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Tulane's Response to COVID-19

Fighting infectious diseases is in our DNA. Since our founding as a medical college in 1834, we have shown the world that the innovations and solutions found at Tulane change the world. We are addressing COVID-19 through frontline healthcare, innovative breakthroughs in testing, decontamination of PPE, fundraising for healthcare providers, mental health support and solutions, online town halls and webinars, temporary housing, scholarship opportunities, information resources and much more.

Clinical Medicine

Drive Through Testing Site
On March 23rd, the School of Medicine opened its drive-through COVID-19 test site located at 1700 Perdido Street, under the guidance of Dr. David Mushatt (Infectious Diseases), Dr. John Carlson (Allergy & Immunology), and Joe Esneault. The priority for testing currently is for health care workers, those currently on the job and those who have been sidelined by self-quarantine. Nasal swabs collected at the testing site are processed at the Tulane Molecular Pathology Laboratory.

Roche Commercial Test Kit Processing
March 31: Tulane Hospital and the University Medical Center (LCMC) have partnered on the first available commercial test kit (Roche cobas® SARS-CoV-2 Test for COVID-19) for novel coronavirus which will enable labs to expand and expedite testing to meet urgent medical needs. The labs run the test on Roche’s fully automated cobas® 6800 and cobas® 8800 Systems. Researchers at the Tulane Medical Center Laboratory ran its first set of tests using the Cobas 6800 analyzer over the weekend and are now (3/31/20) capable of running nearly 200 tests a day on patients at both Tulane Medical Center and University Medical Center.

Medical School Test Processing Site
April 1: Dr. Robert Garry and Dr. Di Tian, Tulane School of Medicine, have set up a testing processing site in the Tulane School of Medicine building at 1430 Tulane Avenue. The test utilizes polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which amplifies tiny bits of genetic material to enable detection. This site has been up and running since April 1. Tulane has the ability to process 100-200 tests per day at this location. The initial priority for testing is for hospital patients, SOM healthcare providers and residents, SOM faculty, staff and students.

Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 Test
April 6: Tulane Health System has obtained this new technology that allows its hospitals to test for COVID-19 in-house and receive results in as little as five minutes. The health system is now testing all inpatient admissions for COVID-19 – even those who have no symptoms – providing a new, additional layer of protection for its staff and patients. The technology has been deployed at Tulane Medical Center, Tulane Lakeside Hospital and the Tulane Cancer Center.

Decontamination and Re-use of N-95 Masks
The Tulane National Primate Research Center will soon be using its bio containment lab and the process of vaporized hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate previously used N-95 masks for reuse. The process can decontaminate 1,000 masks at a time and turnaround from door to door is likely to be around 5 days. We are currently (3/30/20) awaiting FDA approval for this. Collection of used PPE has already begun.

Clinical Service
At the Veterans Administration Hospital, Tulane faculty and residents (Internal Medicine, pulmonary, and infectious diseases) provide most of the doctors taking care of COVID+ patients. At University Medical Center, Tulane covers at least 1/2 of the hospital patients and has expanded from 5 teams ordinarily to 7 teams. Tulane also provides 1/2 of the ICU services and is adding a complete team for ICU services. At Tulane Hospital we provide all of the physicians taking care of dozens of COVID+ patients.

Research & Development
COVID-19 Clinical Research Underway at Tulane

Collection SARS-CoV-2 Secretions and Serum for Countermeasure Development
Study to look at clinical course, viral load and sequence, neutralizing antibodies, etc. from sick and recovered patients.

Remdesivir
Trials and Treatment Regimens Randomized open-label multi-center and Phase III trial

Post-exposure Prophylaxis and Pre-emptive Treatment
Hydrochloroquine – open to all healthcare workers, high-risk group. With the University of Minnesota

Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering COVID-19 Design Challenge
Six students in the MPH program were accepted to the John's Hopkins Center for Bioengineering COVID-19 Design Challenge. Only 200 teams were selected from 55 different countries with over 600 team submissions sent, and we represented both Tulane University School of Medicine and Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at this international challenge! They are proposing a plan to refine and complement the current Department of Health's contact tracing policy in efforts to streamline, automate and speed up the process in which close contacts are notified about their exposure.

Tulane National Primate Research Center Grant

The Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington has been awarded $10.3 million to evaluate the nation's most promising vaccines and treatments to combat COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases granted the award on April 7, 2020.

Support for Healthcare Providers and Community Members

TUMG Testing for City employees and First-Responders
The Tulane Medical Group is providing drive-through testing of first responders and municipal workers, including those in Sanitation, Parks & Parkways, the RTA, the Coast Guard, LA National Guard, and the Harbor police, at its Perdido Street site. For the second week of April they tested over 100 first responders. Results from these tests are available within 24 hours.

Tulane Frontline Providers Fund
Through the Green Wave Heroes Fund we are collecting donations to feed our frontline healthcare providers at Tulane Medical Center, University Medical Center and VA hospitals and clinics. Hundreds of meals have been provided to over 1,500 frontline healthcare providers with over 900 meals provided each week. The fund also assists with the purchase of PPE, childcare, and projects to promote wellness and boost morale. Donations can be made here.

PPE Drive
Tulane Medical School students are working with local businesses and community groups to organize a drive for PPE for Tulane Hospital and University Medical Center. As of March 31, they have distributed over 28,000 donated items, including N95 masks, surgical masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, and other essential items.

CC Student COVID Response Group
Partnering with Supplies for Saints, a group of approximately 100 medical students at Tulane University are working with the leadership of Tulane School of Medicine and physicians at Tulane Medical Center and University Medical Center to coordinate donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our frontline providers along with other special projects.

The Skin You’re In Campaign
The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is developing messaging designed to dispel myths and provide valid, verified information about COVID-19 for the African American community. The campaign will target New Orleans, but may be expanded further.

Lepage Center COVID – 19 Resources for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
The Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Tulane University has launched a new program to connect small businesses to mentors and advisors that can provide guidance and assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.

Community Town Hall
Tulane School of Medicine held the first in a series of moderated Town Halls where the community can submit questions to be answered by a panel of Tulane experts on the frontlines of medical care and research. The first was held on Friday, March 27th. They will be available through the Tulane University School of Medicine page on Facebook Live!

Housing for Medical and Volunteer Personnel
The university is preparing to provide 345 beds in three student residence halls on the uptown campus for federal, state, or municipal employees and/or vetted government contract employees.

Tulane Outbreak Daily
Online publication from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, featured headlines, current surveillance data and headlines, infection prevention information, science and technology updates, new publications, and other relevant information.

Tulane School of Medicine COVID-19 Daily Digest
Selected updates and summaries on new research, commentary, and news related to COVID-19.

Telemedicine Mental Health Support
Special counseling services for faculty and residents

School of Social Work Self-Care Website
Tulane University School of Social Work created a website with self-care information, guided meditation videos, and mental health support hotlines.

Special Scholarships to Peace Corps Volunteers and Fulbright Scholars
A Tulane initiative to make graduate study more accessible to U.S. Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) and Fulbright student grantees called back from international placements because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

Expert Ideas for an Evolving World – Livestream Series
Tulane School of Professional Advancement will share their expertise in a new livestream series: “Tulane School of Professional Advancement: Expert Ideas for an Evolving World,” beginning March 26.

Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA members
Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA members are at the Greenlight serving breakfast daily to go and providing water and snacks at mid-day.