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RTI Supporting Study of COVID-19 Risk and Long-Term Effects Underway at 37 Academic Medical Centers

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, today announced that it is serving as the Administrative Coordinating Center for a new nationwide study of COVID-19 risk and possible long-term effects of the disease.

The study, called the Collaborative Cohort of Cohorts for COVID-19 Research (C4R) Study, is being led by Columbia University and involves 37 academic medical centers. It is part of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI) Collaborating Network of Networks for Evaluating COVID-19 and Therapeutic Strategies (CONNECTS) initiative, for which RTI is already the Administrative Coordinating Center.

“We look forward to expanding our current role with the CONNECTS initiative to support this important work led by Columbia University,” said Jennifer Deese, Ph.D., a senior epidemiologist at RTI. “This research involves a significant amount of data and will require coordination across a number of sites, and our team is prepared to help the study run seamlessly.”

As the ACC, RTI will provide logistics and administrative support in the form of contract administration, support for harmonization with other CONNECTS projects, and coordination of the Observational Study and Monitoring Board.

Participants in C4R are currently enrolled in 14 long-term cohort studies conducted across the 37 academic medical centers. Cohort participants range in age from young adulthood to elderly, and reflect the racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity of the United States.

Individuals from the participating cohort studies will be invited to complete a questionnaire regarding their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, they will be asked if they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, what symptoms they experienced and for how long, and whether they required hospitalization. Medical records will be reviewed to assess what treatments they may have received for COVID-19 and whether they experienced complications such as heart attack, pneumonia, stroke, or blood clots.

“C4R is unique in that many of the participants in these studies have been followed for decades, giving us a vast amount of data from imaging tests, physiologic assessments, and genomic analyses that go far beyond what people would receive in the normal course of clinical care,” said Elizabeth Oelsner, M.D., MPH, Herbert Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and principal investigator of the study. “Our study is designed to understand how these highly characterized participants are at varying risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and understand the social and economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

More information about the study is available through Columbia University.