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Navigating a Capstone Project with the Center for Global Health during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus Structure

The repercussions of COVID-19 have put many lives on hold. Graduations, weddings, businesses, and even family vacations have been set aside as we protect ourselves and attempt to prepare for a new normal. What began as an anomaly in a foreign country, has impacted us in ways we never imagined possible. COVID-19 has become a significant variable in our professional, personal, as well as our academic lives.

During the Spring 2020 semester, we had the privilege of working alongside  Georgetown University’s Center for Global Health Science and Security (CGHSS) . CGHSS is a self-directed research center that helps decision-makers worldwide prevent, detect, and respond to public health emergencies, specifically pandemics. We did not expect the impact the Center would have on our final semester at Georgetown and our everyday lives. 

After our initial meetings with CGHSS, it was clear that their work was extremely valuable but had not achieved the recognition marks it deserves. We agreed to work together before the spring 2020 semester had even started and before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19. 

When we began the semester in January, our work consisted of introducing our fellow Capstone classmates to CGHSS and explaining what a pandemic was. Ebola was the most well-known by our peers. As we explored the industry and analyzed the competitive landscape, the COVID-19 situation was beginning to arise internationally but was not considered imminent here in the United States. 

As COVID-19 exacerbated, we began conducting our research. As we participated in Zoom meetings with our clients and worked from home, we found that the COVID-19 pandemic was a live example of our capstone project and would play a key role in our research and campaign plans.  

Throughout the semester, we had the opportunity to join CGHSS for team meetings to learn more about their impact and the work being done around COVID-19. CGHSS emphasizes a practical connection between global health research, policy, and practice to help develop capacities to address some of the world’s most pressing global health challenges. With the current COVID-19 outbreak, it was clear how preparedness policies play a vital role in protecting global health security. 

Our research results concluded that CGHSS must enhance its digital and online visibility to increase the awareness and recognition levels among the global health community. Our brand awareness strategy aimed to increase the frequency of communications while content strategy aimed to enhance the quality of content’s representation among the various communication channels.      

We anticipate that CGHSS will begin to see new funders arise due to the significant impact of COVID-19. In the future, funding for pandemic research may come from large companies as an act of corporate social responsibility due to the increasing support for pandemic preparedness and response. As more people see this significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on our economy and wellbeing, organizations will find it difficult to not participate in this vital research. By supporting research centers like CGHSS, we may see how the work done at these centers can help prevent the next pandemic before it occurs.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it. How we conduct meetings, how we shop for groceries, and how we catch up with family and friends have all been impacted by the virus. As we prepare for this new normal, one may ask, what does this mean for the future? As businesses and schools begin to reopen, we will see just how significant COVID-19 has been to our way of life.

capstone research topics about covid 19

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Taylor Polhemus and Ahmed Tabba recently received their master’s degrees in Integrated Marketing Communications from Georgetown. Taylor had the opportunity to further develop her skills in marketing and communications throughout her studies by working with both foreign and domestic clients. Upon graduation, Taylor will be working at the public relations agency, Porter Novelli, in their Health practice. Ahmed Tabba is a dynamic and motivated professional with a proven record of intuitive marketing experience across various industries.

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Capstone Diaries: Racial Disparities in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Karel tinkler shares her capstone experience, week by week.

Capstone Diaries is a feature where CGS sophomores share their  Capstone  experience week by week, from choosing an idea to completing their oral defense. This installment is by Karel Tinkler (CGS ’21, COM ’23), a student on Team W whose project focused on racial disparities in the Covid-19 pandemic in Massachusetts.

capstone research topics about covid 19

Week 1: Capstone Kickoff

At the end of March, we transitioned from finishing out our CGS classes to beginning our Capstone project. Toward the end of classes, the professors sent out a Google survey where we put down five to six other namesof people that we wanted to work on Capstone with. I would recommend forming a group before the survey is sent out, but if you do not have a preference, the professors will place you in a group where more members are needed.

I already had a group in mind, so I put down the six other group members’ names and we began forming a group text message to stay in contact and start planning. On Friday of that week, there is a Capstone Kickoff where your professors and the rest of your CGS team meet to go over the Capstone syllabus and deadlines. The professors give you helpful advice on how to effectively work with group members and set a schedule for three mandatory meetings with your group. The professors are really good about accommodating everyone’s class schedule and finding a time that works for everyone to meet.

Week 2: Research and outlining

By the time your first meeting with the professors rolls around, your team is supposed to have agreed on a topic, constructed a group contact to hold everyone accountable, and chosen a format for your written report. Your group can either provide a policy recommendation or have an adversary format where the group argues both sides of the topic. Additionally, the professors provide a comprehensive list of 20 topics that change year to year that your group can decide on. It can get a little overwhelming trying to agree on a topic among seven group members, so I would recommend using a survey platform to narrow down the group’s preferences for the topics. My group used a survey to help find everyone’s top three topic choices, which helped us more easily agree on a topic.

During this week, we spent most of our time on research. I definitely recommend dividing the research among group members by topic, such as background/history, current legislation or a case study. That way the research can feel more purposeful and manageable. Furthermore, through my Capstone experience I learned the importance of creating an in-depth and well thought out outline from the beginning. Creating an outline not only helps to organize the structure of your paper, but can guide your research and assist in dividing up work among your group members.

Week 3: Collaborating with professors

During this week, we started to transition from pure research to writing the paper itself and had our last assigned meeting with the professors. The professors take pride in being a sort of “coach figure” through the Capstone process, so take advantage of the professors and the advice they can provide you. For example, one of my group members wanted to do a case study illustrating the relationship between wealth and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. My group member did not know what neighborhoods within Boston to focus on that would demonstrate the problem we were trying to solve. After a quick office hour session, the professors happily provided three neighborhoods to focus on that illustrated real life variables that affect vaccine distribution and access.

At times the Capstone project can be overwhelming, but you have to remember the professors created the topics, so they have a good amount of background knowledge to push you in the right direction. The professors may help by giving you advice on how to structure your paper or may help with the content of the paper by giving you key terms to look for when you research or certain scholarly journals to guide your research.

Week 4: Writing the paper

With just two weeks until the final paper is due, my team was now completing research, writing, and beginning the stages of editing. If your group makes sure you have a strong outline from the beginning, this will alleviate the struggle of editing and compiling everyone’s writing together at the end. Although this is a group project, each member needs to take it upon themselves to carry their load of the work. By week 4 if everyone has a solid rough draft of their work you will be on the right track to have time to edit and read through the paper multiple times.

As part of the editing process, this can be a good time to look at the flow of the paper and page length. After compiling individual group members’ work, you may have to make little changes to make sure the voice or tone of the writing is cohesive. There may also be holes in the writing that could potentially need more background or a specific case study. After reading the paper all the way through, this is your last chance to add more writing to clarify points within your paper.

The editing process is tedious and tiresome after completing all of your research and writing, but it is so important to make sure your paper sounds like it was written by one collective unit, rather than seven individuals that just happened to combine their writing.

Week 5: Editing

It is time to collectively sit down as a group and popcorn read or individually read aloud your paper from start to finish. Capstone is due at the end of the week and by reading aloud as a group you can catch errors that the writer may not have seen and check again for the flow of the paper.

If you have set deadlines for your group throughout the process, this week will not be as stressful. Week 5 is all about finalizing punctuation, spelling, the glossary, the works cited, and formatting of your paper. Your CGS experience is coming to a close, so make sure you go out on a high note by taking advantage of this last week and turning in Capstone with no regrets. The last few weeks have been exhausting and stressful, but they probably have flown by and it is such a relief when you turn in your project on Friday. You not only addressed a real life problem and completed a 50 page paper with six other individuals, but have hopefully made some new friends or established a stronger friendship while bonding over the Capstone process, or if anything have been provided an opportunity to build your character by being flexible and adapting to a variety of personalities while trying to complete Capstone.

Week 6: The Oral Defense

  The final step to the Capstone project is the oral defense, which sounds very intimidating, but essentially is just an educated conversation about your paper with your professors. I was worried about the oral defense, especially because it was during finals week when other classes were finishing up. However, if your group has read through the paper and you have done your research within the last weeks you will naturally know your paper front to back. The professors are good about making you feel comfortable from the beginning. During my oral defense, the professors started out the conversation by going around to each group member and asking what we learned from the Capstone experience, before beginning to ask questions about the content of the paper. One lesson learned from the oral defense is to be self-aware of how you act in a group conversation. Everyone needs to talk within the group, but talking for five minutes is just as bad as being silent.

At the end of the two-hour defense, the professors will give you time to do peer reviews and that is the end of CGS. It is crazy how quickly your two years go by, and Capstone is a great way to end it – an experience that makes you proud and an experience that could potentially be a valuable asset for employment. At age 20, you have learned to work in a group, speak publicly, and solve a real life problem. In the moment Capstone may seem intimidating, but once it is done you will realize all of the valuable tools and lessons Capstone has taught you from just those six weeks.

— Karel Tinkler

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NUR 49800: Capstone Course in Nursing: COVID-19 Resources

  • Course Readings
  • Asking the PICO or PICo Question
  • Acquiring Evidence
  • Appraising the Evidence
  • Research Designs
  • Levels of Evidence
  • Nursing Databases & Grey Literature Resources
  • PICO Search Tutorials
  • Finding Full-Text & Requesting Articles
  • How to Get Help
  • APA Citation Help
  • COVID-19 Resources
  • Video Tutorials

Information and Misinformation

How can we separate fact from fiction, when there are so many conflicting sources of COVID-19 information out there? Begin by selecting a reliable source. Focus on reputable healthcare organizations, government agencies, or academic research sites. The links listed below are some good examples. Avoid sources that have a political, religious, commercial or other type of agenda -- even if it's one you personally agree with. These days it's not easy to find unbiased facts. But that's your goal.

Once you've selected a source, stick with it. When you see conflicting numbers between websites, that doesn't always mean that one is wrong. Different organizations often use different methods of measurement and reporting. But using the same source consistently should give you a clearer picture of relative increases and decreases. Then you can use your evidence-based practice skills to analyze and evaluate the data.

State Statistics: Indiana COVID-19 Dashboard

Homepage for daily COVID-19 stats and updates from the Indiana State Department of Health:

U.S. Statistics: CDC COVID Data Tracker

Homepage for daily U.S. COVID stats and updates from the Centers for Disease Control:

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World Statistics: World Health Organization

The dashboard of the World Health Organziation provides an even broader look at the global spread of COVID-19:

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COVID-19 Training for Nurses

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has developed several free COVID-19 courses for student nurses, new graduates, nurses returning to the workfoce, and for those who may be interested in learning more about the COVID-19 pandemic.  They are online, self-paced and  free of charge . Three of them provide CE credit.

The courses include:

  • Epidemiology and Modes of Transmission of COVID-19
  • Care of the Patient with COVID-19

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  • Hoaxes to Avoid during the COVID-19 Pandemic

There are also additional resources such as how to don and doff PPE.

The courses can be accessed through CHROME at the following website: https://catalog.icrsncsbn.org .

JAMA Free Research & Resources

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https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/pages/coronavirus-alert

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Clinical Researcher

Navigating Through an Academic Capstone Project in the Time of COVID-19

Clinical Researcher June 21, 2022

capstone research topics about covid 19

Clinical Researcher—June 2022 (Volume 36, Issue 3)

PEER REVIEWED

Nadina C. Jose, MD; Doreen Waldron Lechner, PhD; Barbara Tafuto, MLS, PhD; Lisa Palladino Kim, MS

Clinical research workforce development efforts require a focus on the education and training of clinical research professionals who ensure the quality of study performance to improve the public’s health and instill trust in the outcomes of these studies. Academic research medical institutions are charged with the development of this educational pipeline along with the academic and career continuum. Graduate research education is a crucial step in the pursuit of crafting educational programs that will best prepare young scientists and biopharma industry professionals for careers in clinical and translational research.{1} A final “capstone” project within a master’s program can improve upon a curriculum that successfully meets the advanced level competencies.{2}

Formal academic clinical research degrees based on comprehensive competencies provide students a sense of security of being trained. Additionally, adherence to the Joint Task Force (JTF) Clinical Research Professional Competency Framework promotes the minimum standards required for accreditation of such degrees intended to enhance the quality of education of clinical research professionals.{3}

This article focuses on how one graduate school’s MS Clinical Research Management program includes a capstone project which involves a final presentation, poster, or manuscript on a topic based on concepts learned throughout the program. The project is tracked through a project plan that contains timelines, deliverables, and anticipated risks, as well as its proposed mitigations, methodology for implementation, and projected outcomes. The capstone project deliberately targets principles of leadership and professionalism encompassing communications and teamwork skills necessary to successfully conduct clinical trials as outlined in Domains 7 (Leadership and Professionalism) and 8 (Communication and Teamwork) of the JTF Competency Framework.{4}

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a considerable barrier for students’ ability to implement their capstone projects under normal processes. Barriers that relate to leadership, professionalism, communication, and teamwork presented significant challenges. Two students (Student 1 and Student 2) projected to complete their capstone project in 2020 at their respective companies were precluded from implementing their projects onsite due to complete lockdown and strict quarantine rules related to COVID-19. Such a challenge required the instant application of advanced level of communication, leadership, and professionalism to successfully complete a project in the unchartered environment of the virtual space.

The objective of this paper is to track the journey of these students who were faced with the burden of having to readjust their capstone project activities while in lockdown at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, by highlighting the tools they used to cope with the rigors of meeting the project deliverables.

Student 1 was required to fulfill the following obligations to meet their capstone project: 1) create a mapping tool for real-world evidence (RWE) by accessing proprietary databases through a company’s secure portal, 2) create a checklist of data-cleaning rules/points for an RWE database, and 3) collaborate and participate with the company’s in-house RWE team on insight generation activities that will align with the mapping tool.

While parameters and tasks were initially set before COVID-19 hit that would have allowed face-to-face engagement with relevant stakeholders and onsite access to proprietary databases, Student 1 adjusted the project plan by setting up the tasks to be performed remotely. Bi-weekly calls with the faculty content advisor and weekly virtual meetings with the company preceptor were immediately initiated even before the official start date of the capstone project.

Student 1 needed to get approval for the project adjustments and sought assistance for additional accommodation on submitting deliverables. Timelines for deliverables were reset, and a table of constraints with projected mitigation techniques was implemented. A communication plan was established for scheduled virtual meetings with multiple stakeholders from the RWE team, which had to adjust its own projects involving healthcare providers from whom the insights needed by Student 1 were going to be generated. Student 1 had to ensure a continuous flow of information to complete the project requirements despite the limited access to both the stakeholders and the databases.

The capstone project for Student 2 required the following obligations: 1) assessing the impact of COVID-19 on Medical Affairs’ activities of insight generation, stakeholder engagement, and scientific exchange at a specific company, 2) revamping the roles and responsibilities of the company’s medical science liaisons to adapt to the shift caused by the pandemic,{5} and 3) developing an innovative system for stakeholder engagement.

Student 2 adjusted project timelines and deliverables based on securing regular virtual meetings with relevant company decision makers who were also on lockdown with limited access to the company’s secure portal. Weekly meetings with both the preceptor and faculty adviser were conducted as information from both public and private sources were being collected.

Student 2 escalated issues to company executives as needed by the project, especially when facing opposition due to the company also being on lockdown with heightened internet security checks that it was not prepared to endure with all of its employees working remotely. The project included developing an innovative program of activities needed to be performed virtually to keep the community of clinical stakeholders aligned with the company’s products.

For 15 weeks, the only means of communication and delivery of the work done by Student 1 and Student 2 were via the school’s learning management system, e-mails, video conference calling, and telephone. Apart from discussions about each of their project’s status, each student was queried on the status of their health, home life, and overall mental state as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened throughout 2020 and global conditions such as the economy, emotional state, family life, and overall well-being were hampered.

Reliance on technology, close collaboration with both their preceptors and faculty advisor, and resilience in facing ongoing challenges to ensure project completion were attributes each student needed to develop overnight. The final deliverable for both students was a live online presentation to the program faculty, other students, company preceptors, and colleagues.

Student 1’s project necessitated having access to a company’s proprietary databases as well as third-party databases to be able to implement the project plan. Based in Beijing, China, they were quarantined at home and therefore had no access to the company databases needed for the project, as the Chinese government had imposed stringent lockdown rules.

This capstone project ran at the onset of the pandemic, from January to April of 2020. During this time, Student 1 was faced with not only mitigating the constraints related to accessing databases, but also constraints at home which included homeschooling children, caring for an elder, and having limited access to food and other necessities. By the time the project was completed, it was April 2020 followed by a virtual graduation in May 2020.

Table of Constraints—Student 1

Student 2 had been working as a medical science liaison and subsequently took on a leadership role within the Medical Affairs team of a global rare-disease biotechnology company in the U.S. For a rare disease company, the risks are greater with the burden of delivery resting mostly on the shoulders of medical science liaisons.

Student 2’s project was conceived at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic{6} in the U.S. and they had no option but to push through with a capstone project, as it was the only course left required for completion to graduate. Due to a complete lockdown, Student 2 had to find alternative ways of interacting with needed stakeholders for the project; their team became compromised with the unfortunate loss of personnel due to company cost cutting. Further, Student 2 had to take on more responsibilities while implementing the tasks needed to complete the project.

One-on-one engagement with the company stakeholders and access to confidential documents while maintaining strict privacy rules—as per the company’s standard operating procedures (SOPs)—were needed to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the function of medical science liaisons. Identification of potential risks to any proposed changes in the process of engagement with physicians and healthcare providers had to be incorporated into the execution of the capstone project plan.

Table of Constraints—Student 2

The assigned faculty content advisor and company preceptors provided guidance. They mentored both students through the implementation of their projects while themselves being quarantined. The detailed project plan, along with the tables of constraints, provided the best structure for each student to perform successfully (see Table of Constraints—Student 1 and Table of Constraints—Student 2).

Bi-weekly meetings were alternately set between each student, their preceptor, and the faculty content advisor. During these video meetings, discussions revolved around the project status, including identified constraints and how they were managed. It afforded a platform for the student to report on their progress with project deliverables, as well as to share insights regarding their physical well-being and mental health.

The establishment of a secure environment for honest exchange became a catalyst for the students to persevere despite the limitations posed by the pandemic. The situation also subjected their resilience to a rigid test of wits that drove them to become more creative and nimbler in gathering the information they needed to fulfill their deliverables, despite revised company security and privacy SOPs. While both expressed a form of “videoconference fatigue,” having the ability to speak with someone via a virtual platform where they heard another person experiencing similar constraints provided the much-needed balance each student sought as a means to detach from “lockdown fatigue.”

Both students experienced considerable amounts of stress which impacted their mental health.{8} During weekly video conferences, both students candidly included in their discussions details of how they worked on project activities and simultaneously dealt with the accompanying challenges that impacted their thought processes and sleep and eating habits. They soon realized the need to become more astute at devising ways to cope with multitasking between being a parent, spouse, employee, and student. Both noted how they started using the quiet times in the late evening, when everyone else in their household was asleep, to focus on their schoolwork and decompress from the daily grind.

Ultimately, Student 1 and Student 2 completed each of their capstone projects despite much trepidation. Each one delivered well-conceived presentations that garnered high approvals from preceptors, advisors, the capstone director, and the program director.

Both students were able to successfully complete their capstone projects because of their well-developed project plans. The plans each consisted of a rationale, objectives, timeline and deliverables, and risk mitigation. Along with their plan, each student was provided a preceptor and a faculty content advisor. The integration of the preceptor and content advisor for the provision of real-time guidance played a significant role in the success of the capstone project during the unprecedented circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To successfully navigate a capstone project in conditions ranging anywhere from stable to disruptive, students need to embrace the combination of their plans with their connections to committed and engaged preceptors and advisors. This combination enabled the plan to serve as a living document that was flexible enough to align with whatever tools and services were available to the student. This process resulted in meeting the requirements of JTF Competency Domains 7 (Leadership and Professionalism) and 8 (Communication and Teamwork), and added to the overall desired outcome of the MS Clinical Research Management program.

The communication process kept all stakeholders resilient and focused on the team’s efforts. Engagement among the stakeholders that was frank, open, and reassuring kept each capstone project viable. Despite the potential for negative effects to students’ mental health due to anxiety and stress levels compromised by the uncertainty of the pandemic, it was the realization of the project’s completion that became the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Begg MD, Bennett LM, Cicutto L, et al. 2015. Graduate Education for the Future: New Models and Methods for the Clinical and Translational Workforce. Clin Transl Sci 8(6):787–92. doi:10.1111/cts.12359
  • Custis LM, Hawkins SY, Thomason TR. 2017. An innovative capstone health care informatics clinical residency: Interprofessional team collaboration. Health Informatics J 23(1):69–79. doi:10.1177/1460458215627188
  • Sonstein SA, Jones CT. 2018. Joint task force for clinical trial competency and clinical research professional workforce development. Front Pharmacol 9(OCT). doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.01148
  • Domains and Leveled Core Competencies—Joint Task Force for Clinical Trial Competency. https://mrctcenter.org/clinical-trial-competency/framework/domains/
  • Rajadhyaksha VD. 2020. Medical affairs post-COVID 19: Are we ready to take the baton? Perspect Clin Res 11(3):124. doi:10.4103/PICR.PICR_164_20
  • Mitchell EJ, Ahmed K, Breeman S, et al. 2020. It is unprecedented: Trial management during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Trials 21(1). doi:10.1186/s13063-020-04711-6
  • Reimagining Scientific Engagements During COVID-19. Medical Affairs Professional Society. https://medicalaffairs.org/reimagining-scientific-engagements-during-covid-19/
  • Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19. Centers for Disease Control. https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2020/06/12/covid-19-stress/

capstone research topics about covid 19

Nadina C. Jose, MD, ( [email protected] ) is an Assistant Professor in the MS Clinical Research Management program, Rutgers BioPharma Educational Initiative, School of Health Professions, at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

capstone research topics about covid 19

Doreen Waldron Lechner, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Program Director in the MS Clinical Research Management program at Rutgers.

capstone research topics about covid 19

Barbara Tafuto, MLS, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the MS Clinical Research Management program at Rutgers.

capstone research topics about covid 19

Lisa Palladino Kim, MS, is a Lecturer and Capstone Director in the MS Clinical Research Management program at Rutgers.

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  • Research article
  • Open access
  • Published: 04 June 2021

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic: an overview of systematic reviews

  • Israel Júnior Borges do Nascimento 1 , 2 ,
  • Dónal P. O’Mathúna 3 , 4 ,
  • Thilo Caspar von Groote 5 ,
  • Hebatullah Mohamed Abdulazeem 6 ,
  • Ishanka Weerasekara 7 , 8 ,
  • Ana Marusic 9 ,
  • Livia Puljak   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-8467-6061 10 ,
  • Vinicius Tassoni Civile 11 ,
  • Irena Zakarija-Grkovic 9 ,
  • Tina Poklepovic Pericic 9 ,
  • Alvaro Nagib Atallah 11 ,
  • Santino Filoso 12 ,
  • Nicola Luigi Bragazzi 13 &
  • Milena Soriano Marcolino 1

On behalf of the International Network of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (InterNetCOVID-19)

BMC Infectious Diseases volume  21 , Article number:  525 ( 2021 ) Cite this article

16k Accesses

29 Citations

13 Altmetric

Metrics details

Navigating the rapidly growing body of scientific literature on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is challenging, and ongoing critical appraisal of this output is essential. We aimed to summarize and critically appraise systematic reviews of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in humans that were available at the beginning of the pandemic.

Nine databases (Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Web of Sciences, PDQ-Evidence, WHO’s Global Research, LILACS, and Epistemonikos) were searched from December 1, 2019, to March 24, 2020. Systematic reviews analyzing primary studies of COVID-19 were included. Two authors independently undertook screening, selection, extraction (data on clinical symptoms, prevalence, pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, diagnostic test assessment, laboratory, and radiological findings), and quality assessment (AMSTAR 2). A meta-analysis was performed of the prevalence of clinical outcomes.

Eighteen systematic reviews were included; one was empty (did not identify any relevant study). Using AMSTAR 2, confidence in the results of all 18 reviews was rated as “critically low”. Identified symptoms of COVID-19 were (range values of point estimates): fever (82–95%), cough with or without sputum (58–72%), dyspnea (26–59%), myalgia or muscle fatigue (29–51%), sore throat (10–13%), headache (8–12%) and gastrointestinal complaints (5–9%). Severe symptoms were more common in men. Elevated C-reactive protein and lactate dehydrogenase, and slightly elevated aspartate and alanine aminotransferase, were commonly described. Thrombocytopenia and elevated levels of procalcitonin and cardiac troponin I were associated with severe disease. A frequent finding on chest imaging was uni- or bilateral multilobar ground-glass opacity. A single review investigated the impact of medication (chloroquine) but found no verifiable clinical data. All-cause mortality ranged from 0.3 to 13.9%.

Conclusions

In this overview of systematic reviews, we analyzed evidence from the first 18 systematic reviews that were published after the emergence of COVID-19. However, confidence in the results of all reviews was “critically low”. Thus, systematic reviews that were published early on in the pandemic were of questionable usefulness. Even during public health emergencies, studies and systematic reviews should adhere to established methodological standards.

Peer Review reports

The spread of the “Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2), the causal agent of COVID-19, was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020 and has triggered an international public health emergency [ 1 ]. The numbers of confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 are rapidly escalating, counting in millions [ 2 ], causing massive economic strain, and escalating healthcare and public health expenses [ 3 , 4 ].

The research community has responded by publishing an impressive number of scientific reports related to COVID-19. The world was alerted to the new disease at the beginning of 2020 [ 1 ], and by mid-March 2020, more than 2000 articles had been published on COVID-19 in scholarly journals, with 25% of them containing original data [ 5 ]. The living map of COVID-19 evidence, curated by the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre), contained more than 40,000 records by February 2021 [ 6 ]. More than 100,000 records on PubMed were labeled as “SARS-CoV-2 literature, sequence, and clinical content” by February 2021 [ 7 ].

Due to publication speed, the research community has voiced concerns regarding the quality and reproducibility of evidence produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, warning of the potential damaging approach of “publish first, retract later” [ 8 ]. It appears that these concerns are not unfounded, as it has been reported that COVID-19 articles were overrepresented in the pool of retracted articles in 2020 [ 9 ]. These concerns about inadequate evidence are of major importance because they can lead to poor clinical practice and inappropriate policies [ 10 ].

Systematic reviews are a cornerstone of today’s evidence-informed decision-making. By synthesizing all relevant evidence regarding a particular topic, systematic reviews reflect the current scientific knowledge. Systematic reviews are considered to be at the highest level in the hierarchy of evidence and should be used to make informed decisions. However, with high numbers of systematic reviews of different scope and methodological quality being published, overviews of multiple systematic reviews that assess their methodological quality are essential [ 11 , 12 , 13 ]. An overview of systematic reviews helps identify and organize the literature and highlights areas of priority in decision-making.

In this overview of systematic reviews, we aimed to summarize and critically appraise systematic reviews of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in humans that were available at the beginning of the pandemic.

Methodology

Research question.

This overview’s primary objective was to summarize and critically appraise systematic reviews that assessed any type of primary clinical data from patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Our research question was purposefully broad because we wanted to analyze as many systematic reviews as possible that were available early following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Study design

We conducted an overview of systematic reviews. The idea for this overview originated in a protocol for a systematic review submitted to PROSPERO (CRD42020170623), which indicated a plan to conduct an overview.

Overviews of systematic reviews use explicit and systematic methods for searching and identifying multiple systematic reviews addressing related research questions in the same field to extract and analyze evidence across important outcomes. Overviews of systematic reviews are in principle similar to systematic reviews of interventions, but the unit of analysis is a systematic review [ 14 , 15 , 16 ].

We used the overview methodology instead of other evidence synthesis methods to allow us to collate and appraise multiple systematic reviews on this topic, and to extract and analyze their results across relevant topics [ 17 ]. The overview and meta-analysis of systematic reviews allowed us to investigate the methodological quality of included studies, summarize results, and identify specific areas of available or limited evidence, thereby strengthening the current understanding of this novel disease and guiding future research [ 13 ].

A reporting guideline for overviews of reviews is currently under development, i.e., Preferred Reporting Items for Overviews of Reviews (PRIOR) [ 18 ]. As the PRIOR checklist is still not published, this study was reported following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) 2009 statement [ 19 ]. The methodology used in this review was adapted from the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and also followed established methodological considerations for analyzing existing systematic reviews [ 14 ].

Approval of a research ethics committee was not necessary as the study analyzed only publicly available articles.

Eligibility criteria

Systematic reviews were included if they analyzed primary data from patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 as confirmed by RT-PCR or another pre-specified diagnostic technique. Eligible reviews covered all topics related to COVID-19 including, but not limited to, those that reported clinical symptoms, diagnostic methods, therapeutic interventions, laboratory findings, or radiological results. Both full manuscripts and abbreviated versions, such as letters, were eligible.

No restrictions were imposed on the design of the primary studies included within the systematic reviews, the last search date, whether the review included meta-analyses or language. Reviews related to SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses were eligible, but from those reviews, we analyzed only data related to SARS-CoV-2.

No consensus definition exists for a systematic review [ 20 ], and debates continue about the defining characteristics of a systematic review [ 21 ]. Cochrane’s guidance for overviews of reviews recommends setting pre-established criteria for making decisions around inclusion [ 14 ]. That is supported by a recent scoping review about guidance for overviews of systematic reviews [ 22 ].

Thus, for this study, we defined a systematic review as a research report which searched for primary research studies on a specific topic using an explicit search strategy, had a detailed description of the methods with explicit inclusion criteria provided, and provided a summary of the included studies either in narrative or quantitative format (such as a meta-analysis). Cochrane and non-Cochrane systematic reviews were considered eligible for inclusion, with or without meta-analysis, and regardless of the study design, language restriction and methodology of the included primary studies. To be eligible for inclusion, reviews had to be clearly analyzing data related to SARS-CoV-2 (associated or not with other viruses). We excluded narrative reviews without those characteristics as these are less likely to be replicable and are more prone to bias.

Scoping reviews and rapid reviews were eligible for inclusion in this overview if they met our pre-defined inclusion criteria noted above. We included reviews that addressed SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses if they reported separate data regarding SARS-CoV-2.

Information sources

Nine databases were searched for eligible records published between December 1, 2019, and March 24, 2020: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews via Cochrane Library, PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), Web of Sciences, LILACS (Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature), PDQ-Evidence, WHO’s Global Research on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), and Epistemonikos.

The comprehensive search strategy for each database is provided in Additional file 1 and was designed and conducted in collaboration with an information specialist. All retrieved records were primarily processed in EndNote, where duplicates were removed, and records were then imported into the Covidence platform [ 23 ]. In addition to database searches, we screened reference lists of reviews included after screening records retrieved via databases.

Study selection

All searches, screening of titles and abstracts, and record selection, were performed independently by two investigators using the Covidence platform [ 23 ]. Articles deemed potentially eligible were retrieved for full-text screening carried out independently by two investigators. Discrepancies at all stages were resolved by consensus. During the screening, records published in languages other than English were translated by a native/fluent speaker.

Data collection process

We custom designed a data extraction table for this study, which was piloted by two authors independently. Data extraction was performed independently by two authors. Conflicts were resolved by consensus or by consulting a third researcher.

We extracted the following data: article identification data (authors’ name and journal of publication), search period, number of databases searched, population or settings considered, main results and outcomes observed, and number of participants. From Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics, Philadelphia, PA, USA), we extracted journal rank (quartile) and Journal Impact Factor (JIF).

We categorized the following as primary outcomes: all-cause mortality, need for and length of mechanical ventilation, length of hospitalization (in days), admission to intensive care unit (yes/no), and length of stay in the intensive care unit.

The following outcomes were categorized as exploratory: diagnostic methods used for detection of the virus, male to female ratio, clinical symptoms, pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, laboratory findings (full blood count, liver enzymes, C-reactive protein, d-dimer, albumin, lipid profile, serum electrolytes, blood vitamin levels, glucose levels, and any other important biomarkers), and radiological findings (using radiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound).

We also collected data on reporting guidelines and requirements for the publication of systematic reviews and meta-analyses from journal websites where included reviews were published.

Quality assessment in individual reviews

Two researchers independently assessed the reviews’ quality using the “A MeaSurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews 2 (AMSTAR 2)”. We acknowledge that the AMSTAR 2 was created as “a critical appraisal tool for systematic reviews that include randomized or non-randomized studies of healthcare interventions, or both” [ 24 ]. However, since AMSTAR 2 was designed for systematic reviews of intervention trials, and we included additional types of systematic reviews, we adjusted some AMSTAR 2 ratings and reported these in Additional file 2 .

Adherence to each item was rated as follows: yes, partial yes, no, or not applicable (such as when a meta-analysis was not conducted). The overall confidence in the results of the review is rated as “critically low”, “low”, “moderate” or “high”, according to the AMSTAR 2 guidance based on seven critical domains, which are items 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15 as defined by AMSTAR 2 authors [ 24 ]. We reported our adherence ratings for transparency of our decision with accompanying explanations, for each item, in each included review.

One of the included systematic reviews was conducted by some members of this author team [ 25 ]. This review was initially assessed independently by two authors who were not co-authors of that review to prevent the risk of bias in assessing this study.

Synthesis of results

For data synthesis, we prepared a table summarizing each systematic review. Graphs illustrating the mortality rate and clinical symptoms were created. We then prepared a narrative summary of the methods, findings, study strengths, and limitations.

For analysis of the prevalence of clinical outcomes, we extracted data on the number of events and the total number of patients to perform proportional meta-analysis using RStudio© software, with the “meta” package (version 4.9–6), using the “metaprop” function for reviews that did not perform a meta-analysis, excluding case studies because of the absence of variance. For reviews that did not perform a meta-analysis, we presented pooled results of proportions with their respective confidence intervals (95%) by the inverse variance method with a random-effects model, using the DerSimonian-Laird estimator for τ 2 . We adjusted data using Freeman-Tukey double arcosen transformation. Confidence intervals were calculated using the Clopper-Pearson method for individual studies. We created forest plots using the RStudio© software, with the “metafor” package (version 2.1–0) and “forest” function.

Managing overlapping systematic reviews

Some of the included systematic reviews that address the same or similar research questions may include the same primary studies in overviews. Including such overlapping reviews may introduce bias when outcome data from the same primary study are included in the analyses of an overview multiple times. Thus, in summaries of evidence, multiple-counting of the same outcome data will give data from some primary studies too much influence [ 14 ]. In this overview, we did not exclude overlapping systematic reviews because, according to Cochrane’s guidance, it may be appropriate to include all relevant reviews’ results if the purpose of the overview is to present and describe the current body of evidence on a topic [ 14 ]. To avoid any bias in summary estimates associated with overlapping reviews, we generated forest plots showing data from individual systematic reviews, but the results were not pooled because some primary studies were included in multiple reviews.

Our search retrieved 1063 publications, of which 175 were duplicates. Most publications were excluded after the title and abstract analysis ( n = 860). Among the 28 studies selected for full-text screening, 10 were excluded for the reasons described in Additional file 3 , and 18 were included in the final analysis (Fig. 1 ) [ 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 , 42 ]. Reference list screening did not retrieve any additional systematic reviews.

figure 1

PRISMA flow diagram

Characteristics of included reviews

Summary features of 18 systematic reviews are presented in Table 1 . They were published in 14 different journals. Only four of these journals had specific requirements for systematic reviews (with or without meta-analysis): European Journal of Internal Medicine, Journal of Clinical Medicine, Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Clinical Research in Cardiology . Two journals reported that they published only invited reviews ( Journal of Medical Virology and Clinica Chimica Acta ). Three systematic reviews in our study were published as letters; one was labeled as a scoping review and another as a rapid review (Table 2 ).

All reviews were published in English, in first quartile (Q1) journals, with JIF ranging from 1.692 to 6.062. One review was empty, meaning that its search did not identify any relevant studies; i.e., no primary studies were included [ 36 ]. The remaining 17 reviews included 269 unique studies; the majority ( N = 211; 78%) were included in only a single review included in our study (range: 1 to 12). Primary studies included in the reviews were published between December 2019 and March 18, 2020, and comprised case reports, case series, cohorts, and other observational studies. We found only one review that included randomized clinical trials [ 38 ]. In the included reviews, systematic literature searches were performed from 2019 (entire year) up to March 9, 2020. Ten systematic reviews included meta-analyses. The list of primary studies found in the included systematic reviews is shown in Additional file 4 , as well as the number of reviews in which each primary study was included.

Population and study designs

Most of the reviews analyzed data from patients with COVID-19 who developed pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or any other correlated complication. One review aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of using surgical masks on preventing transmission of the virus [ 36 ], one review was focused on pediatric patients [ 34 ], and one review investigated COVID-19 in pregnant women [ 37 ]. Most reviews assessed clinical symptoms, laboratory findings, or radiological results.

Systematic review findings

The summary of findings from individual reviews is shown in Table 2 . Overall, all-cause mortality ranged from 0.3 to 13.9% (Fig. 2 ).

figure 2

A meta-analysis of the prevalence of mortality

Clinical symptoms

Seven reviews described the main clinical manifestations of COVID-19 [ 26 , 28 , 29 , 34 , 35 , 39 , 41 ]. Three of them provided only a narrative discussion of symptoms [ 26 , 34 , 35 ]. In the reviews that performed a statistical analysis of the incidence of different clinical symptoms, symptoms in patients with COVID-19 were (range values of point estimates): fever (82–95%), cough with or without sputum (58–72%), dyspnea (26–59%), myalgia or muscle fatigue (29–51%), sore throat (10–13%), headache (8–12%), gastrointestinal disorders, such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting (5.0–9.0%), and others (including, in one study only: dizziness 12.1%) (Figs. 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 and 9 ). Three reviews assessed cough with and without sputum together; only one review assessed sputum production itself (28.5%).

figure 3

A meta-analysis of the prevalence of fever

figure 4

A meta-analysis of the prevalence of cough

figure 5

A meta-analysis of the prevalence of dyspnea

figure 6

A meta-analysis of the prevalence of fatigue or myalgia

figure 7

A meta-analysis of the prevalence of headache

figure 8

A meta-analysis of the prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders

figure 9

A meta-analysis of the prevalence of sore throat

Diagnostic aspects

Three reviews described methodologies, protocols, and tools used for establishing the diagnosis of COVID-19 [ 26 , 34 , 38 ]. The use of respiratory swabs (nasal or pharyngeal) or blood specimens to assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid using RT-PCR assays was the most commonly used diagnostic method mentioned in the included studies. These diagnostic tests have been widely used, but their precise sensitivity and specificity remain unknown. One review included a Chinese study with clinical diagnosis with no confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection (patients were diagnosed with COVID-19 if they presented with at least two symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, together with laboratory and chest radiography abnormalities) [ 34 ].

Therapeutic possibilities

Pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions (supportive therapies) used in treating patients with COVID-19 were reported in five reviews [ 25 , 27 , 34 , 35 , 38 ]. Antivirals used empirically for COVID-19 treatment were reported in seven reviews [ 25 , 27 , 34 , 35 , 37 , 38 , 41 ]; most commonly used were protease inhibitors (lopinavir, ritonavir, darunavir), nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (tenofovir), nucleotide analogs (remdesivir, galidesivir, ganciclovir), and neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir). Umifenovir, a membrane fusion inhibitor, was investigated in two studies [ 25 , 35 ]. Possible supportive interventions analyzed were different types of oxygen supplementation and breathing support (invasive or non-invasive ventilation) [ 25 ]. The use of antibiotics, both empirically and to treat secondary pneumonia, was reported in six studies [ 25 , 26 , 27 , 34 , 35 , 38 ]. One review specifically assessed evidence on the efficacy and safety of the anti-malaria drug chloroquine [ 27 ]. It identified 23 ongoing trials investigating the potential of chloroquine as a therapeutic option for COVID-19, but no verifiable clinical outcomes data. The use of mesenchymal stem cells, antifungals, and glucocorticoids were described in four reviews [ 25 , 34 , 35 , 38 ].

Laboratory and radiological findings

Of the 18 reviews included in this overview, eight analyzed laboratory parameters in patients with COVID-19 [ 25 , 29 , 30 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 39 ]; elevated C-reactive protein levels, associated with lymphocytopenia, elevated lactate dehydrogenase, as well as slightly elevated aspartate and alanine aminotransferase (AST, ALT) were commonly described in those eight reviews. Lippi et al. assessed cardiac troponin I (cTnI) [ 25 ], procalcitonin [ 32 ], and platelet count [ 33 ] in COVID-19 patients. Elevated levels of procalcitonin [ 32 ] and cTnI [ 30 ] were more likely to be associated with a severe disease course (requiring intensive care unit admission and intubation). Furthermore, thrombocytopenia was frequently observed in patients with complicated COVID-19 infections [ 33 ].

Chest imaging (chest radiography and/or computed tomography) features were assessed in six reviews, all of which described a frequent pattern of local or bilateral multilobar ground-glass opacity [ 25 , 34 , 35 , 39 , 40 , 41 ]. Those six reviews showed that septal thickening, bronchiectasis, pleural and cardiac effusions, halo signs, and pneumothorax were observed in patients suffering from COVID-19.

Quality of evidence in individual systematic reviews

Table 3 shows the detailed results of the quality assessment of 18 systematic reviews, including the assessment of individual items and summary assessment. A detailed explanation for each decision in each review is available in Additional file 5 .

Using AMSTAR 2 criteria, confidence in the results of all 18 reviews was rated as “critically low” (Table 3 ). Common methodological drawbacks were: omission of prospective protocol submission or publication; use of inappropriate search strategy: lack of independent and dual literature screening and data-extraction (or methodology unclear); absence of an explanation for heterogeneity among the studies included; lack of reasons for study exclusion (or rationale unclear).

Risk of bias assessment, based on a reported methodological tool, and quality of evidence appraisal, in line with the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) method, were reported only in one review [ 25 ]. Five reviews presented a table summarizing bias, using various risk of bias tools [ 25 , 29 , 39 , 40 , 41 ]. One review analyzed “study quality” [ 37 ]. One review mentioned the risk of bias assessment in the methodology but did not provide any related analysis [ 28 ].

This overview of systematic reviews analyzed the first 18 systematic reviews published after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, up to March 24, 2020, with primary studies involving more than 60,000 patients. Using AMSTAR-2, we judged that our confidence in all those reviews was “critically low”. Ten reviews included meta-analyses. The reviews presented data on clinical manifestations, laboratory and radiological findings, and interventions. We found no systematic reviews on the utility of diagnostic tests.

Symptoms were reported in seven reviews; most of the patients had a fever, cough, dyspnea, myalgia or muscle fatigue, and gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Olfactory dysfunction (anosmia or dysosmia) has been described in patients infected with COVID-19 [ 43 ]; however, this was not reported in any of the reviews included in this overview. During the SARS outbreak in 2002, there were reports of impairment of the sense of smell associated with the disease [ 44 , 45 ].

The reported mortality rates ranged from 0.3 to 14% in the included reviews. Mortality estimates are influenced by the transmissibility rate (basic reproduction number), availability of diagnostic tools, notification policies, asymptomatic presentations of the disease, resources for disease prevention and control, and treatment facilities; variability in the mortality rate fits the pattern of emerging infectious diseases [ 46 ]. Furthermore, the reported cases did not consider asymptomatic cases, mild cases where individuals have not sought medical treatment, and the fact that many countries had limited access to diagnostic tests or have implemented testing policies later than the others. Considering the lack of reviews assessing diagnostic testing (sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values of RT-PCT or immunoglobulin tests), and the preponderance of studies that assessed only symptomatic individuals, considerable imprecision around the calculated mortality rates existed in the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Few reviews included treatment data. Those reviews described studies considered to be at a very low level of evidence: usually small, retrospective studies with very heterogeneous populations. Seven reviews analyzed laboratory parameters; those reviews could have been useful for clinicians who attend patients suspected of COVID-19 in emergency services worldwide, such as assessing which patients need to be reassessed more frequently.

All systematic reviews scored poorly on the AMSTAR 2 critical appraisal tool for systematic reviews. Most of the original studies included in the reviews were case series and case reports, impacting the quality of evidence. Such evidence has major implications for clinical practice and the use of these reviews in evidence-based practice and policy. Clinicians, patients, and policymakers can only have the highest confidence in systematic review findings if high-quality systematic review methodologies are employed. The urgent need for information during a pandemic does not justify poor quality reporting.

We acknowledge that there are numerous challenges associated with analyzing COVID-19 data during a pandemic [ 47 ]. High-quality evidence syntheses are needed for decision-making, but each type of evidence syntheses is associated with its inherent challenges.

The creation of classic systematic reviews requires considerable time and effort; with massive research output, they quickly become outdated, and preparing updated versions also requires considerable time. A recent study showed that updates of non-Cochrane systematic reviews are published a median of 5 years after the publication of the previous version [ 48 ].

Authors may register a review and then abandon it [ 49 ], but the existence of a public record that is not updated may lead other authors to believe that the review is still ongoing. A quarter of Cochrane review protocols remains unpublished as completed systematic reviews 8 years after protocol publication [ 50 ].

Rapid reviews can be used to summarize the evidence, but they involve methodological sacrifices and simplifications to produce information promptly, with inconsistent methodological approaches [ 51 ]. However, rapid reviews are justified in times of public health emergencies, and even Cochrane has resorted to publishing rapid reviews in response to the COVID-19 crisis [ 52 ]. Rapid reviews were eligible for inclusion in this overview, but only one of the 18 reviews included in this study was labeled as a rapid review.

Ideally, COVID-19 evidence would be continually summarized in a series of high-quality living systematic reviews, types of evidence synthesis defined as “ a systematic review which is continually updated, incorporating relevant new evidence as it becomes available ” [ 53 ]. However, conducting living systematic reviews requires considerable resources, calling into question the sustainability of such evidence synthesis over long periods [ 54 ].

Research reports about COVID-19 will contribute to research waste if they are poorly designed, poorly reported, or simply not necessary. In principle, systematic reviews should help reduce research waste as they usually provide recommendations for further research that is needed or may advise that sufficient evidence exists on a particular topic [ 55 ]. However, systematic reviews can also contribute to growing research waste when they are not needed, or poorly conducted and reported. Our present study clearly shows that most of the systematic reviews that were published early on in the COVID-19 pandemic could be categorized as research waste, as our confidence in their results is critically low.

Our study has some limitations. One is that for AMSTAR 2 assessment we relied on information available in publications; we did not attempt to contact study authors for clarifications or additional data. In three reviews, the methodological quality appraisal was challenging because they were published as letters, or labeled as rapid communications. As a result, various details about their review process were not included, leading to AMSTAR 2 questions being answered as “not reported”, resulting in low confidence scores. Full manuscripts might have provided additional information that could have led to higher confidence in the results. In other words, low scores could reflect incomplete reporting, not necessarily low-quality review methods. To make their review available more rapidly and more concisely, the authors may have omitted methodological details. A general issue during a crisis is that speed and completeness must be balanced. However, maintaining high standards requires proper resourcing and commitment to ensure that the users of systematic reviews can have high confidence in the results.

Furthermore, we used adjusted AMSTAR 2 scoring, as the tool was designed for critical appraisal of reviews of interventions. Some reviews may have received lower scores than actually warranted in spite of these adjustments.

Another limitation of our study may be the inclusion of multiple overlapping reviews, as some included reviews included the same primary studies. According to the Cochrane Handbook, including overlapping reviews may be appropriate when the review’s aim is “ to present and describe the current body of systematic review evidence on a topic ” [ 12 ], which was our aim. To avoid bias with summarizing evidence from overlapping reviews, we presented the forest plots without summary estimates. The forest plots serve to inform readers about the effect sizes for outcomes that were reported in each review.

Several authors from this study have contributed to one of the reviews identified [ 25 ]. To reduce the risk of any bias, two authors who did not co-author the review in question initially assessed its quality and limitations.

Finally, we note that the systematic reviews included in our overview may have had issues that our analysis did not identify because we did not analyze their primary studies to verify the accuracy of the data and information they presented. We give two examples to substantiate this possibility. Lovato et al. wrote a commentary on the review of Sun et al. [ 41 ], in which they criticized the authors’ conclusion that sore throat is rare in COVID-19 patients [ 56 ]. Lovato et al. highlighted that multiple studies included in Sun et al. did not accurately describe participants’ clinical presentations, warning that only three studies clearly reported data on sore throat [ 56 ].

In another example, Leung [ 57 ] warned about the review of Li, L.Q. et al. [ 29 ]: “ it is possible that this statistic was computed using overlapped samples, therefore some patients were double counted ”. Li et al. responded to Leung that it is uncertain whether the data overlapped, as they used data from published articles and did not have access to the original data; they also reported that they requested original data and that they plan to re-do their analyses once they receive them; they also urged readers to treat the data with caution [ 58 ]. This points to the evolving nature of evidence during a crisis.

Our study’s strength is that this overview adds to the current knowledge by providing a comprehensive summary of all the evidence synthesis about COVID-19 available early after the onset of the pandemic. This overview followed strict methodological criteria, including a comprehensive and sensitive search strategy and a standard tool for methodological appraisal of systematic reviews.

In conclusion, in this overview of systematic reviews, we analyzed evidence from the first 18 systematic reviews that were published after the emergence of COVID-19. However, confidence in the results of all the reviews was “critically low”. Thus, systematic reviews that were published early on in the pandemic could be categorized as research waste. Even during public health emergencies, studies and systematic reviews should adhere to established methodological standards to provide patients, clinicians, and decision-makers trustworthy evidence.

Availability of data and materials

All data collected and analyzed within this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Catherine Henderson DPhil from Swanscoe Communications for pro bono medical writing and editing support. We acknowledge support from the Covidence Team, specifically Anneliese Arno. We thank the whole International Network of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (InterNetCOVID-19) for their commitment and involvement. Members of the InterNetCOVID-19 are listed in Additional file 6 . We thank Pavel Cerny and Roger Crosthwaite for guiding the team supervisor (IJBN) on human resources management.

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Israel Júnior Borges do Nascimento & Milena Soriano Marcolino

Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Israel Júnior Borges do Nascimento

Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare, College of Nursing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Dónal P. O’Mathúna

School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland

Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, University of Münster, Münster, Germany

Thilo Caspar von Groote

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Hebatullah Mohamed Abdulazeem

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Ishanka Weerasekara

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Ana Marusic, Irena Zakarija-Grkovic & Tina Poklepovic Pericic

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Livia Puljak

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IJBN conceived the research idea and worked as a project coordinator. DPOM, TCVG, HMA, IW, AM, LP, VTC, IZG, TPP, ANA, SF, NLB and MSM were involved in data curation, formal analysis, investigation, methodology, and initial draft writing. All authors revised the manuscript critically for the content. The author(s) read and approved the final manuscript.

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Supplementary Information

Additional file 1: appendix 1..

Search strategies used in the study.

Additional file 2: Appendix 2.

Adjusted scoring of AMSTAR 2 used in this study for systematic reviews of studies that did not analyze interventions.

Additional file 3: Appendix 3.

List of excluded studies, with reasons.

Additional file 4: Appendix 4.

Table of overlapping studies, containing the list of primary studies included, their visual overlap in individual systematic reviews, and the number in how many reviews each primary study was included.

Additional file 5: Appendix 5.

A detailed explanation of AMSTAR scoring for each item in each review.

Additional file 6: Appendix 6.

List of members and affiliates of International Network of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (InterNetCOVID-19).

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Borges do Nascimento, I.J., O’Mathúna, D.P., von Groote, T.C. et al. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic: an overview of systematic reviews. BMC Infect Dis 21 , 525 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-021-06214-4

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Addressing Community Resilience During COVID-19 Through a Capitals Approach: A Collective Case Study

Location: Monroe County and St. Joseph County, Indiana

Alumni: Rebecca Chase

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The COVID-19 outbreak, which originated from Wuhan, China, was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization on January 30, 2020. The viral symptoms appear differently for all people and are disproportionately impacting older adults, people with certain pre-existing medical conditions, and minorities (due to pre-existing social inequalities tied to race and class). Within the United States, states are attempting to prevent the spread of the virus by issuing stay-at-home orders and closing schools, public events, and non-essential businesses. Similar to the national trend, Indiana has seen an increase in cases over the past few months. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb took necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19; however, the pandemic restrictions negatively affected individuals and communities in various ways. A collective case study, utilizing a sustainable livelihood capitals framework, provided an in-depth understanding of individual experiences contextualized by locale, specifically, Monroe County and St. Joseph County, Indiana. By analyzing the experience of residents in each county using a resiliency framework, this study elucidated community gaps and challenges and pointed to needed shifts to promote community resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Through data analysis, emerging themes were centered around the increased need for affordable and accessible housing, increase local governmental support, and incorporation of non-participants in mitigation strategies. To strengthen the community and allow for further resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, County Trustees, Board of County Commissioners, Housing and Neighborhood Development Officials, and City Official, need to provide affordable and accessible housing through financial homeownership programs; religious and civic leaders need to increase community engagement; and there needs to be stronger collaboration and cooperation from all individual, community, local government, and state government stakeholders.

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Equipped to fight in 2020: college of biological sciences launches capstone covid-19 virtual lab course.

coronavirus-college-of-biological-sciences-uc-davis

  • by Greg Watry
  • April 02, 2020

Quick Summary

  • The “CBS COVID-19 Capstone” course features five different modules, each exploring a different perspective of the global pandemic
  • Module topics include: quantitative methods to understand viral spread, phylogeny and evolution of viruses, virus-host interactions and vaccine targeting, among others
  • In addition to participating in lectures and lab modules, students will create a video public service announcement about the coronavirus as a final project

The UC Davis College of Biological Sciences is providing graduating seniors with a unique opportunity to study the COVID-19 pandemic in real-time.

The newly minted “CBS COVID-19 Capstone” course explores the biological intersections of virology, evolution and ecology, computational biology, molecular genetics and other disciplines to give upper-division students a chance to investigate and deconstruct the coronavirus crisis.

“College of Biological Sciences Dean Mark Winey made the excellent suggestion to take this opportunity to bring together the CBS spring lab courses and to create a unique modular, virtual lab course centered around the COVID 19-pandemic,” said Ken Kaplan, professor of molecular and cellular biology, who organized the course along with Michele Igo, associate dean of undergraduate academic programs, and Mitchell Singer, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. “The goal for our students is to demonstrate to them how complex, global problems like this viral pandemic can be addressed by a diverse number of biological research approaches and how biologists work as teams to solve these kind of problems.”

computer with biology software

The course features five different modules, each exploring a different perspective of the global pandemic. Module topics include: quantitative methods to understand viral spread, phylogeny and evolution of viruses, virus-host interactions and vaccine targeting, among others. The COVID-19 virtual lab course pools together knowledge from five different lab courses instructed by the College of Biological Sciences, mining the expertise of each lab’s faculty instructor.

“A course that started off on the evolution and diversity of bees is now taking the principles of phylogeny and evolution and applying them to viruses to help students have a broader perspective on where viruses come from and how they’re able to transition to different hosts,” said Kaplan.

In addition to video lectures, students will explore the COVID-19 pandemic through various news media, including podcasts and news articles. One of the introductory assignments was to listen to the Radiolab episode “ Shrink ,” which covers the origin of viruses. The course will also feature town hall meetings.

capstone research topics about covid 19

Watch the First “CBS COVID-19 Capstone” Town Hall

Samuel L. Díaz-Muñoz, an assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and Brad Pollock, associate dean for public health sciences at the UC Davis School of Medicine, answer student questions about COVID-19.

“The idea is to bring experts in the field of virology or public health into a forum where they can talk to students about the work they do as well as allow students to ask questions,” said Kaplan. “I think this is an incredibly valuable part of the course.”

As a final project, students will create a video public service announcement about coronavirus, providing an opportunity for them to grow their science communication skills.

Module instructors include: 

  • Professor R. Holland Cheng, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Assistant Professor Samuel Diaz-Munoz, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics 
  • Professor Mark Goldman, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior 
  • Distinguished Professor John Clark Lagarias, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Assistant Professor Katherine Ralston, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics 
  • Associate Professor Santiago Ramirez, Department of Evolution and Ecology 
  • Distinguished Professor Venkatesan Sundaresan, Department of Plant Biology

Primary Category

College of Biological Sciences Launches Capstone COVID-19 Virtual Lab Course

  • by Greg Watry
  • April 03, 2020

Screenshot of people in a class online

The University of California, Davis, College of Biological Sciences is providing undergraduates with a unique opportunity to study the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in real time.

The newly minted CBS COVID-19 capstone course combines several existing laboratory courses that would have been held in spring quarter. It explores the biological intersections of virology, evolution and ecology, computational biology, molecular genetics, and other disciplines to give upper-division students a chance to investigate and deconstruct the coronavirus crisis.

“College of Biological Sciences Dean Mark Winey made the excellent suggestion to take this opportunity to bring together the college’s spring lab courses and to create a unique modular, virtual lab course centered around the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ken Kaplan, professor of molecular and cellular biology, who organized the course along with Michele Igo, associate dean of undergraduate academic programs, and Mitchell Singer, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. 

“The goal for our students is to demonstrate to them how complex, global problems like this viral pandemic can be addressed by a diverse number of biological research approaches and how biologists work as teams to solve these kinds of problems,” Kaplan said.

The course features five different modules, each exploring a different perspective of the global pandemic. Module topics include: quantitative methods to understand viral spread, phylogeny and evolution of viruses, virus-host interactions, and vaccine targeting, among others. 

Switching topics from bees to viruses

The COVID-19 virtual lab course mines the expertise of each lab’s faculty instructor.

“A course that started off on the evolution and diversity of bees is now taking the principles of phylogeny and evolution and applying them to viruses to help students have a broader perspective on where viruses come from and how they’re able to transition to different hosts,” Kaplan said.

In addition to video lectures, students will explore the COVID-19 pandemic through various news media, including podcasts and news articles. One of the introductory assignments was to listen to the Radiolab episode “ Shrink ,” which covers the origin of viruses. The course will also feature  town hall  meetings.

“The idea is to bring experts in the field of virology or public health into a forum where they can talk to students about the work they do as well as allow students to ask questions,” said Kaplan. “I think this is an incredibly valuable part of the course.”

As a final project, students will create a video public service announcement about coronavirus, providing an opportunity for them to grow their science communication skills.

Module instructors include: Professor R. Holland Cheng, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology; Assistant Professor Samuel Diaz-Munoz, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Professor Mark Goldman, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior; Distinguished Professor John Clark Lagarias, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology; Assistant Professor Katherine Ralston, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Associate Professor Santiago Ramirez, Department of Evolution and Ecology; and Distinguished Professor Venkatesan Sundaresan, Department of Plant Biology.  

A recording of the first town hall session, held April 1 to introduce the course, can be found here. 

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Top 50 cited articles on Covid-19 after the first year of the pandemic: A bibliometric analysis

Srinivas b.s. kambhampati.

a Sri Dhaatri Orthopaedic, Maternity & Gynaecology Center, 23, Lane 2, SKDGOC, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, 520008, India

Nagashree Vasudeva

Raju vaishya.

b Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, India

Mohit Kumar Patralekh

c Safdarjung Hospital and Vardhman Mahavir Medical College, New Delhi, 110029, India

Background & aims

It has been just over a year since the Covid-19 pandemic started. The top 50 cited articles on this subject would help identify trends and focus on the research efforts.

We utilised e-utilities in PubMed to find publications on Covid-19 until the date of search on 7/2/21. The iCite website was used to find the top 50 citations of the output from the search strategy. We looked into their full text for the editorial dates, type of study, level of evidence, focus of the article and country of origin. We also counted the errata and comments on each of them.

The total number of citations of all 50 articles was 123,960, the highest being 10, 754 for a single article. Huang C was the most cited first author. They were published from week 4–17, with February being the month with most citations. Lancet was the most cited journal, having published 9 of the 50 articles. Majority belonged to level 3 of the evidence ladder and were retrospective studies. Thirty percent of them had an errata published and an average of 7 comments per article.

The top 50 most cited articles identify the most impactful studies on Covid-19, providing a resource to educators while identifying trends to guide research and publishing efforts. There has been an explosion of publications and an unprecedented rate and number of citations within the first year for any single condition in the literature.

1. Introduction

Covid-19 has affected humanity in a major way. An extremely dangerous virus, hitherto unknown to humanity, had to be studied and contained in order to overcome the pandemic. Research on Covid-19 had surged in the early days with an unprecedented surge in the publications on that specific topic. With vaccination drives in majorly affected countries, and the emergence of second and third waves, the interest on this topic in the scientific community has been sustained. Pubmed is the most commonly used and freely available database and most of the articles published on the Covid-19 topic in major journals were fast-tracked and made freely available for rapid dissemination of information and findings. Top 50 cited articles have been published in many areas of medicine. In fact there have been publications related to Covid-19 from an earlier period. The differences have been discussed in the discussion section of this manuscript. Due to the sheer volume of publications on this topic, there would be different outcome if two studies were done six months apart. We looked into the top 50 cited publications on this topic in the literature in the PubMed to analyse the trends and focus of research among the most cited articles.

A search was done on 7/2/21 with a search strategy of (COVID-19 OR SARS-CoV-2 OR “New Corona Virus” OR “coronavirus 2″ OR “new coronavirus”) AND ((“2020/01/01"[Date - Create]: “2021/01/01"[Date - Create]))

For all publications in 2020 which gave an output of 88337.

The strategy of (COVID-19 OR SARS-CoV-2 OR “New Corona Virus” OR “coronavirus 2″ OR “new coronavirus”) AND ((“2021/01/01"[Date - Create]: “3000"[Date - Create])) was used for all publications from 2021 which gave an output of 11855.

When this search strategy was fed through eUtilities, we got a total of 11853 + 87793 articles. The PMIDs of all these articles were fed into the iCite website for citations and related data, from which we got 95806 articles. Some articles were left out by the iCite website and were not processed.

The output from the iCite website was fed into Excel and analysed for citation numbers and other basic outcomes. The data from the iCite website includes information on Field Citation Ratio (FCR), expected citations, number of citations, PMIDs of all articles citing every article, total number of references and DOI (Digital Object Identifier) address for each of the article obtained from the search. We analysed this preceding data and present the results. We calculated citations per week, week number the article was published in the year and percentages where appropriate.

FCR is calculated by the number of citations received by a publication divided by the average number of citations received by publications within that field in the same year. PubMed page of each of the 50 articles was scanned to see the number of comments and errata published against each of them and noted.

The top 50 cited articles were selected from this output and full texts collected and analysed for the purpose of this paper. We looked into the following information from the full text of each manuscript: create date in PubMed, type of study, level of evidence, focus of the paper, month published, country it was published from, week of the year it was published.

We also looked into the following times (in days) of each article as given in their full text where applicable; (i) time from submission to accepting to publish, (ii) from acceptance to publication and (iii) from submission to publication. Any errata or comments on the articles on PubMed were also noted down. We collected the data and analysed it in an Excel database.

The total number of citations of the top 50 papers was 123,960. The top 50 cited publications were published between the weeks 4–17 of last year. Week five saw the most number of publications (8 in number) and most citations for publications, but publications from week four (6 publications) had the most citations per publication ( Table 1 ). February was the month with most publications of the top 50 cited and had the maximum total citations as well as citations per week among the four months these articles were published ( Table 2 ). Most publications were done in the month of February (19 in number) with a sum of citations of 53,204 for that month. However, the citations per publication was maximum for the month of January at 3862 per citation.

Table 1

Publications in Week number with Total Citations and citations/publication.

Table 1

Cell highlighted with green and light orange indicates the highest value and lowest value in the corresponding column in all the tables where applicable.

Table 2

Publications according to the month of the year.

Table 2

Most studies published were of level 3 evidence in the evidence pyramid with 27 (40%) in number. Studies of level 3 had the most citations per publication at 2930.35. Twelve of the thirteen retrospective analyses belonged to this category with a citation sum of 38,418. Since citations are a function of duration since publication, we looked at the sum of citations per publication per week (CPW). A level 2 study [ 1 ] had the highest at 200.223 followed by a level 3 study [ 2 ] with 151.02 CPW.

Cohort study was the commonest type of study with a citation sum of 51,574. Of them, 12 were of evidence level 3, and four of these belonged to evidence level 4. Nine of the articles were correspondence to the editor, making it the second commonest type of study.

Lancet was the most cited journal publishing on this topic ( Chart 1 .) Table 3 gives the numbers published by each journal with their impact factors.

Chart 1

Journals publishing with number of publications on the right and total citations on the left. Citations/publication of each journal were given in brackets.

Table 3

Journals publishing top 50 cited articles on Covid-19.

Table 3

Totals ∗ Averages # ^Journal names are given using standard abbreviations.

A total of 24 journals published the 50 most cited articles on Covid-19. Half of these journals (12 in number) had an impact factor of >20 Table 3 . There were a total of 15 papers (30%) which published errata on PubMed. Of these, 12 articles were published in journals with an impact factor of 20 or higher.

China was the country with the most publications (31) and citations (92276) Chart 2 .

Chart 2

Most cited Countries Publishing on Covid-19. Numbers in brackets indicate number of publications and citations per week for that country.

Table 4 shows the Level of evidence with names of journals in each level of evidence that published on this topic. It is evident that the higher level of evidence studies were from the highest impact factor journals. The number of citations was also higher for these journals and they top each category of evidence. Standard abbreviations for the journals were used in the table. Level 3 had the highest number of citations and but citations per publication was highest for level 2 studies at 3709 followed by level 3 studies at 2930. Level 5 studies included opinions and Letters to the editors. Some level 5 articles received more number of citations than some level 1 and 2 articles. Huang C was the most cited first author at 10,754 citations followed by Guan WJ Table 5 .

Table 4

Level of Evidence with journals in each level along with the numbers and citations of publications.

Table 5

Top 10 authors on Covid-19.

Table 5

Table 6 shows the speciality-wise distribution of publications, citations and citations per week. Not surprisingly, Pulmonology was the speciality that topped the list. In fact, the first four entries in the table are expected to be high as major work on this topic was done in those fields. These were followed by molecular sciences and internal medicine.

Table 6

Publications and citations according to speciality.

Table 6

The studies were analysed and categorised according to the focus of the study to give a comprehensive idea about the research trends, as shown in Table 7 . Majority of the papers describe the clinical data, which included the timeline of the disease, demographics of the patients, risk factor analysis, clinical features, blood and radiological investigations, treatment protocols used, prognostic factors, predictors of mortality, psychological impact and the outcomes.

Table 7

Publications according to the focus of the study.

Table 7

One article was a consensus of the Coronaviridae Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses to name the virus as 2019-nCoV and individual isolates as SARS-CoV-2. 4 studies detailed the diagnostic aspect of the disease. These included proving a diagnostic workflow of the disease, identification of the nCov-19 in body fluids and assessment of viral loads, analysing sensitivity and specificity of the RT-PCR and CT scans in the diagnosis. Twelve studies described the epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19. These studies described the aetiology and source of origin, modes of transmission, incubation period, timeline of the outbreak, epidemiologic curve and doubling time, stability of nCov19 in aerosols and other surfaces, tracking of the disease and geographical distribution of the outbreak. Some of the epidemiological studies focussed on the clinical data as well. The epidemiological data is very beneficial for the authorities to draft public health policies such as quarantine guidelines. Three studies focussed on providing various aspects of pathological findings. Two of them were post-mortem analyses detailing the histopathology of various organs, whereas the other study described the immune pathways and their dysregulation. Six studies carried out a detailed structural analysis of the virus. They provide insights into full-length genome sequencing, cell receptors, pathogenic mechanisms at the cellular level, phylogenetic origin and, antibody testing. This information identifies potential targets for developing diagnostic tests, vaccines, and anti-viral drugs, accelerating the countermeasure development. The remaining seven studies concentrated on therapeutic interventions. Various anti-viral agents were tested and compared to determine their applicability and efficacy. Three of them focussed on the coagulation profile abnormalities and stressed the importance of using anticoagulants in the treatment as the thrombotic phenomenon is associated with a worse prognosis.

Table 8 groups publications into clinical studies involving patients (clinical trials, case Series, Case Reports, RCTs), non-clinical publications (e.g. Correspondence letters, Reviews) and Basic Science studies (Lab studies, Non-human experimental research). Each of these categories have been classified according to the level of evidence in the table. Majority (60%) were clinical studies and the highest citations per article was seen for a clinical study at 2925.

Table 8

Publications grouped as clinical/non clinical and Basic sciences, each category classified according to the level of evidence.

4. Discussion

As of Feb 9, 2021, the top 50 cited papers were cited 123,960 times on PubMed. There was a study looking into the top 50 cited papers on this subject [ 3 ]. But this was done in May 2020 which was very early during the pandemic. We feel now that sufficient time has passed since onset of the pandemic, (just over a year since the pandemic started), it is an appropriate time for a relook into this topic, especially with reference to citation numbers. ElHawary et al. [ 3 ] reported 63,849 citations for the top 50 cited articles which is about half of what we found about nine months after they studied. They searched Web of science (WOS), Google Scholar and Scopus for their top 50 citations. Pubmed search was not done in their study. They reported that over half of the publications were done in just three journals. Retrospective case series and correspondence/viewpoints formed the bulk of publications at 42% and 26% respectively.

In another study by Yuetian Yu [ 4 ], done in May 2020, scanning WOS database, 3626 publications were identified on this topic. Martinez-Perez et al. [ 5 ] found 14,335 publications between January and July 2020 with 42,374 citations from WOS. Senel et al. [ 6 ] reviewed literature on publications on coronavirus from 1980 to 2019 and found only 13,833 publications with a peak publication year of 2016 having 837 publications. This study may be considered as the baseline level of interest on coronavirus before the current pandemic. We found a total of 99,646 articles before we filtered the top 50 cited articles. Our study looked into some publication metrics of the articles which the previous publications did not include. These included, apart from general bibliometric data, like citations, journal and author data, clinically relevant data like focus of the paper, type of study, level of evidence of the study, speciality, month and week of publication, and country from which it was published. Most studies looked into WOS since citations are readily given in that database whereas for PubMed, it requires to use a different portal to get citation numbers which is not common knowledge.

Since most of the top cited studies we found were from the early stages of the Pandemic, one could expect that retrospective analysis is the type of study that would be the most commonly done as information was still needed to define various aspects of the disease. It could also be expected that lower level evidence studies in the evidence ladder would be done at this stage as higher level studies need greater understanding about the disease before they can be planned. Citations for studies done later take time to increase and catch up.

In a previous publication [ 7 ], we found 6831 total publications in the first 3 months of the pandemic and 1638 in the last week of the study alone from PubMed. This outbreak of Coronavirus has triggered an interest in publications and research that has never been seen on this subject. The publication numbers on Covid-19 have dwarfed those from any other subject during the pandemic. Irmak et al. [ 8 ] did the only study looking into the top 50 cited articles on PubMed in May 2020. They studied citations and co-citations and mapped them using R statistical software and Gephi softwares. Our study is different from theirs. We wanted to look into the top cited papers and analyse metric data as stated above.

Since the Pandemic originated in China, preliminary studies from china were the most cited studies and hence this country topped the citation numbers among countries at 92,276 which is 74.4% of the total number of citations of all the 50 publications 4 . Thirty one of the fifty publications originated from China. The maximum number of these top-cited articles belong to the speciality of Pulmonology. It is not surprising, as the COVID-19 disease is primarily a respiratory disease.

It has been reported in a study that more than 50% of the publications looked into had cited two high profile articles published in high impact factor journals even after the articles were retracted from publication [ 9 ]. A mechanism may need to be put in place to identify and prevent retracted articles from being cited in future studies. This may perhaps be included in the reference manager as a feature and/or included in scanning of manuscripts while submitting in the editorial manager of a journal.

We looked at the PubMed page of each article for the number of comments and errata Table 3 . Fifteen publications (30%) had at least one erratum published and of these, two articles had two errata on them. We are not aware of the average number errata published on PubMed, but 30% in the top 50 cited quality articles appears high. One study reported 19% studies containing errata among 127 studied [ 10 ]. They classified them into trivial, minor and major. Since errata are usually published after a time lag, for a fast evolving pandemic like the Covid-19, studies with major errata which could potentially change the conclusion of the study should be minimized so that further studies do not use any wrong conclusions. Their occurrence could be due to fast tracking of the articles on Covid-19 by most journals which reduces the reviewing times and also the deluge of submissions for publication [ 7 , 11 , 12 ].

We looked at the times related to publishing these articles ( Table 3 ). Not all journals give this data. From the data that was available, most journals appear to have fast tracked the publication process with an average time for submission to accepting at 10.9 days, acceptance to publication at 6.2 days and from submission to publication at just over two weeks (16.3 days).

The total number of comments published were 303 in all 50 publications with an average of 7.97 for each. Thirty eight of the top 50 cited had at least one comment published in PubMed. It indicates the level of interest the pandemic has evoked in the academic circles. It could also be due to free full text availability which encourages more researchers to be involved in the discussions.

All the articles in this study were published as open access and were freely available. Covid-19 publications in most major journals have been fast tracked and published open access for faster dissemination of knowledge and control of the pandemic. This could be one reason why the citation numbers have been so high. Shekhani et al. found open access provided a low magnitude but a significant correlation to high citation rate for manuscripts [ 13 ]. The most cited publication in the top 50, with a citation count of 10,754 in our study was by Huang C et al. [ 1 ].

5. Limitations

Limitations of our study include the fact that this study looked into a single database, namely PubMed. This has not been done in any of the previous studies. Most studies on citations looked into WOS. Although the citation number may be different from database to database, we believe the overall trends may be similar. But we do not have data to support this point. We could not compare with other studies to prove this because they were done at a different point of time.

6. Conclusions

There has been an explosion of publications on this topic and an unprecedented rate of citations within the first year for any condition in the literature. Chinese authors published on COVID-19 maximally, and Pulmonology was the medical speciality on which the articles were written and maximally by the Chinese authors. Majority of the publications focussed on the clinical data of the condition. The high-impact journals published these top-cited articles. The results identify impactful articles on Covid-19, providing a resource to educators while identifying trends that may be used to guide research and publishing efforts.

Declaration of competing interest

There is no conflict of interest to disclose for any of the authors.

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Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Detecting stance on covid-19 vaccine in a polarized media.

Rodica Ceslov , The Graduate Center, City University of New York Follow

Date of Degree

Document type.

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Data Analysis & Visualization

Subject Categories

Data Science

NLP, Stance Detection, Covid-19 vaccine

The growing polarization in the United States has been widely reported. Media coverage plays an important role in shaping public opinion and influences public debates on complex and unfamiliar topics. There are some benefits to individuals and society from political polarization and conflict between opposing viewpoints. However, recent research has primarily highlighted the negative consequences of polarization which reached an all-time high. One such topic is the Covid-19 vaccine which was developed in record time, and the public learned about its safety and possible risks through the media coverage.

In this capstone, we examine U.S. news media coverage on the Covid-19 vaccine topic as an illustration of a debate in a polarized environment through the stance in the media on vaccine safety. Specifically, we analyze opinion-framing in the Covid-19 vaccine debate as a way of attributing a statement or belief to someone else. We focus on self-affirming and opponent-doubting discourse and analyze if Left-leaning and Right-leaning media engage in self-affirming or opponent-doubting discourse. For example, a health expert would say that “The leading researchers agree that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective,” while a vaccine skeptic would say that “Mistaken researchers claim that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective”.

We introduce VacStance, a dataset of 2,000 stance-labeled Covid-19 vaccine sentences extracted from 169,432 sentences drawing from 15,750 news articles covering left-leaning and right-leaning media outlets. We run a trained BERT classifier to analyze aspects of argumentation, how the different sides of the vaccine debate represent their own and each other’s opinions. To the best of our knowledge, VacStance is the first data set of media Covid-19 vaccine stances. Our data set and model is made available in GitHub for future projects on Covid-19 vaccine opinion-framing and stance detection.

Recommended Citation

Ceslov, Rodica, "Detecting Stance on Covid-19 Vaccine in a Polarized Media" (2021). CUNY Academic Works. https://academicworks.cuny.edu/gc_etds/4616

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Public Health Capstone Projects

Capstone projects from 2024 2024.

Can’t Help You Here; Barriers to Access and Necessary Measures for Improving Health Inequities for Transgender Sex Workers , Andrew E. Colvin

PrEP Inequities Among Black and Latino MSM in the United States: Identifying Barriers and Opportunities Using a Social Ecological Model (SEM) Framework , Ryan Fisher

Tracking Childhood Vaccination Trends by Race: Analyzing MMR-Only, DTaP-Only, and Varicella-Only Vaccine Coverage Rates from 2016-2022 , Victoria Gallagher

Payment Assessment of Giving Birth in America Among Insurance Types for Years 2017 through 2021 , Jacy D. Harrell

The Association between Oral Contraceptives and Cardiovascular Disease: A Biomarker Analysis using Total Cholesterol, Low-Density Lipoprotein, and High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein , Maryam Z. Kenning

The Relationship between Mental and Environmental Health in Urban Salvador Brazil: Development of a Research Protocol , Rashad Parmer

Long COVID Among US Women: Racial Disparities and the Mediating Role of Severe COVID Infection , Amelia Phan

Analyzing the Associations between Pre- and Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Childhood ADHD Prevalence, Demographics and Environmental Factors in the United States , Reisha Rhodenbaugh

The Most Diverse Square Mile in America: Sociodemographic, Health Profiles, and Access to Healthcare among the Refugee, Immigrant, and Migrant Population in Clarkston, Georgia , Win Min Thein

Assessment of a Multidisciplinary Feeding Program's Caregiver Education Material through the Application of Health Literacy Principles , Mary Thomas

Capstone Projects from 2023 2023

Positive Behavior Support Parent Academy Curriculum - An Additional Approach , Lupe Arteaga

Association between Socio economic Factors and Contraceptive Use among Married Women in Guinea and Mali: An Examination of the Demographic and Health Survey Data 2018 , Mamadou Abdoulaye R Diallo

Fall Risk Assessment of Elderly Community-Dwelling Individuals , Jha'Meisheia Griffin

Reducing Health Disparities for U.S. Hispanics by Increasing the Cultural Literacy of Nutrition Professionals , Norma Esther Guardado López

The Associations between Selected Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Health Factors for Depression in Elderly Americans , Pema Lhewa

Epigenetic Changes and Health Disparities: An Evaluation Plan for Mamatoto Village Programming , Diamond T. Robinson

Adapting the International Protocol for Sexual Violence within the Department of Defense: Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office , Tehnyat Sohail

Stigma, Social Norms, and Culture as Mediators of HIV and AIDS Incidence in South Africa , Skyeisha Swain

Capstone Projects from 2022 2022

Survival of Anthrax Patients with Fluid Collections by Treatment Status , Sophie Binney

A Review of Economic Policies to Reduce and Prevent Child Maltreatment and Other Adverse Childhood Experiences , Kaila Farmer

Behavioral and Epidemiological factors behind Vaccine Hesitancy in The United States , Maggie Hanusek

The Evaluation Plan for the LGBTQ+ Runaway & Homelessness Youth (LRHY) Outreach Program , Jade Matthews

Analysis of the Association between Physical and Mental Health in Adults: Understanding the Literature and Developing a Plan for Future Research , Max Moskowitz

Health Insurance Status and Severe Maternal Morbidity Outcomes in the United States - A Policy Review , Adejumobi Otekunrin

The Associations Between Overweight/Obesity Among Children and Select Social and Economic Predictors , Lauren A. Powell

“We Really are Seeing Racism in the Hospitals”: Racism and Doula Care , Ayeesha Sayyad

Concepts for Antiracist Policy Formulation , Sophia Steinberg

“a Doula Is Not a Visitor...a Birth Doula Is an Essential Part of the Birth Team”: Interprofessional Dynamics among Doulas, Doctors, and Nurses , Kaniya Williamson

Capstone Projects from 2021 2021

Challenges and Prospects of Implementing Mobile Health in Angola: Lessons Learned from Kenya and Denmark. , Maria da Graca Ambrosio

Evaluating Funding Structures of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Metropolitan Atlanta: A Basis for Public Policy , Mamta Sanam Chaudhary

Levels of Engagement in a Comprehensive Parenting Intervention to Reduce Child Neglect Among Mothers without a High School Diploma: A Profile Examination , De Gao

The Need for Speed: Broadband Access as a Social Determinant of Health , Mwoddah Habib

An Evaluation Plan for Georgia's Injury Prevention Program , Joy Ngene

Examining United States Drug Policy from 2010-2021: A Qualitative Summation Using PEST Framework Model , Izadora A. Nunes

U.S. Rural Healthcare Shortage: A Review of Strategies in the U.S., Canada, and Colombia. , Carlos Perez

Comparing Water Quality Data of Atlanta's Sewage Overflows and Spills , Bonnie M. Pirlot

Policy Recommendations to Address Disproportionate Health Outcomes Caused by Healthy Food Access in Relation to Housing Districts Segregated by Class and Race , Roselyn Quarcoo

Characterization of Hand Hygiene Techniques Among Intensive Care Nurses: A Descriptive Study , Ashley L. Reyes

Analysis of Loss of Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States , Mira Shah

Research Proposal: COVID-19 Pandemic and Birth Experiences: Describing the Relationship Between Policies and the Birth Experiences of Georgia Mothers , Katherine Thornburgh

Georgia Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Resource and Protocol Guide , Sanon Williams

Developing and Disseminating the Children’s Environmental Health Index with Web GIS , Allegra Yeley

Branched Chain Amino Acids and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Literature Review , Alina Yemelyanov

Capstone Projects from 2020 2020

The Role of Policy in Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Childhood Trauma in Georgia , Hallie Andrews

StayNeighbor: Community Platform for Essential Supplies and Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic , Samuel Archbold

Strategies in Maintaining Financial Sustainability of National Health Insurance Under A Single-payer System in Indonesia, Taiwan, and Canada: A Comparative Study , Arif Budiman

Aligning the Georgia Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Plan with Governor Kemp's Priorities and Initiatives , Taylor Jennings

Healthcare for All: Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through the Strengthening of Health Systems , Diene Kaba

Youth Vaping: An Analysis of an Epidemic , Tina Kilpatrick

Georgia’s Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Technical Assistance Resource Guide (TARG) Evaluation Report , Maureen Oginga

U.S. Opioid Epidemic: Challenges and Opportunities for Evidence-based Policies , Imoh S. Okon

The Association between Mental Illness and Incarceration Among the African American/Black Population in the United States , Brittany Oladipupo

Capstone Projects from 2019 2019

A Cross-Sectional Study to Identify Factors Associated with Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis Among Foreign-Born In DeKalb County Georgia During 2008-2018 , Chinedu F. Egbuonu

WHO Drinking Water Guidelines , Aja Jagne

Evaluating Strategies for Community-sourced Photography for Mapping Alcohol Adverts in the Urban Slums in Kampala, Uganda , Joseph Madden

Community Organizing as a Vehicle to Promote Public Health in Clarkston, GA: A Literature Review & Case Study of Georgia Refugee Health and Mental Health , Maylott Mulugeta

The Use of Art to Increase Awareness about Mental Well-being and Promotion of Mental Health among the African American Community , Andromada Murden

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Opt-out Testing in a Southern Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) , Leah Pinholster

A Resource Guide on the Epidemiology, Prevention, and Treatment of Opioid and Other Substance Use. , Anthony F. Rotoloni

Promoting an Urban Utopia: The Role of Community Gardens on Community Vitality , Kayla Danielle Staley

Augmenting Coastal Georgia’s Fresh-Water Supply while Reducing Local Salt-Water Intrusion into Groundwater Reservoirs , Forrest A. Strickland

Capstone Projects from 2018 2018

A Resource Guide To Empower Older Adults to Make Informed Health Decisions About Prescription Opioids And The Potential For Misuse , Kandia S. Al-Haddad

Program Evaluation Aspects of Atlanta Streets Alive , Rebecca A. Ament

A Systematic Analysis of Hepatitis C Virus Screening Trends and Linkage to Care Program in the United States , Ijeoma Azih

Understanding Educational Vulnerability in the Context of Disasters Using Visualizations , Cherish Caldwell

Tobacco-free Campus Post-implementation Program , Ashley Campbell

Examining the Relationship between Drought and Mental Health Outcomes of Depression and Anxiety in the U.S. , Robyn J. Cathey

Urban Water Planning in Lagos, Nigeria: An Analysis of Current Infrastructure Developments and Future Water Management Solutions , Adaure Chiori

A Review of Childhood Obesity Prevention Efforts among Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs , Olga Costa

Prevention Messages to Reduce the Risk of Shigellosis among Men who have Sex with Men , Steve Evener

A Baseline Comparison of PATSCH and Parent as Teachers , Irasema Garcia-Rosales

A Mobile Initiative for Waste Disposal in Bringing Awareness to the Damage Littering Behavior Has on Storm Drains , Kimberly Hung

Examining the Community Outreach Efforts of Local African American Religious Organizations in Relation to Drug Use and HIV Transmission , Alyshia Jackson

A Qualitative Analysis of the Environmental and Personal Factors which Influence the Help-Seeking Behaviors of Men who have Sex with Men in Light of the Emerging Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance to Shigella Bacteria , Kathleen Jacobson

Alcohol Use among Orphans in Sub-saharan Africa: a Literature Review , Megan M. Mallett

Community- Based Walking Programs to Reduce Chronic Illness Among Racial/Ethnic Minorities in Limited Resource Neighborhoods: A Literature Review and Program Materials for Walk the Line , Alanti McGill

Consolidating Resources for the Aged-Out Human Trafficking Population Using a Mobile Application , Soumya Nalli

Mobile Application for Survivors of Domestic Violence , Varsha Neelam

A Historical Review of the Influenza Outbreaks Within Military Settings and Understanding the Viral Spread of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic , Naomi Ngadiman

How Social and Lifestyle Factors of African American Women Influence Behavior and Prevalence of Obesity: Literature Review , Briana E. Oliver

The Epidemiology of Wasting in Nigeria , Oluwatoyin Victoria Omotosho

Understanding Open Access Data Using Visualizations in R , Hazel Shah

An Evaluation of A National Sexual Violence Prevention Program: The Rape Prevention and Education Program , Arielle Shiver

Protecting College Students with Good Samaritan Policies: A Call to Action! , Nia Sutton

Assessment of Policies and Programs That Apply Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study Research , Rohjan Tajik

Capstone Projects from 2017 2017

Policy Recommendations for Addressing Health Insurance Network Adequacy and Provider Network Standards in the Georgia Insurance Market , Oluwatoyin Adedapo-Jimoh

A Grant Proposal to Evaluate the Effect Antibiotic TB Treatment has on the Gut Microbiota and on Metabolic Functions of Pediatric TB Patients in Dekalb County , Oluwatobiloba Adeola Akingbade

An Evaluation of a School-based Behavioral Health Initiative in Three Rural Counties , Bianca Anderson

Relationships Between Physical Activity and Neighborhood Walking Characteristics: Analysis of the 2015 National Health Interview Survey , Colby Brown

Epidemiology of Type 2 Diabetes in populations of African Descent , Kenyatta Bruce

Physical Injury as a Result of Intimate Partner Violence: An Individual, County, and State Level Analysis , Sharon Caslin

Factors That Contribute to The Disproportionate Rates of HIV among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM): A Systematic Review , Santanna S. Comer

Exploring Mental Health Services for Women Post Incarceration , Jalisa Cruver

An Examination of Metabolic Syndrome in Asthmatic Subjects: A Study Using the 2013-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , Jasmine N. Cunningham

Health Interventions to Promote the Polio Vaccine within the Global Polio Eradication Initiative: A Systematic Review From 2000-2014. , Aime Serge Dali

Evidence of Injury Following Sexual Assault: A Research Proposal , Brea Echard

Street Medicine: A Program Evaluation , Ariel L. Edwards

Exploring Strategies to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Students in a School Cafeteria , Abigail Furtner

Branched Chain Amino Acids: Causal or Predictive of Type 2 Diabetes , Jency George

A Systematic Review on the Association Between Hormonal Contraception and Antiretroviral Therapy in HIV-Positive Women , Evan Graham

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  • Annik A. Rouillon, MD, MPH
  • B. Frank Polk, MD, MSc
  • Bernard Roizman, ScD
  • Bill Gates, Sr.
  • Carroll E. Palmer, MD, PhD
  • Elmer V. McCollum, PhD
  • Emanuel Kaplan, ScD
  • Ernest L. Stebbins, MD, MPH
  • Frank Hurley
  • Fred Soper, DrPH, MPH
  • Frederik Bang, MD
  • George Comstock, MD, DrPH, MPH
  • George W. A. Dick, MBChB, MPH
  • Gilbert Otto, ScD
  • Harry G. Day, ScD
  • Helen Abbey, ScD
  • Henry E. Sigerist, MD, PhD
  • Herald R. Cox, ScD
  • Jae-Moe Yang, MD, MPH, DMSc
  • Jo Eirik Asvall, MD, MPH
  • John H. Hanks, PhD
  • Justin Andrews, ScD
  • Kenneth Maxcy, DrPH
  • Leo Kaprio, MD, DrPH, MPH
  • Leroy E. Burney, MD, MPH
  • Lewis Robbins, MD, MPH
  • Lloyd E. Rozeboom, ScD
  • Margaret Merrell, ScD
  • Mo-Im Kim, DrPH, MPH
  • Nowshir Jungalwalla, MD, MPH
  • Paul V. Lemkau, MD
  • Raymond Pearl, PhD
  • Robert W. Hegner, PhD
  • Ross Gauld, DrPH MPH
  • Russell E. Morgan, MD
  • Sushila Nayar, MBBS, DrPH, MPH
  • Timothy Danforth Baker, MD, MPH ’54
  • Virginia Apgar, MD, MPH
  • William Henry Welch, MD
  • William W. Cort, PhD
  • Yolanda Nashio
  • Environment
  • Emerging Leader Award
  • 100 Objects That Shaped Public Health

The School is maintaining a searchable log of self-reported research and practice efforts Bloomberg School faculty are participating in and the current status of that work. Filters provide a means to identify projects targeting specific populations, departments, or subject areas.

Bloomberg School faculty are invited to complete this survey to report their work.

Questions? Please email Katherine Frey with any questions.

Filter Initiatives

Enter a few letters on a topic to filter list, results are filtered as you type.

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Precision Prenatal Home Visiting to Promote School Readiness via Good Birth Outcomes

LED BY Anne Duggan

FOCUS To examine health equity differences in home visitors and prenatal care impacted by COVID-19

TARGET POPULATION pregnant women

Population, Family and Reproductive Health; community; US-based; health services

Development of Viral Domain as treatment of COVID-19

LED BY Anthony Leung

FOCUS To establish a method to screen compounds against a viral domain in order to identify inhibitors for treatment of COVID-19 and other coronavirus infections

TARGET POPULATION N/A: Study does not involve human subjects

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; laboratory

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on stocking, pricing, sales, and purchasing in a low-income community grocery store

LED BY Antonio Trujillo

FOCUS To study the impact of COVID-19 on prices, stocks and food consumption among low income households

TARGET POPULATION Community members, Vulnerable populations

International Health; observational study; Baltimore; US-based; policy

JHSPH Policy Advisory Board COVID-19 Colombia

FOCUS To provide policy advise to the Secretary of Health and the COVID-19 Taskforce in Colombia

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients, Discharged patients, Community members, Healthcare workers, Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, Vulnerable populations

International Health; observational study; serology; international; population; health services; modeling; policy

An Implementation Science Approach to Distribute Treatment Fairly and Assess Efficacy under Expanded Access during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic

LED BY Bryan Lau

FOCUS To conduct a study of the process by which experimental treatments are allocated under expanded access or emergency use authorization (EA/EUA), with the goal of proposing a fair allocation procedure for these experimental treatments when the demand exceeds the supply, and capitalizing on the allocation process to provide rigorous evidence for efficacy and safety

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients, Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19

Epidemiology; observational study; US-based; Implementation science; observational study in which estimation of efficacy of treatment is protected from unmeasured confounding

Modeling donor plasma in the larger epidemic: examining strategies of targeting specific populations and supply of convalescent plasma versus development of hyperimmune globulin in order to shift the epidemic curve

FOCUS To evaluate strategies of allocation of donor plasma during the COVID-19 pandemic

Epidemiology; US-based; population; modeling

Economic Impact Model for COVID-19

LED BY Bryan Patenaude

FOCUS To develop and test a model designed to estimate the health system economic impact due to COVID-19

International Health; US-based; international; modeling; policy; economics

Economic Impact of Forgone Immunization due to COVID-19 in Gavi-Supported Countries

FOCUS To estimate the economic impact of immunizations that have not been delivered in Gavi-supported countries due to disruptions in delivery and campaigns stemming from COVID-19

International Health; international; modeling; economics

COVID prevention in Vietnam

LED BY Bach Tran

FOCUS To study COVID-19 preparedness activities in Vietnam

TARGET POPULATION Community members, Healthcare workers

Health Behavior and Society; international

COVID-19 and well-being of substance users

LED BY Carl Latkin

FOCUS To conduct a mixed-methods phone survey of the physical and mental health among people who use drugs

Health Behavior and Society; observational study

Impact of COVID-19 on MSM

FOCUS To study the impact of COVID-19 on MSM in Baltimore

TARGET POPULATION Vulnerable populations

Rapid assessment of COVID-19

FOCUS To conduct an Mturk longitudinal study of the impact of the pandemic

TARGET POPULATION General public

B cell responses to SARS-CoV-2

LED BY Diane Griffin

FOCUS To examine the development, maturation, durability and specificity of the antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 over time among COVID-19 patients with mild and severe disease

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients, Discharged patients, Healthcare workers, Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, Vulnerable populations

Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; serology host-pathogenesis; laboratory

COVID-19 and mental health measurement working group

LED BY Elizabeth Stuart

FOCUS To obtain measures of mental health though large-scale national and international surveys. There is curently varrious survey data in house (from Pew, USC, Texas, etc.) that will assist with creating research papers related to mental health during the pandemic.

Mental Health; observational study; epidemiology; US-based; international; population

International Facebook COVID symptom survey

FOCUS To engage in a collaborative relationship with Facebook and faculty at the University of Maryland to conduct a large scale national and international survey of COVID symptoms, including 2 core mental health measures will provide access to the data on millions of Facebook users over time, and work with the COVID map team to possibly put some of those measures on the JHU COVID map page.

COVID-19 Control – A Johns Hopkins University Study

LED BY Frank Curriero

FOCUS To use an app designed for individual users to record their temperature and any associated symptoms, which will be used to maps temperature and symptom data geographically and use app-based analytics to identify regional anomalies representing emerging disease outbreaks

Epidemiology; observational study; epidemiology; US-based; population; Geography

Effect of chronic immunosuppression on severity of illness among individuals hospitalized with COVID-19

LED BY G. Caleb Alexander

FOCUS To conduct a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records from a large health system, to be followed by similar analysis using national, multicenter data

Epidemiology; observational study; epidemiology; population; health services

Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on access and affordability of prescription medicines in the United States

FOCUS To conduct an analysis of monthly data from a pharmacy supply chain characterizing national sales, pricing and distribution, by molecule, from manufacturers to end users

TARGET POPULATION National audit of pharmacy supply chain

Epidemiology; observational study; US-based; health services; policy

Registered Clinical Trials Assessing Treatments for COVID-19

FOCUS To complete a cross-sectional analysis of clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19 that were registered in the United States or contributing to the World Health Organization’s Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTR)

Epidemiology; randomized trial; observational study; drug trial; international; policy

Safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19

FOCUS To analyze the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients using electronic health records from across the country

Epidemiology; observational study; US-based; population

Utilization and Quality of Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

FOCUS To analyze the effectiveness of telehealth as compared with face-to-face ambulatory encounters

TARGET POPULATION Nationally representative sample

Virus-vectored monoclonal antibody gene delivery for immunization against SARS-CoV-2; Rapid creation of mouse models for SARS-CoV-2 research

LED BY Gary Ketner

FOCUS To use virus-vectored hACE2 gene delivery to generate mice of diverse genetic backgrounds that can be infected by SARS-CoV-2 for use in immunological studies of pathogenesis, treatment, and prophylaxis

Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; genetics/omics; host-pathogenesis; immunotherapy; laboratory; Animal models

An Autism Spectrum Disorder Enriched Risk ECHO Cohort

LED BY Heather Volk

FOCUS To assess the impact of COVID-19 on health as part of the Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) initiative using a COVID-19 related questionnaire

TARGET POPULATION This study follows up members of the EARLI cohort

Mental Health; epidemiology; US-based

Host lipid uptake by microbes

LED BY Isabelle Coppens

FOCUS To conduct a study of the host cell lipids required by enveloped viruses like Cov-2 egress, and how virus salvages would interfere with the virus lifecycle

Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; laboratory; host-Cov2 interactions at the cellular level

Assessing Physical Activity and Sleeping Patterns During the COVID-19 Pandemic in PASOS

LED BY Jennifer Schrack , Kunihiro Matsushita

FOCUS To collect wrist-worn accelerometry data on several hundred participants of the Study of Latinos/PASOS study in NY and SD to understand the effects of COVID-19 and social distancing measures on physical activity, sleep and stress/fatigue levels

TARGET POPULATION Participants of the Study of Latinos will be contacted for enrollment

Epidemiology; observational study; population

NA-ACCORD Supplement: Supporting the establishment of clinic-based COVID-19 cohort studies

LED BY Keri Althoff

FOCUS To support the establishment of COVID-19 cohort studies using electronic health record data and survey data.

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients, Discharged patients, Community members, Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19

Epidemiology; observational study; Baltimore; US-based; laboratory; population; health services

SARS-Cov-2 antibodies in specimens from people in motor vehicle crashes and victims of other trauma in five US cities from October 2019 to March 2020

FOCUS To identify SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgM antibodies in blood specimens from those sustaining serious injuries in 5 cities (4 states) from October 2019-March 2020

TARGET POPULATION Biospecimens are from a study population recruited for non-COVID-19 aims

Epidemiology; observational study; serology; Baltimore; US-based; laboratory; population

Cytokine Storm and Severe COVID-19 Disease Progression: Identification of Vulnerable Subgroups from Baseline Biomarker Data

LED BY Karen Bandeen-Roche

FOCUS To characterize inflammatory trajectories among patients treated for COVID-19 in outpatient, inpatient and ICU settings in the JHH health system, characterize subgroups of patients by their biomarker profiles upon first COVID-19-driven contact with the health system, and evaluate whether disease course varies by baseline biomarker profile subgroups

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients

Biostatistics; observational study; Baltimore; US-based; population

Assessing COVID-19 knowledge and practices among formal and informal primary care providers in India

LED BY Krishna Rao

FOCUS To study the experience and capacity of primary care providers in Bihar, India with the goal of understanding how well primary care providers are informed about COVID-19 and management practices. The research will be used to inform government action in Bihar.

TARGET POPULATION Healthcare workers

International Health; observational study; international; health services; policy

Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) Grant for in vitro methods for research on COVID-19

LED BY Thomas Hartung

FOCUS To restructure the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) grant to be responsive to the COVID-19 challenge

Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing; international; laboratory; modeling

COVID-19 case fatality ratio: curation, variation and homogeneity

LED BY Li Liu

FOCUS To study and describe the COVID-19 Case Fatality Rate

TARGET POPULATION Secondary data

Population, Family and Reproductive Health; epidemiology; community; US-based; international; population; modeling

COVID-19 CFR among institutionalized populations

FOCUS To study and describe the COVID-19 Case Fatality Rate among institutionalized populations

COVID-19 Antibody Testing of Patients with ESRD

LED BY Mara McAdams DeMarco

FOCUS To use a test developed to detect COVID-19 antibodies in human blood within 15 minutes in a population of patients with End Stage Renal Disease. A questionnaire will be sent assessing COVID-19 symptoms, risk factors, treatments, and the psychosocial impact of COVID-19 that will help compare rates of antibody positivitiy between older and younger patients as well as frail and nonfrail patients.

TARGET POPULATION Patients undergoing dialysis

Epidemiology; observational study

Public health evaluation of an online social connection and crisis intervention program for veterans

LED BY Alain Labrique

FOCUS To examine the efficacy of a community-developed online crisis intervention program for veterans

International Health; observational study; epidemiology; community; population; health services; Internet; video games; veterans; military; digital health; online communities; suicide prevention; mental health stigma

COVID-19 Action Info Guide

LED BY Youseph Yazdi

FOCUS To create a COVID-19 action guide based upon reliable and actionable information, updating regularly based upon user feedback

Center for Bioengineering, Innovation and Design; international; health services; Digital health practice; evidence development

Transit in a Time of COVID-19

LED BY Tara Sell

FOCUS To determine best practices around maintaining public transit during the COVID-19 epidemic

Environmental Health and Engineering; Center for Health Security; community; Baltimore; US-based; international; population; policy

A Multicenter, Adaptive, Randomized Controlled Trial of the Safety and Efficacy of Investigational Therapeutics for the Treatment of COVID-19 in Hospitalized Adults

LED BY Noreen Hynes

FOCUS To conduct a randomized controlled trial designed to identify safe and effective therapeutic agents for the treatment of COVID-19 patients

International Health; School of Medicine (Infectious Diseases); randomized trial; drug trial; international

COVID-19 & Humanitarian

LED BY Paul Spiegel

FOCUS To use a website developed with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Center for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action to document and share context-specific field experiences in humanitarian settings

International Health; community; international; health services

COVID-19: Projecting the impact in Rohingya refugee camps and beyond

LED BY Shaun Truelove

FOCUS To provide expertise and assistance in the conduct of the analysis and planning pertinent to the current nCoV outbreak in order to assist public health officials in decision making, preparedness, and response

Epidemiology; International Health; modeling

Host Genetics and COVID-19

LED BY Priya Duggal

FOCUS To evaluate the role of host genetics on the pathogenesis of COVID-19 to understand differences in severity of disease, and correlations with immune and inflammatory markers

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients Discharged patients, Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, Household members of positive cases

Epidemiology; School of Medicine; serology; genetics/omics; host-pathogenesis; population

Understanding and mitigating real-time differential gendered effects of the COVID-19 outbreak

LED BY Kelley Lee

FOCUS To document and analyze gender impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak

TARGET POPULATION Community members, Healthcare workers, Vulnerable populations

Simon Fraser University; international; Gender and sex differences; social science

Comparative assessment of digital platforms for COVID-19 response in LMICs

LED BY Smisha Agarwal

FOCUS To conduct an assessment of existing digital platforms that can be rapidly scaled up to support contact tracing and surveillance for COVID-19. The assessment will support decisions of donors and policymakers in low- and middle-income countries for developing an effective response to COVID-19

International Health; community; international; health services; policy

COVID-19 Informational Bot

FOCUS To collaborate with Whiting School of Engineering on the development of a chatbot that can be hosted on a variety of websites and social media portals to answer COVID-19 related questions, counter misinformation, and reinforce facts

International Health; US-based; international; modeling

Support for Health Care Workers and Direct Services Staff

LED BY Tener Veneema

FOCUS To understand the current mental health and social support needs of Johns Hopkins Health Care and Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) employees

TARGET POPULATION Healthcare workers, family members of healthcare workers

School of Nursing; Baltimore; health services

Panel study of behaviors and mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic in Malawi

LED BY Stephane Helleringer

FOCUS To conduct a 6-month follow-up of approximately 800 men and women previously enrolled in a mortality survey in Northern Malawi to assess the impact of COVID-19 on health behavior and mortality

TARGET POPULATION Community members

Population, Family and Reproductive Health; observational study; international; population

Deployment of convalescent plasma for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19

LED BY Arturo Casadevall

FOCUS To contribute to broader serology efforts by setting up ELISAs for testing sera for IgM, IgG, and IgA responses specific to the full-length spike (S) protein and soluble receptor binding domain (sRBD) of S and to provide antibody titer information

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients, Discharged patients, Community members, Healthcare workers, Vulnerable populations

Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; observational study; serology; genetics/omics; diagnostics; laboratory

Johns Hopkins Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance

LED BY Andrew Pekosz , Richard Rothman

FOCUS To analyze data generated by the Klein Lab using antigen, monoclonal antibodies, and sera as part of surveillance efforts lead by the Johns Hopkins Center of Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance. Analyses of ELISA data will be correlated with neutralizing antibody titers from assays performed by Professor Andrew Pekosz.

Specialized Center of Research Excellence on Sex Differences

LED BY Sabra Klein

FOCUS To study the immunological, virological, and transcriptional factors associated with greater severity of COVID-19 in men than women in an elderly, residential population as an administrative supplement to the Specialized Center of Research Excellence on Sex Differences (SADII SCORE)

Neurotropy of SARS-2-CoV

FOCUS To study the impact of COVID-19 infection on mini-brains, submitting applications to NIAID for a 3D tissue virus research center and to NIEHS to study neurotoxicants as cofactors

Environmental Health and Engineering; Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; host-pathogenesis; laboratory; modeling

Susceptibility of cigarette-smoke exposed and COPD epithelia to SARS-CoV-2

LED BY Venkataramana Sidhaye

FOCUS To conduct a study to determine if the disruption in epithelial integrity increases susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 among people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

School of Medicine (Medicine); host-pathogenesis; laboratory

Impacts of Urban Rats and Rodent Control on Public Health and Urban Wildlife Conservation

LED BY Maureen Murray

FOCUS To add a survey to a planned research study evaluating human-rat interactions in urban environments which will test the hypothesis that rat encounters within neighborhoods and households may increase as a result of the COVID stay at home orders and that perceptions of the potential of infectious disease transmission via human-animal interactions may increase use of poisons or have a negative impact on mental health or wildlife attitudes.

Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago; observational study; community; US-based

RAPID‐Baltimore: A mobile application for rapid access to infectious disease information for Baltimore

LED BY Daniela Rodriguez

FOCUS To develop a human‐centered web‐based platform that bridges the gap between online resources and marginalized communities, Rapid Access to Infections Disease Information for Baltimore (RAPID-Baltimore), by linking Spanish‐speaking residents of Baltimore City with a one‐stop shop featuring the most up‐to‐date information on COVID‐19, including health, school closures, and food distribution.

TARGET POPULATION Community members, General public

International Health; community; Baltimore; US-based; population; health services; technology

Estimating the size of high-risk individuals for COVID-19 mortality and serious illness across 500 US cities

LED BY Nilanjan Chatterjee

FOCUS To estimate number of individuals who are at elevated and high risks for COVID-19 serious illness and mortality across a large number of US cities using data from a large variety of sources and to expand these efforts through work with PAHO/WHO to provide similar estimates for other countries

Biostatistics; observational study; epidemiology; US-based; international; modeling; policy

Community Collaboration to Combat COVID-19 (C-FORWARD)

LED BY Shruti Metha , Jason Farley, Jacky Jennings

FOCUS To enroll a population-based cohort study of Baltimore City households to characterize the prevalence and incidence of COVID-19 in the community and the associated clinical, social, and economic consequences. The target population will include English- and Spanish-speaking families residing in Baltimore City households (N=238,436). We propose to enroll ~1,300 households in Baltimore City recruited through a household index member. We will use a multi-stage approach with 1) systematic selection of 105 of 486 census block groups (CBGs) with probabilities proportional to the estimated number of occupied households; 2) stratification of CBGs into six strata defined by socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity with oversampling of CBGs with harder-to-reach populations (e.g., low-income whites, Latinos); 3) random selection of residential addresses within each of the strata; and finally 4) screening of households selected for eligibility (e.g., occupied vs. not, English/Spanish speaking). All household participants will be asked to complete surveys and in-person visits for biospecimen collection at baseline and 12 months. Participants will also receive automated calls/texts with weekly symptom checks and monthly assessment surveys; reporting of a specific profile of symptoms may trigger an additional unplanned study visit.

TARGET POPULATION Community Members

observational study; serology; epidemiology; community; Baltimore

COVID-19-Related Youth Mentoring– An Examination of How Mentors are Interacting with Youth Mentees during the Pandemic

LED BY Michelle Kaufman

FOCUS To better understand youth mentoring practice and health communication during an acute health emergency. The findings of this study will provide valuable data regarding how supportive adults (i.e., “mentors”) communicate with youth about emerging health concerns, particularly during social isolation.

TARGET POPULATION General Public

observational study; epidemiology; US-based; international; modeling; policy

eCR Now - Electronic Case Reporting for COVID-19

LED BY John Loonsk

FOCUS To operationalize the automated identification of reportable health events in electronic health records and their transmission to state and local public health authorities for review and action nationwide

epidemiology; public health informatics

Gender and social, economic, and safety impact of COVID-19 among youth in LMICs

LED BY Michele Decker

FOCUS To perform mixed methods research with young men and women as well as key stakeholders to understand social, economic, and safety impacts of COVID-19 mitigation measures, risk perception, and gender differences therein

TARGET POPULATION Community members, general public

observational study; epidemiology; international

National Health and Aging Trends Study COVID-19 Supplement

LED BY Judith Kasper

FOCUS To conduct a survey by mail of NHATS participants (65+) on effects of COVID on daily life and follow-up survey to persons who helped most during COVID. Covers COVID symptoms and behaviors; effects of stay-at-home; comparisons before and during COVID for activities, finances, health care, well-being. Helper survey covers similar topics. Linkable to NHATS annual interviews. De-identified data will be available to researchers on NHATS website in 2021. Instruments can be viewed at https://micda.isr.umich.edu/research/covid-19/

TARGET POPULATION Community members, Pregnant and recently pregnant women

observational study; epidemiology; community; international; population

Quantifying the Digital Disparities in Youth Telemental Health Need, Access and Impact

LED BY Holly Wilcox

FOCUS To link data from multiple sources in Maryland to 1) identify predictors of youth suicide by race/ethnicity and 2) study access to and continuity of mental health services before and during COVID-19 among youth by race/ethnicity

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients, Discharged patients, Community members, Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, Vulnerable populations, General public

observational study; epidemiology; community; Baltimore; population; health services; modeling; policy; telemedicine; telemental health

Regulation of cell death by SARS-CoV-2 proteins

LED BY J. Marie Hardwick

FOCUS To understand virus-host cell interactions modulated by SARS-CoV-2 proteins that inhibit and/or promote induction of cell death pathways

Responsible Science Communication in Times of a Global Pandemic

LED BY Gundula Bosch

FOCUS To collaborate with community partners to produce a series of online (mobile-device compatible) modules that will provide accessible tools and training units to help champion challenging communications in the context of COVID19-related topics. Project participants will work together to develop and apply competencies that help explain ambiguities in COVID-19 related news, rationally yet compassionately correct misconceptions, and dismantle logical fallacies, conspiracy theories or even intentional falsehoods. This educational community engagement project includes a significant research component as we will develop an evaluation scheme for assessing the effectiveness of advanced communication practices in a community setting and look into long-term outcomes in terms of ethical standards in science communication.

TARGET POPULATION Community members, Students, The human subject research- related component of this work will only take place at a later stage of this study (earliest in late 2021). The development and internal testing of the training modules mentioned above will not require IRB approval.

observational study; community; Baltimore; US-based; international; effective communication; ethics; community engagement; educational research

RISE network survey during COVID-19

LED BY Albert Wu

FOCUS To survey a network of hospitals that have implemented the JHU RISE peer support program to investigate adaption related to COVID response

TARGET POPULATION Directors of hospital staff support programs

Sex differences and the cytokine storm associated with COVID-19 mortality

LED BY Fenna Sillé

FOCUS To determine the molecular drivers of the sex differences observed in SARS-CoV-2 disease pathogenesis, with a special emphasis on X-linked gene expression and the innate cytokine storm driven by respiratory epithelial cells and to assess the value of immunosuppressant use to mitigate the cytokine storm during SARS-CoV-2 infection across the sexes. We hypothesize that the upregulation of sex-linked genes contributes to a more protective antiviral response in females during the early phases of SARS-CoV-2 infection, compared to males who rather develop a lethal cytokine storm. We further hypothesize that this sex-specific detrimental cytokine storm can be mitigated with immunostimulants targeting the early phases of epithelial-driven antiviral response and immunotherapies targeting instrumental proteins and pathways that trigger the cytokine storm. To test these hypotheses, we will pursue the following aims: Aim 1: Determine the sex-specific differences in gene expression and cytokine/chemokine responses in vitro in broncho-epithelial cells upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Aim 2: Establish the relative efficacy of a variety of immune-suppressive therapies to reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection severity in male vs. female broncho-epithelial cells in vitro

TARGET POPULATION Study includes uninfected de-identified cells from commercial sources

host-pathogenesis; immunotherapy; laboratory

COVID Among Prisoners, Detainees, and Undocumented Migrants

LED BY Chris Beyrer

PROJECT TEAM Leonard Rubenstein , Gabe Eber, Kathleen Page

FOCUS To conduct policy work and advocacy on COVID-19 among prisoners, detainees, and undocumented migrants

TARGET POPULATION Vulnerable populations, Prisoners and detainees

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS ACLU of Maryland, Federal Defenders, Refugees International, Physicians for Human Rights

International Health; Epidemiology; School of Medicine; epidemiology; community; Baltimore; US-based; policy

COVID in Jails and Prisons

LED BY Leonard Rubenstein

PROJECT TEAM Carolyn Sufrin , Chris Beyer , Gabe Eber

FOCUS To address issues related to COVID-19 in jails and prisons

TARGET POPULATION Community members, Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, Policy makers, Community based organizations, General public, Vulnerable populations

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS ACLU, State's Attorney Baltimore

Epidemiology; Health Behavior and Society; community; Baltimore; population; policy; prisoners

COVID and UV Light

LED BY David H. Sliney

PROJECT TEAM N/A

FOCUS To organize the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists webinar on Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation to control COVID-19 and other biological aerosols

TARGET POPULATION Healthcare workers, Industrial Hygienists and Infection Control Audience

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)

Environmental Health and Engineering; US-based; PPE; hospital infection control

Reopening Baltimore

LED BY Keshia Pollack Porter

PROJECT TEAM Aisha Dickerson , Yeeli Mui , Shima Hamidi , Megan Latshaw , Josh Sharfstein

FOCUS To work with the Mayor's Neighborhood Commercial District Reopening Initiative to develop and implement designs to reconfigure public right of way and public spaces to maximize outdoor seating and other business needs, as Baltimore begins to re-open

TARGET POPULATION Community members, General public, workers

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS Baltimore Development Corporation

Health Policy and Management; Epidemiology; International Health; Environmental Health and Engineering; Health Policy and Management; community; Baltimore; population; policy; built environment

COVID Modeling

PROJECT TEAM David Bishai

FOCUS To support/advise CARE-India in COVID-19 modeling

TARGET POPULATION Policy makers

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS CARE-India, BMGF

Population, Family and Reproductive Health; modeling

Health Communication and Education

PROJECT TEAM Lauren Dayton

FOCUS To develop health communication and education materials for Baltimore

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS City Health Dept, community organizations

Health Behavior and Society; Baltimore

FOCUS To organize a webinar and a report on Germicidal Ultraviolet

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients, Healthcare workers, Policy makers, Hospital engineering community

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS Illuminating Engineering Society, New York, NY

Environmental Health and Engineering; US-based; international; health services; PPE; aerosol disinfection

Attacks against Health Workers

PROJECT TEAM Andrea Wirtz

FOCUS To track violence against health workers in connection with COVID-19

TARGET POPULATION Healthcare workers, Policy makers, General public

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS Insecurity Insight, IntraHealth International

Epidemiology; international; population; health services; policy; violence

Humanitarian Aid

FOCUS To create/host weekly COVID-19 humanitarian webinars in conjunction with READY project, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Center for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS LSTMH, CERAH (Geneva)

International Health; population

Epidemiology

LED BY Tolbert Nyenswah

PROJECT TEAM Brandon Howard

FOCUS To examine what the Ebola outbreak in West Africa can teach about COVID-19

TARGET POPULATION Students, Policy makers, General public

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS N/A

International Health; Baltimore; US-based; international; population; policy

FOCUS To communicate COVID-19 modeling efforts to the general public and to encourage collaboration between academic fields

TARGET POPULATION Policy makers, General public, Non public health researchers

Mental Health; health services; modeling; policy

Mental Health

LED BY Michelle Colder Carras

FOCUS To develop a weekly stream on Twitch about topics related to COVID-19 and mental health

TARGET POPULATION Community based organizations, General public, Vulnerable populations, Veteran and military members of the Stack Up online community, their supporters, and the general public

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS Stack Up

International Health; community; international; Digital health; mental health; Internet; online communities; evidence development; misinformation; infodemic; live streaming

Curating COVID-related Publications

LED BY Emily Gurley

PROJECT TEAM Kate Grabowski

FOCUS To rapidly curate and assess emerging research on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, we prioritize original, high-quality research for public health action and papers receiving significant attention, regardless of quality

TARGET POPULATION Health care workers, Policymakers, Community-based organizations, General public

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS Imperial College of London, Boston University, University of Florida, Harvard University, USN ONR Global Singapore, Epidemiology, Pathology

Diagnostics; Epidemiology; US-based; International; Laboratory; Population; Health services; Modeling; Policy; Ecology and spillover; Pharmaceutical Interventions; non-pharmaceutical interventions; Vaccine; Clinical presentation; Prognostic risk factors

Automated Reporting

FOCUS To operationalize the automated identification of reportable health events in electronic health records and their transmission to state and local public health authorities for review and action.

TARGET POPULATION Hospitalized patients, Healthcare workers, Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, Policy makers, Community based organizations

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS CDC, CSTE, APHL, Health Policy and Management, Center for Population Health Information Technology

Epidemiology; Population; Public heath informatics

Healthcare Worker Peer Support

PROJECT TEAM Cheryl Connors , David Norvell

FOCUS To provide peer support to health workers experiencing emotional distress during COVID-19 at JHM

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS Health Policy and Management,  Armstrong Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Spiritual Care, Johns Hopkins Hospital

Staff support; Peer support

Accessing Home Care Services in Spain

LED BY Vicente Navarro

FOCUS To advise the Vice Presidency for Social Affairs of the Spanish Government on: (1) Universalizing the right of access of Spanish families to child care centers (0-3 years) and home care services for persons with dependencies, in the pandemic and post-pandemic period. The advising includes analyzing the needs, the resources, the management and the funding of such services. (2) The adaptation of the Spanish development of the UN 2030 Agenda to the new social situation created by the pandemic (objective by objective).

TARGET POPULATION Policy makers, General public

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS Vice Presidency for Social Affairs of the Spanish Government, Health Policy and Management, The JHU-UPF Public Policy Center in Barcelona, Spain

Community; International; Population; Policy; Post-pandemic

Community Education

PROJECT TEAM Brian Klaas , Brian Simpson , Ilinca Ciubotariu

FOCUS To collaborate with community partners to produce a series of online (mobile-device compatible) modules that will provide accessible tools and training units to help champion challenging communications in the context of COVID19-related topics. Project participants will work together to develop and apply competencies that help explain ambiguities in COVID-19 related news, rationally yet compassionately correct misconceptions, and dismantle logical fallacies, conspiracy theories or even intentional falsehoods. This educational community engagement project includes a significant research component as we will develop an evaluation scheme for assessing the effectiveness of advanced communication practices in a community setting and look into long-term outcomes in terms of ethical standards in science communication. 

TARGET POPULATION Community members, Students

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Department of Communications

Observational study; Community; Baltimore; US-based; International; Effective communication; Ethics; Community engagement; Educational research

Distribution of Supplies through  Community Based Organizations

PROJECT TEAM Christine Weston , Lee Boone, Romsai Boonyasai , Vadim Dukhanin , Lindsay Hebert

FOCUS To provide food, personal protective equipment, household goods to people in East Baltimore through local Community Based Organizations, Church and Neighborhood Association that are members of Baltimore CONNECT

TARGET POPULATION Community members, Community based organizations, Vulnerable populations

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS Baltimore CONNECT Inc (501c3), Health Policy and Management, Health Behavior and Society, General Internal Medicine

Community; Baltimore; PPE; Food

ScienceDaily

Study offers new detail on how COVID-19 affects the lungs

In some severe cases of COVID-19, the lungs undergo extreme damage, resulting in a range of life-threatening conditions like pneumonia, inflammation, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The root cause of those wide-ranging reactions in the lungs has until now remained unclear.

A new study by researchers at Columbia and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center sheds light on this mystery. The study found that ferroptosis, a form of cell death first named and identified at Columbia in 2012, is the major cell death mechanism that underlies COVID-19 lung disease. The finding indicates that deliberately halting ferroptosis with therapeutic drug candidates could improve COVID-19 outcomes.

"This finding adds crucial insight to our understanding of how COVID-19 affects the body that will significantly improve our ability to fight life-threatening cases of the disease," said professor Brent Stockwell, one of the study's lead authors.

Ferroptosis was first reported by professor Stockwell in 2012. Ferroptosis is an unusual form of cell death in which certain cells die because their outer fat layers collapse. It differs from the most common kind of cell death, which occurs both in disease contexts and in normal processes like aging and involves cells chopping up the molecules in their interior.

Since proposing the concept of ferroptosis, Stockwell's lab has demonstrated that it is instrumental to normal bodily processes, but that it can also attack and kill healthy cells in patients with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Lou Gehrig's disease.

Though ferroptosis can be destructive, recent studies indicate that it could also be harnessed for good. Intentionally inducing ferroptosis could counteract diseases like cancer where rampant cell growth is dangerously occurring. The ability to inhibit ferroptosis, on the other hand, could offer doctors new ways of combating cell death that should not be occurring, as in the case of COVID-19 lung disease.

"We're hopeful that these important new findings could improve our ability to confront this pernicious disease, which, in too many cases, still diminishes health outcomes and results in death," Stockwell said.

  • Lung Disease
  • Diseases and Conditions
  • Lung Cancer
  • Chronic Illness
  • COVID and SARS
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Healthy Aging
  • Programmed cell death
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Double blind
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Adult stem cell

Story Source:

Materials provided by Columbia University . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference :

  • Baiyu Qiu, Fereshteh Zandkarimi, Anjali Saqi, Candace Castagna, Hui Tan, Miroslav Sekulic, Lisa Miorin, Hanina Hibshoosh, Shinya Toyokuni, Koji Uchida, Brent R. Stockwell. Fatal COVID-19 pulmonary disease involves ferroptosis . Nature Communications , 2024; 15 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-48055-0

Cite This Page :

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National Science, Technology, and Security Roundtable - Capstone Event

The National Science, Technology, and Security Roundtable Capstone Event will provide an opportunity to present information the Roundtable has gathered since its inception in 2020 through 13 gatherings in Washington, DC and across the U.S.

Zariya Butler

(202) 334-2937

[email protected]

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  • Alzheimer's disease & dementia
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  • Biomedical technology
  • Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes
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May 23, 2024

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Research reveals that more people died from hot or cold weather conditions than COVID-19 in parts of UK

by University of Bristol

Research reveals more people died from hot or cold weather conditions than COVID-19 in parts of UK

Research has highlighted how weather extremes worsened by climate change are now a major national public health threat.

The study, led by the University of Bristol and published today in Nature Communications , showed how the death toll from temperature hazards overtook the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the South West region of England, when the UK was in the throes of the pandemic.

Lead author Dr. Eunice Lo, Research Fellow in Climate Change and Health at the University's Cabot Institute for the Environment and Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research, said, "The statistics are stark and illustrate how high the health burden of adverse weather is in the UK in the current climate. I anticipated higher levels of mortality than normal as the country was also experiencing a record heat wave during the peak of the pandemic, but the extent of the increases is surprising and concerning."

The researchers sprang into action after Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK Government's former Chief Scientific Adviser, highlighted at COP26 that the climate crisis was a far bigger problem than COVID-19, which would prove more fatal without immediate changes.

Their findings clearly evidence such claims with analysis revealing temperature-related mortality exceeded COVID-19 mortality by 8% in South West England between 2020 and 2022. Temperature-related deaths were also just a quarter less than deaths from COVID-19 in London and not far from a third less (58%) in East Midlands over the same period.

Dr. Lo said, "The pandemic rightfully generated huge media attention with the spotlight on daily briefings announcing the latest death toll and public health interventions. Although many, and in some parts of the country more, people were dying from high and low temperatures, this largely went under the radar. Ironically, the record temperatures, topping 40 degrees, were associated with positive news of people enjoying the sunshine, which perhaps reflects a general lack of awareness about how harmful excess heat can be."

The research highlighted how the coinciding crises presented by COVID-19 coupled with a heat wave or conversely an extreme cold snap put health services under unprecedented pressure, potentially increasing avoidable loss of life.

Findings showed combined excess deaths from extreme temperatures and COVID-19 between 2020 and 2022 were at least twice as high than the previous decade, depending on the region.

Dr. Lo said, "The figures strongly demonstrate how negative consequences compound when there are co-occurring major health and weather-related events. For instance, extreme cold during the outbreak of an unexpected disease puts massive strain on hospital bed availability. This research therefore underscores how the UK must be more robustly prepared for such eventualities, which are likely to coincide more often in future with the growing specter of a changing climate and other global health threats."

Sir Patrick Vallance discussed whether it was possible to compare the relative health impacts of COVID-19 and climate change with Prof. Phil Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, and Dann Mitchell, Professor of Climate Science at the University of Bristol at COP26, hosted by Glasgow in 2021.

Prof. Mitchell and Dr. Lo set to analyzing relevant statistics to better understand the comparative health repercussions. They wrote to Sir Patrick sharing the findings and were invited to present them at the Natural History Museum.

Co-author Prof. Dann Mitchell said, "Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it is a constant, underlying stressor that magnifies the impacts of other global crises, including pandemics, wars, and economic instability. Our research highlights that during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the compound effects of extreme temperatures led to significant mortality burdens in the UK.

"This was likely much larger in other, less developed countries. Our evidence illustrates how climate change can intersect with and exacerbates other crises, creating a multiplier effect that can strain health systems, destabilize economies, and heighten social tensions. To mitigate these compounded risks, it is imperative to integrate climate resilience into global health, economic, and security policies."

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Frontiers | Science News

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Big data, ai, and personalized medicine: scientists reveal playbook aiming to revolutionize healthcare.

capstone research topics about covid 19

Covid-19 drove rapid innovation across the field of medicine, inspiring a flourishing of new methods and new research. Now a team of scientists unveils their vision for the medicine of the future – personalized care that takes advantage of big data insights and technological advances to empower patients – and the interdisciplinary research and funding that will be needed to support it.

What should the medicine of the future look like? A team of scientists writing in Frontiers in Science lays out a bold vision for precision approaches to understanding, preventing, and treating diseases, driven by revolutionary technologies and new interdisciplinary collaborations between researchers and other health sector professionals. The internationally renowned authors – led by Prof Michel Goldman, recipient of the Blaise Pascal Medal 2024 for his exceptional contributions to immunology and healthcare innovation, and leading microbiologist Prof Philippe Sansonetti from the Institut Pasteur and Collège de France – build on the many lessons of Covid-19, from strategies for radically faster vaccine development to use of big data and digital medicine.

“The Covid-19 pandemic will have profound, long-lasting impacts on the anticipation of risk, practice of medicine, and the management of healthcare,” said Goldman, who is President and founder of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Healthcare (I3H) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and former Executive Director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).“It demonstrated the importance of collaboration across sectors and disciplines to develop new solutions for major public health threats, and the power of artificial intelligence and digital tools for the advancement of medicine.”

Changing the paradigm

To overcome Covid-19, the world needed to take a radically different approach to care – and scientists innovated to make this happen. 9% more health-related articles were published worldwide than expected in 2020-22, reflecting scientists’ search for tools to solve the problems of the pandemic, which ultimately went far beyond the treatment of infectious diseases. Because there were initially no vaccines to control transmission, we needed non-pharmaceutical interventions like lockdowns, planned using large-scale mathematical modeling. Videocalls ensured patients could speak to a doctor without risking catching the virus, while insights from big data were used to identify vulnerable patients and target treatments. Goldman and his colleagues say that these are innovations in medicine – personalized, taking advantage of big data and new technology – that we should use to design the future of healthcare and public health.

“Personalized medicine delivers the right treatment to the right patient at the right time,” said Sansonetti. “It will depend on in-depth characterization of both the genetic make-up of the affected individual and the molecular mechanisms of the disease. A patient’s way of life and environment will also be taken into consideration.”

Systems medicine could also enable more effective care: it “exploits large quantities of different kinds of data, gathered through different sources, to generate highly precise diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic options,” explained Sansonetti. For instance, it could help identify pre-existing drugs which we already know are safe that can be quickly repurposed to treat new diseases.

Meanwhile, digital health can take medicine to the individual. Telehealth can make it easier for patients to consult with a medical professional, while wearable monitors allow for at-home management of some conditions, which is associated with better outcomes.

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A roadmap for healthcare

However, the scientists stress that a lot of work needs to be done to make this vision a reality. The necessary conditions for this medicine of the future are not equally available worldwide: for instance, in some places, the technology for digital health or the tests necessary for personalized medicine are less available. For systems medicine to work effectively and safely, AI applications need to be more transparent, and must be carefully managed to ensure patient privacy and avoid bias.

We also urgently need to implement a framework for funding and research which supports the kind of interdisciplinary work that drove innovation during the pandemic: Goldman and colleagues lay out what this could look like, and what we need to tackle first. The greatest likely challenges of the future, antimicrobial resistance and zoonotic illnesses that jump from animals to humans, will need to be addressed by scientists and clinicians from many disciplines working together. We need to enable this cooperation now, by encouraging interdisciplinary studies and collaboration, to build healthcare that can overcome these future challenges.

“As we navigate the complexities of the post-Covid era, we must foster multidisciplinary collaborations that transcend traditional boundaries, encompassing molecular, clinical, and social determinants of health,” concluded Dr Giuseppe Remuzzi, director of the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri and senior author of an editorial commentary on the article. “This very timely article is a statement of intent – a testament to the resilience and adaptability of science to address forthcoming public health challenges.”

The article is part of the Frontiers in Science multimedia article hub ‘ The future of medicine ’. The hub features an editorial , viewpoint , and policy outlook from other eminent experts: Dr Luca Perico and Prof Giuseppe Remuzzi (Institute for Pharmacological Research Mario Negri IRCCS, Italy), Dr Olusoji Adeyi (Resilient Health Systems, LLC, USA), Prof Prashant Yadac (INSEAD, USA), Mr Michel Kazatchkine (Global Health Centre, Geneva Graduate Institute, Switzerland), and Prof Brigitte Autran (Sorbonne-Université, France) – as well as an explainer with infographics.

REPUBLISHING GUIDELINES:  Open access and sharing research is part of  Frontiers’ mission . Unless otherwise noted, you can republish articles posted in the Frontiers news site — as long as you include a link back to the original research. Selling the articles is not allowed.

About Frontiers in Science

Frontiers in Science is Frontiers’ multidisciplinary, open-access journal focused on transformational science to accelerate solutions for healthy lives on a healthy planet.

The journal publishes a select number of exceptional peer-reviewed lead articles invited from internationally renowned researchers, whose work addresses key global challenges in human and planetary health. Each lead article is enriched by a diverse hub of content that extends its reach and impact across society – from researchers and policymakers to lay audiences and kids.

For more information, visit www.frontiersin.org/science , follow @FrontScience on X, and follow Frontiers in Science on LinkedIn.

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Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD

The professor of health policy has been awarded the 2024 Bradley Foundation Award, which includes a $250,000 stipend. The foundation selected Bhattacharya for his work as a “visionary who stands for the integrity of scientific debate and the promotion of sound public policy.” Bhattacharya will donate the stipend for the award to the UK charity Collateral Global, which supports research on the lingering collateral harms of the COVID-19 lockdown on children, the poor and other vulnerable populations.

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IMAGES

  1. COVID-19 research briefing

    capstone research topics about covid 19

  2. A detailed study of Covid-19: What you need to know, facts and analysis

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  3. A detailed study of Covid-19: What you need to know, facts and analysis

    capstone research topics about covid 19

  4. The COVID-19 Pandemic: Shocks to Education and Policy Response Infographic

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  5. Educational & Outreach Materials (COVID-19)

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    COVID-19. COVID-19 Projects and Initiatives. The School is maintaining a searchable log of self-reported research and practice efforts Bloomberg School faculty are participating in and the current status of that work. Filters provide a means to identify projects targeting specific populations, departments, or subject areas.

  24. Study Offers New Detail on How COVID-19 Affects the Lungs

    A new study by researchers at Columbia and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center sheds light on this mystery. The study found that ferroptosis, a form of cell death first named and identified at Columbia in 2012, is the major cell death mechanism that underlies COVID-19 lung disease. The finding indicates that deliberately halting ...

  25. Study offers new detail on how COVID-19 affects the lungs

    New research shows that ferroptosis, a form of cell death, occurs in severe COVID-19 patient lungs. Stopping it improves outcomes. In some severe cases of COVID-19, the lungs undergo extreme ...

  26. National Science, Technology, and Security Roundtable

    Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Mobilizing Support for Ukraine Discover what the National Academies are doing in various topic areas to strengthen the fields of science, engineering, and medicine and their capacity to contribute to the well-being of our nation and the world.

  27. Research reveals that more people died from hot or cold weather

    The research highlighted how the coinciding crises presented by COVID-19 coupled with a heat wave or conversely an extreme cold snap put health services under unprecedented pressure, potentially ...

  28. Big data, AI, and personalized medicine: scientists reveal playbook

    The Covid-19 pandemic changed medicine forever - now scientists reveal a bold new vision for the healthcare of the future.

  29. Service Stars

    Research Areas Core topics of iSchool research ... Capstone Students work with organizations to solve information problems ... Since the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteering numbers have plummeted and never fully recovered, leaving nonprofits needing help. Addressing this issue, Service Stars is an online platform designed to bridge the gap between ...

  30. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD

    The professor of health policy has been awarded the 2024 Bradley Foundation Award, which includes a $250,000 stipend. The foundation selected Bhattacharya for his work as a "visionary who stands for the integrity of scientific debate and the promotion of sound public policy." Bhattacharya will donate the stipend for the award to the UK charity Collateral Global, which supports research on ...