Faces of COVID-19 Research
As the chair of the Swedish COVID-19 Research Steering Committee, Jason Goldman, M.D., M.P.H, has a lot of irons in the research fire, including a global study on the effectiveness of the antiviral remdesivir. The initial results—recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine—show that a five-day course of the drug appear to be as effective as a 10-day course, which is an important discovery, in light of the remdesivir’s current relative scarcity.
On a break between projects, he gave us the inside scoop on what’s next in the fight against COVID-19. From informing vaccine development to advising public policy, his work may benefit patients at Swedish and around the world.
His COVID-19 research runs the gamut: Dr. Goldman is also working with the Institute of Systems Biology (ISB) to study the immune system’s response to COVID-19 at various stages of infection. The team is testing blood and nasal swab samples from 200 patients, looking for patterns across a variety of metabolic, genetic and immunologic “biomarkers” to understand why some people get sicker than others. He’s also studying how immune systems affect antibody production, which may explain who is immune to COVID-19 re-infection and will help with the development of vaccines and treatments.
He saw COVID-19 coming: Even before the first positive test result, Dr. Goldman had a hunch COVID-19 was spreading in the community. After treating a spate of unexplained viral pneumonia cases at Swedish, he went into research mode so we would be poised to respond quickly once community spread was confirmed.
How collaboration happens: Dr. Goldman knew a wide-ranging study would be vital to our understanding of COVID-19. While he was discussing the idea with a colleague, he got a message from Jim Heath, Ph.D., president of ISB, asking him to help design just such a study. “I’ve been preparing for something like this my whole career,” he says.
What’s next: As antibody tests continue to improve, Dr. Goldman knows that a better understanding of who has acquired immunity to COVID-19 is essential to reopening our community and restarting our economy. He and his research partners hope to provide data that will inform public policy.
By the numbers
Biomarkers tested in a standard clinical lab panel
Biomarkers tested in the panels Dr. Goldman’s team is conducting
To learn more or to support COVID-19 research at Swedish, including Dr. Goldman’s work, visit www.swedishfoundation.org/COVID-19.