At Oslo University Hospital, the ClinVir Research group, headed by Susanne G. Dudman, is setting up an observational study on the newly discovered emerging SARS- CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infection. The study has been approved by the Regional Ethics Committee and internally at OUS, so that inclusion of confirmed COVID-19 cases admitted at the hospital can start immediately including the first patients needing hospitalisation. The plan is to include more hospitals in other parts of Norway, starting with Akershus University Hospital. The study is anticipated to provide much needed data on the course of the COVID-19 infection, as well as generating knowledge about the virus and its transmission.
Project leader is specialist in medical microbiology and infectious diseases, dr. Jan Cato Holter. The research team consists of other experts from both Ullevål hospital and Rikshospitalet.
Infectious disease is the single biggest cause of death worldwide. New infectious agents, such as the SARS-CoV-2, require investigation to understand pathogen biology and pathogenesis in the host. In order to develop a mechanistic understanding of disease processes, such that risk factors for severe illness can be identified and treatments can be developed, it is necessary to understand pathogen characteristics associated with virulence, the replication dynamics and in-host evolution of the pathogen, the dynamics of the host response, the pharmacology of antimicrobial or hostdirected therapies, the transmission dynamics, and factors underlying individual susceptibility.
In our study will include the following:
- Describe the clinical features of the illness or syndrome
- Describe, where appropriate, the response to treatment, including supportive care and novel therapeutics.
- Observe, where appropriate and feasible, pathogen replication, excretion and evolution, within the host, and identify determinants of severity and transmission using highthroughput sequencing of pathogen genomes obtained from respiratory tract, blood, urine, stool, CSF and other samples.
- Characterise, where appropriate and feasible, the host responses to infection and therapy over time, including innate and acquired immune responses, circulating levels of immune signalling molecules and gene expression profiling in peripheral blood.
- Understand transmissibility and the probabilities of different clinical outcomes following exposure and infection.
- Facilitate effective triage and clinical management of patients with infections relevant to this protocol
- Determine infectivity and appropriate infection control measures of the various pathogens
- Develop clinical guidance documents and offer clinical recommendations to policy makers on the basis of evidence obtained
- Understand the broader epidemiology of COVID-19 infection through studying potential contacts and asymptomatic individuals in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health