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Results from 11 AHA-funded COVID-19 studies expected within months


The American Heart Association (AHA) has awarded $1.2 million in grants to teams at 11 institutions to study COVID-19 effects on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. Work is set to start in June, with findings reported in as few as 6 months. The Cleveland Clinic will coordinate the efforts, collecting and disseminating the findings.

There were more than 750 research proposals in less than a month after the association announced its COVID-19 and Its Cardiovascular Impact Rapid Response Grant initiative.

“We were just blown away and so impressed to see this level of interest and commitment from the teams submitting such thorough proposals so quickly,” AHA President Robert Harrington, MD, chair of the department of medicine at Stanford (Calif.) University, said in a press statement. “There’s so much we don’t know about this unique coronavirus, and we continue to see emerging complications affecting both heart and brain health for which we desperately need answers and we need them quickly.”

The projects include the following:

  • A Comprehensive Assessment of Arterial and Venous Thrombotic Complications in Patients with COVID-19, led by Columbia University, New York City.
  • Repurposing Drugs for Treatment of Cardiomyopathy Caused by Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.
  • Risk of Severe Morbidity and Mortality of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Among Patients Taking Antihypertensive Medications, led by Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
  • Deep Learning Using Chest Radiographs to Predict COVID-19 Cardiopulmonary Risk, led by Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
  • Cardiovascular Outcomes and Biomarker Titrated Corticosteroid Dosing for SARS COV-2 (COVID-19): A Randomized Controlled Trial, led by the Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minn.
  • Outcomes for Patients With Hypertension, Diabetes, and Heart Disease in the Coronavirus Pandemic: Impact of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers Treatment, led by Stanford University.
  • Rapid COVID-19-on-A-Chip to Screen Competitive Targets for SARS-CoV-2 Spike Binding Sites, led by University of California, Los Angeles.
  • COVID-19 Infection, African American Women and Cardiovascular Health, led by University of California, San Francisco.
  • Myocardial Virus and Gene Expression in SARS CoV-2 Positive Patients with Clinically Important Myocardial Dysfunction, led by the University of Colorado, Aurora.
  • The Role of the Platelet in Mediating Cardiovascular Disease in SARS-CoV-2 Infection, led by the University of Massachusetts, Worcester.
  • Harnessing Glycomics to Understand Myocardial Injury in COVID-19, led by the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.

The AHA also awarded $800,000 for short-term projects to members of its new Health Technologies & Innovation Strategically Focused Research Network.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will assess the use of ejection fraction to triage COVID-19 patients; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, will assess smartphones for “virtual check-in” for stroke symptoms; Stanford will assess digital tracking of COVID-19 patients with cardiovascular complications; and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, will assess a system to track physiological and cardiovascular consequences of the infection.

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