ISB researchers, along with the global scientific community at large, immediately focused their attention on the COVID-19 pandemic and the virus that causes the disease. For two tireless years, ISB President Dr. Jim Heath and scientists across labs and disciplines at ISB have worked to uncover the secrets behind COVID-19.
“COVID-19 quickly went from non-existent to the scientific challenge of our time.
ISB immediately set to work, collaborated with peers, enrolled patients in studies, and is making critical scientific discoveries.
It is safe to say that we rose to the challenge.”
– ISB President Dr. Jim Heath
COVID-19 is the world’s deadliest infectious disease, and its impact has been felt in every community in every country on every continent.
Despite breakthroughs including fundamental understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the development of effective vaccines and antivirals, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to tax and stress the healthcare and medical community. Variant strains of the virus, long-term chronic effects of the disease known as long COVID, and variable rates of vaccination among different populations are just some of the reasons scientists must keep pressing to understand and ultimately subdue COVID-19.
ISB COVID-19 RESEARCH AREAS
A significant portion of people who contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus – some estimates suggest more than 40 percent – suffer chronic effects known as Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), commonly referred to as long COVID. In a collaborative research project, we identified several factors that can be measured at the initial point of COVID-19 diagnosis that anticipate if a patient is likely to develop long COVID.
As part of a nationwide effort to understand long COVID, ISB is leading a multi-site Pacific Northwest consortium as part of the NIH-funded RECOVER initiative. RECOVER, which stands for REsearching COVID to Enhance Recovery, is a large-scale research effort designed to ask why some people have prolonged symptoms following COVID-19, and to get real answers to help alleviate suffering as fast as possible.
ISB researchers examined the health records of more than 18,000 women with COVID-19 tests during pregnancy, and found that unvaccinated women with COVID-19 were more likely to have poor birth outcomes even if they did not experience severe respiratory problems during infection. The study found the single greatest predictor of gestational age at delivery is gestational age at infection.
In a one-of-a-kind study, ISB, Merck, Swedish, and several other research collaborators partnered to identify targets for medicines and vaccines for COVID-19. As part of this study, we created a biorepository of blood samples that is second to none, and we developed an IRB-approved, HIPAA-compliant electronic consent platform for enrolling patients.
Cell, Multiple early factors anticipate Post-Acute COVID-19 Sequelae, January 24, 2022
The Lancet Digital Health, The effect of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection timing on birth outcomes: a retrospective multicentre cohort study, January 13, 2022
Nature Biotechnology, Integrated analysis of plasma and single immune cells uncovers metabolic changes in individuals with COVID-19, September 26, 2021
Clinical Infectious Diseases, Characteristics and factors associated with coronavirus disease 2019 infection, hospitalization, and mortality across race and ethnicity, February 20, 2021
Cell, Multi-omics resolves a sharp disease-state shift between mild and moderate COVID-19, October 28, 2020
medRxiv, Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 and failure of humoral immunity: a case report, September 25, 2020
bioRxiv, Multiomic immunophenotyping of COVID-19 patients reveals early infection trajectories, July 31, 2020