CORONA Project

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 in 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 500+ medications that have been administered to 340,000+ 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 – more information here.

Bioinformatician/Computational Biologist – more information here.

Research Coordinator – more information here.

Key Milestones

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 ReviewPennMedicine 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 spring 2020, Dr. Fajgenbaum highlighted the CORONA Project’s progress and lessons from Chasing My Cure on the following outlets: NPR’s Fresh Air, 6ABC, KTLA, FOX5, ABC7, and WRAL.

In summer 2020, the CORONA Project was profiled by the following outlets: Boston Globe, ABC’s 20/20, and CNN.

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.  

If you are a physician treating COVID-19 patients, please visit the FDA’s CURE ID app to report de-identified information about drugs you’ve used to treat COVID-19 in just a couple minutes.

Click here for up-to-date treatment guidelines from the NIH.

For synthesized data specifically on COVID-19 and cancer, please see the Reboot: COVID-Cancer Project

Please email johnson.khor@pennmedicine.upenn.edu if you are interested in contributing to this project by reviewing through published papers and extracting out information about drugs being used to treat COVID-19.

Or, if you’d prefer, you can donate to support and enable this critical work at https://cdcn.org/join-the-fight/donate/

Acknowledgments:

We are grateful to our current team members who have taken on this urgent need:

David Fajgenbaum, CSTL Director
Johnson Khor, CSTL Coordinator and COVID19 Project Lead
Sheila Pierson, CSTL Clinical Research Director
Ruth-Anne Langan, PhD Student and COVID19 Data Analyst
Alek Gorzewski, ACCELERATE Data Analyst and COVID19 Data Analyst
Mileva Repasky, CDCN Chief Patient and Development Officer and COVID19 Data Analyst
Joseph Kakkis, UPenn BS Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Madison McCarthy, Brown University BS Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Anne Taylor, OSU MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst

Erin Napier, University of Hawaii MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Lia Keyser, Brown University BA Recipient and COVID19 Data Analyst
Dr. Duncan Mackay, PennMedicine Physician and COVID19 Data Analyst
Alex Beschloss, UPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Anna WingUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Ashwin AmurthurUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Beatrice GoUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Casey KimUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
James GermiUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Joanna JiangUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Laura MiyarnesUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Michael MayerUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Philip AngelidesUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Sarah FranklUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Vivek NimgaonkarUPenn MD Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Steve Bambury, University of Pittsburg BS Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst
Nick Goodyear, Temple University BS Candidate and COVID19 Data Analyst 

We are grateful to our Phase II team members who have continued this important work:
Alex Beschloss, Anne Taylor, Ashwin Armurthur, Aura Enache, Beatrice Go, Biliana Rotse, Bruna Martins, Cheng Cheng, David Bright, Derek Ansel, Dorothy Kenny, Edward Shadiack, Evaggelia Nassis, Florence Porterfield, Gary Gravina, Hadis Williams. Heather Farley, Helen Eisenach, James Germi, Jayson Wisk, Jenna Pacheco, Joanna Jiang, Joseph Kakkis, Joshua Deffenbaugh, Karen Gunderson, Kate Chang, Kevin Freiert, Kristen Stegeland, Lindsay Muratore, Maggie Reilly, Margareta Sorenson, Matt Pepper, Megan Fisher, Meggie Goodridge, Meryt Hanna, Monica Lucurara, Nicole Engelhardt, Philip Angelides, Philip Rybczynski, Sarah Frankl, Sarah VanFleet, Shah Makujina, Trisha Paryil, Vivek Nimgaonkar

Partners:

Doctor Evidence’s (DRE) platform enables researchers to identify and discover evidence for analysis to generate actionable data insights far beyond human capabilities. The recent Coronavirus pandemic has shown the world the ever-increasing need to process voluminous amounts of data in real-time.  DRE is happy to support Dr. Fajgenbaum and his team’s vision for finding a COVID-19 cure through a systematic literature review. To learn more about this collaboration, check out this press release in Business Wire.  

 

Matt Chadsey founded Nonlinear Ventures to help communities and organizations leverage best practices in systems thinking, portfolio management, economic valuation, and data visualization to make better investments in communities and the environment. He is excited to support the work of CDCN and help make its innovative research accessible worldwide!

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