Responding to COVID-19

With the rapid onset and spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) has moved swiftly to respond to many new challenges. 

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2019-nCoV (Credit: CDC)

More than 15 research teams have expanded their portfolios to accelerate COVID-19 research, building on established scientific principles. Global health experts and epidemiologists are furnishing policy makers both in the U.S. and around the world with analysis and tools to make informed, evidence-based decisions. Students and alumni are mobilizing and finding new ways to support their communities — and health systems — in their hour of need.

Collectively, GUMC’s contributions continue to help ensure that our community, country, and world are better equipped to manage the current crisis, as well as strengthening preparedness for the future.


Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (purple), isolated from a patient sample.

Shutting Down COVID-19 Virus’s Destructive Proteins with Aerosolized Molecules

GUMC researchers have successfully used molecules comprised of small strands of RNA to shut down the production of destructive proteins generated by the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, they are working to aerosolize the RNA molecules so that they could be incorporated in an inhalable drug that would mitigate viral chaos.

A medical professional administers a vaccine to the arm of an individual

Answering 7 Key Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines

When a vaccine to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 becomes available, clinicians will be critical in helping people make decisions about whether or not to receive the vaccine. Top vaccine experts offer key questions clinicians might expect from patients, and guidance on how to derive evidence-based answers.

COVAT COVID-19 Vaccine Analysis Team logo

Top Vaccine Experts Join Forces to Provide Objective Perspective and Analysis as COVID-19 Vaccine Data Emerge

At a time of growing skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines, an ensemble of some of America’s most trusted vaccine scientific experts has launched the COVID-19 Vaccine Analysis Team, or COVAT, to provide rapid and objective expert analysis and communications on emerging information on COVID-19 vaccines.

A woman receives a mammogram

Georgetown Lombardi Oncologists Encourage Patients to Keep Up with Cancer Screenings

A multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists at Georgetown Lombardi weighs in on what patients should do about cancer screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shelves for bread are mostly empty in a grocery store

Food Insecurity Caused by Coronavirus May Have Long-Term Health Consequences

Research by Aline de Souza, PhD, and Kathryn Sandberg, PhD, suggests that those struggling with food insecurity caused by the pandemic may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Suzie Stephenson in full personal protective equipment wearing a shirt with the Biomedical Graduate Education logo

Grad Student Uses Skills Honed at Georgetown to Help DC Fight Coronavirus

When the pandemic forced Georgetown to move to a virtual setting and research labs were temporarily shuttered, Suzie Stephenson (G’17, G’22) drew upon her training in virology to make a difference as a volunteer research intern with the DC Public Health Laboratory.

Leveraging Our Strengths

While the COVID-19 pandemic presents the medical and scientific community with unprecedented challenges, the unique nature of the virus provides for wide-ranging areas of scientific and public health exploration. From the lab to the clinic to the policy space, GUMC is building on its existing expertise to address some of the most pressing questions surrounding this pandemic.

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Research Projects

The unique nature of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19, provides for wide-ranging and potentially impactful areas of scientific exploration and understanding. The medical center is supporting 15 teams of investigators conducting research that covers a remarkable breadth and depth of critically important problems related to COVID-19.

Read About Our Research Projects

A world map with countries affected by COVID-19 highlighted in blue

Global Health Centers

Center for Global Health Science and Security: Developed in response to calls from local governments for more information on how to protect their communities, the GHSS, in partnership with NTI and the Center for Global Development, developed the COVID-19 Frontline Guide, an online tool featuring eight indicators of progress for self-assessment and seven key actions that each include checklists of decision points.

Center for Global Health Practice and Impact: The CGHPI team is currently working in several countries to tap into and support local communities of practice around public health issues including COVID-19 — leveraging the connections and innovation at the local level and linking local health service delivery with national policymaking.

A computer illustration of the SARS CoV-2 virus particles with antibody symbols and DNA double helix

Clinical Trials Involving COVID-19

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, in collaboration with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, began a study to test for specific virus antibodies in people with cancer, who are vulnerable to COVID-19, as well as employees of the hospital or GUMC employees working in a hospital setting.