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COVID-19 Research and Innovation



UCLA CTSI News Archive

Dr. Arash Naeim and Dr. Judith Currier.
UCLA Biodesign highlighted Dr. Arash Naeim, CTSI Senior Associate Director and Program Leader, in its May newsletter.

UCLA’s approach to COVID-19 clinical research is defined by the COVID-19 Clinical Research Task Force, co-chaired by Judith Currier, MD, division chief for infectious disease, and Arash Naeim, MD, PhD, chief medical officer for clinical research. With very significant support of the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, UCLA has rapidly activated more than 15 clinical trials which will afford innovative therapy for hundreds of patients, both in the outpatient and inpatient setting. UCLA was one of the earliest academic medical centers in California to (a) participate in the clinical trial of remdesivir that demonstrated a benefit to patients; (b) develop a convalescent plasma program so recovering patients could help hospitalized COVID+ patients; and (c) start a surveillance program for health care providers at high risk for COVID transmission. In close collaboration with Los Angeles County, UCLA is engaging in community-wide symptom surveillance. In partnership with California state officials and UCSF, UCLA is leading statewide contact tracing efforts. Lastly, in partnership with the engineering program, UCLA is testing 3-D printed nasal swabs, protective equipment and ventilator equipment to stay ahead of national shortages.

In order to deal with social distancing while providing the best treatment options for our patients, UCLA implemented innovative approaches to clinical research including electronic consenting, remote monitoring, research video visits, mailing of oral investigational drugs, and patient portal recruitment. To accelerate research at UCLA and in collaboration with others in the state, nationally and internationally, a robust biobanking approach was developed to utilize remnant tissue, nasopharyngeal swabs and blood for both acutely ill and recovered patients. Moreover, a data registry was created for COVID+ patients and matched negative controls that served as the foundation for a UC-wide collaboration to pool data on patients in a data warehouse.

Read more here about all COVID-19 clinical trials at UCLA.