Advances in Coronavirus Research

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Boston Children’s remains at the forefront of research and innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn about our recent advances.

covid-19 lessons learned

2020 COVID-19 year in review

In our 3-part year in review on COVID science, we recap our journey toward a vaccine and what we have yet to learn about the virus.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Capturing SARS-CoV-2’s shape-shifting spike protein

Capturing SARS-CoV-2’s shape-shifting spike protein

The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, the one our antibodies target, has two forms. New work provides a snapshot of both, with implications for COVID vaccines.

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Covid vaccine research

Getting to a COVID-19 vaccine as fast and as safely as possible

Early in the pandemic, it was predicted that a vaccine would be available within 12-18 months. But how realistic is that? We sat down with Dr. Rick Malley, a vaccine expert at Boston Children’s, who notes that COVID-19 is a tricky illness and that safety considerations must be a priority.

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Interferon lung

Type III interferon in COVID-19: Protective or harmful?

At least two clinical trials are testing type III interferon in COVID-19 to fight viral infection and limit inflammatory damage. But a new study led by Dr. Ivan Zanoni at Boston Children’s warns that if it’s given later in the illness, it could increase susceptibility to bacterial “superinfection."

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Texas map of minutes to coronavirus testing sites

Disparities in travel time to COVID-19 testing sites may bias case estimates

States and counties are using local data on COVID-19 incidence to inform their re-opening plans. But an analysis from our Computational Epidemiology Lab finds that travel times to COVID-19 testing sites are unequal around the country, which may lead to under-counting of cases.

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MIS-C Research

More details on MIS-C, the post-COVID multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children

The largest study to date provides more details multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a rare complication of COVID-19 in children and adolescents. The study, led by Dr. Adrienne Randolph, is continuing to track MIS-C across the country.

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disulfiram schematic

Disulfiram inhibits inflammatory gatekeeper protein: Could it be helpful in COVID-19?

Inflammation is the alarm system by which cells first respond to potential danger. But in excess, inflammation can be deadly.

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Making an IMPACC

Making an IMPACC: Examining immune responses in people hospitalized with COVID-19

Boston Children’s Hospital will play key roles in the IMPACC study examining the body's immune response over time in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

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interferons portals

How the new coronavirus gets into respiratory tissue — and may exploit one of our defenses

What makes SARS-CoV-2 such a threat? A study suggests that it may exploit one of our main defenses against viruses to infect three specific cell types.

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National COVID study

Boston Children’s Hospital to lead nationwide study on COVID-19 in children

A nationwide CDC-funded study of COVID-19 in children is asking why children are largely spared, and why a tiny handful become very ill with the virus.

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Boston Children's leads study on COVID-19

Boston Children's Hospital to lead coronavirus studies

The Boston Globe reports that Boston Children’s Adrienne Randolph, MD, is leading a nationwide, CDC-funded study to focus on COVID-19 in children and young adults. The study will perform real-time surveillance at more than 35 U.S. children’s hospitals to capture data on 800 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with the goal of understanding why some children get very ill with COVID-19 while most do not. WBUR also covers the news.

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Hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19: What we know so far

Despite the current hype, infectious disease experts and others are cautious about using chloroquine drugs in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Kristen Moffitt, MD, explains the latest evidence.

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Online ventilator training addresses COVID-19 clinician shortage

While hospitals around the world scramble to locate enough mechanical ventilators to treat an influx of patients with COVID-19, many also fear a worsening clinician shortage. Learn how Boston Children’s and OPENPediatrics are providing innovative training.

N95 Mask

Otolaryngology care during the COVID-19 pandemic

A new report by Reza Rahabar, DMD, MD, and leaders of six major pediatric otolaryngology societies around the world provides institutions perspective on how to adapt their current approaches as they deal with the pandemic.

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Drs. Downing and Levy

Designing a vaccine for coronavirus

The Precision Vaccines Program (PVP) at Boston Children’s is on the front lines of developing a coronavirus vaccine. Ofer Levy, MD, director of the PVP, discusses the PVP’s ongoing work.

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The Boston Children's science community responds to COVID-19


Studies Detail Syndrome in Kids Linked to COVID


Researchers investigate whether wearable apps could unveil hidden coronavirus cases

ABC News
Researchers are investigating whether subtle hints from wearable wellness devices could help identify asymptomatic cases — a critical advantage in the race to trace the virus's spread. Boston Children’s Chief Innovation Officer, John Brownstein, PhD, lends his expertise to the article.


US researchers test the first experimental coronavirus vaccine

ABC News
In a segment for ABC News (via Yahoo!), Boston Children’s Chief Innovation Officer, John Brownstein, PhD, discusses the process of developing and testing a vaccine for COVID-19.


The timetable for a coronavirus vaccine is 18 months. Experts say that's risky.

As the number of U.S. coronavirus deaths surges past 3,000, the pressure on the scientific community to find a vaccine is immense. Boston Children’s Ofer Levy, MD, PhD, and David Dowling, PhD, are working tirelessly to come up with a vaccine for COVID-19 that would help the elderly population.


Social media posts and online searches hold vital clues about pandemic spread

Scientific American
Nearly a week before the World Health Organization first warned of a mysterious new respiratory disease in Wuhan, China, a team of Boston-based sleuths at the global disease monitoring system HealthMap captured digital clues about the outbreak from an online press report. Boston Children’s Chief Innovation Officer, John Brownstein, PhD, is interviewed for the story.


COVID-19 spreads too fast for traditional contact tracing. New digital tools could help.

Every strategy for releasing COVID-19’s vise-grip on daily life starts with identifying cases and tracing their contacts. Existing digital tools that use cellphone location data and an app for self-reporting positive test results could make the impossible possible, the authors of a new analysis argue. Boston Children’s Maia Majumder, PhD, is quoted.


Help researchers track coronavirus by reporting your COVID-19 symptoms online

Discover reports on COVID Near You, which allows anyone in the U.S. to self-report their location and how they’re feeling. Boston Children’s Kara Sewalk, MPH, is interviewed for the article.


The Irishman researching how vaccines can be more effective in older people

The Irish Times
Boston Children’s David Dowling, PhD is interviewed about his work with Ofer Levy, MD, PhD, to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 that works well in seniors.


Boston Children's Hospital uses data to create an AI coronavirus map

Chief Innovation Officer, John Brownstein, discusses HealthMap, an AI tool developed by researchers at Boston Children’s that tracks the spread of COVID-19.

Where is COVID-19? 

HealthMap: Tracking COVID-19 in real time

The Boston Children’s Hospital Informatics Program created HealthMap, an online resource and smart phone app that helps track the spread of contagious diseases in real time, including the new coronavirus.