NJ ACTS Translating COVID-19 from Bench to Bedside



Health Care Worker COVID-19 Study

The Rutgers Corona Cohort Study 
Updated 9/1/20

We are moving into the 6th and final visit of the Rutgers Corona Cohort Study (RCC). 98% of the original group of participants completed the visit 8 weeks after the study began – a staggeringly impressive statistic and a testament to everyone’s commitment to this community effort.

Very fortunately, the rates of detectable SARS-CoV-2 infection in our participants have gone down considerably, from 5% in tests done at study entry and 2 weeks later, to 2% at the 4-week visit, to under 1% at the 8 week visit. These changes parallel the declines in the numbers of patients with COVID-19 who have been admitted to the participating hospitals (Figure 1) as well as the declines seen in New Jersey more broadly. Over this same time, we have seen antibodies to SARS-COV-2 rise from 1% at baseline, to 5% after 2 weeks, to about 8% after 4 and 8 weeks. Of note, the rates of both detectable virus and antibodies have differed quite a bit between the participating hospitals and between healthcare workers and others (Figure 2).

The research team is still working to understand whether everyone who had an infection produced antibodies, how people’s symptoms corresponded to the levels of antibodies, what types of antibodies people made, and how the levels of those antibodies have changed over time. We look forward to sharing what we learn on this website.

(Article and graphs by Daniel B. Horton, MD, MSCE, RWJ Medical School. Originally published in the Rutgers Corona Cohort Study Newsletter 7/17/20 and updated for the NJ ACTS website 9/1/20.)


Rutgers Awarded $5 Million NIH Grant to Improve Access to COVID-19 Testing

The New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science received funding to launch outreach campaigns and expand access to testing for underserved and vulnerable communities in the state.

The Rutgers-led study called the New Jersey Healthcare Essential Worker Outreach and Education Study – Testing Overlooked Occupations, or NJ HEROES TOO, will be funded under NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program, according to the university.

The program supports research that aims to better understand COVID-19 testing patterns among underserved and vulnerable populations; strengthen the data on disparities in infection rates, disease progression and outcomes; and develop strategies to reduce the disparities in COVID-19 testing, according to NIH.

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Martin J. Blaser


Jeffery L. Carson


Reynold A. Panettieri

Rutgers Research Identifies Safe and Effective Method of Delivering Medicines to the Lungs






A method that could lead to a safe and effective aerosol vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and to treat other respiratory infections has been identified by investigators at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “Targeted pulmonary delivery is needle-free and minimally invasive, an attribute particularly relevant in the administration of multi-dose vaccines or other molecules. Also, because the lungs are constantly being exposed to pathogens from the air, they have a high level of immune defense activity, and therefore may represent an efficient site for complete immune protection against airborne pathogens,” said co-corresponding author Wadih Arap, director of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital and chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

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Rutgers Reports First Instance of COVID-19 Triggering Recurrent Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have reported the first instance of COVID-19 triggering a recurrence of Guillain–Barré Syndrome – a rare disorder where the body’s immune system attacks nerves and can lead to respiratory failure and death. While there have been several reports of Guillain–Barré Syndrome following COVID-19, this is the first in which COVID-19 actually triggered  a recurrence of the condition – in a 54-year-old man who had suffered with Guillain–Barré  Syndrome twice and had a third occurrence after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Rutgers case report published in the journal Pathogens.

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Researchers are investigating a potential treatment for people recently diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 who have no or mild symptoms

tubes and bottles





Rutgers is leading a clinical trial assessing the combination of nitazoxanide, ribavirin and hydroxychloroquine to treat people 21 or older who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 and are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. The trial is being conducted with Synavir Corporation, a global health company that works with academia, industry and government to develop combination treatments for new viral infections. The trial — called Triple Combination Antiviral Coronavirus Therapy (TriACT) — seeks to determine whether treating people who test positive for coronavirus but who do not have symptoms or have mild symptoms with this combination will reduce the amount of virus and their chances of getting sick.

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Study Shows More Centralized, Uniform COVID-19 Response Needed in Prisons and Jails

A more centralized, uniform response to combating the COVID-19 pandemic in American prisons and jails is required to curb the spread across an especially vulnerable incarcerated population, according to new Rutgers University–Camden research.  “The American criminal justice system is really a misnomer; it is not a single system, but comprised of thousands of federal, state, and local systems – and some are doing a much better job than others in slowing the spread of the coronavirus,” says coauthor Dan Semenza, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Rutgers–Camden. 

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In pandemic, Princeton graduate students and faculty raced to create innovative protections for hospital staff


PPESince then, University labs have delivered more than 3,000 reusable face shields to hospital staff in the emergency department and other areas of Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center, as well as 1,500 specialized covers for the powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) used by medical workers in high-risk environments. University labs recently received a request for another 1,000 PAPR covers. In labs across campus, faculty, graduate students and research staff have been working to address urgent medical needs in the community — from producing the innovative face shields and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to developing several ventilator designs that are cheaper and more easily assembled than standard equipment.

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NJIT Software May Help Scientists Communicate About COVID

NJIT software

Every complex scientific field needs an ontology, and soon the primary one that covers COVID-19 will be easier for medication and vaccination researchers to understand, using new interpretive methods and software developed by experts at NJIT’s Ying Wu College of Computing.

Ontologies are essentially dictionaries and maps of medical terms. Terms with the same meaning, such as cardiac arrest and myocardial infarction, are grouped together. Each group is called a concept. Concepts in turn are connected to each other using arrows and boxes to indicate which are general and which are specific. New concepts are often called children and older ones are parents, as in genealogy.

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