April 06, 2020

U-M researchers launch a wide range of efforts to study and address coronavirus pandemic

Rapid university-wide effort now under way to identify and support opportunities to understand and stem the effects of the global COVID-19 health crisis

Images showing the response of human cells in a laboratory setting to treatment with different combinations of existing drugs.

An example of U-M research on COVID-19: Images showing the response of human cells in a laboratory setting to treatment with different combinations of existing drugs. The approach, enhanced with artificial intelligence, aims to speed the discovery of new treatments.

Research projects and innovations related to COVID-19 have ramped up quickly across the University of Michigan, spurred by doctors, public health experts, scientists, economists and engineers, and encouraged by research leaders.

Dozens of these projects are listed on the new U-M COVID-19 Research Index, at myumi.ch/umor-covid, and more will soon be added. The projects listed are in various stages of development, from planning to fully launched, and some will require additional regulatory review or funding before proceeding.

Some studies, including tests of promising drugs in patients, are already underway or being planned at Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center.

Patients seeking COVID-19 care at U-M hospitals and clinics may have access to new drugs and devices through clinical trials that will also produce much-needed data to inform care elsewhere. Analyses of data and best practices from COVID-19 care at U-M is already fueling the development of guides for teams caring for COVID-19 at hospitals anywhere.

Other projects, like modeling work by several School of Public Health faculty, are helping policymakers in Michigan and India make informed decisions on policies regarding social distancing, resource management and economic impact and recovery.

Meanwhile, U-M has committed to providing the infrastructure needed for many longer-range studies. These include efforts to identify and develop potential targets for vaccines and treatments, optimize prevention and care strategies, develop new technologies, predict the virus’s effects on individuals and communities, and measure and respond to a wide range of societal effects from the pandemic.

“These are indeed challenging times, but I am confident the generation of scientific knowledge across the University of Michigan will play a critical role as we work together to find solutions to this pandemic,” said Rebecca Cunningham, U-M vice president for research.

News about new research projects, clinical initiatives and more is being shared at news.umich.edu/coronavirus and michmed.org/COVIDnews

U-M is the nation’s largest public research university, with an annual research spending budget of more than $1.6 billion. Michigan Medicine is one of the nation’s largest academic medical centers, with 1,000 hospital beds on its main medical campus, a COVID-19 field hospital being developed, and a network of outpatient care facilities and partnerships with other health care institutions.