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COVID-19 Research

Offering Hope for Treatment and Recovery
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IHVI physicians are active in the academic world of cardiac, vascular and pulmonary research and are dedicated to staying on the cutting edge of new methods of diagnosis  and treatment.

When COVID-19 enveloped the world in a pandemic, teams  at IHVI quickly mobilized research efforts, helping to lead the way in diagnosing and treating this new patient population. These research projects include emergency use therapies, expanded access and treatment protocols, clinical trials, registries, biobanking, and COVID-19 testing. 

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"Having a diagnosis of COVID-19 can be a very frightening and isolating experience. Participating in research gives patients a feeling of hope and  can help reduce anxiety through their connection with a research team that  is checking in on them and offering reassurance."

Christopher deFilippi, MD, FACC, Vice Chairman, Academic Affairs, IHVI

Our research teams recognized that COVID-19 is the challenge of our time – years of training and education prepared them for this moment in history. Team members of all medical specialties felt the weight of responsibility, a responsibility which they took on with dedication, enthusiasm and confidence. At the height of the pandemic, they were diagnosing and treating some of the most acute cases of this new illness. They were aware of the importance of focusing research efforts on the long-term implications of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems.

“The COVID-19 studies that IHVI is involved in at the moment are not necessarily focused on cardiovascular disease, but this is likely to be a high-priority research area for years to come because of the strong possibility that COVID-19 will have profound and long-term cardiovascular implications,” said Christopher deFilippi, MD, FACC, Vice Chairman, Academic Affairs, IHVI.

IHVI researchers conduct both inpatient and ambulatory clinical trials that are either Inova investigator-led or done in collaboration with organizations and research institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, George Mason University, the Virginia Department of Health, the University of Virginia, Carilion Clinic and the American Heart Association. They also collaborate with researchers at Johns Hopkins University and partner with researchers at the University of Maryland. These partnerships, in addition to the resources and personnel at all five Inova hospitals and affiliated physician offices, allow IHVI to deliver the critical components of a successful research enterprise: a well-trained, knowledgeable and facile team of researchers, biobanking capabilities, and a diverse patient population to facilitate high enrollment.

“We deliberately choose to participate only in those trials we believe are most likely to be successful and most likely to help our patients. We have a portfolio of clinical trials for patients at all stages of this disease, from prevention and surveillance to Inova investigator-led post-COVID clinical trials, thereby enabling Inova to offer patients cutting-edge therapeutics  before they become widely available,” said Steven Nathan, MD, FCCP, Medical Director, Inova Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Program.

Inova’s ability to deliver cutting-edge investigational studies  is exemplified by the organization’s participation in the  Remdesivir study and Inova’s own convalescent plasma 
trial before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use for these interventions. Inova was also granted emergency use access for inhaled nitric oxide, which has now entered phase III clinical trials.

On the ambulatory side, in the early stages of the pandemic researchers began to conduct serology surveillance to identify and track the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in our health-care worker population. The serology study aims to make sense of what it means to have a positive antibody test result if you are asymptomatic; preliminary results have found that many antibodies are virucidal and maintain effectiveness for a few months. Inova researchers are investigating what it means to be immune from COVID-19 and if there are implications for asymptomatic seroconversion.

Another study is evaluating timely and simple methods of screening patients before they enter healthcare facilities for routine appointments or surgery to further reduce the risk of infection of healthcare workers. With this addition to Inova’s research portfolio, investigators aim to make healthcare facilities as safe as possible using evidence-based practices to mitigate exposure of COVID-19 among healthcare workers and patients.

“IHVI includes cardiac and pulmonary research teams and is leading the charge for Inova’s response in conducting comprehensive COVID-19 research. Because of our research in-frastructure and our ability to quickly redirect teams, we have been able to quickly gear up to conduct research aimed at providing patients and healthcare workers the ability to fight back and stand strong against the disease.”

Steven Nathan, MD, FCCP Medical Director, Inova Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Program

Expertise Contributed to Care Guidelines Worldwide

During the COVID-19 pandemic, IHVI researchers have had the opportunity to speak about their research, including their COVID-19 experience, at major virtual national meetings with the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Heart Association, American Thoracic Society, and the Heart Failure Society of America as well as through virtual meetings with international members  of the scientific community. IHVI researchers have also submitted their COVID-19-related research to publications in top-tier peer-reviewed journals and through online features and panel discussions. 

While IHVI has redirected research efforts toward COVID-19, research teams continue to focus on innovative studies for other diseases affecting the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. Despite the pandemic, patients afflicted with other cardiac and pulmonary maladies continue to have the option of other innovative therapies through the IHVI research enterprise. 

“Research is ingrained in our culture and enables us to  provide the highest standard of care for our patients. We  participate in the latest and most cutting-edge research in  the cardiac, vascular and pulmonary field to allow us to offer our patients the newest devices and therapies, as well as  contribute to the scientific community through publications and presentations at conferences.”

Christoper deFilippi, MD, FACC, Vice Chairman, Academic Affairs, IHVI