Research Horizons


COVID-19 Forces Reductions in Clinical and Preclinical Research


Active on-site research restricted to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), critical-need studies

As scientists at Cincinnati Children’s and around the world work nonstop to find new medicines for COVID-19 and the disease-causing coronavirus strain SARS-CoV-2, the medical center is restricting on-site research to protect the health and safety of research participants and staff.

Research activities conducted on-site at Cincinnati Children’s are limited temporarily to projects focused on COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 or other critical-need research activities. The restrictions are consistent with Ohio’s Stay-at-Home Order in effect until April 6.

“Other than COVID-19 and select critical-need research activities, clinical and preclinical research will be conducted remotely or paused when possible,” says Hector Wong, MD, Interim Director of the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation (CCRF).

“Given the catastrophic consequences unfolding across the globe, our concern must first and foremost be toward life and safety. Our clinical colleagues, here and across the street at UC Health, are working day and night to care for patients.  We can contribute in multiple ways, including social distancing, working remotely, and conserving PPE and other resources that can be used in the hospital.”

Wong says a key consideration in planning for onsite research restrictions is continuing activities necessary to maintain essential resources and systems, such as cell lines, frozen specimens in cryo-tanks and freezers and laboratory mice used to model and study human disease. The goal is to return to normal on-site activities as quickly as possible after the crisis passes.

COVID-19 Research

Among the ongoing research activities are multiple projects at Cincinnati Children’s that take aim at COVID-19. The goal is to learn more about COVID-19’s biology, how it develops and spreads, the potential to use existing drugs to treat the disease, and the development of new therapeutic approaches.

Cincinnati Children’s is one of nine NIH Vaccine Testing and Evaluation Units (VTEU) in the country. VTEU staff are preparing for the possibility that Cincinnati Children’s could be activated by the NIH to test an existing drug for COVID-19 called remdesivir, or to evaluate other drugs that may be helpful.

Whether the unit will be activated will be based on the rate of COVID-19 cases in Greater Cincinnati, according to Paul Spearman, MD, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, which operates the VTEU in collaboration with the NIH.

Updates on COVID-19 related research and development projects at Cincinnati Children’s will be shared as studies progress and data can be made public.