CORONA (COvid19 Registry of Off-label & New Agents) Project
Director/Lead Investigator: David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc
A partnership between the CDCN and Penn Center for Cytokine Storm Treatment & Laboratory (CSTL)
Inspired by Dr. David Fajgenbaum and the CDCN’s success identifying repurposed treatments for Castleman disease that are saving his life and others, we launched the CORONA Project in March 2020 to identify and track all treatments reported to be used for COVID-19. CORONA is the world’s largest database of COVID-19 treatments, covering 350+ medications that have been administered to 250,000+ patients, helping researchers to prioritize treatments for clinical trials and inform patient care.
Our best hope of saving lives while vaccinations are underway is to find more effective treatments right now. We must continue to look at repurposing existing medications. While there have been several notable failures in drug repurposing for COVID-19, a handful of drugs, including dexamethasone, have likely helped save tens of thousands of lives. We’ve identified 10 additional medications that, in collaboration with researchers at the FDA and elsewhere, we’re hoping to move into large, well-designed trials.
This repurposing approach follows the blueprint that led to the development of novel treatments for Castleman disease. Dr. Fajgenbaum, also a patient with iMCD, discovered and began testing one of these drugs on himself in 2014 and is in his longest remission ever (more here). The CSTL opened up a clinical trial of this drug last fall. For more about this approach, check out this video. Click the button below to access CORONA.
Interested in joining our team? We’re hiring!
Managing Director – more information here.
Program Manager – position to be posted soon.
Bioinformatician/Computational Biologist – position to be posted soon.
Research Coordinator – three positions to be posted soon.
In May 2020, we completed a systematic review of treatments given to the first 9,152 COVID-19 patients reported in 2500+ papers, which was published in Infectious Diseases and Therapy: Treatments Administered to the First 9152 Reported Cases of COVID-19: A Systematic Review – PennMedicine Press Release
In spring 2020, dexamethasone was identified as a promising treatment approach from data in CORONA months before it was proven effective through a large clinical trial. Inhaled interferon was similarly identified as a promising agent before a trial demonstrated its effectiveness.
In July 2020, Dr. Fajgenbaum presented about the CORONA Project during the University of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Symposium.
In fall 2020, JAK1/2 inhibition was identified as a promising approach for severe COVID-19 through research in the CSTL (paper under review). The JAK1/2 inhibitor baricitinib was subsequently found to be effective in a large clinical trial.
In fall 2020, we launched CORONA Insights, a page where we will periodically share posts summarizing key findings uncovered in the CORONA database.
In December 2020, CORONA Director, Dr. David Fajgenbaum, co-authored an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on Cytokine Storm, which involves the immune system attacking vital organs. This can occur in Castleman disease and COVID-19.
In January 2021, CORONA partnered with a cancer research institute to expand its scope. We are preparing to hire 6-8 full time employees. Please email CSTL@pennmedicine.upenn.edu if you are interested in learning about these positions.
You can visit the following link to access a database viewer built and managed by Matt Chadsey, owner of Nonlinear Ventures.