COVID-19 Activities

Our Researchers are Leading the COVID-19 Research Imperative and Clinical Response

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.


Enrolling Studies  |  Our Response to COVID-19  |  Key Findings  |  Active and Pending Funding  |  Media and Outreach

Actively Recruiting Studies: Join Our Fight against COVID-19

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Content last updated 4/28/2021

Michael Boeckh and Alpana Waghmare are co-leading the COVID-19 Immune Protection Study: Investigating the role of pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and the impact on infection outcomes. This may also help us understand which immune responses help to protect a person and need to be generated by a vaccine. 

Volunteer Today

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.

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Michael Boeckh is a co-investigator on a trial (PI: Shelly Karuna) that is being 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.

Volunteer Today

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.  

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Joshua Hill is leading a Phase I first-in-human trial of cord blood-derived NK cells to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19. With Deverra Therapeutics. 

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Elizabeth Duke is is the site PI of a trial of molnupiravir (MK4482) that is being conducted at the Fred Hutch COVID-19 Clinical Research Center. The purpose of this trial is to evaluate treatment with orally-administered molnupiravir in adults who live with someone with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Volunteer Today

Anna WaldElizabeth Duke and Emily Ford are study investigators on the Phase 3 Study of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine through the CoVPN. UW Virology, headed by Keith Jerome, is designated the central diagnostic lab for the Novavax vaccine trials

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.

Our Teams’ Responses to the Pandemic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Content last updated 4/28/2021

Michael Boeckh, Chikara Ogimi, Steve Pergam, Alpana Waghmare, Joshua Hill & Danniel Zamora

Michael Boeckh, Larry Corey, Elizabeth Duke, Joshua Hill, Josh Schiffer, Anna Wald & the Fred Hutch COVID Clinical Research Center (CCRC)

  • Pursuing early test-and-treat approaches to SARS-CoV-2. To date, clinicians and researchers in this group have opened the newly renovated CCRC research facility, developed a pipeline of randomized clinical trials for early treatment of COVID-19, and published a review in Open Forum Infectious Diseases describing the merits of this strategy. With Rachel Bender Ignacio, Shelly Karuna and Julie McElrath. (Michael BoeckhLarry Corey, Elizabeth Duke, Joshua Hill, Josh SchifferAnna Wald and the CCRC)
  • Co-authored a comment in Lancet Infectious Diseases discussing the lack of efficacy shown by studies of monoclonal antibody treatments to date, and suggesting that this treatment should be assessed exclusively in immunocompromised patients in the future (Rachel Bender Ignacio).
  • Published a review in mBio summarizing lessons in drug development learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and proposing a combinatorial approach to fast, effective drug development for future viral pandemics (Josh Schiffer and Rachel Bender Ignacio).
  • Enrolled participants at the Fred Hutch CCRC in a Merck Sharp & Dohme trial entitled “A Phase 2/3, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety, and Pharmacokinetics of MK-4482 in Non-Hospitalized Adults with COVID-19.” The purpose of the study was to evaluate treatment with orally-administered molnupiravir (MK4482) in an outpatient setting in participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. (Elizabeth Duke)
  • Enrolled participants at the Fred Hutch CCRC in a Vir Biotechnology Inc trial entitled “A Phase 3 randomized, multi-center, open label study to assess the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of monoclonal antibody VIR-7831 (sotrovimab) given intramuscularly versus intravenously for the treatment of mild/moderate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in high-risk non-hospitalized patients.” The purpose of the study was to compare intramuscular versus intravenous infusion of sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody with FDA emergency use authorization, for early treatment of non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19. (Alpana Waghmare and Michael Boeckh)
  • Enrolled participants at the Fred Hutch CCRC in a Regeneron trial entitled “A Master Protocol Assessing the Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Anti-Spike (S) SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies for the Treatment of Ambulatory Patients With COVID-19.” The trial aimed 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 who were symptomatic and at risk for disease progression. (Michael Boeckh)
  • Enrolled participants at the Fred Hutch CCRC in a Ridgeback outpatient COVID trial titled “A Phase IIa, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of EIDD-2801 to Eliminate SARS-CoV-2 Viral RNA Detection in Persons with COVID-19.” The Fred Hutch team enrolled 32 participants at our site, the second highest enrolling site in the trial. (Elizabeth DukeMichael Boeckh, and Josh Schiffer).
  • Enrolled participants at the Fred Hutch CCRC in a Gilead trial entitled “Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Remdesivir (GS-5734™) Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in an Outpatient Setting” that evaluated 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 at risk for disease progression. (Joshua Hill)

Larry Corey, Emily Ford, Anton Sholukh & Jia Zhu

  • With members of the newly established International AIDS Society–Lancet Commission on Health and Human Rights, coauthored a Lancet comment that advances the argument for more equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. (Larry Corey)
  • Contributed to a paper advocating for blinded crossover and continued follow-up of COVID-19 vaccine trial participants. This approach would allow placebo recipients timely access to the vaccine, yet allow important insights about immunological and clinical effectiveness over time. (Larry Corey)
  • Involved in the US government-sponsored COVID-19 response effort (now called the Countermeasures Acceleration Group), which aims to deliver millions of doses of safe, effective vaccines for COVID-19 as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. (Larry Corey)
  • Part of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) a public-private partnership to develop a coordinated research strategy for prioritizing and speeding development of the most promising treatments and vaccines. Author on a review suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines do not appear to present a high risk of vaccine-associated enhanced disease, though full evaluation with long-term follow-up and postlicensure surveillance should be completed as with any vaccine. (Larry Corey)
  • Offering expert guidance on vaccine development. Author on papers addressing salient issues on study endpoints in COVID-19 vaccine efficacy trials and expressing concern about the use of an adenovirus type-5 vector for COVID-19 vaccines. (Larry Corey)
  • Conducting an analysis of SARS-CoV-2 IgA and IgG in saliva of convalescent and recently infected subjects. (Larry Corey, Emily Ford, & Anton Sholukh)
  • Part of the WHO Solidarity II Collaboration on global serological study for COVID-19. Solidarity II is a global collaboration led by the World Health Organization that promotes the implementation of serological surveys of SARS-CoV-2. Anton Sholukh is involved into weekly meetings and discussions and also contributed by presenting data regarding evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 serological assays for antibody monitoring in natural infection and vaccine trials. (Anton Sholukh)
  • Collaborating with a UC Davis group to study the underlying mechanisms of COVID-19 related lung pathology. (Jia Zhu)

David Fredricks

  • As one of the editors of Clinical Infectious Diseases, co-authored a review on important lessons learned about the epidemiology, clinical features, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as essential questions about COVID-19 that remain to be answered
  • Is investigating a microbiome based biotherapeutic to stimulate antiviral innate immunity, which will be explored as prevention/treatment for COVID-19. Profile

Joshua Hill

  • Protocol chair and site PI for the “Prospective Observational Study of the Immunogenicity of Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 after Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HCT), Allogeneic HCT, and Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy.” This is a national observational study of immune responses in patients receiving SARS-CoV-2 vaccines as part of routine care, and is a CIBMTR/BMT CTN study.
  • Published a commentary reviewing available data on the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with cancer, and recommending that most patients with cancer should receive the recommended dose and schedule of one of the COVID-19 vaccines when available.
  • Participated as a panelist in an ASCO/IDSA webinar entitled “The COVID-19 Vaccine & Patients with Cancer,” attended by over 1,000 health care providers. Profile

Keith Jerome & Pavitra Roychoudhury

  • Part of the CDC-led SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance (SPHERES) consortium aimed at coordinating COVID-19 sequencing efforts and data sharing across the US. (Keith Jerome, Pavitra Roychoudhury & UW Virology Lab)
  • Maintaining an extensive biorepository of SARS-CoV-2+ specimens for validation studies and other collaborative projects. (Keith Jerome, Pavitra Roychoudhury & UW Virology Lab)
  • Performing sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 for cluster/outbreak investigations around the state, and in partnership with the WA Department of Health and CDC. Also collaborating with groups from Idaho, Vermont, and Armenia, to assist in local genomic surveillance efforts. (Keith Jerome, Pavitra Roychoudhury & UW Virology Lab)
  • The UW Virology lab performing the COVID-19 diagnostic work was toured by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee in April 2021.

Catherine Liu & Steve Pergam

Manoj Menon & Warren Phipps

  • Serving on the University of Washington COVID-19 treatment guideline committee. (Manoj Menon)
  • Investigating the potential use of GeneXpert for SARS-CoV-2 testing in Uganda as well as the effect of convalescent plasma on neutralizing antibodies and cytokine profile in patients with COVID-19. (Manoj Menon)
  • Co-chairing the COVID-19 Task Force at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) to guide the institute’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, including establishing education, screening, and PPE procedures. (Warren Phipps
  • Working with Fred Hutch Global Oncology (GO) program and Uganda Ministry of Health to establish SARS-CoV-2 testing at the UCI-Fred Hutch collaboration labs. The GO program received donation of >2000 test kits from Beijing Genomics Institute in one month. (Warren Phipps)

Josh Schiffer, Fabian Cardozo Ojeda, Elizabeth Duke, Emily Ford & Daniel Reeves

  • Developing models that can correctly characterize several key quantities of interest such as the peak viral load, time to peak viral load and the time to resolution in cases of missing data. This project also investigates more complex behavior in the longitudinal dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 viral loads such as multiple peaks, as well as the impact of viral inoculum on the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the importance of pre-existing immunity amongst other factors on viral re-challenge in rhesus macaques (Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda and Josh Schiffer).
  • Involved in screening SARS-CoV-2 agents for therapy. This study involves developing a testing platform for 96 cancer agents against SARS-CoV-2 in a respiratory epithelial cell line, and conducting clinical trial simulations of promising agents. With Vivian Oehler, Pamela Becker, and Michael Gale. (Josh Schiffer & Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda)
  • Developing an optimization scheme for testing multiple agents in quick succession to most rapidly achieve endpoints required for licensure. The aim of this project is more efficient clinical trial design for the next respiratory virus pandemic. With Fei Gao and Elizabeth Krantz. (Josh Schiffer & Daniel Reeves)
  • Using machine learning to develop a risk score for predicting clinical outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 using clinical and laboratory markers (interest in inflammatory markers). (Elizabeth Duke, Emily Ford & Josh Schiffer)
  • Member of the COVID-19 modeling working group with the Washington Department of Health. The aim of this group is to advise the DOH and forecast case numbers following various non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccine strategies. With Dobromir Dimitrov, James Moore, and Dave Swan. (Josh Schiffer)
  • Co-leader of the statistical and modeling for the CoVTEN Operations Groups. CoVTEN is responsible for testing various vaccine candidates in non-human primates. With Feo Gao and Deb Fuller. (Josh Schiffer)
  • Involved in thinking about the evolution of COVID-19 on an epidemiological scale, in partnership with collaborators at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. (Daniel Reeves)

Alpana Waghmare

  • Co-led (with Michael Boeckh) CovidWatch, which investigated 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. 
  • Working to understand the risk factors for severe COVID-19: Characterizing host transcriptomic signatures that can predict severe disease early in infection, using a novel, home-based blood-collection system that allows for RNA preservation. 
  • Working to understand the immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in children with COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in a longitudinal cohort study.  
  • Part of the NIH Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Treatment Guidelines panel, which published perspectives on convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19.  
  • Author on a multicenter initial guidance and multicenter interim guidance on use of antivirals for children with COVID-19 and an initial guidance on use of monoclonal antibody therapy for children and adolescents with COVID-19. (Profile)

Anna Wald, Amanda Casto, & Danniel Zamora

  • Published an editorial in Annals of Internal Medicine proposing that use of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines should be considered, in order to maximize the health gains for every vaccine dose (Anna Wald).
  • Published an Annals of Internal Medicine editorial recommending broader use of outcome-adaptive randomization when designing clinical trials to test multiple COVID-19 interventions. (Anna Wald)
  • Identifying and prescreening potential plasma donors for use either as direct transfusions or for manufacture of high-titer SARS-CoV-2 intravenous immunoglobulin, as part of the COVID-19 Plasma Donation Study. (Anna Wald and Danniel Zamora)
  • Evaluating the Tasso device for self-collection of blood for antibodies to COVID-19. (Anna Wald)
  • Performing comparative serology to identify the optimal approach to COVID-19 antibody testing. (Anna Wald)
  • Working on a description of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA shedding duration in a cohort of COVID-19 outpatients who submitted serial self-collected nasal swabs. With Helen Chu’s lab. (Amanda Casto)

Select Key Research Findings

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Content last updated 4/28/21

Michael Boeckh and collaborators experimentally demonstrated that the spike protein of seasonal human coronavirus 229E evolves at a rate that, within one to two decades, allows it to escape neutralization by antibodies generated to provide immunity against the original strain.

Michael Boeckh and other Seattle Flu Study/SCAN investigators, including Amanda Casto, 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.

Amanda Casto contributed to a study that found that titers of neutralizing and binding antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 spike protein declined modestly within 4 months of COVID-19 symptom onset, consistent with other known viral infections.

Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda and Josh Schiffer 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, and identifies the relationship between viral shedding and immune responses. With Ashish Goyal. See manuscripts in Science Advances and Viruses.

Larry Corey is a co-author on two New England Journal of Medicine articles that describe safety and efficacy data from the Phase 3 trials of two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. The first article demonstrated 94.1% efficacy of the Moderna mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 illness, with no safety concerns identified. The second article showed 66% efficacy of the single-dose Ad26.COV2.S vaccine from Johnson & Johnson in preventing moderate-to-severe COVID-19 illness, with an acceptable safety profile.  

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,  Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda, 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. With Ashish Goyal.

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 

  • Developing and validating SARS-CoV-2 molecular assays, including multiplexing, sample pooling, sample stability, different specimen types, and a direct RT-qPCR assay that omits RNA extraction. See publications in Journal of Clinical Virology (Manuscripts 123, 4 and 5), Journal of Clinical Microbiology (Manuscripts 1, 2 and 3), and PloS Biology, as well as a Commentary in JCM summarizing how their team rapidly validated tests and increased testing capacity.
  • Validated a highly sensitive, specific test (Abbott SARS-CoV-2) that detects antibodies in the blood of a person who may have had the virus, and used the assay to measure population-level antibody prevalence in Boise, Idaho. Now assessing in UW Medicine employees and across WA State.
  • Characterized SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology in hospitalized patients, including: 1) the occurrence and timing of subsequent PCR positivity in initially negative patients, 2) identification of lower respiratory tract SARS-CoV-2 in patients with negative nasopharyngeal tests, 3) SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in pregnant and postpartum patients, and 4) incidence of healthcare-associated SARS-CoV-2 acquisition. See also publications in the New England Journal of MedicineClinical Infectious Diseases and JAMA Internal Medicine.
  • Pursuing the development and validation of faster tests that hospitals, doctor’s offices and pharmacies could use within minutes to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection, making testing more widely available and decreasing transmission. Determined the sensitivity of the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag CARD (a rapid antigen test for SARS-CoV-2); optimized and validated a dual-target reverse-transcriptase loop mediated amplification method for SARS-CoV-2 detection; and developed the SHERLOCK-Testing-in-One-Pot STOPCovid test.
  • Involved in outbreak investigations tracking the presence and persistence of PCR-detectable SARS-CoV-2 and associated symptoms in both a Seattle-area assisted/independent living community and inpatient psychiatry unit.
  • Involved in designing and implementing a system to expedite SARS-CoV-2 screening of donors and recipients to support continued solid organ transplantation.
  • Identified an inverse correlation of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies levels and viral load, and association of viral load at presentation with clinical outcome.

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

  • Are involved in genomic epidemiology efforts, using genomic surveillance and phylogenetic analyses to reveal SARS-CoV-2 lineages and determine likely transmission patterns within communities and across the US. See publications in Science (Manuscripts 1 and 2), Journal of Clinical VirologyCell, and preprints (1 and 2).
  • Have examined host responses to SARS-CoV-2 via RNAseq on nasopharyngeal swabs, revealing that the host response depends on viral load and infection time course, with observed differences due to age and sex that may contribute to disease severity.
  • Provided the first direct evidence that pre-existing neutralizing antibodies are protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection, using data from a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak aboard a fishing vessel.
  • Determined that no significant difference in clinical outcomes (hospitalization or death) could be discerned between individuals infected with different SARS-CoV-2 clades.
  • Evaluated the Swift Biosciences single tube, SARS-CoV-2 multiplex amplicon sequencing panel for the recovery of genomes from low viral loads samples.
  • By sequencing clinical isolates, identified variants of SARS-CoV-2 with large deletions.
  • Have developed ddPCR-based assays to rapidly identify variants and mutations of concern.

Keith Jerome, Samuel Minot, and Pavitra Roychoudhury evaluated metagenomic approaches for unbiased detection of emerging pathogens including SARS-CoV-2.

Keith Jerome and Anna Wald contributed to a study which used B-cell epitope prediction methods, combined with comprehensive mining of sequence databases and structural data, to identify SARS-CoV-2 proteins suitable for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 in serum samples.

Catherine Liu, Chikara Ogimi, Steve Pergam, and Alpana Waghmare conducted a study on “Clinical and Virologic Characteristics and Outcomes of Coronavirus Disease 2019 at a Cancer Center.”

Chikara Ogimi, Alpana Waghmare, Keith Jerome and Michael Boeckh identified risk factors (including hyperglycemia) for lower respiratory tract infection caused by seasonal human coronaviruses, in a retrospective study of recipients of hematopoietic cell transplants. 

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 contributed to a cross-sectional study of 230 US vaccine trials with 219,555 participants, which demonstrated that racial/ethnic minority groups and people 65 years and older are underrepresented in US vaccine trials.  

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. Recently released COVID projections app. With Chloe Bracis (Grenoble), Eileen Burns, Dobromir Dimitrov, Mia Moore, and Dave Swan.

Dan Reeves, Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda, 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, and to identify early super-spreader events as a likely determinant of SARS-CoV-2 variant predominance. With Ashish Goyal and Bryan Mayer. This work was featured directly in the New York Times and LA times and also cited in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, NPR and the Smithsonian.

Dan Reeves and Josh Schiffer identified rapid vaccination and early implementation of partial lockdown as critical variables to save lives in the context of emerging highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 variant, by simulating multiple scenarios using the above model. With Chloe Bracis (Grenoble), Dobromir Dimitrov, Mia Moore, and Dave Swan. This work was featured in Geekwire, and is also now featured on a user-friendly webpage intended to simulate possible trajectories for COVID-19 epidemiology in King County. 

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.

Josh Schiffer determined that optimal COVID-19 vaccine allocation strategies depend critically on the degree of viral transmission and the single-dose efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. The study used mathematical modeling combined with optimization algorithms to minimize five metrics of disease burden. With Laura Matrajt, Julia Eaton, Tiffany Leung, Dobromir Dimitrov, Dave Swan, and Holly Janes.

Josh Schiffer found that circulating immune signatures were similar in patients hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2, Flu, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection compared to healthy donors. However, regulatory T cells were elevated in the circulation of patients with the most critical COVID-19 disease, and showed phenotypic changes indicating increased suppressive capacity and tissue-migratory patterns. With Sarah Vick, Marie Frutoso, Florian Mair, Andrew J Konecny, Evan Greene, Caitlin Wolf, Jennifer Logue, Jim Boonyaratanakornkit, Raphael Gottardo, Helen Chu, Martin Prlic, and Jennifer Lund.

Josh Schiffer and Keith Jerome investigated the longitudinal dynamics of IgG and IgM antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 infection and demonstrated that antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 do not appear to be the primary mechanism underlying viral clearance from the nasal passages. With Ashish Goyal, Shuyi Yang (summer student) and Alex Greninger.

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, 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 Ashish Goyal, 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 contributed to a publication that describes comprehensive profiling of T cell and antibody functions related to targeting SARS-CoV-2 proteins. The study revealed a functionally diverse and coordinated response between T cells and antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2, which is reduced in the presence of comorbid illnesses that are known risk factors for severe COVID-19.

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.

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.

Anna Wald, Keith Jerome, and Joshua Schiffer, as part of the COVID-19 Treatment Study: Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Azithromycin (AZ), that neither HCQ nor HCQ/AZ shortened the clinical course of outpatients with COVID-19.

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. With Jim Boonyaratanakornkit.

Active and Pending Funding

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Content last updated 4/28/21

Michael Boeckh

  • The CovidWatch Study, funded by Amazon. A Longitudinal Observational Study To Determine SARS-Cov-2 Incidence, Asymptomatic And Symptomatic Infection, And Immune Correlates In Healthy Individuals With High Risk Of Exposure. . [active]
  • NIH/NIAID Covid Immune Protection Study (Co-I): Functional and dysfunctional human CD4 T-cell and B-cell responses to bacteria and viruses. [active]
  • Merck Investigator Studies Program Funding for “Cytomegalovirus viremia as risk factor for poor outcome of COVID-19.” [pending]
  • Contract with Ridgeback for COVID trial titled “A Phase IIa, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of EIDD-2801 to Eliminate SARS-CoV-2 Viral RNA Detection in Persons with COVID-19.” With Elizabeth Duke. [active]

Elizabeth Duke

  • Contract with Merck for COVID trial titled “Efficacy and Safety of Molnupiravir (MK4482) in Non-Hospitalized Adult Participants with COVID-19 (MK4482-002).”

Josh Hill 

  • Contract agreement with Gilead for COVID Phase 3 trial to evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Remdesivir in an Outpatient Setting.

Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda and Josh Schiffer

  • Submitted an R01 COVID-19 Supplement entitled Mathematical Modeling of Optimal Therapeutic Combinations for HIV Cure. The proposed research is relevant to public health because understanding which drug dose, treatment initiation and schedule will lead to plausible combinations of repurposed, tested agents against SARS-CoV-2 achieve reduction of viral shedding and intensity of inflammatory response may significantly optimize the design of clinical trials geared to that purpose.

Keith Jerome

  • Paul G. Allen Family Foundation funded study that will use antibody testing to determine the percentage of Washingtonians who have been infected by COVID-19, and the prevalence of infection within certain populations.
  •  MJ Murdock Charitable Trust. COVID-19 Point of Care Assay Evaluation. Aim to validate and deliver point-of-care COVID-19 diagnostic test for use in hospitals, doctors’ offices and pharmacies. This will accelerate testing, isolation and treatment of infected individuals, saving thousands of lives. Daniel Stone contributed to writing the proposal.

Manoj Menon

  • Assessing the Inflammatory Cytokine Profile in the Treatment of COVID‐19 Among Recipients of Convalescent Plasma or Placebo on “Passive Immunity Trial for Our Nation Study.”

Steve Pergam

  • Vanderbilt U01 COVID supplement. Comparison of High vs. Standard Dose Flu Vaccine in Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Recipients. Will retrospectively identify immunocompromised patients with prior COVID-19, and will prospectively enroll immunocompromised patients who had a proven or suspected COVID-19 infection or have had an exposure to SARS-COV-2.

Warren Phipps

  • Submitted response in July to NIH U54 funding opportunity to establish SARS-CoV-2 Serologic Sciences Centers of Excellence in East Africa as part of a multi-institutional collaboration among the Fred Hutch, University of Nebraska, Uganda Cancer Institute, and Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Tanzania.

Josh Schiffer

  • R01 supplement to use an existing COVID-19 cohort to assess multiple potential immunologic markers of progression to severe disease at initial clinical presentation, identify immunologic variables associated with viral elimination over ensuing weeks, and compare these measures to persons infected with other respiratory viruses such as RSV and influenza. With Martin Prlic, Jennifer Lund, and Helen Chu (UW).
  • Internal Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center COVID-19 funding to test multiple cancer agents against SARS-CoV-2 replication and to then simulate trials with these agents. With Dobromir Dimitrov.
  • Funding through the Centers for Disease Control Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists to develop forecasts and intervention-focused mathematical models for rapid dissemination to the public. With Dobromir Dimitrov.
  • Submitted an R01 that proposed testing combinations of repurposed drugs against SARS, SARS-CoV-2 and MERS and using these results to propose rapid clinical trial designs for the next coronavirus pandemic. With Judith White (UVA), Steve Polyak (UW).
  • Submitted an R13 to host the Viral Dynamics Conference in Seattle. This conference, which focuses on modeling viral infections in an infected host, will have a heavy focus on COVID-19 this year. With Fabian Cardozo-Ojeda.
  • Submitting a P51 as a co-investigator to study the dynamics of inflammation associated with COVID-19 in non-human primates. With Fei Gao, Mirko Paiardini (Emory)

Alpana Waghmare

  • NIH/NIAID R01: Evaluation of viral and host response kinetics to respiratory viral infections, including SARS-CoV-2, early during infection in a prospective surveillance cohort and to identify specific cellular populations that are associated with severe disease in both peripheral blood and the lower respiratory tract.
  • FH COVID-19 Pilot: Study to evaluate early transcriptomic signatures in COVID-19 using a home-based blood collection system.
  • CDC BAA (Co-I): Longitudinal assessment of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in children
  • NIH/NIAID Covid Immune Protection Study (Co-I): Functional and dysfunctional human CD4 T-cell and B-cell responses to bacteria and viruses.

Anna Wald

  • UM1AI1485731from NIH/NIAID  for UW Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) -  Provided funds for NIH sponsored clinical trial of Remdesivir for COVID-19 infections, Novavax Phase 3 clinical trial of a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine, and Gritstone Phase1 COVD-19 vaccine. 
  • Funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for BMGF COVID-19 PEP Study (with Ruanne Barnabas), A randomized, open-label trial of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) using hydroxychloroquine in adults exposed to the virus to determine the safety, tolerability, and preventive efficacy of the drug.
  • “A Pilot Study for Collection of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Immune Plasma,” Sponsor:  Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.

Jia Zhu

  • As a co-Investigator along with PIs and other co-investigators at UW School of Engineering received a NIAID funded U01 to develop a highly sensitive and specific immunoresistive sensor for point-of-care screening of COVID-19.

Media Engagements, Outreach, and Community Involvement

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Content last updated 4/19/21
AUGUST 2020 - APRIL 2021

Larry Corey

Josh Hill was Interviewed for KIRO 7-TV’s evening newscast for a story on whether cancer patients should get the COVID-19 vaccines.

Keith Jerome:

Catherine Liu was interviewed in “Lessons Learned About COVID and Cancer— Applying evidence, acknowledging uncertainty, adapting, moving forward with humility” for MedPage Today and quoted in “If I Have Cancer, Dementia or MS, Should I Get the Covid Vaccine?” for Kaiser Health News.

Manoj Menon was quoted in “Early Use of High-Titer Plasma May Prevent Severe COVID-19” for Medscape

Steve Pergam

Joshua Schiffer

Anton Sholukh was invited by the World Health Organization to present at a meeting of their Solidarity II workgroup, a global collaboration that promotes the implementation of serological studies of SARS-CoV-2.

Anna Wald


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.

Larry Corey

  • In April, was appointed as a member on two of the working groups (the COVID Clinical Trial Capacity and the COVID Vaccines working groups) that make up the NIH-led Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) program. Led by an Executive Committee that includes the directors of NIH and NIAID, ACTIV is a public-private collaboration intended to streamline the processes of SARS-CoV-2 candidate vaccine development and testing, including serving as a centralized program for the harmonization of clinical trials and accelerated licensure and distribution of successful vaccine candidates and therapeutic modalities. A May 11th news release summarized this effort, which has received widespread attention from a range of news organizations such as Reuters, Geekwire, and The ASCO Post.
  • Will head the Hutch-based operations center for the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), a collaboration formed by Anthony Fauci to manage multiple large-scale clinical trials of coronavirus vaccines including Moderna’s phase three COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, which began on July 27. Dr. Corey discusses this effort in a June 4th article on the Hutch News Stories webpage titled “Q&A: Dr. Larry Corey at the center of COVID-19 vaccine research” and has been very actively involved in keeping the public informed about CoVPN and the challenges and opportunities surrounding development of vaccines for COVID-19. Some engagements include interviews with ABC News for “As pressure for vaccine builds, regulators may face difficult decision,” The Washington Post for “Decades of research on an HIV vaccine boosts the bid for one against coronavirus,” McClatchy DC for “Will Trump’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ rush the science of a coronavirus vaccine?” and Wired forLet’s Say There’s a Covid-19 Vaccine—Who Gets It First? An immunization shot is still in development, but debate over who gets priority has already begun.” Other recent media engagements include quotes and interviews with NBC New York, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and KIRO 7.
  • Spoke about his recent Science Policy Forum on COVID-19 co-authored with NIH/NIAID directors Anthony Fauci, Francis Collins and John Mascola on the podcast Long Run with Luke Timmerman
  • CNN, GeekWire and Hutch News were among the media that covered Larry Corey and John Mascola’s discussion on COVID-19 vaccine development for Tom Lynch’s webinar “Vaccinating the World: Two Global Experts Explain What It Will Take to Succeed.”

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.

Keith Jerome

  • The Seattle Times discussed his antibody study which will gauge the prevalence of COVID-19 in WA, in partnership with the WA Department of Health and funded by the Allen Family Foundation.
  • Participated as a panelist speaker at a Life Science Washington webinar titled “Emerging from COVID-19: A Ground-Zero Perspective from the Washington Life Science Community.”
  • Was quoted in a GeekWire article about how the rise in positive COVID-19 tests indicates a rise in infections rather than false positives.
  • Was quoted by NBC News about the impact of testing delays on transmission or the need for self-quarantine in “COVID-19 tests: There's an insurmountable backlog of virus tests. A rapid test could help
  • The Seattle Times discussed Keith Jerome and Larry Corey’s JAMA Network paper characterizing the Seattle COVID-19 outbreak, analyzing testing demographics, and quantifying viral load in COVID-19 patients.
  • Hutch News covered a study by Keith Jerome, Samuel Minot, Pavitra Roychoudhury and collaborators that evaluated metagenomic approaches for unbiased detection of emerging pathogens including SARS-CoV-2.

Fellow Olivia Kates was quoted by KING 5 News in “Experts concerned coronavirus cases could rise with Seattle protests.”

Catherine Liu

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.

Warren Phipps

  • Presented on “Cancer management during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa” as an invited speaker to the NIH National Cancer Institute Project ECHO Webinar on August 6, 2020.
  • Presented on “Best Practices in Cancer Care in COVID-19 Era: Considerations for Adaptation to the Africa Region” as an invited speaker to the NIH National Cancer Institute Project ECHO Webinar on April 9, 2020.

Pavitra Roychoudhury

  • Was quoted by the New York Times in an article about the use of genome sequencing and phylogenetic analyses to determine likely transmission patterns of SARS-CoV-2 in Seattle and throughout the US. Her work in this area has also been featured in the Timmerman Report, on KHSU public radio, on Boise State Public Radio, and in a University of Idaho alumni feature.
  • Her work associated with the CDC’s Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance (SPHERES) project has been covered by DarkDaily, and she was quoted in a New York Times article about SPHERES.
  • An article in Times of India quoted one of her tweets to support the viewpoint that it was premature to suggest higher virulence in an Indian strain of SARS-CoV-2, based on the limited genomic data at the time.

Josh Schiffer

Alpana Waghmare

  • Was interviewed by CNN health, and quoted by The Scientist, about SARS-CoV-2 viral load in children, in relation to a recent study suggesting that young children may have higher viral loads than adults.
  • Participated in a town hall by the ASTCT focused on current patient guidelines and practices for COVID-19.
  • Was part of Seattle Children’s Online Grand Rounds on “COVID-19: The Seattle Children’s Experience.”


Anna Wald


  • Appeared on KIRO 7 to discuss COVID-19 vaccine development, including the apparent limitations of the process followed in developing the Russian vaccine, the steps the FDA will mandate to ensure safety of any vaccine tested in the US, and which populations will be targeted for enrollment in COVID-19 vaccine trials in the US in order to benefit those most affected by the disease.
  • Co-leading the COVID-19 Plasma Donation Study which was covered by King 5 News, the News Tribune and the UW Medicine Newsroom.


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.