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COVID-19 Initiatives

The Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine is actively engaged in a number of exciting research projects in order to advance our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on pediatric patients.  Our experience in caring for patients in the epicenter of the US crisis affords us with a unique opportunity to learn from among the largest cohort of COVID-19 positive pediatric patients in the world. 

Our faculty members are engaged in a variety of research efforts, including translational, clinical, health services and medical education research efforts. These efforts span across institutions within New York City, the United States, and the world. 

Some of these varied and interesting projects, and publications, are listed below.

COVID-19 Pediatrics Department PUBLICATIONS

Acker KP, Schertz K, Abramson EL, DeLaMora P, Salvatore C, Han JY. Infectious Diseases Diagnoses of Children Admitted with COVID-19-like Symptoms during an Outbreak in New York City. Clinical Pediatrics, July 2020. 

Grinspan ZM, Mytinger J, Baumer F, Ciliberto M, Cohen B, Dlugos D, Chellamani H, Hussain S, Joshi S, Keator C, Knupp K, McGoldrick P, Nickels K, Park J, Pasupulelti A, Patel A, Shahid A, Shellhaas R, Shrey D, Singh R, Wolf S, Yozawitz E, Yuskaitis C, Waugh J, Pearl J. Crisis Standard of Care: Management of Infantile Spasms during COVID-19. Annals of Neurology.  In Press.

Grinspan ZM, Mytinger J, Baumer F, Ciliberto M, Cohen B, Dlugos D, Chellamani H, Hussain S, Joshi S, Keator C, Knupp K, McGoldrick P, Nickels K, Park J, Pasupulelti A, Patel A, Shahid A, Shellhaas R, Shrey D, Singh R, Wolf S, Yozawitz E, Yuskaitis C, Waugh J, Pearl J. Management of Infantile Spasms during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Child Neurology.  In Press.

Joyce, Christine L., Howell, Joy D., Toal, Megan, Wasserman, Emily,  Finkelstein, Robert A., Traube, Chani, Killinger, James S. MD, Joashi, Umesh, Greenwald, Bruce M.,  Nellis, Marianne E.. Critical Care for Coronavirus Disease 2019: Perspectives From the PICU to the Medical ICU. Critical Care Medicine: July 28, 2020, Volume Online First - Issue: doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000004543 

Maria Lame, David Leyden, Shari L. Platt. Geocode Maps Spotlight Disparities in Telehealth Utilization During the COVID-19 Pandemic in New York City. Telemedicine and e-Health. Online ahead of print, August 26, 2020. 

Levine D, Fraymovich S, Platt SL.  Where Have All the Children Gone? Pediatric Perspectives on COVID-19 in New York City. Annals of Emergency Medicine. Vol 76 (1): 109-110. July 2020.

Lala Tanmoy Das, Erika L. Abramson, Rainu Kaushal. Reopening US Schools in the Era of COVID-19: Practical Guidance from Other Nations. JAMA Network. Online 6/30/2020:

Naik, N., Finkelstein, R. A., Howell, J., Rajwani, K., & Ching, K. Telesimulation for COVID-19 ventilator management training with social-distancing restrictions during the Coronavirus pandemicSimulation & Gaming. [OnlineFirst, ahead of Issue]. 2020. doi: 10.1177/1046878120926561: 

Perlman J, Oxford C, Chang C, Salvatore C, Di Pace J.Delivery room preparedness and early neonatal outcomes during COVID19 pandemic in New York City. Pediatrics. 2020; doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-1567. PubMed: Accepted.

Christine M Salvatore, Jin-Young Han, Karen P Acker, Priyanka Tiwari, Jenny Jin, Michael Brandler, Carla Cangemi, Laurie Gordon, Aimee Parow, Jennifer DiPace, Patricia DeLaMora. Neonatal management and outcome during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.  Published online July 23, 2020.

Medical Education Research (Dr. Erika Abramson)
Principal Investigator: Erika Abramson MD, MS

Dr. Abramson is involved in a series of national medical education research projects designed to understand the impact of the COVID pandemic on residency and fellowship training projects across the country.  As part of a national research team, Dr. Abramson will participate in a series of national research studies targeting pediatric residents, chief residents, fellows, residency program directors, and fellowship program directors to understand their experiences, the impact on training, and best practices for how programs can prepare for future waves of pandemics.  


Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Children (Dr. Erika Abramson / Dr. Zachary Grinspan)
Principal Investigator: Erika Abramson MD, MS
Co-Principal Investigator: Zachary Grinspan, MD, MS

The purpose of this broad and overarching study is to improve our understanding of the epidemiology including, but not limited to, causes, risk factors, clinical manifestation, diagnosis, transmission, treatment and prevention, of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) specifically in pediatric patients, including newborn infants born to COVID positive mothers. Where applicable, the study will also analyze clinical data to improve our understanding of, including but not limited to, healthcare access and services utilization, social and behavioral determinants of health, health disparities and patient outcomes related to COVID-19.

Chronic Kidney Disease and COVID-19 (Dr. Oleh Akchurin)
Principal Investigator: Oleh Akchurin, MD, PhD

Dr. Akchurin is the primary investigator of the Weill Cornell Medicine study that aims to understand the significance of chronic kidney disease (CKD) as an underlying condition associated with adverse outcomes of COVID-19 across age categories. The study team, which includes pediatric residents and WCM Department of Medicine investigators led by Mary E. Choi, MD, in close collaboration with the WCM research informatics (ARCH) group (Thomas Campion, PhD, MS) has developed a WCM cohort of COVID-19 positive patients with underlying CKD. Investigators are assessing the outcomes of COVID-19 in this cohort, in comparison to the general population, and working on identification of CKD-specific predictors of adverse outcomes of COVID-19 in patients with CKD.


Stool Samples of Infants Born to Mothers with SARS-CoV-2 Infections (Dr. Jin-Young Han in collaboration with Jill Roberts Institute)
Principal Investigator: Jin-Young Han, MD, PhD

The purpose of this study is to prospectively collect stool samples from infants born to a mother with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infect at birth.  The collected stool will be tested later for SARS-CoV-2 infection, immune and trans-kingdom microbiome analysis. 

This project is a collaboration with The Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Weill Cornell Medicine.



Infectious Diseases Diagnoses of Children Admitted with COVID-19-like Symptoms during an Outbreak in New York City (Dr. Jin-Young Han)
Principal Investigator: Jin-Young Han, MD, PhD

The purpose of this study is to retrospectively review previously collected medical records on all children who were admitted to the Phyllis and David Komansky Children’s Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center with COVID-19-like symptoms during the early weeks of the New York City outbreak to determine if these children had SARS-CoV-2 or some other infection.  This study is an important first step in identifying the best way to clinically diagnose which children have COVID-19, and which do not.


Epidemiology of Pediatric Emergency Department during COVID-19 (Dr. Deborah Levine / Dr. Shari Platt / Dr. Susan Fraymovich)
Principal Investigator: Deborah Levine, MD
Co-Investigator: Shari L. Platt, MD
Co-Investigator: Susan Fraymovich, DO

This is a retrospective observational study of epidemiology of the patients presenting to the pediatric emergency department during COVID-19 (3/1/20-6/1/20) compared to one year prior (3/1-19-6/19) using the INSIGHT database. We hope to compare acuity between both groups.  


Comparison of Pediatric Patients Hospitalized during COVID-19 as Compared to Those during Pandemic H1N1 (2009) as Compared to Seasonal Flu (2019-2020) (Dr. Deborah Levine / Dr. Shari Platt / Dr. Susan Fraymovich)
Principal Investigator: Deborah Levine, MD
Co-Investigator: Shari L. Platt, MD
Co-Investigator: Susan Fraymovich, DO

This study will evaluate a variety of indicators of morbidity and clinical characteristics including PICU admissions and mortality. This will be collaboration between Komansky Children's Hospital and Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.


Manuscripts submitted: 

  • Pediatric Emergency Resource Reallocation during COVID-19
    This a descriptive study of WCM's response to COVID-19.  Submitted to Annals Emergency Medicine.
  • Where Did All the Children Go? 
    Narrative submitted, and accepted for publication in Annals Emergency Medicine


Blood Utilization Among COVID-19 Hospitalized Patients in New York City: An INSPIRE Database Study  (Dr. Marianne Nellis)
Principal Investigator: Marianne E. Nellis MD, MS

During a pandemic, due to the requirement of social distancing and the closure of donor centers, the blood supply is threatened. We must prepare blood centers for surges of coronavirus in their areas, and our area for a second surge, as well as help providers in their decisions to transfuse. We seek to use INSPIRE data to describe blood utilization in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic including clinical characteristics of recipients and clinical outcomes. We are collaborating with the Departments of Pathology and Medicine.


Immune Development of Infants Born from Covid-19 Mothers (Dr. Virginia Pascual)
Principal Investigator: Virginia Pascual, MD

This project intends to recruit 200 pregnant mother-infant pairs in the United States and Central America (Panama), where a network of pediatricians involved in maternal-fetal immune monitoring is already in place. The overall goal of this proposal is to comprehensively characterize the clinical, immunologic, virologic variables and outcomes of COVID-19 infection in mother-infant pairs and to assess the development of the immune system, including responses to routine vaccinations, in infants from pregnancy-infected mothers during the 1st year of life. 


Epigenetic Priming of Inflammatory Genes in COVID-19: Potential Insights into Pathogenesis and Prognosis (Dr. Virginia Pascual)
Principal Investigator: Virginia Pascual, MD

This study will examine the role of “Trained Immunity” in predisposition to severe Covid-19 outcome. The proposal is based on preliminary data obtained as a collaboration between the Josefovicz and Pascual labs addressing how the epigenetic reprogramming of innate immune precursors might predispose children with autoinflammatory diseases to exaggerated responses to subsequent inflammatory triggers. The hypothesis is that Covid-19 patients suffering from “cytokine storms” are epigenetically predisposed to innate immunity-related morbidity. 


WelCoME-C: Weill Cornell Medicine Employees Cohort (Dr. Silvia Formenti / Dr. Virginia Pascual)
Principal Investigator: Silvia C. Formenti, MD
Co-Principal Investigator: Virginia Pascual, MD

This protocol is being submitted under the leadership of Dr. Silvia Formenti and intends to develop a comprehensive longitudinal cohort to capture COVID-19 patients at Weill Cornell Medicine. The study will recruit employees, and will identify patients, integrating the electronic medical record to include clinical and laboratory factors such as COVID-19 viral load, anti-COVID19 antibodies, patient age, and comorbid diseases. Importantly, it will acquire and store samples for viral studies and genetic associations, as well as immune monitoring, to identify predictors of outcomes. Virginia Pascual (co-PI) will work with other members of the team to develop strategies and protocols for sample acquisition and storage.


Delivery Room Preparedness and early Neonatal Outcomes during COVID-19 Pandemic in New York City (Dr. Jeffrey Perlman)
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey M. Perlman, MB, ChB

This study describes the preparations and precautions put in place for deliveries of COVID positive mothers in the delivery room, and the experience of 326 deliveries, of which 31 (9.7%) were COVID positive.

  • Perlman J, Oxford C, Chang C, Salvatore C, Di Pace J. Delivery room preparedness and early neonatal outcomes during COVID19 pandemic in New York City. Pediatrics. 2020; doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-1567 (Accepted) PubMed:


Impact of SARS-CoV-2 on Children with Asthma (Dr. Perdita Permaul / Dr. Stefan Worgall)
Co-Principal Investigator: Perdita Permaul, MD
Co-Principal Investigator: Stefan Worgall, MD, PhD

The Pediatric Asthma Program and the Division of of Pediatric Pulmonology, Allergy & Immunology are developing a comprehensive biorepository and database to understand the impact and consequences of SARS-CoV-2 on children with asthma. Given the high exposure of children in New York City to SARS-CoV-2 during the recent weeks, our research program will survey asthma and COVID-19 symptoms, and collect blood and nasal samples during and following the epidemic that will inform on host responses as well as on the impact of environmental and social factors of this novel disease.

Perinatal COVID-19 Infection: An Observational Registry (Dr. Christine Salvatore)
Principal Investigator: Christine M. Salvatore, MD, MS

Dr. Salvatore will provide long term follow-up of the neonates born to mothers positive for SARS-CoV-2 at time of delivery to evaluate the impact of this infection in newborns. This is a multicenter observational registry which will involve four of the NewYork-Presbyterian hospitals affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine (NYP Phyllis and David Komansky Children Hospital, NYP Brooklyn Methodist, NYP Lower Manhattan Hospital, NYP Queens).

Pediatrics Weill Cornell Medicine Appointments & Referrals: (646) 962-KIDS (646) 962-5437 Chair's Office: Weill Cornell Medicine 525 E 68th St.
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New York, NY 10065 (646) 962-5437