after infection. This research was discussed in a fast literature update posted on April 24, 2020. The newest study of protective immunity in patients recovering from COVID-19, published in Immunity, is the most comprehensive yet. Its promising results are discussed by Tiara Calhoun, MD, Internal Medicine and Global Medicine resident, and Vladimir Vinarsky, MD, a physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, with advisory review by Rod Rahimi, MD, PhD, all of Massachusetts General Hospital, in a fast literature update posted on May 5. (5/12)
  • Mortality in COVID-19 Does Not Appear to Be Driven by Liver Failure — Elevated liver function tests (LFT) are common in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and occasionally the values are high enough to trigger clinical concern. In a fast literature update posted on May 6, 2020, Patricia P. Bloom, MD, a fellow in Gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital, reviews what's known so far about the causes and consequences of abnormal LFTs in COVID-19. (5/12) 
  • Medical Grand Rounds: Unraveling the Mystery of Clotting in COVID-19 — On May 7, 2020, the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital held its ninth virtual Grand Rounds presentation related to COVID-19. The presentation featured a panel of experts from the Boston medical community, included Mass General Hematologists Pavan Bendapudi, MD, and Hanny Al-Samkari, MD, who are investigating blood clotting in COVID-19 patients. (5/8)
  • Tracking "COVID Toes" and Dermatologic Symptoms of COVID-19 — In an interview with Healio, Esther E. Freeman, MD, PhD, director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, discussed the COVID toes condition and explained how she is working to track all dermatologic symptoms of COVID-19. (5/8) 
  • What Kind of Lung Disease Does SARS-CoV-2 Cause? — In a fast literature update posted on May 1, 2020, Lida Hariri, MD, PhD, assistant pathologist in the Department of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, reviews common histologic patterns of acute lung injury (ALI) and compares them with the available pathologic evidence in COVID-19. (5/8) 
  • Link Between Diabetes and COVID-19 Is Credible, but Clinical Implications Are Unclear — Case series consistently identify diabetes mellitus as a risk factor for severe COVID-19. In a fast literature update posted on April 28, 2020, Janaki D. Vakharia, MD, a fellow in adult and pediatric endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses that issue and the related question of whether having COVID-19 makes diabetes presentations more severe.(5/7)
  • Study Reveals the Risk of COVID-19 Infection Among Health Care Workers — In an analysis of information from the U.K. and U.S., frontline health care workers had a nearly 12-times higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 compared with individuals in the general community, and those workers with inadequate access to personal protective equipment (PPE) had an even higher risk. The study, which was conducted by a team led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, King’s College London and Zoe Global Ltd. is available in medRxiv. (5/5) 
  • Secondary Infections May Increase Morbidity and Mortality in COVID-19 Patients — In the 1918, 1957 and 1968 influenza pandemics, and the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 influenza, bacterial co-infection was a significant driver of mortality and morbidity. A fast literature update posted on April 27, 2020, discusses whether the clinical syndrome following SARS-CoV-2 infection might be partly attributable to secondary infection with other pathogens. The piece is courtesy of Alison Castle, MD, an infectious disease fellow, and the FLARE team with advisory review by Emily Hyle, MD, and Sarah Turbett, MD, physicians in the Infectious Disease Division, and Alyssa Letourneau, MD, MPH, medical director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.(5/5) 
  • The Ventilator: Understanding One of Today’s Most Valuable Devices — How do ventilators actually work? And why do COVID-19 patients need them? George Alba, MD, a clinician in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and a researcher at the Mass General Research Institute spoke with us to answer some of these questions. (5/1) 
  • Review: COVID-19 and Neuromuscular Disorders — Neuromuscular complications of severe coronaviruses (SARS-CoV, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and now SARS-CoV-2) have rarely been mentioned in medical literature. It is possible, though, that neuromuscular complications occur and are overshadowed by systemic manifestations. Amanda C. Guidon, MD, director of the Myasthenia Gravis Clinic at in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Anthony A. Amato, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, recently reviewed in Neurology the potential neuromuscular complications of COVID-19, mitigation of COVID-19–related risks for patients with pre-existing neuromuscular disease and management of immunotherapy during the pandemic. (5/1) 
  • Study Finds Gastrointestinal Complications Likely in Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients — Critically ill COVID-19 patients have a high incidence of gastrointestinal complications, according to a case series reported in the Annals of Surgery by Haytham M.A. Kaafarani, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Outcomes & Patient Safety in Surgery (COMPASS) and Trauma & Emergency Surgery, George C. Velmahos, MD, PhD, division chief of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital. (5/1) 
  • Identifying SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies to Detect Immunity — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve around the globe, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital are evaluating assays to determine the development of immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. John Iafrate, MD, professor in the Department of Pathology at Mass General, is leading serologic research studies to produce antibody tests for SARS-CoV-2. His team and others are now beginning to identify antibodies specific to the virus and the amount of antibody necessary for immunity. (5/1)
  • Antibody-dependent Enhancement Might Explain Some Cases of Severe COVID-19 — Severe COVID-19 is associated with a failure to clear SARS-CoV-2 despite high levels of inflammatory cytokines. Recently, researchers have proposed in Microbes and Infection that this phenomenon can be explained by antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), a dysfunctional immune response best described in dengue virus infection. In a fast literature update posted on April 18, 2020, Rod Rahimi, MD, PhD, physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses this possibility. (4/30) 
  • The Difference Between N95s, Surgical Masks and Cloth Masks — What is an N95 mask and how is it different from a surgical mask? Is a cloth mask safe? George Alba, MD, a clinician in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and a researcher at the Mass General Research Institute, helps explain the specifics and best practices according to CDC guidelines. (4/29) 
  • Infectious Disease Experts: Reopening the Country will Hinge on Testing — How can the United States transition from the broadscale strategy of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 through shutdowns and physical distancing to a more focused strategy of containment, where infected individuals are quickly identified and isolated to prevent larger outbreaks? In a viewpoint published in JAMA on April 17, Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Carlos del Rio, MD, from the Emory University School of Medicine, identify several key components of a successful reopening plan. (4/27)
  • Effects of COVID-19 on Pregnant Women and Neonates — With many health systems in resource-limited settings across the globe already struggling to meet the needs of their patients, how can health officials cope with the rising COVID-19 pandemic? (4/24) 
  • Grand Round Session Details the Global Health Implications of COVID-19 — With many health systems in resource-limited settings across the globe already struggling to meet the needs of their patients, how can health officials cope with the rising COVID-19 pandemic? (4/20) 
  • COVID-19 Does Not Lead to "Atypical" ARDS — In recent weeks some have argued that COVID-19–associated respiratory failure is distinct from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Most of these comments were made in social media or the popular press, but one group of clinicians published a letter in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and an editorial in Intensive Care Medicine. Corey Hardin, MD, PhD, physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Massachusetts General Hospital, critiques multiple allegations that it is different in a fast literature update posted on April 10, 2020. (4/20)
  • COVID-19 Severity Risk in Smokers, Vape Users: Q&A with Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH — Individuals with respiratory illnesses and immunosuppression are amongst the high-risk group for severe COVID-19. But many physicians wonder about the risk level for patients who smoke or vape tobacco products. In this Q&A, Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, pediatrician and director of Pediatric Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Tobacco Research & Treatment Center, explains what is known and unknown about COVID-19 in regards to smoking and vaping. (4/16) 
  • Exploring the Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 on New Mothers — Sharon Dekel, PhD, a researcher and psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, is launching a study to understand how COVID-19 could be affecting the mental health and childbirth experience of women who recently gave birth. (4/16) 
  • Most Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19 Can Be Expected to Survive — On April 6, 2020, research published in JAMA reported on the largest ICU cohort of patients with COVID-19 to date. Camille Petri, MD, a fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, summarized and critiqued the publication in a fast literature update posted on April 8. (4/16) 
  • Tracking the Footprint of COVID-19 in Pediatric Populations — Fortunately, children and adolescents represent only a small proportion of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. In a fast literature update posted on April 7, 2020, Alexandra K. Wong, MD, a physician in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, adds that the virus rarely causes severe illness in these populations. (4/15)
  • The Possibility of a COVID-19 Viral-mediated Myocarditis — According to a few case reports and anecdotes, myocarditis can occur in patients with COVID-19. The evidence for that is at present limited, but clinicians should stay alert to cardiac compromise, according to a Massachusetts General Hospital fast literature update (FLARE) on April 1, 2020, by David M. Dudzinski, MD, director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center at Mass General. (4/15)
  • "Inflammatory Tsunami" Causes Severe Disease After Infection with the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus — After infection with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that's causing the pandemic of COVID-19, one of the first signs of severe disease is a remarkably strong cytokine storm—an "inflammatory tsunami," according to Galit Alter, PhD, principal investigator at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and Samana Cay MGH Research Scholar. Dr. Alter described the pathogenesis of COVID-19 during a Medical Grand Rounds at Mass General on March 12, 2020, presented by members of the Greater Boston Consortium for Pathogen Readiness. (4/15)
  • What Makes This Coronavirus So Unique? A Look at the Virology of SARS-CoV-2 — At a recent Morning Rounds presentation, infectious disease researcher Galit Alter, PhD, discussed what scientists have learned about the virology of SARS-CoV-2, and what makes it different from diseases we have seen before. (4/9)
  • Acute Respiratory Distress in COVID-19: Experts Outline Current Clinical Strategies and Research Opportunities — The third lecture in Massachusetts General Hospital's Medical Grand Rounds COVID-19 series focused on the clinical care of acute respiratory failure and the potential for new therapies and treatment strategies. (4/3)