CTSI Awards Rapid Response Pilot Grants for COVID-19 Research



UCSF Surgeon-scientist Lucy Kornblith, MD (principal investigator) and her mentee, Zachary Matthay, MD (co-principal investigator) were awarded two grants for their proposed COVID-19 related research by the UCSF COVID-19 Rapid Response Pilot Grant program supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health (sponsored by the UCSF Academic Senate, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and the Research Development Office).


The first award ($40K) will support their proposed prospective study entitled “CO-ACIT: COVID-19 Associated Coagulopathy, Inflammation, and Thrombosis.” The primary aims of this investigation are to comprehensively characterize the coagulation abnormalities in COVID-19 patients and to identify the alterations in coagulation profiles that are most associated with thrombotic complications in these patients, such as the development of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. This will be accomplished by measuring whole blood viscoelastic clot formation and platelet function, coagulation and inflammatory biomarkers, and classical coagulation assays in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. They anticipate the results will provide additional insight into the mechanisms of coagulopathy attributable to COVID-19 and may support the development of future interventional studies to investigate the role of anti-thrombotic therapies for patients with COVID-19.

The second award ($5k) supports a multi-center observational study entitled “The DISTANCE Study: Discovering the Impact of Social-Distancing on Trauma Epidemiology and Resources during the COVID-19 Epidemic.” This study will analyze comprehensive injury data regionally at centers throughout California to measure the changes in trauma epidemiology and the impact of resource limitations on trauma care during the COVID-19 era. The results are expected to inform trauma care and resource allocation during future pandemic level responses. 


COVID-19 Contact Tracing


Another Rapid Response Pilot Grant ($40k) went to principal-investigator Aaron Wolfe Scheffler, PhD, MS, along with John Kornak, PhD, and Travis Porco, PhD, MPH, co-principal investigators, all three from the department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, to start modeling the effectiveness of contact tracing to help guide local decision-making.


Contact tracing has been identified as a promising tool to control the COVID-19 epidemic without relying on universal shelter-in-place orders but the efficacy and social impact of applying contact tracing for COVID-19 are not well understood or optimized.


The study team proposes to quantify and optimize the effect of manual contact tracing regimes on health and social outcomes (e.g. daily incidence and number quarantined) in the city of San Francisco via an agent-based simulation model in order to provide support and context for mitigation strategies to combat the COVID-19 epidemic.


For more details on this research, see related article: Researchers will measure contact tracing’s impact on the local COVID-19 trend line