By Hellen Zaboulani
Researchers at NYU Langone launched a pilot study to develop protocols that could hopefully help reduce Covid-19 infections in nursing homes and skilled-old age facilities. As reported by Crain’s NY, the study, which began last Wednesday, will delve into the impact of two interventions on Covid-19 transmission. The first will comprise of testing nursing home residents and staff members for antibodies. The second step will include pairing a person with antibodies together with someone who does not have Covid-19 antibodies. “Vulnerability to Covid-19 goes both ways between nursing home staff and residents,” said Dr. Joshua Chodosh, director of the Freedman Center on Aging, Technology and Cognitive Health at NYU Langone. “We’re trying to see if antibodies can confer protection beyond the individual who has them.”
The research is being funded by the National Institute on Aging’s Impact Collaboratory, which is a part of the National Institutes of Health, in an effort to advance research and care of patients with dementia. The study, which has a budget of roughly $629,000, will include up to 300 residents and over 100 staff members in two nursing homes on the Upper East Side, Chodosh told Crain’s. The study will officially kick off in a few weeks, after participants and their families have been notified and agree to partake.
The randomized, controlled trial will run its course for a full year, and if the interventions are successful in reducing Covid-19 transmission and hospital admissions, then these strategies can be emulated in other diseases and health care settings, said Chodosh. “This has the potential to benefit not just nursing home residents and staff during this pandemic, but also for future life-threatening infections too,” he added.
The NYU Langone Medical Center is an academic medical center affiliated with the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, which is one of the country’s foremost medical schools, ranking 4th in research as per a U.S. News & World Report. NYU Langone has also undertaken other Covid-19 studies of late, including a study published in early October in the journal of Neurology online. That research indicated that the brain or nerve inflammations were not shown to immediately be invaded by Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2. “The results of our study showed no signs that the coronavirus directly attacks the nervous system,” says study lead investigator Jennifer Frontera, MD from the department of Neurology at NYU Langone Health. “The neurological complications seen in COVID-19 are predominately the secondary effects of being severely ill and suffering from low oxygen levels in the body for prolonged periods of time”.