Indiana University Leads COVID-19 Research, Search for Vaccine
As governors around the country look to reopen their state economies, there is an increased focus on the ability to expand testing and contact tracing, study the spread of the virus, and the need for vaccines. IU is uniquely positioned to help the state on each of these fronts, and Gov. Holcomb and Dr. Box have made IU a central component of Indiana’s response.
Last week Gov. Holcomb announced the Indiana University Richard A. Fairbanks School of Public Health has partnered with the Indiana State Department of Health to begin a scientific study to measure the spread of COVID-19 in Indiana. The closely-monitored testing will look for the coronavirus and its antibodies in a randomly selected sampling of 20,000 Hoosiers. Governor Holcomb touted the effort as a key way to provide data critical to shaping ongoing decisions about Indiana’s response.
Led by IUPUI's Fairbanks School of Public Health, an interdisciplinary team of IU scientists, physicians, and epidemiologists designed the study and developed the scientific plan for execution by state agencies. The IU team will also analyze the study results and provide scientific interpretations of the data to the state.
On Wednesday, Dr. Box announced expanded contact tracing efforts that rely on an army of volunteers. Many of those volunteers are students at IU’s two Schools of Public Health who are studying public health and epidemiology. They are not only helping the state, but they are getting valuable experiential learning that will help them shape the future of public health in Indiana for years to come.
On Thursday, Dr. Jennifer Sullivan announced the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute’s (CTSI) Monon Collaborative at IU is partnering with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to establish WISE Indiana, which stands for Wellbeing Informed by Science & Evidence. The newly created initiative mobilized efforts ahead of schedule to support state leaders as they make decisions about COVID-19. While currently focused on the coronavirus pandemic, the partnership between CTSI and FSSA will persist into the future to ensure state preparedness under emergency circumstances.
Beyond these announced collaborations with the state, IU is leading in other ways that will help the state’s economy reopen in a sure and safe manner.
- The Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children have partnered to conduct a study on asymptomatic transfer of COVID-19. The data will be used to analyze and track the spread of the virus in those who are not aware they are hosts.
- John Patton, a virologist in the IU Biology Department, used the principles he was applying in his research on a norovirus vaccine to coronavirus and has developed a vaccine for infants that could be ready for clinical trials soon.
- At the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering researches are teaming with the IU Pervasive Technology Institute to use advanced computing to analyze data from across the country.
- Students in the Media School, through the Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism, were part of a team that created the first nationwide county-by-county coronavirus tracker.