Tulane has always met challenges, from addressing the yellow fever epidemics of the 19th century to recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Our history, location and driving ambition mold our character; that is why we tackle work that is both timely and relevant, and how we build a better future for New Orleans and the world.
Tulane virologist ROBERT GARRY, JR., PHD, and a team of scientists from Tulane, Scripps Research Institute, Columbia University, University of Edinburgh and University of Sydney analyzed the genome sequence of the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, and found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered. Garry and his team also initiated a new School of Medicine test and testing lab in collaboration with DRS. XIAO-MING YIN and DI TIAN in the Department of Pathology. It is based on the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test being used by the CDC, which determines a positive or negative diagnosis through a nasal swab.
Epidemiologist and disease ecologist LINA MOSES, PHD, with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, traveled to Geneva to coordinate research efforts for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. Moses was charged with rapidly distributing the most impactful scientific information to the WHO operational response teams. Her efforts involved the daily appraisal of a vast amount of critical literature on all aspects of the novel coronavirus relevant to the prevention of infection and the treatment of those infected.
When COVID-19 began to threaten not only the health of people worldwide but the economic prospects of entire countries and regions, NORA LUSTIG, the Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics and director of the Commitment to Equity Institute at Tulane, took action. She organized networks of Latin American economists and researchers to examine countries’ COVID-19 situations and policy responses, including one group that resulted in a partnership with the United Nations Development Program that focused on actionable items for governments, individuals and NGOs to support countries’ populations. Her collaborative COVID-19 work, including many publications and a letter to the G20, guides governments as they attempt to manage their response to the fallout of the pandemic.
Tulane National Primate Center Director JAY RAPPAPORT and SKIP BOHM, associate director and chief veterinary medical officer, are part of a team that established a COVID-19 research program at Tulane. The Center mobilized to become one of the first research facilities in the country to obtain approval from the Centers for Disease Control to receive samples of the novel coronavirus. It is the only National Primate Research Center with a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory onsite that is capable of the high level of biocontainment required to study an emerging infectious disease like COVID-19. It also has the nation’s largest capacity for studying the transmission of infectious agents in nonhuman primates at this level of biocontainment, which is critical as public health responders rush to understand and thwart disease spread.
TULANE UNIVERSITY RECEIVED AN ANONYMOUS $1 MILLION GIFT TO ESTABLISH A FUND FOR EMERGING RESEARCH IN INFECTIOUS DISEASE. THE FUND WILL HELP EXPAND TULANE'S CLINICAL TRIALS CAPACITY, ACCELERATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW MODEL SYSTEMS AND SUPPORT EFFORTS TO DEVELOP RAPID DIAGNOSTIC TESTS.
The National Institutes of Health awarded a $3.7 million grant to virologist DR. JAMES ROBINSON to launch the Tulane University COVID Antibody and Immunity Network.
The goal of this Serological Sciences Center of Excellence is to define the immune response to COVID-19 to determine how it protects individuals from infection and how long that protection lasts.
Led by local principal investigator DR. RICHARD OBERHELMAN, professor of tropical medicine and associate dean for global health, Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine has partnered with local healthcare providers to launch a COVID-19 study of patients and medical workers in New Orleans as part of a larger Centers for Disease Control effort to answer key epidemiological and clinical questions about the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control recently awarded $700,000 to a Tulane University team of researchers who are studying how the virus works and where and when it is shed. What they find could help explain why COVID-19 is causing higher death rates among Black and Hispanic residents of New Orleans. Tulane Assistant Professor of Medicine DR. DAHLENE FUSCO and her team are tracking patients from hospitals and clinics around the Greater New Orleans area in order to learn whether specific factors related to the virus or something within the host contribute to the higher fatality rate. They are collecting clinical, virus and serologic (antibody and cytokine) data from people diagnosed with COVID-19 and plan to follow patients for a year after their treatment for the virus.
DR. LAUREN TEVERBAUGH, Tulane School of Medicine pediatrician and child psychiatrist, was selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) as a Clinical Scholars Fellow. Fellows collaborate on a project to address complex health problems. Teverbaugh is a part of EmPOWER NOLA, a cohort of New Orleans healthcare professionals working to promote the treatment and support of children living with trauma. A recent survey of 5,000 youth by the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies found a high prevalence of children in the city living through profoundly traumatic events.
Director of Infectious Disease Aerobiology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center CHAD ROY, PHD, published a study that may explain why COVID-19 spreads so rapidly in highly populated spaces. Roy and his team sprayed viral aerosols into a slowly churning aerosol chamber and suspended them, continuously monitoring for any changes taking place. The researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 can stay viable and infectious for up to 16 hours in the air — much longer than similar viruses.