Infectious Disease Sciences (IDS) researchers are playing a key role in the development of new COVID-19 prevention and treatment strategies. Our researchers are heading up several population-based studies as well as leading the way in clinical response to the virus.
Content last updated 1/6/2021
Michael Boeckh and Alpana Waghmare are co-leading CovidWatch: Investigating the infection rate of SARS-CoV-2, how long a person that encountered the virus is able to spread the virus, and if an individual can be re-infected again. This may also help us understand which immune responses help to protect a person and need to be generated by a vaccine.
Michael Boeckh is part of a multi-organizational team collaborating on the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN): By collecting nasal swabs from a representative sample of healthy and sick people across Seattle and King County, the study aims to develop a better understanding of the outbreak and help inform public health decisions.
Michael Boeckh is co-leading (with Shelly Karuna) a trial that will be conducted at the Fred Hutch COVID-19 Clinical Research Center. The purpose of this trial is to evaluate treatment with IV-administered REGN-COV2, a combination therapy with two antibodies, in an outpatient setting for participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes COVID-19, who are symptomatic and at risk for disease progression.
Larry Corey is head of the Fred Hutch-based operations center for the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), which was formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the United States (US) National Institutes of Health (NIH). CoVPN is developing and conducting studies to ensure rapid and thorough evaluation of US government-sponsored COVID-19 vaccines and antibodies for the prevention of COVID-19 disease. Please see the CoVPN website for more information on active trials, news releases summarizing trial results to date, or to volunteer for a COVID-19 prevention clinical study.
Elizabeth Duke is leading a trial that will be conducted at the Fred Hutch COVID-19 Clinical Research Center. The purpose of this trial is to evaluate treatment with orally-administered EIDD-2801 in an outpatient setting for participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes COVID-19, who are symptomatic.
Josh Hill is leading a trial at the Fred Hutch COVID-19 Clinical Research Center that will evaluate treatment with IV-administered Remdesivir in an outpatient setting in participants with confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, who are symptomatic and at risk for disease progression.
Manoj Menon is assessing the inflammatory cytokine profile in the treatment of COVID-19 among recipients of convalescent plasma or placebo for the Passive Immunity Trial for our Nation (PassItOn) study.
Content last updated 1/6/2021
Content last updated 1/6/21
Michael Boeckh and other SCAN investigators have demonstrated the feasibility of remote monitoring (using contactless methods of recruitment, enrollment and sample collection) for surveillance of influenza and other respiratory pathogens within households and in the community. The group has also applied these methods to investigate prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Seattle-area homeless shelters.
Larry Corey is a co-author on a New England Journal of Medicine article that demonstrates 94.1% efficacy of the Moderna mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine at preventing COVID-19 illness, with no safety concerns identified.
Larry Corey, Emily Ford, and Anton Sholukh published a sero-epidemiology study of SARS-CoV-2 in Blaine County, ID, with follow up analysis of humoral response to seasonal coronaviruses and functionality of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (a collaboration with Ketchum FD, University of Washington [UW] Virology and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences).
Elizabeth Duke and Josh Schiffer developed a mathematical model to explain why remdesivir has a greater antiviral effect on SARS CoV-2 in lung versus nasal passages in rhesus macaques.
Ashish Goyal, Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda, Dan Reeves and Josh Schiffer developed a SARS CoV-2 transmission model that links observed viral shedding kinetics with key epidemiologic features of transmission, identifies viral loads necessary for SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and explains why super-spreader events are more common for SARS-CoV-2 than for influenza. They then used this model to demonstrate that widespread use of even modestly effective masks is predicted to severely limit epidemic spread. With Bryan Mayer. This work was featured in the New York Times and cited in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, NPR and the Smithsonian.
Ashish Goyal, Josh Schiffer, Elizabeth Duke, and Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda developed an intra-host mathematical model of SARS CoV-2 kinetics that captures the timing and intensity of staged immune pressure against the virus, serves as a platform for clinical trial simulations, explains disparate lung and nasal viral load kinetics in rhesus macaques, and identifies the relationship between viral shedding and antibody responses. With Shuyi Yang (summer student). See manuscript in Science Advances and preprint.
Josh Hill and Manoj Menon conducted a retrospective observational study to assess whether use of the immunomodulatory therapy tocilizumab is associated with clinical improvement of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and receiving supplemental oxygen.
Keith Jerome and Larry Corey conducted a population epidemiology study to characterize trends in PCR test positivity for SARS-CoV-2 in Washington (WA) State and the Seattle area before and after statewide physical distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders.
Keith Jerome and Amanda Casto have completed a comparative assessment of the sensitivities and specificities of SARS-CoV-2 molecular assays using different primer sets and one commercial assay kit.
Keith Jerome and Pavitra Roychoudhury
Keith Jerome, Samuel Minot, and Pavitra Roychoudhury evaluated metagenomic approaches for unbiased detection of emerging pathogens including SARS-CoV-2.
Chikara Ogimi and Michael Boeckh conducted an ecological study to examine whether childhood vaccine status is associated with COVID-19 related outcomes on a country basis.
Chikara Ogimi has reviewed current knowledge and recent discoveries on the virology, epidemiology and disease associated with common, community-acquired human coronaviruses and coronaviruses responsible for past epidemics in pediatrics and immunocompromised hosts.
Steve Pergam, Catherine Liu, and Keith Jerome investigated SARS-CoV-2 prevalence, clinical characteristics and outcomes in symptomatic Seattle-area healthcare workers.
Dan Reeves and Josh Schiffer developed a mathematical model, parameterized with demographic and contact data from King County, WA, to project SARS-CoV-2 transmission during and after various reopening scenarios, with the goal of understanding how adjunctive interventions and physical distancing may be used to help society return to “normalcy” including the safe reopening of schools, and to endure potential subsequent epidemic waves. With Chloe Bracis (Grenoble), Dobromir Dimitrov, Mia Moore, and Dave Swan.
Dan Reeves used phylogenetically-informed models of viral evolution to determine that neutral evolution, rather than adaptive selection, can explain rare mutations seen across SARS-CoV-2 genomes, and that a single vaccine candidate should be efficacious against currently circulating lineages. In partnership with collaborators at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
Anton Sholukh, Emily Ford, Keith Jerome, and Larry Corey compared three platforms for SARS-CoV-2 neutralization and demonstrate high concordance between cell-based assays with live and pseudotyped virions.
Josh Schiffer and Dan Reeves used mathematical modelling to assess the potential impact of COVID-19 vaccines that prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, versus those that only prevent symptomatic COVID-19 disease after infection, on the numbers of infections and deaths in King County, Washington. With Dobromir Dimitrov, Dave Swan, Chloe Bracis (Grenoble), Holly Janes, Mia Moore, Laura Matrajt, Elieen Burns, Deborah Donnell, and Myron Cohen.
Josh Schiffer, Ashish Goyal, Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda, Dan Reeves and Larry Corey used this vaccine efficacy model to predict the extent to which a vaccine will need to reduce infectiousness in order to prevent or limit the extent of a fourth epidemic wave in spring 2021, the reduction in viral load needed for an adequate reduction in infectiousness, and the size of a study that is needed to determine how much a vaccine prevents infection. With Dobromir Dimitrov, Dave Swan, Chloe Bracis (Grenoble), Mia Moore, Elizabeth Krantz, Elizabeth Brown, Fei Gao, Peter Gilbert, Myron Cohen (UNC), and Holly Janes. See coverage in Geekwire.
Alpana Waghmare, Josh Schiffer, Michael Boeckh, Keith Jerome, Elizabeth Duke, Dan Reeves, and Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda demonstrated that self-sampling with mid-nasal foam swabs is well-tolerated and provides quantitative viral output concordant with mid-turbinate flocked swabs, that nasal cytokine levels correlate and cluster according to immune cell of origin, and that periods of stable viral loads are followed by rapid elimination, which could be coupled with cytokine expansion and contraction using mathematical models. Studies are ongoing to determine the utility of the foam swab for SARS-CoV-2 testing at home. With Subhasish Baral.
Anna Wald, Elizabeth Duke and Amanda Casto, as study investigators in the ACTT-1 NIH randomized controlled trial of remdesivir for hospitalized patients, showed that remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and had evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.
Danniel Zamora, Keith Jerome and Anna Wald assessed clinical, laboratory, and temporal predictors of neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 among COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor candidates.
Anna Wald and Keith Jerome, as part of the COVID-19 Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Trial, found that hydroxychloroquine did not demonstrate a clinically meaningful effect in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection, among contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Content last updated 1/7/21
Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda and Josh Schiffer
Content last updated 8/14/20
Michael Boeckh’s CovidWatch study was recently featured on the front page of The Seattle Times, “Fred Hutch Study Targets Front-line Workers Most at Risk from the Coronavirus.”
Amanda Casto was interviewed by a writer for UW Medicine for an article on clinician recommendations for the upcoming influenza season in the context of the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Article to appear in UW Medicine patient publication Right as Rain.
Emily Ford and Danniel Zamora are part of a team of volunteers deployed to area nursing homes to provide SARS-CoV-2 testing to people in facilities with multiple confirmed COVID positive cases.
Fellow Olivia Kates was quoted by KING 5 News in “Experts concerned coronavirus cases could rise with Seattle protests.”
Catherine Liu and Steve Pergam
Steve Pergam has been very actively involved in keeping the public informed. Some engagements include talking to KUOW for “Coronavirus outbreak means tough decisions for cancer patients, physicians”, the Scientific American podcast “Coronavirus Hot Zone: Research and Responses in the U.S. Epicenter”, and KING 5 news for “The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Distancing.” He was featured in The Seattle Times article “The etiquette of social distancing in the time of coronavirus, from the 'Miss Manners' of germs” as well as GeekWire’s story “Infectious disease expert Steve Pergam shares his prescription for a safe weekend get-together.” Recently he was interviewed by NPR and Scripps National News about the importance and timing of flu vaccination in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other media engagements include quotes and interviews with the Wall Street Journal, USAToday, NPR, Forbes, Scripps National News, ESPN, Healio, ACCC, MedPage Today, CURE Today and Cancer Health magazines, The Cancer Letter, Poz, The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, KOMO News, Q13 FOX News, Patient Worthy, Unravel Pediatric Cancer Podcast, CureTalks podcast, Uromigos podcast, MyNorthwest, Women’s Health Magazine, the SCCA blog and podcast, and Hutch News.
Danniel Zamora participated in the Northwest Hospital surge capacity response earlier this year by working in the medical ICU treating/caring for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, and volunteered covering the hospital-wide UW Medical Center clinical COVID-19 pager answering and advising clinical questions regarding COVID-19 treatment and testing.