On the Frontline
Through scholarship, community service, public health guidance, operational changes, and more, NYU faculty, staff, students, and alumni are leveraging the University's global network and resources to limit the suffering caused by COVID-19. Check back here for a frequently updated collection of these efforts as we salute our University colleagues who are working at the front lines of the global crisis.
Researchers See Need for Expanded COVID-19 Prevention Efforts for Adolescents/Young Adults
To prevent outbreaks of COVID-19, public health authorities should focus on adolescents and young adults to a much greater extent, according to researchers at the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. Writing in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, Silver School professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos highlights the discrete behavior characteristics of adolescents and young adults ages 10 and 24 and their potential role in “accelerating and sustaining” the coronavirus. The analysis offers suggestions for developmentally appropriate control measures.
Given growing indications that adolescents and young people may have heightened pre- and asymptomatic susceptibility to COVID-19 and may also play a significant part in forward transmission, public-health plans should incorporate household- and community-based approaches to prevention, Guilamo-Ramos writes. Current mitigation approaches tend not to take into account the distinctive socio-emotional and developmental needs of younger people. Preventative programs that are mindful of the social, behavioral and developmental tendencies of younger people are sorely needed, lest coronavirus control efforts overall be rendered less effective. The paper offers programmatic recommendations.
CLACS Launches Indigenous and Diasporic Language COVID-19 PSA Series
The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies has launched “Conversemos COVID-19” (“Let’s Talk COVID-19”), an initiative aimed at offering information about the pandemic in various indigenous and diasporic languages widely spoken in New York. The information is delivered in 90-second video capsules translated into eight languages, including Quechua, Haitian Kreyol, Nahuatl, Mixtec, Garifuna, and Kichwa, spoken by immigrant communities from Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Peru, Bolivia, and others. The capsules may be viewed online here.
The capsules are written, created, and illustrated as part of a collaborative process headed by the Indigenous and Diasporic Language Collaborative, whose members include the Mexican Studies Institute at Lehman College, Kichwa Hatari, and the Summer Linguistics School of Bolivia.
The first episode is based on recommendations promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Panamerican Health Organization on maintaining good mental health during the pandemic. Future episodes will focus on mask-wearing and returning to work safely, among other topics.
NYU GPH Creates COVID-19 Safety Training for Rideshare Drivers
NYU environmental and occupational health experts are developing training programs focused on evidence-based COVID-19 safety practices and tailored for rideshare drivers and passengers. The IDG—which represents more than 80,000 for-hire drivers for Uber, Lyft, and Via in New York City and advocates for more than 200,000 drivers across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut—will work with its members to implement, monitor, and evaluate the program.
“Drivers for ride-hailing companies are on the front line, getting people to work and critical appointments, and coming into contact with numerous passengers each day. Drivers need to be protected, and passengers need to know that with safety practices implemented, COVID-19 risks can be minimized,” said Jack Caravanos, clinical professor of environmental public health sciences at NYU GPH and the project’s director.
Latino Communities at Elevated Risk from COVID-19, Study Finds
Factors associated with structural racism have left Latinos at elevated risk from COVID-19, the first nationwide analysis of the impact of the pandemic on Latino communities has found. The study, led by researchers from across the United States, including NYU’s Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, points the way to interventions tailored to enhancing Latino health and safety, particularly in “hot spots” mapped by the scholars.
Crowded housing, air pollution, employment in the meatpacking and poultry industries and other essential jobs, and limited access to health insurance and medical care are among the ingredients for the disproportionate repercussions that Latino communities in the Midwest, West, and Northeast have suffered. Latinos constitute 18 percent of the U.S. population as a whole and an estimated 33 percent of the country’s known COVID-19 cases.
“Risk for COVID-19 infections and death among Latinos in the United States: Examining heterogeneity in transmission dynamics” was published July 23 in the Annals of Epidemiology. Guilamo-Ramos is a professor at the Silver School of Social Work and director of the school’s Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH).
NYU GPH to Study Impact of COVID-19 on Transit Workers
NYU School of Global Public Health is embarking on a series of studies to evaluate the risks and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on one of the city’s essential workforces: transit workers. This research will be conducted in coordination with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100, representing more than 40,000 New York City bus and subway workers.
“Our research aims to identify and better understand the individual and workplace factors that put this essential workforce at risk for COVID-19, in an effort to protect their health and wellbeing,” said Robyn Gershon, clinical professor of epidemiology at NYU School of Global Public Health, who will lead the research project. “We need to address this important gap in our knowledge about occupational exposure to coronavirus, and use these findings to determine what additional protective measures are needed going forward.”
NYU Meyers Launches Study of COVID-19 and Nurse Mental Health
Nurses—the largest group of healthcare providers—have been at the center of the COVID-19 crisis response, working tirelessly at the bedside of critically ill patients. Emerging research from around the world suggests that the pandemic is hurting nurses' psychosocial health, leading to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.
Researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing have begun a mixed methods study to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. nurses’ psychosocial health, accounting for personal and institutional factors, such as resilience. Funded by an NYU COVID-19 Research Catalyst Grant and led by NYU Meyers' Amy Witkoski Stimpfel, the study will use surveys and interviews to capture how nurses are faring during the pandemic, and again six months later. The findings will help researchers to develop and test interventions to support nurses' mental health after the pandemic, and prepare for future ones.
GPH Offers Free Course on COVID-19 and Racial Disparities
NYU School of Global Public Health has created a new summer course, "Through the COVID-19 Magnifying Glass: An Examination of Racial and SES Disparities in the U.S." The online course, which runs July 27-31, is open to all NYU students and the public and is available for free. NYU students may choose to take the course for credit.
Led by GPH professors Melody Goodman and Danielle Ompad, the course will examine the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health disparities in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and mortality. The sessions will be led by Goodman and Ompad and will feature guest instructors from St. Louis University, Harvard, Rutgers, and Washington University in St. Louis. Register on the GPH website.
Marron Researcher Says Coronavirus Deaths, Not Total Cases, Matter Most to Reduce Pandemic Impact
As experts focus on the rise in the total number of COVID-19 cases, a new research brief by Shlomo Angel of NYU’s Marron Institute argues that it is total deaths from the coronavirus that should be at the center of nuanced policies.
In some regions, such as several Southern and Western states, more people are testing positive, but fewer people are dying. Therefore, according to Angel, a professor of city planning, protecting senior citizens and other vulnerable cohorts at greatest risk of dying from COVID-19 should be the priority.
“There is too much emphasis—both in the media and in policy circles—on the number of cases, rather than on the number of deaths," Angel wrote in the brief. "The two are not proportional to each other … because the CFR [Case Fatality Rate] varies over time and across states.
“Looking at the change in new reported deaths from Covid-19 and following it into the future is more important than looking at those testing positive and declaring it a national crisis. Isolating and protecting vulnerable populations may turn out to be more important than fighting the spread of the virus among the majority of healthy people who have a very small chance of dying from it,” he added.
Angel’s latest contribution to understanding the novel coronavirus is entitled “On The Strange Case of the Case Fatality Rate.”
NYU Langone Health Launches Two Major Clinical Trials for COVID-19 Vaccine and Antibody Treatment
Researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology and the Vaccine Center at NYU Langone Health have partnered with major pharmaceutical companies to launch two COVID-19-related clinical trials: one for the development of a vaccine and one to test an antibody therapy.
Led by Mark J. Mulligan, MD. and working with the University of Maryland, Pfizer Inc, and BioNTech SE, the vaccine clinical trial will test whether four experimental messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine candidates can prevent infection with COVID-19. The vaccines are being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which recently launched a similar, first-in-human trial in Germany. This research was reported in the New York Times.
Concurrently, the team is working with Eli Lilly and Company to treat its first patients with an antibody therapy designed to safely reduce 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) severity. The experimental treatment consists of identical copies of an antibody, a blood protein related to those that occur naturally as part of the human immune system, researchers say. Eli Lilly and Company announced the trial’s start June 1, with NYU Grossman School of Medicine among the first centers to enroll patients nationally.
AMD Donates Two Petaflops of Computing to NYU for COVID-19 Research
NYU, together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rice University, was selected to receive Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)-powered, high-performance computing systems from the AMD High-Performance Computing Fund (HPC) for COVID-19 research. AMD also announced it will contribute a cloud-based system powered by AMD EPYC and AMD Radeon Instinct processors located on-site at Penguin Computing, providing remote supercomputing capabilities. Combined, the donated systems will collectively provide NYU researchers with two petaflops of compute power that can be applied to fight COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on higher education research, both in terms of its direction and the need for immediate results, so the timing of this donation is particularly fortuitous,” said Russel Caflisch, director of the NYU Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. “The computing resources will be put to use by NYU researchers from a wide range of disciplines in projects to address the many important facets of the COVID-19 crisis.”
GPH Studies How COVID-19 is Hurting NYC's Primary Care Practices
COVID-19 has overwhelmed New York City's hospitals, but the city's primary care practices are faced with their own crisis: a sharp decline in patient visits, jeopardizing their ability to stay open and provide care.
To better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on New York City's primary care practices, researchers from NYU School of Global Public Health are working with colleagues from NYU Langone Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to implement a bi-weekly survey. This survey is designed to provide actionable data that will inform the Department of Health's response for supporting primary care practices—for example, the Department has launched webinars to help with transitioning practices and patients to virtual visits, in response to challenges the survey identified with telehealth.
Initial survey results also reveal several major stressors on primary care practices: a loss of revenue, a persistent lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), a lack of testing, the need to lay off staff, and staff illness.
Law School Policing Project Issues Guidance for Effective COVID-19 Response
The Policing Project at NYU Law recently released two resources to inform the police response to COVID-19 – one on fair and effective enforcement of social distancing and related orders, and the other on police/community engagement in times of crises. The organization issued this guidance in response to reports in New York and other cities of uneven, sometimes discriminatory enforcement, as well as confusion about how to maintain engagement with the community.
The first set of guidelines, Stay-at-Home and Social Distancing Enforcement, outlines best practices for state, municipal, and policing leaders as they draft and enforce stay-at-home, social distancing, and other orders in response to the pandemic. The second set of guidelines, Community Engagement During Times of Crisis, helps policing agencies prioritize information-sharing, enable community feedback, and reach vulnerable and isolated groups who are most-at risk.
Silver School Faculty Answer SOS from GMHC
Keyed to the rising anxiety mental-health providers experience as they provide counseling services to their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic, NYU social work faculty members have responded to a call for assistance from GMHC.
A leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy, GMHC is helmed by Kelsey Louie, a graduate of, and adjunct assistant professor at, the Silver School of Social Work (MSW 2001). Noticing the health crisis's heightened toll on the organization's programmatic staff in Manhattan, Louie turned to his alma mater for emergency support—and as a result, over half a dozen faculty are carrying out weekly clinical supervision and support groups for the organization's employees.
Stress and secondary trauma are a serious hazard for mental health practitioners working with traumatized clients, according to Silver School Professor Carol Tosone, a leading researcher of traumatic stress among clinicians. Secondary trauma broadly encompasses vicarious traumatization, compassion fatigue, and burnout, and is a component of “shared trauma,” when both clinician and client are exposed to the same traumatic event.
“Every clinician in the world has the potential to experience dual exposure to the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic, both secondary trauma in working with clients and primary trauma in their own personal lives,” explained Tosone.
The Cordon Sanitaire Returns Amid Global Contagion
In response to the spread of COVID-19, the Qatari government has sealed off a 12-square-kilometer zone that houses migrant laborers working on large projects for the 2022 World Cup. But as opposed to blunting the contagion, the area’s densely populated dormitories, with limited ventilation and poor sanitation, favor the novel coronavirus's swift spread, according to Natasha Iskander, a migration scholar at NYU Wagner. And the laborers from South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa are permitted to leave the residential area only aboard buses taking them to construction sites where they work “elbow to elbow,” sharing tools.
Writing in Items, a digital forum of the Social Science Research Council, Iskander explains that cordons sanitaires are not new: they have been used in many countries during the past century or more – for example, during an 1892 typhus scare in New York’s Russian Jewish-suffused Lower East Side. But as contagious diseases are not easily deterred by barricades or roadblocks, these kinds of social and spatial divides have been primarily intended to further another objective – “as a boundary that maps out zones of political exclusion rather than as a means of disease control.”
Stern Research Finds Inequities in Access to Pandemic Sheltering Options
Recent research by Stern School of Business professor Arpit Gupta and junior research scientist Joshua Coven uses mobile phone Global Positioning System (GPS) data to investigate the role of demographic differences in mobility in New York City during the pandemic, finding that underprivileged populations have been disproportionately and negatively impacted.
Using GPS signals from 50 million smartphone users across the US, paired with ZIP-level Covid-19 infection data from NYC, Gupta and Coven found that residents of Manhattan are substantially more likely to leave the city after the crisis, as are other wealthy parts of the city in Brooklyn. By contrast, residents in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx are overwhelmingly more likely to stay in the city. Richer NYC residents are able to take advantage of the insurance provided by social capital and the availability of housing outside of the city to leave the epicenter of the pandemic, while lower-income and minority populations are more likely to occupy frontline occupation roles and make more frequent retail visits, potentially increasing their exposure to Covid-19.
Nobel Laureate Romer Devises Plan to “Reopen America”
Professor Paul Romer (CAS, Law), who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics, has created a plan, "Roadmap to Responsibly Reopen America," that calls for a "test and isolate" strategy that balances economics, ethics, and public health.
The document outlines a path to containing the spread of the virus until a vaccine is both widely available and affordable that relies on population scale testing, at a frequency of one test every two weeks and isolating people who test positive until they are no longer infectious.
In addition, Romer, also a fellow at the Marron Institute, urges Congress to commit a $100 billion annual investment to pay for the expanded testing program as part of the Phase Four Coronavirus bill, currently under consideration by federal legislators. Here, he outlines how this investment more than pays for itself: each month in mass isolation the U.S. economy forfeits $500 billion in lost output and future capacity to produce.
Family Defense Clinic Helps Families Facing Separation During COVID Crisis
For families involved in New York’s foster care system, the suspension of visits and social services because of coronavirus has indefinitely delayed reunions for many families, particularly impoverished families.
NYU Law’s Family Defense Clinic is working to mitigate the harm of prolonged separations by advocating for family reunification whenever possible and continued visitations and the provision of virtual social services when families must remain apart. Among the clinic's recent efforts, it successfully negotiated the release of a child with autism who had been held illegally in foster care after her mother suffered a stroke.
Langone to Launch Study of COVID-19 Transmission in the Delivery Room
The act of childbirth often requires both a great deal of heavy breathing and close contact with doctors and nurses. For this reason, it creates the perfect environment for studying how transmissible COVID-19 is via aerosolized saliva droplets, according to Veronica Ades, MD, MPH, associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Health.
“There is so much we still don’t know about how the coronavirus is transmitted, but what we do know is that it’s particularly infectious for healthcare providers who intubate patients with the virus,” said Ades, who will be conducting the study with NYU third-year obstetrics resident Rebecca Mahn. And while most doctors and nurses intubating COVID patients are now well protected with PPE, in the case of women delivering babies – a significant number of whom are COVID-19 positive without knowing it - “delivery is trickier than intubation because it often involves doctors and nurses running into the room to respond to an emergency.”
By collecting samples using bioaerosol samplers from the air during deliveries involving Covid-19 infected mothers, Ades believes the researchers can get a better understanding of the limits of aerosolized transmission. Samplers would be placed at different points within the delivery room, as well as gathered from the PPE masks of nurses, doctors, and midwives, to help determine how far virus-infecting droplets can spread.
Studying COVID-19 and Malaria Co-infections in India
NYU researchers are developing a high-throughput antibody assay to test for COVID-19 antibodies with the goal of better understanding who is still susceptible to infection and who has potentially developed immunity. The test, developed at NYU, will be incorporated into the team’s existing research on malaria in India conducted through their NIH-funded International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research.
Low- and middle-income countries such as India are working to contain outbreaks of COVID-19, but also struggle with high burdens of other infectious and mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria. This has implications for the COVID-19 pandemic because of the possibility of having both COVID-19 and malaria, which may exacerbate symptoms, treatment, and control; resulting strain on health systems; and difficulty differentiating between the diseases for diagnosis. The research team aims to use specimens and knowledge from the epidemiology of the disease in New York City first, before rolling out the antibody test and epidemiology questionnaires at their field sites in India, in an effort to better understand the symptoms and outcomes of COVID-19 and malaria co-infections.
The project is a collaboration between infectious disease experts Jane Carlton, Anne Kessler, and Steven Sullivan in the Department of Biology, and Danielle Ompad in the Department of Epidemiology at the School of Global Public Health.
NYU Donates 30,000 Commencement Rain Ponchos to City for PPE
Pre-COVID-19, May would mark the start of NYU’s commencement season, culminating in the All University exercises at Yankee Stadium, which typically draws up to 30,000 people—rain or shine. In the case of the former, NYU University Events maintains a generous store of plastic rain ponchos to protect students and their families from downpours.
This year, with the annual commencement exercises postponed, NYU has donated 30,000 rain ponchos to serve as personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers at the request of the City of New York.
“We keep these ponchos on hand in case of what used to qualify as an emergency—rain on Commencement Day,” said Regina Drew, director of NYU’s Office of University Events. “This year, in honor of the class of 2020, we were happy to donate them to the City to help keep essential workers safe."
Wagner Study Finds COVID-19 Devastates Microfinance
After surveying 1,000 microenterprise owners and 200 loan officers in Pakistan, NYU Wagner professor Jonathan Morduch and other economists have found that the financial impact of the pandemic has been devastating for poor entrepreneurial households that rely on microloans to keep small business ventures going.
In the new study in the Oxford Review of Economy Policy, Morduch and Timothy Ogden, both of Wagner’s Financial Access Initiative (FAI), along with colleagues from Oxford and Lahore, describe the highly precarious condition of microfinance customers created by the restrictions on mobility designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. In the weeks following the lockdown, borrowers’ sales and income fell by 90% and food security became their topmost immediate concern; most reported having no way to repay debt. The study offers insights for policy reform in response to the crisis.
Art Historians Draw Social Parallels to Past Pandemics in Work of Michel Serre
A pandemic is blamed on “foreigners” and fears of global commerce fuel additional unrest—meanwhile a financial crisis has begun.
These were the sentiments and conditions facing France during the Great Plague of Marseille 300 years ago and captured by painter Michel Serre in a series of works, two of which are displayed in the city’s Musée des Beaux-Arts.
“He stuck around to document the disaster and oversee efforts to clear away the rotting cadavers that littered city streets,” write NYU’s Meredith Martin, an associate professor in the Department of Art History, and Case Western Reserve’s Gillian Weiss in a newly published analysis that unpacks Serre’s images while also providing historic context.
They add that Serre’s images “spotlight an ugly human tendency: to blame contagion on the same ‘foreigners’ who are often tasked with containing it. They also suggest how fears about global commerce, associated both with the 1720 outbreak and a concurrent financial bubble based on New World speculation, figure in the long history of pandemics.”
Researchers Offer Ways to Address Life Under COVID-19
An international team of researchers, inccluding Department of Psychology’s Jay Van Bavel and the Department of Politics’ Joshua Tucker, has outlined ways to manage different facets of life under the spread of the COVID-19 virus, ranging from how we can combat racially driven bias and fake news to how we can increase cooperation and better manage stress.
Its work, which appears in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, considers research stretching over the past half century to offer insights about how to address current circumstances. The analysis, drawn from the expertise of over 40 researchers at more than 20 colleges and universities, focuses on phenomena linked to COVID-19, connecting existing scholarship to potential courses of action in several areas, including the following: “Group Threat,” “Fake News and Misinformation,” “Social Norms,” and “Stress and Coping.”
Wagner Dean Predicts America’s Health Costs as Share of GDP Will Rise
Last month, the Department of Human Services projected public and private expenditures for health care to grow from 17.8% to 19.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) over the next 10 years. But COVID-19’s rapid spread has scrambled such forecasts, writes NYU Wagner dean and professor of public service Sherry Glied in an article in the latest JAMA, “The Potential Effects of Coronavirus on National Health Expenditures” (Apr. 27).
Commenting with coauthor Helen Levy of the University of Michigan, Glied explains that the fractional share of U.S. economic output represented by healthcare expenditures is likely to rise due to: 1) the surge in pandemic-related health spending (numerator) for ventilators, PPE, and other expenditures to treat patients, and 2) the previously unimagined decline in GDP (denominator) given the stalled U.S. economy.
While health spending relative to overall U.S. economic output is likely on the way up, “it would be better if it [health spending] were higher still: if more personal protective equipment were available, if ventilators were not in short supply, and, critically, if there were more effective ways to reduce morbidity and mortality among patients with COVID-19,” Glied and Levy write.
CAS Student Creates Interactive COVID-19 Map—By County and Over Time
Justin Chen, a computer science major in the College of Arts and Science, has teamed up with students at Carnegie Mellon University to create an interactive map that shows the spread of COVID-19 at the U.S. county level.
The project, which draws upon multiple publicly available data sets, including the New York Times and Johns Hopkins University repositories, presents the path of the pandemic with innovative and stark displays.
It takes county-by-county case data and displays it in three ways: cumulative cases, cases per capita, and, crucially, cases per square mile—the latter data point illuminating where a highly contagious virus could potentially be more transmittable and where public-health measures such as social distancing may be more crucial.
The team updates the site twice a day and includes a feature that allows users to see trends over time, dating from February 28 to the present.
NYU Chemists Work to Design Molecules To Treat or Prevent COVID-19
Research groups in NYU chemistry departments in New York and Shanghai are contributing to mounting global efforts to develop drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.
While hospitals are testing whether existing drugs can treat COVID-19, NYU Chemical Biology laboratories in New York are working to develop or screen new classes of compounds to inhibit virus entry and replication—early steps in developing new drugs. The initiatives include experts in the computational design of molecules (Paramjit Arora, Kent Kirshenbaum, Dirk Trauner, Yingkai Zhang), synthesis of drug candidates (Arora, Kirshenbaum, Trauner), synthesis and screening of peptidomimetic ligands (Andrew Hamilton), expression of proteins and biochemical assays (Arora, Tania Lupoli, Nate Traaseth) and structural biology (Traaseth). The goal of these initiatives is to discover molecular entities that can specifically target the viral life cycle and treat SARS-CoV-2 in its current or future mutated forms.
At NYU Shanghai, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sun Xiang and Postdoctoral Fellow Ton Zhengqing are working to identify a key building block for a potential SARS-CoV-2 vaccine by using computerized molecular dynamics simulations in order to find a molecule that will bind quickly and tightly with the novel coronavirus’s spike protein. Since a COVID-19 infection begins when the virus’s spike protein binds to a human cell’s Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, a molecule that binds to the spike protein will block the virus from attacking human cells. According to Sun, the initial identification of such a particle is the most difficult stage of vaccine development, since there are thousands upon thousands of candidate molecules.
Courant Research Could Enable COVID-19 Screening Using Cell Phones
Researchers from the Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the Center for Data Science are investigating a novel form of remote coronavirus screening by gathering breaths via cell phone recordings, in order to determine if additional medical attention is necessary.
Called “Breathe for Science,” the project is led by Professor Kyunghyun Cho and doctoral candidate and US Navy veteran William Falcon. Data is gathered by participants taking breaths into their phones and then submitting the recordings, along with a questionnaire, to a database.
Through this process, they aim to mimic a long-established process for diagnosing respiratory afflictions: listening to the lungs using a stethoscope. Their eventual objective is to deploy the Breathe for Science platform to assist health-care providers to more easily reach a broader population.
NYU GPH Creates NIH-Funded Safety Videos for COVID-19 First Receivers
Jack Caravanos, clinical professor of environmental public health at NYU School of Global Public Health, had already received funding from the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to create safety training videos. Then COVID-19 hit.
Caravanos and his colleagues refocused their efforts on infectious disease health and safety for a specific group of first responders: first receivers, the healthcare workers who come in contact with potentially infected patients arriving in the emergency department.
The videos address assessing risk for first receivers and the proper use of personal protective equipment, or PPE.
NYU Launches Neighbor-to-Neighbor Volunteer Corps
In an effort to both ameliorate social isolation amid the COVID-19 sheltering and deepen neighbor to neighbor connections, NYU’s offices of Faculty Housing and Work Life have launched the Neighbor to Neighbor Volunteer Corps. Through the program, members of the NYU community have been providing support to their neighbors through telephone check-ins, informing them of assistance available in case of emergency, help with to-go meals, technical support, and mental wellness resources.
The approximately 70 volunteers hail from different buildings across NYU housing, as well as 20 volunteer students and faculty from the Silver School of Social Work and Global Spiritual Life.
NYU community members who would like to volunteer, or who are interested in receiving a friendly neighbor call, can contact Erin Donnelly, Community Liaison, Faculty Housing, at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 347-514-0317; or Stacey Gordon, LMSW, Program Director, Next Phase Adult Caregiving and Retirement, Work Life, Work Life at email@example.com or call 646-236-0512.
NYU Langone Clinical Trial Tests Anti-Inflammatory Drug For COVID-19 Patients
A new clinical trial, co-led by clinician–researchers at NYU Langone Health and the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre, seeks to determine whether the common anti-inflammatory medication colchicine can help decrease the progression of disease in people with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Colchicine, the generic name of the medication used in the trial, taken as a pill in its current form, has been used for more than 2,000 years to treat gout and other inflammatory conditions. A team led by trial investigator Binita Shah, interventional cardiologist and assistant professor NYU Langone Department of Medicine, previously showed that colchicine dampens the inflammatory response when given before a cardiac injury.
The trial will enroll, and follow for 30 days, about 6,000 participants who have a COVID-19 diagnosis and are not hospitalized. Participants will be randomized to receive either a colchicine or placebo regimen. The participants will be contacted by a research nurse on day 15 and day 30 to assess their response to the medication.
NYU Langone Studies Show Obesity Associated with COVID-19 Severity
One of the largest studies in the United States to identify obesity as a prominent risk factor for severe illness from COVID-19 analyzed data from more than 4,000 people with COVID-19 who sought care at NYU Langone between March 1 and April 2.
According to the study, obesity is more of a risk factor for hospitalization than whether a patient has high blood pressure or diabetes, according to Leora Horwitz, MD, the paper’s senior author and director of the Center for Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Science at NYU Langone.
Another study found that those with obesity were twice as likely to be hospitalized and were at even higher risk of requiring critical care. The link between obesity and more severe cases of the disease was not seen in patients over age 60. The seriousness of the illness often comes as a surprise to younger adults, and “provides another layer of shock to this disease,” says the paper’s author, Jennifer L. Lighter, MD, hospital epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone.
Use of NYU Libraries' Open Access Arabic Language Collection Up 700%
As the world began adhering to widespread social distancing and stay-at-home directives, NYU Libraries’ Arabic Collections Online (ACO)—a collection of Arabic-language, public-domain content drawn from distinguished libraries around the world and available to anyone with an internet connection—saw a 700 percent increase in users for the month of March.
The resource is helping ease the transition to remote learning for Arabic readers; the 350,000 users who accessed the collection in March were predominantly from the Middle East. The collection offers nearly 13,000 volumes in more than 7,000 subject categories such as literature, history, law, and Islamic studies, published from the mid-nineteenth century to as late as the 1990s.
“When we began this huge digitization effort, there were relatively few open-access, online resources in Arabic,” said NYU Dean of Libraries H. Austin Booth,“so we always knew ACO would be useful to Arabic-language readers everywhere. We of course did not foresee a time when people around the world would be staying home to such an extent. But we are very glad to be able to offer this wealth of content free to anyone in the world who will find it useful and enjoyable.”
CAS Student Leads Team Developing Low-Cost Ventilator
A team of university students and engineers led by College of Arts and Science student Daniil Frants has developed a low-cost ventilator using off-the-shelf components that is designed to aid patients with varying degrees of lung failure. They are responding to an acute shortage of these life-saving medical devices due to the spread of COVID-19.
NumaVent, a non-profit start-up that includes NYU, Johns Hopkins University, and University of Southern California students and engineers, has created a ventilator at an estimated cost of $500—well below the $25,000-to-$50,000 price tag for conventional ventilators—by drawing from readily available materials such as: DC Fans, pressure sensors, and solenoid valves.
NumaVent aims to aid patients with varying degrees of lung failure with a device that requires minimal training—a crucial feature as healthcare personnel are increasingly taxed. The team is now prototyping and testing its design in order to prepare it for large-scale manufacturing; it is also in the process of seeking Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA.
Dentistry, Langone, and Tandon Team Up to 3D Print PPE, Ventilator Adapters
NYU College of Dentistry, NYU Langone Health, and NYU Tandon are teaming up to print plastic components of face shields for distribution to frontline responders at NYU Langone and other area hospitals.
As part of this effort, Lukasz Witek, assistant professor in the Department of Biomaterials and Biomimetics at NYU Dentistry, repurposed four of the 3D printers in his lab—which are usually used for prototyping and surgical research—to print two primary components of the face shield: a visor and a strap lock. Witek received permission to take one of the printers to his apartment, where it has been printing around the clock. He then passes these components on to the Langone team, who assemble the shields for distribution to health care personnel. NYU Tandon’s MakerSpace is also 3D printing components for PPE. As of April 13, the group had distributed more than 1,600 reusable face shields to 12 New York City hospitals.
Witek is also collaborating with NYU Langone to 3D print adapters in order to convert bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines—devices commonly used to help people with sleep apnea breathe—into ventilators for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Nursing Students Help City Hospitals with COVID-19 Telehealth Efforts
When NYU Meyers alumna Natalia Cineas—the chief nurse executive of NYC Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospital system—put out a call for help with COVID response, her alma mater was at the ready.
More than 230 nursing students in the Leadership & Management course and 20 faculty sprung into action to provide COVID-19 tests results via phone and assist with remotely monitoring patients.
“Our students called approximately 600 patients who had been tested for COVID-19. Using best practices and a toolkit that was given to us, we communicated with patients whether they tested positive or negative for the virus, and counseled them on what to do,” said Sandy Cayo, clinical assistant professor at NYU Meyers and coordinator of the Leadership & Management course. Cayo liaised with NYC Health + Hospitals to get faculty and students access to electronic health records in a mere four days.
Now students and faculty are shifting their efforts to a home monitoring program for patients who have been discharged from the emergency department. Working with David Silvestri, an emergency medicine physician at NYC Health + Hospitals, students are calling patients at home to see how they are doing and to encourage them to sign up for a text message-based program, which provides daily text check-ins with patients.
Journalism Alumna Creates COVID-19 Newsletter Aimed at African-Americans
Recent data have shown that African-Americans are dying from COVID-19 at rates above their proportion of the U.S. population, with many pointing to long-standing structural racism and discrimination as a significant factor.
A lack of solutions-based coverage from mainstream news organizations and a decrease in publications centering Black readers have also exacerbated the misinformation.
In an effort to provide a pipeline of quality, relevant news to vulnerable communities, NYU alumna Patrice Peck (GSAS ’12) has created “Coronavirus News for Black Folks,” a newsletter and resource that seeks to both empower and inform through COVID-19 news and analysis pertinent to the Black diaspora.
Since its inception in early April, Peck, a graduate of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute’s Studio 20 program, has analyzed how COVID-19’s impact on the highly vulnerable Caribbean region has been largely underreported, and hosted an Instagram panel and reported on “Coronavirus Conspiracies and the Black Community”, among other pieces.
NYU Meyers Develops Digital Training for PHSCC Nurses
Faculty at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing have developed a series of five online training modules about COVID-19 and acute care nursing for U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps nurses. The Commissioned Corps, one of the country’s eight uniformed services, provides rapid response to public health crises and is helping to staff the temporary hospital in the Javits Center.
The online modules cover the care of COVID patients who do not currently require ventilators, including efforts to slow disease progression and methods of oxygen delivery, as well as caring for patients on ventilators, including the different types of mechanical ventilation and how to prevent complications. Each video module is 10-15 minutes long, and Commissioned Corps nurses can access them through their smartphones and the service’s learning management system.
AI-Powered Search Engine Helps Guide Researchers in COVID-19 Battle
Kyunghyun Cho, a professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and NYU's Center for Data Science, and his colleagues have developed a cutting-edge search engine aimed at providing the latest COVID-19-related information to clinicians, researchers, and others who are working to battle the current pandemic.
The system, Neural Covidex, draws upon a dataset—the Allen Institute for AI’s COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19)—that contains more than 45,000 scholarly articles, medical reports, and journal articles about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses for use by the global research community.
CORD-19 holds articles dating back to SARS and MERS as well as those on previous coronaviruses, and includes research on a wide range of topics that cover public health, clinical care, epidemiology, and genetics, among others.
NYU Community Rallies to Make Masks
As New York officials increasingly mandate face coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, NYU community members are engaging in grass-roots efforts to meet the growing need.
Mia De Bethune, internship coordinator in NYU Steinhardt's Art Therapy program, has applied her skill set as a coordinator and a therapist to engage in a mask-making effort that delivers masks and face shields to area hospitals and hospices most in need. Bethune is working with NYU alumni, students, and employees at the Textile Arts Center, among others, to respond to the immense need for PPE at a time when the cost of elastic has jumped from $20 for 150 yards to $150.
Kathleen McDermott, an assistant professor in Tandon’s Integrated Digital Media (IDM) program, has been testing a variety of patterns for face masks produced by DIY communities: those made of non-woven polypropylene (NWPP); those with pockets into which filters can be inserted; and covers that can be made for medical professionals seeking to extend the lives of N-95 masks. With the help of Gabriella Cammarata, an IDM graduate, she compiled those patterns on the website of the Proto Lab, IDM’s fabrication space.
Marron Report Recommends Best Ways to Release Prisoners Early Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
As many U.S. prisons and jails begin early-release initiatives to save the lives of corrections workers and prisoners caught in the path of COVID-19, a new report from NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management surfaces the unprecedented practical hurdles facing reentrants and recommends practices for assisting new releasees.
Housing shortages, record unemployment, and inadequate community-based infrastructure such as mental health/drug treatment face newly freed prisoners in this pandemic, according to “Lessons from the Field to Inform Responses to COVID-19 in Corrections,” while prison mechanisms for preparing and supervising releasees need review and retooling.
The 11-page report distills learnings from five COVID-19 “protocol-sharing” roundtables held by Marron with more than 100 criminal justice system practitioners from 20 states, and a close look at the NYU Marron team’s early-release program before the outbreak in Illinois. The report calls for transparent processes for selecting who will be let out and additional support for reentrants around the time of release.
“Scattershot approaches to releasing prisoners, without substantial accompanying supports, will diminish prospects for succeeding in the community and may undermine future criminal justice reform efforts,” the authors write.
Student Health Center Physicians Mobilize to Treat COVID-19 Patients
When NYU Langone Hospital sent out an urgent call for additional medical personnel, NYU Student Health Center (SHC) physicians quickly mobilized to help in the fight against coronavirus.
SHC Medical Director, Dr. Jun Mitsumoto, and staff physicians, Dr. Dominic Biney-Amissah and Dr. Joey Fernandez ordinarily provide medical care to NYU students at the Student Health Center, but for the last two weeks they have also been on-site at NYU Langone Hospital treating COVID-19 patients and providing much needed relief for overburdened healthcare workers.
“We're here supporting our fellow healthcare workers so they can do the heavy lifting with the sickest COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Mitsumoto.
The physicians are balancing their new responsibilities at Langone with their existing commitments to NYU students — and are still available to see NYU students through SHC Virtual Care appointments.
Furman Center: COVID-19 Cases Higher in Low Income Neighborhoods
Based on an in-depth analysis of data gathered from the New York City Department of Health, the NYU Furman Center found that New York City neighborhoods with higher rates of confirmed COVID-19 cases have lower median incomes, higher shares of residents who are Black or Hispanic, and higher shares of residents under the age of 18 relative to less affected neighborhoods.
To examine disparities in incidence across neighborhoods, researchers divided the city’s ZIP Codes (the lowest level geography of publicly available data) into quintiles based on the number of cases per 1,000 people. The top 20 percent of ZIP Codes formed the highest quintile, the next 20 percent formed the 4th quintile, and so on. They then reviewed racial composition and key indicators by quintile.
The analysis suggests residents of certain neighborhoods to be more susceptible to infection because they are less likely to be able to work from home, disproportionately rely on public transit during the crisis, and are less likely to have internet access. It also found that while areas with higher numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases have lower population density, they have higher rates of overcrowding at the household level.
The Furman Center is comprised of scholars from the New York University School of Law and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service with the mission of studying housing, neighborhoods, and urban policy. For more details on the analysis, visit the Furman Center blog.
GovLab and Courant Help Ensure Data-Driven Response To COVID-19 in NJ
Tandon Professor Beth Simone Noveck, director of The GovLab, who also serves as chief innovation officer for the State of New Jersey, is collaborating with Courant Professor Lakshmi Subramanian to deliver data and predictive analytics to Governor Phil Murphy and multiple state agencies. The data will help ensure that response to the crisis in New Jersey is data-driven and informed by the best available modeling of the progression of the disease and the need for staffing and equipment. Data will also be made available to the public.
"With great help from Beth and her team through the Office of Innovation, and I want to give a particular shout out to Lakshmi Subramanian...we have built a strong modeling program that we can use with great and increasing confidence," Murphy said at an April 6 press conference.
To learn more about New Jersey’s response to COVID-19, and view their data dashboard, visit the State’s COVID-19 Information Hub.
NYU Langone Scientists Track Evolution of Coronavirus in NYC
NYU Grossman School of Medicine researchers have determined the genetic code for 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) virus taken from 91 New York City patients, the most completed on the U.S. East Coast during the current pandemic, the researchers say.
Upon determining the order of the genetic letters in the codes from the local viral samples, also called their “sequences,” the researchers submit them to GISAID EpiFlu™, the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data. The NYU Langone Health team determined the viral sequences from samples taken from the nasal swabs of patients at Tisch Hospital, NYU Winthrop Hospital, and NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn.
The early data suggest that the coronavirus has been spreading in the New York City community for a couple of months, researchers say, and before testing started. Further, the particular genetic codes in most local viral samples indicate that they originated in Europe.
“The value of determining viral local sequences is that the more that become available, the better we can monitor the spread and severity of the disease, and the more it can clarify which drugs, vaccines, or social interventions are effective here,” says Adriana Heguy, PhD, director of the Genome Technology Center at NYU Langone and leader of the sequencing team.
NYU Dentistry Launches Telehealth Service
With in-person dental care suspended due to COVID-19, NYU College of Dentistry quickly launched a Telehealth service to address the urgent care needs of New Yorkers and help to minimize visits to hospitals and urgent care facilities. The effort is led by a team of faculty volunteers, staff, and administrators spanning clinical affairs, technology services, and compliance and safety. The service provides assistance to approximately 200 patients daily.
NYU’s Shanghai Community Sends Supplies to Help NYC’s Fight Against COVID-19
NYU’s Shanghai community has pulled together to support New Yorkers in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, sending some 17,000 masks to NYU New York.
Last week, a group of NYU New York parents who are based in Shanghai purchased some 10,000 N95 masks to help protect medical workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 at NYU Langone Medical Center. NYU Shanghai, with the help of a school donor who paid shipping costs, arranged for those masks to be delivered to New York City. NYU Shanghai also shipped separately some 4,000 N95 masks from its own stockpile to colleagues in New York.
“Even if we are thousands of miles away, we still feel anxious and want to do something to help,” said one of the parent donors, who wished to remain anonymous. “As members of the NYU family, we hope that New York University will be alright, New York will be alright, and America will be alright.”
Over the past several weeks, in addition to the N95 masks, NYU Shanghai staff in Student Health, Finance, Public Safety, and the Office of the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor have sent a combined total of 3,000 medical and disposable masks to colleagues at NYU New York.
NYUEATS Donates 1,300 Pounds of Food to City Harvest
On Friday, April 3, NYUEATS – NYU Dining Services and Chartwells Higher Education dining - donated nearly 1,300 pounds of food to City Harvest. The donations, made in conjunction with York Street Market, included both grocery items and ready-to-eat meals. In 2020 alone, NYUEATS has donated over 5,700 pounds of food.
With NYU students moving off campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with many Americans in need of support during this unprecedented time, the donations are intended to support people in need of food both in New York City and around the country.
“Donations like these have already helped by feeding over 600 New Yorkers in March - and many more to come as we continue to stand together to combat food waste and food insecurity,” said Monalisa Prasad, director of sustainability, NYUEATS.
With protective gear becoming more scarce throughout New York City, NYU donated nearly 200,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to NYU Langone Health, Bellevue, the Javits Center, and One Brooklyn Health System at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center.
Steinhardt Nutrition Grad Nourishes COVID Victims at Langone Health ICU
Andy Chu, an alumnus of the Steinhardt nutrition and dietetics program, is using his expertise to ensure COVID-19 patients at the NYU Langone's COVID ICU receive critical nutritional support.
"Even the sickest patient needs nourishment. As a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC) on the frontline, I provide enteral nutritional support through a feed tube to patients who require specialized therapy such as a ventilator in the COVID ICU to accelerate their recovery,” Chu said.
“It is an unprecedented and heartbreaking situation, but I have been training for my entire career to prepare for this. The worst pandemic this generation has ever seen has elevated the mission of my colleagues and me to provide the best care possible to help our patients recover."
Anti-Discrimination Charity Founded by LS Freshman Raises $30,000 for PPE
The East Coast Coalition for Tolerance and Non-Discrimination (ECC), a nonprofit founded by Liberal Studies freshman Bincheng Mao, has raised more than $30,000 to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which has been donated to hospitals and emergency relief organizations such as the Italian and Japanese Red Cross societies and Yale-New Haven Hospital, among others.
“These hospitals and organizations are central to disease control efforts in their respective regions, facing severe shortages of necessary protective supplies amid an influx of COVID-19 patients,” says Mao. “In most cases, these organizations urgently request the public to contribute supplies due to the emergency circumstances of this public health crisis.”
ECC, which includes over 1,000 members from 13 U.S. colleges and universities, launched its COVID-19 Service Initiative on January 31. Its efforts come at a time when public officials are pleading for more medical supplies. Through February and March, ECC had raised funds to purchase and then donate 35 cartons of N95 respirators, 280 personal protective suits, 50,000 medical gloves, and 83 protective face shields.
First Medical Workers Move into Third North Residence Hall
On Monday, April 6, NYU’s Third North Residence Hall welcomed the first group of medical workers currently treating the onslaught of COVID-19 patients at NYU Langone Health. The residence hall rooms provide the workers with private rooms and bathrooms within walking distance from the medical center.
The medical personnel received toothbrushes, sleep masks, and welcome messages from children of faculty living in Washington Square Village. The university can accommodate up to 161 medical workers at Third North and is preparing to make additional accommodations available at Carlyle Court Residence Hall.
NYU Law Students Research Reprieves for Inmates Amid COVID-19 Crisis
NYU Law's Center on the Administration of Criminal Law (CACL) has published a working document cataloguing the legal authority of governors to grant reprieves in all fifty states to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in correctional facilities. CACL fellow Ben Notterman ’14 identified and assembled the information for the project. Approximately 40 NYU Law students have volunteered to assist CACL with research as the center updates the document and collaborates with advocacy organizations and other parties working with government entities on the issue of clemency during the coronavirus outbreak.
Marron Institute Study on COVID-19: “NYC is Not the Epicenter, it’s the Vanguard”
Other US cities may experience a COVID-19 outbreak similar to that in New York, according to an ongoing study being conducted at the Marron Institute of Urban Management. Professor Shlomo "Solly" Angel and other Marron researchers are mining an extraordinary amount of data on metropolitan areas to enhance public understanding of the path of the novel coronavirus in the U.S.
The data mapping project shows that New York City and other large, densely populated urban centers are currently among the hardest hit because these outbreaks occurred earlier than in other areas.
“Our findings suggest that New York – like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle – is not the epicenter of the pandemic, but the vanguard,” says Angel, underscoring that COVID-19 is emerging in other urban locales in a “predictable and explainable pattern.”
How Technologies Serve the Public During COVID-19
NYU's Alliance for Public Interest Technology is examining the role that existing and newly developed technologies are playing in serving the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the project's studies will be a consideration of the value of face shields, including what role it played during the pandemic, and what may be learned from the design and implementation of this technology, in order to help us better prepare for the next public health crisis.
Coordinated by NYU Vice Provost and Steinhardt Professor Charlton McIlwain, Michael Weinberg, executive director of the School of Law's Engelberg Center for Innovation Law & Policy, and Mona Sloane, a fellow with the Alliance and an adjunct professor at the Tandon School of Engineering, the project will inventory all technology-based efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis by higher education institutions, the public sector, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and the news media in New York and across the United States. Its work will evaluate the motivations for these efforts, assess and measure their outcomes, and make recommendations for what we can do more of, better, or differently to prepare for future pandemics and similar global crises.
NYU Entrepreneur Develops Robotic Testing for COVID-19
NYU Innovation Venture Fund portfolio company, Opentrons (cofounded by Will Canine, Tisch ITP '15) produces robotic lab automation workstations that are currently being used for COVID-19 testing. Opentrons' workstations plate samples, perform the RNA extraction, and execute the RT-qPCR preparation. Working with CDC-affiliate labs and hospitals around the world, their systems can deliver 10x the testing throughput of current facilities running COVID-19 testing, enabling them to immediately scale up to automated operations. Their workstations are going through the process for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA.
Capturing 3D Data to Pinpoint Surfaces Likely to Carry COVID-19
NYU researchers are capturing highly detailed three-dimensional data on human movements and behaviors – particularly around medical facilities, public transportation systems, and essential services – to document the complex landscape of “surface vectors” and thus opportunities for COVID-19 transmission.
Working under a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research grant, the team, led by Debra Laefer of NYU Tandon and CUSP and Thomas Kirchner of NYU School of Global Public Health, is advancing epidemiological analysis beyond the two-dimensional concept that has been in use since 1854, when cholera cases were mapped.
Experimental AI Tool Predicts Which Patients with Pandemic Virus Will Develop Serious Respiratory Disease
An artificial intelligence tool accurately predicted which patients newly infected with the COVID-19 virus would go on to develop severe respiratory disease, a new study has found.
The work was led by NYU Grossman School of Medicine and NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in partnership with Wenzhou Central Hospital and Cangnan People's Hospital, both in Wenzhou, China.
“While work remains to further validate our model, it holds promise as another tool to predict the patients most vulnerable to the virus, but only in support of physicians’ hard-won clinical experience in treating viral infections,” says corresponding study author Megan Coffee, MD, PhD, clinical assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Disease & Immunology within the Department of Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
Modeling Outcomes of the Epidemic
Professor Joshua Epstein (Global Public Health) and colleagues are using mathematical modeling to understand the virus's potential impact on different economic and social factors. For instance, they released an analysis showing that closing schools nationwide could result in more than $50 billion in lost productivity and could negatively impact the health care workforce, based on a model that was previously published in PLoS Currents. Epstein and colleagues have also estimated how many people will recover from COVID-19 and will likely be immune, and therefore can safely get back to work to help to restart the economy.
NYU Answers Desperate Need for Medical Face Shields with Low-Cost, Quick-Production Design
Responding to a nation-wide shortage of protective personal equipment that is particularly acute in New York, faculty and researchers from across NYU have developed plans to distribute a new protective personal equipment (PPE) face shield design for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The shield can be produced and assembled in under one minute, delivering a unit at a fraction of the time it takes for those produced using 3D printing. While the team has already produced over 100 of the masks at small-scale and deployed them to emergency rooms, production at scale will begin the week of March 30, 2020, with capabilities to produce close to 300,000 shields within two weeks of materials arriving at production sites. The New York City Economic Development Corporation is funding the first round of production.
The New York University COVID-19 Task Force — which includes the NYU School of Global Public Health, health care providers at NYU Langone Health, and engineers at NYU Tandon School of Engineering — will work in collaboration with the Open Face PPE Project to make the process, from design to end-use in healthcare settings, available to all for free. The Task Force will specifically call on smaller manufacturers to get involved as they have the resources to more quickly ramp up production.
NYU's COVID-19 Task Force Innovates Facemasks, Ventilators, and More
Led by Steve Kuyan, Grant Fox, and Uriel Eisen of the NYU Tandon Future Labs, and Sayar Lonial at NYU Tandon Communications, the NYU COVID-19 Task Force focuses on developing rapid-response solutions to critical issues facing our healthcare system, including designing, manufacturing, and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical support equipment/devices to New York City hospitals as our city battles the pandemic. The task force draws from across the University including Courant, Global Public Health, and Langone to mobilize expertise and resources in engineering, medicine, public health, entrepreneurship and computer science.
NYU's COVID-19 Task Force has created a prototype face shield that is quick and inexpensive to produce, and is working on a method for splitting a single ventilator to serve multiple patients
They have already created a prototype face shield that is quick and inexpensive to produce, which can provide added protection to hospital workers and extend the life of face masks. For this, they are working with NYC agencies and a grassroots network of manufacturers to scale production and meet demand. The task force is also working on a method for splitting a single ventilator to serve multiple patients, which is being reviewed by the State health commissioner's office. Once approved it can be widely used by hospitals, and the MakerSpace can help them 3D print the required parts if necessary. Their latest effort involves 3D printing parts for powered air purifying respirators that are being used at NYU in lieu of N95 masks.
Physics professor David Grier has developed and patented technology for holographic detection of protein binding, including antibodies, which can allow for highly accurate COVID-19 testing performed in less than half an hour with minimally trained personnel and inexpensive reagents.
Grier was awarded $200,000 from NSF RAPID for undertaking research to adapt this technology to test for viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The award supports the personnel who will be developing the research-style proof-of-concept into a platform for diagnosing viral infection, and also will provide the supplies needed to do the work using existing equipment.
Physicist David Grier has developed technology for highly accurate COVID-19 testing that can be performed in less than half an hour with minimally trained personnel.
Professor Elodie Ghedin (biology, Global Public Health) is conducting viral sequencing from patient samples in order to help with disease surveillance. The NYU Genomics Core at the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology is helping with data analysis and processing, and COVID-19 research is being prioritized on the NYU HPC Prince cluster.
The NYU Chemical Biology Initiative has already begun a multi-pronged approach to the design, synthesis, an initial evaluation of drug candidates. The Hamilton lab has joined these efforts, and the initiative includes experts in the computational design of molecules (Paramjit Arora, Kent Kirshenbaum, Yingkai Zhang), synthesis of drug candidates (Arora, Kirshenbaum, Dirk Trauner), and expression of proteins and biochemical assays (Arora, Tania Lupoli, Nate Traaseth) and structural biology (Traaseth).
Laboratories across campus are working to redirect their materials, equipment, and personnel to assist with the shortage of supplies. Over 90 individuals including faculty, postdocs, PhD students and technicians with expertise in molecular biology and programming have signed up to volunteer and assist with efforts at the School of Medicine.
NYU's chemistry and biology departments are helping efforts to manufacture hand sanitizer, assemble masks, sanitize PPEs, and more.
Efforts in the chemistry and biology departments are also being undertaken to manufacture hand sanitizer, assemble masks, sanitize PPE, develop spray that will allow detection by taste (or lack thereof), if a respirator is an appropriate fit for a healthcare worker, and make biochemical reagents. NYU Dentistry's Brad Aouizerat has made his benchtop automated nucleic acid isolation system — one of only two at NYU — available to colleagues in Langone's microbiology lab. The system, which is typically used for HIV research, will assist with COVID-19 testing. A team from Aouizerat's lab also helped to train Langone colleagues on the use of the system.