The global COVID-19 pandemic has proved disastrous for the world’s health and economies. Millions of people have been infected. More than a million people have died. And millions more are out of work as economies stumbled and fell. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plays a critical role in combatting the pandemic and conducting research. CDC’s real-time surveillance of COVID-19 cases and analyses of surveillance data inform public health policies, communication about protective behaviors, and guidance to public health and healthcare providers, communities, businesses, and schools.
To carry out its responsibilities, CDC urgently requires research data to further inform the COVID-19 response, especially related to risk and protective factors across key population groups. They include healthcare personnel, first responders, and essential workers; pregnant women and infants; individuals 50 years and older; older adults in continuing care retirement communities; and households.
Abt is supporting a variety of CDC COVID-19 research initiatives. Since 2013 under a contract with CDC, Abt has managed an infrastructure of clinical health organizations set up to conduct network studies to assess risk and characterize disease epidemiology of novel influenza or other novel respiratory viruses among different population cohorts. Abt recognized that it could pivot and use this infrastructure to perform these tasks for COVID-19. Abt has significant experience with the approaches needed to provide the studies and data CDC requires. They include:
- Study design
- Data collection and coordination
- Data management, cleaning, and analytic file preparation
- Specimen collection, processing, and testing
- Technical assistance and training
- Project management
Studying cohorts with different characteristics and vulnerabilities is critical to understanding how an infectious disease spreads and affects the body. It’s especially important for monitoring vaccine safety and effectiveness. Our infectious disease and clinical research experts are leading prospective COVID-19 cohort studies with CDC and partners to assess:
- household transmission
- transmissibility of infection
- rates of infection and illness
- clinical epidemiology of the disease
- characteristics of medically and non-medically attended cases.
Geisinger Electronic Cohort Study and Geisinger Prospective Case-Control Study
Older adults in particular are considered a high-risk group for contracting novel coronavirus and for developing severe illness if infected. This study will consist of two activities:
an electronic cohort that monitors and describes medical care for hospitalized patients in a rural health care system aged ≥50 years old based on electronic medical record extraction.
prospective enrollment and follow-up of a subset of test-positive study participants and matched test-negative controls who were admitted to inpatient care and tested for novel coronavirus.