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May 5, 2020

Mayo Clinic Research in the news: Week in review 5/5/2020

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

The race continues across biomedical research to find answers for people with COVID-19 as well as those hoping to avoid the virus. Mayo Clinic Research and researchers are playing a prominent role in all aspects, from developing tests and trying various treatments, to predicting outcomes and collaborating for a vaccine. Collected here are links and short extracts from news stories involving Mayo Clinic research and COVID-19.

Mayo Clinic's coronavirus research task force is in a desperate race against time

Dr. Andrew Badley is the conductor for the clinic's massive research push to fight the coronavirus 

By Reid Forgrave, Star Tribune, 5/2/2020

Like the rest of the world, the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Andrew Badley hadn’t heard of the deadly virus scientists refer to as SARS-CoV-2 until reports emerged from China in December. But it was as if his nearly four decades as an infectious disease specialist had prepared him for this moment.

Now Badley, a 55-year-old HIV research specialist as comfortable in the lab as he is bedside in a clinic, chairs the Mayo Clinic’s novel coronavirus research task force, an urgent operation that is quite literally all hands on deck.

The budget? In a time of austerity, that’s a complicated question — but he has Mayo’s full support for researchers and talent. The timeline? As fast as scientifically possible.

How serological COVID-19 tests work — and what their results mean

By Greta Kaul, MinnPost, 5/1/2020

Last week, Gov. Tim Walz announced a $36 million partnership with the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to test as many as 20,000 Minnesotans daily for COVID-19.

So far, the type of test that’s gotten the most attention is the molecular testing, which can tell Minnesotans if they’re currently infected with COVID-19. These tests have been available — though in short supply — for months in Minnesota, and more than 70,000  tests of this type have been performed among the state’s residents.

12 scientific teams redefining fast-tracked heart and brain health research related to COVID-19

— American Heart Association, 4/30/2020

Less than a month after issuing a rapid response call for scientific research proposals for fast-tracked studies of the effects of COVID-19 on the body’s cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems, the American Heart Association has awarded $1.2 million in grants to teams at 12 institutions across the U.S. to begin this unprecedented work. Additional funding for special research projects within each of the four new Health Technologies & Innovations Strategically Focused Research Centers brings the Association’s COVID-19 related scientific research funding to $2 million. … The research projects include: …

Mayo Clinic, led by Ognjen Gajic, M.D., Professor of Medicine — Cardiovascular Outcomes and Biomarker Titrated Corticosteroid Dosing for SARS COV-2 (COVID-19): A Randomized Controlled Trial: This team will expand its current SMART randomized clinical trial to add the evaluation of biomarker-titrated corticosteroids dosing compared to usual care for treating COVID-19 patients.

Mayo Clinic is using artificial intelligence in its COVID-19 research

By Raquel Hellman, KIMT TV, 4/28/2020

Artificial intelligence has a vital role in helping researchers in their efforts to fight COVID-19 and is an important tool in the work being done at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Andrew Badley is an infectious diseases specialist and leads Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Research Task Force. He explains that they created a real-time tracking platform to measure the rate of positive cases throughout all counties in Minnesota.

Mayo Clinic says 90 percent of Covid-19 patients are now enrolled in clinical trials

By Sean Baker, Med City Beat, 4/28/2020

… Here are three key (nearly) politics-free takeaways from a round table discussion with Pence featuring Mayo employees Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, president and CEO; Dr. Amy Williams, executive dean of practice; Dr. Andrew Badley, chair of Mayo’s Covid-19 research task force; Dr. Bill Morice, president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories; and Haley Kuffel, a registered nurse at St. Marys Hospital who has been on the front lines of the pandemic.

Clinical labs face many obstacles as they validate COVID-19 serology tests

By Madeleine Johnson, Genomeweb/Modern Healthcare, 4/28/2020

Against a backdrop of dynamic federal regulations and a quickly expanding commercial landscape, labs are facing unusual obstacles in validating serology testing for COVID-19. Issues with test accuracy and supply, combined with a paucity of independent validations, mean most labs must basically start from scratch in vetting tests on their own. …

For molecular testing, the Mayo Clinic's Rochester location got EUA [exceptional use authorization] for a molecular test, while the Mayo Clinic's Arizona site had run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention EUA test, then switched to an Abbott test. For serology, the Rochester site is validating plate-based assays, and Mayo-Arizona is doing the same, according to Thomas Grys, director of microbiology at Mayo Arizona. But Grys said the lab also wants to bring on lateral flow tests since having a validated point-of-care test could potentially allow the health system to reach more patients, including healthcare workers and employees. The lab is currently in the validation process, beginning with the first step — trying to figure out which of the tests that are currently available might be any good, and also reliably available in large enough quantities.

What is contact tracing? Here’s what you need to know 

By Courtney Kueppers, Atlanta Journal Constitution, 4/28/2020 

As states look to ease shelter-in-place guidelines, officials say that contact tracing is a key tool in tracking the spread of the coronavirus. …  “Contact tracing, it’s having a moment of glory right now with COVID because of the crucial importance of identifying those individuals who have been exposed quickly and isolating or quarantining them,” Dr. Laura Breeher, who works at the Mayo Clinic told TIME.

Mayo Clinic cardiologist on identifying risks of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus treatment 

— CNBC, Squawk Box, 4/27/2020

The FDA is warning against the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19. This follows the release of study results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed some Covid-19 patients treated with the drug developed irregular heartbeats. Dr. Michael Ackerman, cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, joins “Squawk Box” to discuss.

Mayo Clinic doctors talk COVID-19 impact on communities of color 

By Linda Williams, Fox 10 Phoenix, 4/27/2020

Confusion and mixed messaging are just two of the reasons communities of color are being impacted more by COVID-19. "The CDC states that about 13% of population is African American, but 20% or greater of African Americans are the ones dying from the disease," says Dr. Brittane Parker with Mayo Clinic Internal Medicine. Other factors include underlying health conditions, lack of access to healthcare, and the fact that many minorities are doing service jobs that can’t be done virtually, likely exposing them more to the virus.

Leading Mayo Clinic’s Digital Transformation 

By Brant Skogrand, University of St. Thomas, 4/27/2020

When Rita Khan ’11 MBA joined Mayo Clinic in January as its first-ever chief digital officer, she knew that one of her primary responsibilities would be establishing the Mayo Clinic Center for Digital Health. That initiative, focused on advancing the Mayo Clinic strategy of cure, connect and transform by providing data-driven and experience-led digital patient solutions, has become even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus: Research focuses on plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients; Jacksonville-area hospitals included 

By Beth Reese Cravey, Florida Times-Union, 4/26/2020

“People who’ve recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies to the disease in their blood. Doctors call this convalescent plasma,” said anesthesiologist Michael J. Joyner, principal investigator of Mayo’s Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program. “Researchers hope that convalescent plasma can be given to people with severe COVID-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus. “The immediate goal ... is to determine if convalescent plasma can improve the chance of recovery for people with the most severe disease,” he said. “A second goal is to test whether convalescent plasma can help keep people who are moderately sick from getting sicker.”


For Mayo Clinic stories, videos, podcasts and other current resources related to COVID-19, visit our mini site.

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Tags: Amy Williams, Andrew Badley, artificial intelligence, Brittane Parker, cardiovascular medicine, Center for Digital Health, clinical trials, COVID-19, Findings, Gianrico Farrugia, health disparities, infectious disease, Laura Breeher, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Michael Ackerman, Michael Joyner, molecular pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, News, News of the Week, Ognjen Gajic, Thomas Grys, William Morice

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