Researchers at UC are doing what they do best in the face of this pandemic: discovering solutions.
Below are some of the ways in which UC and UC Health researchers are making strides to overcome COVID-19 through novel programs, innovative research and collaborative teams.
"I'd be shocked if we don't have a major contribution to make here for the national and international community," says Dr. Brett Kissela, Albert Barnes Voorheis chair and professor of the UC Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, senior associate dean for clinical research at the UC College of Medicine and UC Health physician.
Disinfection of masks
Sergey Grinshpun, PhD, advises against using two sterilization methods to clean disposable masks and N95 respirators. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand
A UC researcher is advising against using two widely available sterilization methods to clean disposable surgical masks and N95 respirators for reuse in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Scarcity of personal protection equipment in medical settings has led many health systems to consider sterilizing and reusing masks developed initially as disposable items, says Sergey Grinshpun, PhD, director of the University of Cincinnati Center for Health-Related Aerosol Studies and professor in the UC Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences.
A study by University of Cincinnati researchers and three Italian institutions reviewing neuroimaging and neurological symptoms in patients with COVID-19 may shed light on the virus’s impact on the central nervous system. The findings, published in the journal Radiology, reveal that altered mental status and stroke are the most common neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients, which authors say could help physicians notice “red flags” earlier.
Published research on COVID-19 and heart conditions
Richard Becker, MD, (center) shown with colleague. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand.
Richard Becker, MD, director of the UC Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute, published research about COVID-19 associated coagulopathy in the Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis. He discussed his findings and the impact COVID-19 is having on the lungs and cardiovascular system in several media interviews.
Sakthivel Sadayappan, PhD, is studying how COVID-19 can impact the function of the heart. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand
Researchers are finding about half of all patients with COVID-19 admitted to an intensive care unit have heart damage. The troubling trend is why a team of UC researchers is using a $50,000 grant from the UC College of Medicine to understand how the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the pathogen of COVID-19, impacts heart cells. Sakthivel Sadayappan, the grant’s principal investigator, Dr. Richard Becker and Dr. Donald Lynch are leading this effort.
By the third day, most with COVID-19 lose sense of smell
A University of Cincinnati researcher says a study of COVID-19 patients shows loss of the sense of smell is most likely to occur by the third day of infection with the virus. Most of these patients also experience a loss of the sense of taste. Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, an associate professor in the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and UC Health physician, published these findings in the scholarly journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Finding ways to help patients with cancer, COVID-19 - and both
Dr. Trisha-Wise Draper is leading two clinical trials examining ways to study and help patients with cancer and COVID-19. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand
The UC Cancer Center is joining a consortium of 100 cancer centers and other organizations to collect data about patients with cancer who have been infected with COVID-19 and to make available information about this especially vulnerable population. The UC center is also participating in another study, using blood samples from patients with cancer taken from the UC COVID-19 biorepository, to examine how certain therapies may impact outcomes for patients with COVID-19 and those with both cancer and the coronavirus.
Providing guidelines to treat stroke during the pandemic
Dr. Aaron Grossman and Dr. Matthew Smith co-authored a paper in the journal Stroke which provided guidelines on treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo/Tommy Campbell/UC Health
UC stroke researchers released a new report, published in the journal Stroke, recommending the proper protocol for delivering lifesaving treatment to stroke patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper is timely as more data emerges that patients with COVID-19, even young, otherwise healthy patients, are experiencing strokes.
The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and UC Health are collecting specimens from COVID-19 patients to be stored as part of the Cincinnati COVID-19 Repository effort. The specimens will be used by researchers to learn more about COVID-19 and possible treatments and preventions for not only this disease but possibly diseases of the future. This effort also includes Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital Medical Center.
Dr. Kenneth Sherman is studying how COVID-19 could impact the liver. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand
An attack on the respiratory system causing severe cough and shortness of breath is what many of us associate with the worst effects of COVID-19. But a University of Cincinnati and UC Health researcher says damage to the liver is also an area that needs more study. About 50% of COVID-19 patients in China and Italy saw inflammation of the liver, a characteristic of hepatitis.
Hosting over 30 clinical trials to study new treatments
Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand
The UC College of Medicine and UC Health are moving forward with a number of clinical trials to examine potential treatments for COVID-19. Currently, they are considering over 30 projects to determine the best course of action for patients. Dr. Brett Kissela says the clinical trial approval process is being expedited because of the urgent need to find treatments.
On Friday, April 17, two recovered COVID-19 patients in the Cincinnati area rolled up their sleeves to help in the fight against the coronavirus. Mohammed Alagha and Dr. Robert Ernst, a UC College of Medicine faculty member and UC Health physician, were the first two individuals to donate convalescent plasma that could help the most critical COVID-19 patients in the Tristate area.
Understanding that time was of the essence in combating COVID-19, UC and its College of Medicine’s Office of Research conducted a rapid review and distribution of $425,000 in novel pilot grants to researchers, focusing on eradicating the disease. The Special Coronavirus (COVID-19) Research Pilot Grant Program was established to quickly support the development of innovative studies to contribute to knowledge of the virus’ genetic makeup and progression and how it affects various populations.
Opening the first protocol, alongside the Mayo clinic, to find a treatment
Photo/Hoxworth Blood Center
The UC College of Medicine and UC Health are following a research protocol from the Mayo Clinic to take “convalescent plasma,” or plasma obtained from those who have recovered from the virus, and administer it to the sickest patients with COVID-19.
Your nose might know: How COVID-19 could impact sense of smell
Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat published research showing that a loss of smell could mean a COVID-19 infection. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand
A University of Cincinnati ear, nose and throat specialist says your nose may hold a clue in identifying COVID-19. The loss of smell may be a key indicator. Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, an associate professor in the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and UC Health physician, published these findings in the scholarly journal Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology.
The University of Cincinnati is leading public urban universities into a new era of innovation and impact. Our faculty, staff and students are saving lives, changing outcomes and bending the future in our city's direction. Next Lives Here.
Stay up on all UC's COVID-19 stories, read more #UCtheGood content, or take a UC virtual visit and begin picturing yourself at an institution that inspires incredible stories.