Boston Hospitals Play Key Role in Study on Coronavirus' Impact on Immune System

Boston Children's Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital are partaking in IMPACC, a nationwide study on the effects of COVID-19

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A nationwide study is underway researching coronavirus survivors, and two Boston hospitals are playing a key role.

"The study is really an unprecedented effort to get a deep, deep look at how coronavirus interacts with the human immune system," said Dr. Ofer Levy, a principal investigator with the project.

Patients from across the country, including Boston, will be followed for a year as part of the study entitled IMPACC.

"What are the characteristics of individuals who get over this relatively quickly, and what are the characteristics of those who, God forbid, do very poorly," Levy said about one of the key components of the research.

Levy is director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children's Hospital.
But the patients in Boston who participate in the study will come from Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Blood and other samples will be taken up to 10 times throughout the yearlong process.

"To measure all the cells and all the molecules in their blood and in their respiratory secretions," Levy explained.

Researchers will study how the immune system of hospitalized coronavirus patients responds to the disease over time, and how patients are impacted even after recovery begins.

The results of the study could help doctors come up with new medications and strategies to treat COVID-19 patients down the road.

Researchers will have almost 200,000 samples collected from the patients.

"We are going to be a lot smarter about this virus at the end of the study," said Levy.

The study will include up to 2,000 patients from 10 medical centers.

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