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.

To read the full story.



Martin J. Blaser


Jeffery L. Carson


Reynold A. Panettieri

Rutgers Is Study Site for Monitoring and Predicting Kidney Risk in COVID-19 Patients

study site





Rutgers New Jersey Medical School will be a clinical test site for a study assessing the long term risk of chronic kidney disease in patients who recover from COVID-19. The Multi-Center Assessment of Survivors for Kidney Disease after COVID-19 (MASKeD-COVID) study – conducted by the Division of Nephrology at Mount Sinai – will assess risk in up to 4,000 patients who have recovered from COVID-19 using the artificial-intelligence diagnostic system KidneyIntelX that can incorporate novel protein biomarkers and provide insight into the disease. Researchers will also study patients’ COVID-19 antibody levels over time, which will provide insights into the interaction between immune response and kidney-related complications. Initial research findings are expected to be reported in early 2021.

To read the full story.


Rutgers researchers: Job Satisfaction, Productivity Rise for Working Parents during COVID-19

Juggling diaper changes and Zoom meetings might be a good combination for some Americans. A new survey by researchers at Rutgers University reveals that working parents are happier with their job, and they are getting more done, than people without children. Researchers attribute the surprising results to a sharp increase in the number of men helping with childcare and housework during the pandemic. “We found that men’s increased contributions at home have a positive influence on women’s job satisfaction and productivity,” said Kristina Durante, director of research at the Center for Women in Business at Rutgers Business School. “When dads play a bigger role in childcare and doing routine housework, it puts both parents in a better position to succeed at work.”

To read the full story.


Access to the COVID-19 Data Analytics Platform Now Open

Researchers studying COVID-19 now are able to access an innovative new analytics platform that contains clinical data from the electronic health records of people who were tested for the novel coronavirus or who have had related symptoms. Part of the NCATS National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) Data Enclave, the centralized and secure data platform features powerful analytics capabilities for online discovery, visualization and collaboration. The data are robust in scale and scope and are transformed into a harmonized data set to help scientists study COVID 19, including potential risk factors, protective factors and long-term health consequences.

The N3C Data Enclave is anticipated to be one of the largest collections of data on COVID-19 patients in the United States. Data analysis within the enclave is supported by both R and Python, the most widely used open-source platforms for statistical analysis and data science (Watch a demonstration of the platform). Researchers requesting access to, or working within, the enclave are encouraged to assemble collaborative teams with diverse expertise in such areas as clinical research, statistical analysis and informatics to make the best use of the N3C Data Enclave.

For More Information >


Rutgers Experts Explore Questions, Concerns Over COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

As researchers race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, two Rutgers Global Health Institute core faculty members discuss how clinical trials work, the ethics of developing and distributing a vaccine, safety and efficacy in clinical trials, and what a successful vaccine may mean. Associate Professor Shobha Swaminathan is principal investigator at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Clinical Research Center and the medical director of Infectious Diseases Practice at University Hospital, and Michael K. Gusmano is a bioethicist and professor of health policy at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

To read the full story.




Princeton University is launching a comprehensive asymptomatic COVID-19 testing protocol

Covid-19 illustrationAsymptomatic testing — which is for individuals not currently experiencing symptoms — will be required for members of the University community who are physically on campus for at least 8 hours per week. The cost of testing will be paid by the University. Frequent asymptomatic testing is used for screening and for mitigation. The main goals are to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 among the on-campus population and thus enable the prompt isolation of anyone who is positive and the quarantine of their close contacts. In this way, the University will not only protect the health of those who live and work on-campus and its ability to sustain campus operations, but also reduce the risk of transmission within the larger community. Testing is a supplement to, not a substitute for, other public health interventions required by University policy, including social distancing and face coverings.

To read the full story.


NJ Consortium Develops Mobile Medical Unit to Address Health Facility Shortage

prototypeIn response to the extreme challenges to clinical capacity posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, three New Jersey institutions – New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), University Hospital in Newark and The Tuchman Foundation – are collaborating in a unique partnership on the development of modular, mobile medical care facilities to be deployed to areas of surging disease outbreaks and other disasters, as well as to regions that lack health care infrastructure.The modules, constructed in Woodbridge, N.J., are fabricated from 40-foot-long repurposed shipping containers. They have been tested this week for their effectiveness as triage centers in a series of staged patient-care simulations conducted by medical personnel at University Hospital.
Read the full article.
Joel S. Bloom, president of NJIT, joined Bloomberg’s Businessweek podcast to discuss the opening of a mobile medical care unit to aid in fighting COVID-19, as well as NJIT’s response to the pandemic. To listen to the interview.
(Pictured Above: A prototype of the mobile medical unit at University Hospital in Newark.)