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.

Article on the study

Distinct Level of Sars-Cov-2 Antibodies May Be Necessary for Durable Protection

Galit Alter, PhD, of the Ragon Institute, and colleagues have discovered that the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies does not mean an adult will exhibit a robust immune response.

Advances in Motion article

Pregnant & lactating women show immune response to vaccines, pass on antibodies

Researchers have found the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to be highly effective in producing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in pregnant and lactating women.

article on protective antibodies

Dermatologic Manifestations of COVID-19 Can Become "Long-Hauler" Symptoms

Researchers in the Department of Dermatology, and colleagues report for the first time that dermatologic manifestations of COVID-19 are among the symptoms that can be prolonged.

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 
  • No Link Between COVID-19 and Stillbirth Detected, but Placental Vascular Pathology is Worrisome – Ilona Goldfarb, MD, MPH, maternal-fetal medicine specialist; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology residents Megan E. Bunnell, MD, and Kathleen J. Koenigs, MD; Drucilla J. Roberts, MD, head of Obstetric and Perinatal Pathology; and colleagues report that rates of late-term stillbirth were unaffected during the first wave of COVID-19 in Boston, but rates of fetal and maternal vascular malperfusion increased. –  Sept 9 

August 2021

July 2021

  • ACE Inhibitor Use by Households of COVID-19 Patients Linked to Lower Risk – Katrina Armstrong, MD, physician-in-chief in the Department of Medicine; Joshua Metlay, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine; Jennifer Haas, MD, physician in the Department of Medicine; and colleagues report that use of either ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers was associated with decreased risk of COVID-19 diagnosis. – July 9
  • Cellular Models to Study COVID-19 and Other Maternal Exposures on the Fetal Brain – Steven Sheridan, PhD, director of the Platform for Cellular Modeling of Neuropsychiatric Disease; Roy Perlis, MD, MSc, director of the Center for Quantitative Health; Andrea G. Edlow, MD, MSc, investigator in the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology; and colleagues created models that allow for the identification of neonates and children most vulnerable to neurodevelopmental disorders related to various maternal exposures, including SARS-CoV-2. – July 7
  • Electroencephalographic Seizures Are Common in COVID-19, Linked to Increased Mortality Risk — M. Brandon Westover, MD, PhD, neurologist and director of the Clinical Data Animation Center, and colleagues presented data suggesting that cerebral dysfunction may substantially contribute to adverse COVID-19 outcomes. – July 6

June 2021

  • Healthy Women Had Negative Childbirth Experiences at the Outbreak of COVID-19 – Gus Mayopoulos, graduate researcher; Sharon Dekel, PhD, principal investigator in the Department of Psychiatry; Anjali J. Kaimal, MD, MAS, director of the Deborah Kelly Center for Clinical Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and colleagues find that the COVID-19 pandemic has added a significant amount of stress to childbirth even among women who are not infected with SARS-CoV-2. – June 23
  • 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

May 2021

April 2021

  • Two distinct types of COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome identified – Identifying subsets of patients with different biochemical characteristics can help clinical researchers develop more effective therapies for treating ARDS associated with COVID-19 infections. Study results suggest that disruption of the normal regulation of blood vessels and circulation could be a key feature of critical illness, severe symptoms, and death related to COVID-19 infections. – April 15
  • COVID-19 Patients with Rheumatic and Musculosketetal Diseases at Substantial Risk of Poor Outcomes – April Jorge, MD, rheumatologist, Kristin M. D'Silva, MD, fellow, and Hyon Choi, MD, program director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program and clinical rheumatologist in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology (RAI), report that the risks of death and other severe outcomes among patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases who develop COVID-19 have improved since the start of the pandemic, but are still substantial. – April 13
  • Monclonal Antibodies for COVID-19 Need to Be "Tuned" to Immune System – Galit Alter, PhD, principal investigator at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard, and colleagues are studying the ability of antibodies to target infected cells through Fc receptors, key immune regulatory receptors that connect antibody-mediated (humoral) immune response to cellular effector functions. –  April 1

March 2021

  • COVID-19–associated seizures may be common, linked to higher risk of death – Some hospitalized patients with COVID-19 experience “nonconvulsive” seizures detected through electrode tests. Among hospitalized patients with COVID-19, those who had seizures were more likely to need lengthy hospital stays and faced a higher risk of dying. – March 30
  • Pregnant and lactating women show robust immune response to COVID vaccines, pass antibodies to newborns – Researchers have found the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to be highly effective in producing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in pregnant and lactating women. Vaccine-generated antibodies were also present in all umbilical cord blood and breastmilk samples taken from the study, showing the transfer of antibodies from mothers to newborns. – March 25
  • 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
  • Case Report: Imaging Findings in COVID-19 Muscle Denervation Atrophy – Sara Bahouth, MD, diagnostic radiologist, and Daniel Rosenthal, MD, musculoskeletal radiologist and senior vice chairman of the Department of Radiology, both of the Division of Musculoskeletal Imaging and Intervention, and colleagues describe the case of a patient with COVID-19 who developed an unusual case of muscle denervation atrophy with striking MRI findings. – March 18
  • Dermatologic Manifestations of COVID-19 Can Become "Long-Hauler" Symptoms – Devon E. McMahon and Esther E. Freeman, MD, PhD, of the Department of Dermatology, and colleagues report for the first time that dermatologic manifestations of COVID-19 are among the symptoms that can be prolonged. – March 5
  • 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 
  • COVID-19 Patients with Rheumatic Disease Can Develop Antibodies – Kristin M. D'Silva, MD, fellow, and physician Zachary S. Wallace, MD, MSc, both of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, report that 10 out of 13 patients (77%) who had a rheumatic disease and COVID-19, and subsequently underwent SARS-CoV testing on at least one occasion, had detectable antibodies. – March 5 
February 2021
  • Antibody response may drive COVID-19 outcomes – In a study, researchers at Mass General and their team identified specific types of antibodies that may be driving these different responses, including one specific to severe disease in adults and another specific to MIS-C in children. – Feb. 18 
  • County-Level COVID-19 Data Confirms Effectiveness of Workplace Closure – Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD, associate director of the Institute for Technology Assessment at Mass General, and colleagues developed an open-source, county-level dataset that permits research into how county-level NPI (non-pharmaceutical interventions) policies can affect COVID-19 rates. They report significant variability in NPI implementation among counties in the U.S. – Feb. 4
January 2021
December 2020
  • Two Phases of Infection Discovered in Patients with Severe COVID-19 Pneumonia – David T. Ting, MD, associate clinical director for Innovation at the Mass General Cancer Center, and colleagues report on two distinct phases of infection in severe COVID-19 pneumonia: the early phase, defined by high levels of SARS-CoV-2 in the lungs, and the later phase, in which the virus is no longer present, but damage to lungs is too severe for recovery. – Dec. 18

  • Athletes and COVID-19 – In this Q&A, Meagan Wasfy, MD, sports cardiologist, describes the evolution of return-to-play guidelines as researchers uncover more about the progression and treatment of COVID-19, and the implications those findings have on the general patient population. – Dec. 17

  • What Do We Know About SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection So Far? – Based on what scientists have learned from other coronaviruses such as the common cold, reports of reinfection of SARS-CoV-2 are not surprising. (12/7)
  • Histopathology of COVID-19 is Typical of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome  Physicians in the Department of Pathology and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care have determined that COVID-19 falls along the spectrum of known acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) histopathology, primarily manifesting as acute-phase diffuse alveolar damage. (12/3)

  • Early Details of Brain Damage in COVID-19 Patients – Researchers at Mass General have conducted one of the first spectroscopic imaging-based studies of neurological injury in COVID-19 patients. Among six infected patients who had neurological symptoms, they observed some of the same metabolic disturbances in the brain as other patients who suffered oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) from other causes. (12/2)

November 2020
  • Study Finds 72% of Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients Developed Acute Kidney Injury – Leon Naar, MD, research fellow in the Department of Surgery, Haytham M.A. Kaafarani, MD, director of Trauma and Emergency Surgery Research and of the Mass General Wound Center, and colleagues report that nearly three-quarters of patients admitted to the hospital early in the COVID-19 outbreak in Boston developed acute kidney injury (AKI). (11/20)
  • Patients with Rheumatic Disease Are at High Risk of COVID-19 Complications – Kristin D'Silva, MD, fellow in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, and colleagues report that patients with systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease demonstrated higher rates of comorbidities—including hypertension, asthma, chronic kidney disease and heart failure—compared with those without. (11/19)
  • Early details of brain damage in COVID-19 patients – Study finds COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms show some of the same disturbances in the brain as other patients who have suffered oxygen deprivation from other causes, but there are also notable differences. (11/18)
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
  • Is There a Connection Between Blood Type and COVID-19? – In this Q&A, Rebecca Karp Leaf, MD, and Hanny Al-Samkari, MD, non-malignant hematologists at the Mass General Cancer Center, review what is known to date about the correlation between blood type and COVID-19 transmission/severity, findings from their recent study and reasons why this connection may or may not exist. (7/24)

  • Bowel Necrosis in a Patient with COVID-19 – Rajshri M. Gartland, MD, clinical fellow in Surgery, and George C. Velmahos, MD, PhD, division chief of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, describe the case of a critically ill patient with COVID-19 who developed catastrophic bowel necrosis despite widely patent mesenteric vessels. (7/24) 

  • Range of COVID-19 skin signs linked to disease severity – Skin 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.(7/20)
  • 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. (7/16)
  • 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. (7/16)
  • 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. (7/15)
  • AASLD Consensus Statement Advises on Liver Disease Treatment – Raymond Chung, MD, vice chief of the Gastrointestinal Division and director of the Hepatology and Liver Center, and colleagues have published a consensus statement that provides information on what is currently known about COVID-19 and how it may impact hepatologists, liver transplant providers and their patients. (7/9) 

  • Fertility Treatment & Innovations Address Care During COVID-19 – John Petrozza, MD, chief of Reproductive Medicine at the Fertility Center in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, describes some of the modifications that he and his team have instituted in order to continue to provide safe, comprehensive fertility care during the pandemic. (7/9) 

  • COVID-19 Prevention in the Urological Community – Mass General urologist Adam Feldman, MD, MPH, discusses key takeaways from Anthony S. Fauci, MD's address at the American Urologic Association's 2020 Live Virtual Experience, including the impact that COVID-19 has had on urologic care. (7/9) 

  • Elevations in Aminotransferases Mirror Severity of COVID-19 – Patricia P. Bloom, MD, fellow in the Division of Gastroenterology, Raymond Chung, MD, and colleagues report that the pattern of liver biochemistries in COVID-19 is notable for elevation in aspartate aminotransferase, possibly reflecting a unique virally mediated mechanism of hepatic injury. (7/9)

June 2020
  • 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. (6/29)
  • 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. (6/19)
  • 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. (6/19) 
  • 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. (6/19)
  • 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. (6/11)
  • 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. (6/5) 
  • 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. (6/3) 
  • 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. (6/3) 
  • 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. (6/1)
May 2020
  • 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. (5/29) 
  • 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)
April 2020
  • 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) 

March 2020