Healthcare workers around the world are waging war on the COVID-19 pandemic, including the brave men and women at Baylor Scott & White Health. Baylor’s research arm, the Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, is bringing clinical trials online at an unprecedented pace in response to COVID-19.
According to a recent press release, a COVID-19 therapeutic task force of more than 20 multidisciplinary researchers across Texas has been putting their expertise in infectious disease, cardiology, immunology, molecular biology, and other specialties together to explore research opportunities for experimental prevention and treatment options and to develop investigator-initiated studies. So far, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute has activated five clinical trials, each of which is available at multiple Baylor Scott & White sites, with work ongoing to launch additional studies.
“We are very thankful for the efforts by our task force, our IRBs and the FDA who are working around the clock to review and make these types of opportunities available,” said Jaime Walkowiak, chief research executive, Baylor Scott & White Health, in the release. “Our commitment at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute is to advance knowledge around and access to critical medications and therapies. Contributing to the global effort to prevent and treat COVID-19 exemplifies our mission.”
These trials range from examining prophylactic drugs as preventative measures, to studying the efficacy and safety of potential therapeutic medications for infected patients, to performing longitudinal surveillance to understand the emotional impact of COVID-19 over time – contributing to the global effort to learn more about the SARS-COV-2 virus causing the pandemic.
Utilizing the intricate research network already established across the largest nonprofit health system in Texas, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute mobilized staff and resources, including the components needed to integrate critical patient-safety measures at every participating site within the Baylor Scott & White footprint in just a matter of days.
All four of Baylor Scott & White’s Institutional Review Boards have also been doing emergency reviews at all hours as part of this full force effort, and they continue to evaluate new opportunities.
Additionally, Baylor Scott & White Health laboratory was one of only four independent clinical laboratories in the U.S. chosen in February to perform validation studies on laboratory developed tests for automated, rapid detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus using the sample-to-answer ARIES System. This work was critical to helping address soaring demands for tests and allows equipped laboratories to produce results more quickly.
Baylor Scott & White was also the first healthcare system in Texas approved to conduct three industry-sponsored trials, each of which are part of larger, multi-center studies. These include two that study the experimental drug Remdesivir and one that focuses on inflammation using a drug called sarilumab. They also are doing a research study on the Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes Registry, which is designed to help healthcare workers share their clinical and life experiences to help us understand the problems faced by workers on the COVID-19 frontlines.
Finally, the team has also designed protocols for two additional independent, investigator-initiated studies – a first-of-its-kind study in Texas that examines the use of Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic options for frontline healthcare workers, and a longitudinal study designed to identify what people are experiencing emotionally because of the extended isolation, uncertainty and other changes caused by COVID-19.
“We want our caregivers, our patients and our communities to know there is hope and there are options being explored right now,” said Walkowiak, in the release. “While our communities are doing their part by following physical distancing and stay at home guidelines, our entire research team is mobilized to help lead the frontline research efforts against this virus.”
To support research efforts related to the coronavirus, visit the Foundation’s COVID-19 research page.
Thanks to all the work you are doing to help advance the fight against COVID-19!