What our coronavirus response means to patients and the community
The collaborative efforts of experts across our hospital has led to increased access to COVID-19 testing and availability of antibody-rich convalescent plasma for critically ill patients. These efforts have benefited our patients and their families as well as our care team members and adult patients receiving treatment outside our hospital walls.
Children’s Colorado continues to adjust processes as necessary to limit the spread of infection and ensure the safety of team members, patients and the broader community.
In addition, COVID-19 prompted us to quickly ramp up our existing telehealth services within Children’s Colorado, which has led to valuable insights on its use. Our ability to rapidly provide increased access to virtual care across various specialties during the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that telehealth is an effective healthcare delivery method that has become a new standard of care.
As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we are committed to sharing our knowledge with all healthcare providers by providing resources for healthcare professionals.
We also continue to investigate innovative methods of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through various research efforts.
Anschutz Medical Campus COVID-19 Research Consortium
Children's Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Hospital are collaborating on a new protocol to collect patient electronic health record data and biological samples for analysis. The study is now active at both hospitals, and the first specimens have been collected.
A second collaborative effort is underway to develop a protocol specifically evaluating the risks our own team members face as frontline healthcare providers. The goals are to:
- Determine the incidence of COVID-19 among healthcare workers
- Identify risk factors for severe illness
- Evaluate the humoral and cellular response to SARS-CoV-2
- Characterize the effects of COVID-19 on healthcare workforce capacity
The results of this study will help us protect our team members and guide operational planning into the future. This collaborative approach to understand the clinical characteristics of COVID-19 disease in pediatric and adult populations, as well as the underlying characteristics of patients and their treatment responses, will help us comprehend why children seem better protected from COVID-19. Children are usually one of our most vulnerable populations to viral respiratory infections.
The goal of the HEROS (Human Epidemiology and Response to SARS-CoV-2) study is to learn more about the number of people who may have the coronavirus without knowing it, particularly children. The study will also help us learn how the virus spreads from person to person and the nasal response to the coronavirus. Sponsored by the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the HEROS study is considered mission critical. Andrew Liu, MD, pediatric pulmonologist and Glenn Furuta, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist will lead our participation as one of 11 study sites. National Jewish Hospital is the lead lab for the study.
Treating COVID-19 lymphatic clots and airway plugs
Patients with severe COVID-19 have small clots in their blood vessels and fibrin plugs in their airways. Through work with the Airway Research Center, Livia Veress, MD, has shown in animal models that using a clot-busting drug (alteplase) can treat the airway plugs that develop after sulfur mustard gas exposure. Dr. Veress and Deborah Liptzin, MD, have also used alteplase to treat children with plastic bronchitis (small lymphatic clots in the airways). They are developing protocols to treat patients with severe COVID-19 disease with alteplase both in the lungs and intravenously. They are also providing guidance to adult and pediatric providers throughout the country on how to use these drugs.
Airway Inflammation, Resilience and the Environment (AIRE) Research Program updates
Children's Colorado is the clinical performance site for the NHLBI-sponsored program project grant “Defining Molecular Phenotypes of Exacerbation Prone Asthmatics” and is now COMIRB-approved to convert to tele-research and add COVID-19 surveillance. We have long been interested in the determinants of airway inflammation versus resilience to common cold viruses. Molecular phenotyping and translational research can lead us to new therapies and prevention for severe respiratory viral illness, asthma exacerbations and perhaps the common cold.
Navajo Nation Community Asthma Program Research
COVID-19 surveillance has been added to our current NHLBI-sponsored grant focused on asthma management with a cohort of children from the Navajo Nation and their families. The prevalence of asthma in children from the Navajo Nation is nearly 20%, which is double the U.S. prevalence. National Jewish Hospital is also highly involved in this work, serving as the principal investigator for this study. Our goal is to improve resources to better manage asthma and coronaviruses for the Navajo Nation, where COVID-19 infection and death rates per capita are much higher than surrounding communities.