Newswise — Creighton University and its clinical partner CHI Health have been selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to participate in a study about the effects of COVID-19 following the acute illness. 

The study, “Clinical Characteristics of Post-Acute COVID-19,” involves examining the effects of COVID in those who exhibited significant symptoms of the disease, says Maureen Tierney, MD, chair of the Department of Clinical Research in the Creighton School of Medicine and medical director for clinical research for CHI Health. Tierney is serving as the principal investigator of the study for Creighton/CHI Health.

The study, Tierney says, aims to take a broad look at the epidemiology of post-acute COVID to determine what percentage of people exhibited symptoms, including neurologic or pulmonary issues, after a clinical case of COVID-19. The study will review the course of the disease in several hundred patients beginning two weeks after hospitalization or acute illness. 

The CDC chose three partner institutions to participate in the study: CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center - Bergan Mercy, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Mount Sinai Medical School and Health System in New York City. Partner institutions will provide medical data to the CDC, which will analyze the information and draw conclusions. 

“I think the fact that we’re one of three sites being chosen for this is a real honor and a real opportunity,” Tierney says. “We were chosen because of the combined academic and clinical partnership, and, most importantly, because of the large number of patients treated for COVID-19 who came from diverse ethnic and geographic backgrounds.”

CHI Health has a vast footprint in Nebraska and southwest Iowa with 14 hospitals in metro and rural settings. In 2020, CHI Health/Creighton providers led the care of COVID -19 patients across the state.

“I think there was an interest in looking at individuals who had acquired the virus in communities where meatpacking is prevalent, and also because those communities were diverse in terms of location, ethnicity and occupation,” Tierney says.

Other CHI Health physicians and Creighton faculty involved in the study include: Renuga Vivekanandan, MD; David Quimby, MD; Nikhil Jagan, MBBS; Salam Salman, MD; Rima El-Herte, MD; Ryan Walters, PhD; and Venketraman Sahasranaman, MD. The investigators will work with a small team of medical students and internal medical residents. The clinical research coordination team will be led by Kayleen Joyce, market director of research for CHI Health. Sandy Byers, program director of the Creighton School of Medicine’s Clinical Research Office, and her team will also provide support.