Public Health

11 vital coronavirus research findings you should know about

Andis Robeznieks , Senior News Writer

Although patients and physicians have been inundated with information regarding COVID-19, the JAMA Network™ journals have proven to be reliable sources of scientific fact and relevant information to drive clinical and public health decision-making during the pandemic.

Featured updates: COVID-19

Access the AMA's library of the most up-to-date resources on COVID-19, including articles, videos, research highlights and more.

“There appears to have been almost 100,000 articles published in journals regarding the COVID-19 pandemic—this output is just extraordinary,” JAMA Editor-in-Chief Howard Bauchner, MD, said during an early October episode of the “AMA COVID-19 Update” in which he commented on the COVID-19 “infodemic” and the more than 11,000 COVID-19 papers submitted to JAMA since Feb.1.

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“The volume of scientific output has increased dramatically,” Dr. Bauchner said. “So we're being literally inundated, pummeled with information. And I think one of the questions is: What's the signal-to-noise ratio? And I think that remains unclear.”

Since the COVID-19 public health emergency began, the JAMA Network™ journals have been chronicling the latest developments and publishing findings on what’s working and—sometimes, more importantly—what isn’t working. The journals have also noted some of the sociological impacts such as the inequitable impact of COVID-19 and the psychological strain on front-line health care workers.

Here are some of the more significant studies, reports and editorials.

  1. Characteristics of and Important Lessons from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in China: Summary of a Report of 72,314 Cases from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

    This early report, published as a Feb. 24 JAMA Viewpoint, summarized Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiological data on COVID-19 cases. It has been viewed by more than 1.8 million readers and gave the U.S. health care system a look at what it would soon face.
  2. Critical Care Utilization for the COVID-19 Outbreak in Lombardy, Italy: Early Experience and Forecast During an Emergency Response

    Similarly, more than 446,000 readers viewed a March 13 JAMA Viewpoint that reviewed an Italian hospital’s response as it went from one to 36 COVID-19 patients within a 24-hour span.
  3. Presenting Characteristics, Comorbidities and Outcomes Among 5,700 Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19 in the New York City Area

    The early COVID-19 epicenter in the U.S. was the state of New York, where the Northwell Health system cared for 20% of the COVID-19 patients. More than 907,000 readers viewed the April 22 JAMA study by Northwell researchers that offered key details on the COVID-19 patients who were admitted to 12 Northwell hospitals between March and April.
  4. Understanding and Addressing Sources of Anxiety Among Health Care Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    This April 7 JAMA Viewpoint is one of several essays that shed important light on the pandemic’s impact on doctors and other health professionals. COVID-19’s effect also was examined early with JAMA Network Open reports regarding front-line staff in China and Italy.
  5. COVID-19 and African Americans

    Also addressed early on was the pandemic’s impact on Black communities and essential workers. Almost 125,000 readers have viewed the April 15 JAMA Viewpoint column written by AMA member Clyde Yancy, MD, Northwestern Medicine’s chief of cardiology and vice dean for diversity and inclusion at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Yancy’s column was mentioned in more than 140 news articles.
  6. Pharmacologic Treatments for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A Review

    More than 1 million readers viewed the April 13 JAMA literature review of seven promising COVID-19 treatments. Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas conducted the review and identified remdesivir as the “most promising therapy,” but cautioned that it had not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Follow-up reports included an Aug. 21 JAMA study and an accompanying editorial on the efficacy of remdesivir in COVID-19.
  7. Treatment of 5 Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19 With Convalescent Plasma

    More than 1 million readers viewed this preliminary communication that appeared March 27 in JAMA. A randomized clinical trial of convalescent plasma published in JAMA in June drew another 100,000-plus views.
  8. Effect of High vs. Low Doses of Chloroquine Diphosphate as Adjunctive Therapy for Patients Hospitalized With Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Infection: A Randomized Clinical Trial

    More than 250,000 readers viewed this study that appeared April 24 in JAMA Network Open, amid intense interest in chloroquine’s potential efficacy given high-profile publicity from nonscientists. The results of another randomized clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine as pre-exposure SARS-CoV-2 prophylaxis for health professionals were published Sept. 30 in JAMA Internal Medicine and drew more than 180,000 views.
  9. Association of Use of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers with Testing Positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

    Amid concerns about the interaction between these heart medications and COVID-19, this May 5 JAMA Cardiology study found that patients should continue ACEI or ARB treatment following a positive COVID-19 test.
  10. Clinical Outcomes in Young U.S. Adults Hospitalized With COVID-19

    Some 134,000 readers have viewed this Sept. 9 JAMA Internal Medicine research letter that has been covered in more than 150 news stories. “COVID-19 does not spare young people,” wrote Mitchell H. Katz, MD, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, in an accompanying Editor’s Note.
  11. The COVID-19 Pandemic and the $16 Trillion Virus

    Not all the research has been clinical. This Oct. 12 JAMA Viewpoint by Harvard University economists demonstrates the financial impact of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Some of this total, however, can be viewed as an “investment” rather than a loss, says the essay, viewed nearly 80,000 times. “As the nation struggles to recover from COVID-19, investments that are made in testing, contact tracing, and isolation should be established permanently and not dismantled when the concerns about COVID-19 begin to recede,” the column says.

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Check the JAMA Network coronavirus resource center regularly for updates on COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment.