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Ramping up research in the age of COVID-19

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Kaiser Permanente’s research divisions are known for leading transformational medical research by discovering key drivers of health and disease, and identifying effective and efficient ways to deliver health care.

With the onset of COVID-19, our research divisions quickly took up the call to confront the pandemic by performing hospital patient studies, vaccine trials, and clinical trials for potential pharmaceutical treatments.

In this ongoing research blog, we’ll bring you examples from across the organization. Read on!

New clinical trials for remdesivir

April 15, 2020

Kaiser Permanente’s California regions are participating in clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of a potential treatment for COVID-19. Research teams in Southern and Northern California have begun enrolling patients in randomized clinical trials of the antiviral remdesivir, an investigational drug used to treat hospitalized patients with moderate to severe symptoms.

In the global struggle to find solutions, agility is key. According to Southern California director of research Steven Jacobsen, “The team in the Department of Research and Evaluation was able to get the studies up and running at 13 [Kaiser Permanente Southern California] hospitals on March 22 — within 8 days of being in contact with the drug manufacturer.” See the links below to learn more.

Read about clinical trials in California on LinkedIn
Read the article: Clinical trials for potential COVID-19 treatment are now recruiting Bay Area patients

Potential hospital surge if shelter-in-place measures are lifted too soon

April 17, 2020

As reported in the San Jose Mercury News, researchers from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Kaiser Permanente analyzed more than 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in California and Washington state. The data revealed prolonged hospital stays averaging nearly 10.7 days for survivors, and 13.7 days for non-survivors. The researchers warned that if social distancing measures are lifted too soon, similarly lengthy hospital stays due to COVID-19 would strain the health system’s capacity.

“What we’re finding is really extraordinarily long lengths of stay — at least a heavy proportion of people with long lengths of stay — which is where the capacity impact of the health care system becomes so acute,” said Dr. Joe Lewnard, an assistant professor of epidemiology at UC Berkeley and the study’s lead author. “We’re looking at a similarly dangerous situation after social distancing measures are lifted…What we have to keep in mind is that these reductions are hard-earned through non-pharmaceutical interventions. It would be very unreasonable to expect going back to our pre-epidemic lifestyles.”

Read the full story: California hospitals warned to brace for surge if coronavirus social distancing measures lifted
Read the preprint study

In Washington, the first novel coronavirus vaccine trial

March 16, 2020

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute gave the first-ever injection of an investigational vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, to volunteers participating in phase one of the federally sponsored clinical trial.

Read the article: First COVID-19 vaccine trial at Kaiser Permanente Washington

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