Five hundred hospital employees at St. Luke’s Hospital will participate in a CDC funded study called the RECOVER Study. Led by Dr. Harmony Tyner, St. Luke’s prepares to move into the forefront of the war on COVID-19 along with other prominent healthcare systems. These healthcare systems operate on the front line of the war on COVID-19 to save lives and improve patient care and investigate how this novel coronavirus impacts patients and healthcare workers. A groundbreaking study, RECOVER, can help answer what are today’s important unanswered questions about COVID-19.
The RECOVER Study
The RECOVER Study (“Research on the Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Emergency Response and Healthcare Personnel”) is sponsored by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Abt Associates. In the RECOVER Study, participants will take a weekly test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19. This study can have major implications for the treatment of the virus. The idea was developed by Dr. Harmony Tyler, an infectious disease doctor who started sketching out the concept back in March. Dr. Tyner submitted the idea to the CDC for funding, and as it turned out, CDC was considering a comparable study; hence St. Luke’s was asked directly to participate.
Researchers will review what percentage of patients with COVID-19 are symptomatic and how long the virus sheds if antibodies to COVID-19 protect these individuals from reinfection and how long it takes to develop antibodies to COVID-19 as well as the duration of immunity.
St. Luke’s will enroll 500 healthcare workers to participate in RECOVER. The hospital will focus on efforts to ensure that individuals from all different demographic cohorts are represented. Prospective participants will fill out a qualifying questionnaire. Once an individual is enrolled, they will be requested to complete weekly symptom assessments via text messages, weekly noses swabs for COVID-19, and periodic blood draws in search of COVID-19 antibodies. This study will conclude in May 2021.
Along with St. Luke’s, the six organizations involved with RECOVERY include Kaiser Permanente, Scott and White, Baylor, the University of Arizona, the University of Miami, and the University of Utah. St. Luke’s is partnering with the Whiteside Institute for Clinical Research, a joint effort between St. Luke’s and the University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth campus, to conduct the study in Duluth.
Principal Investigator Point of View
Dr. Tyner recently commented for a St. Luke’s press release, “This project is groundbreaking, and it’s exciting to be part of.” She continued, “It will help us answer many of the questions that everyone is trying to answer about the epidemiology of COVID-19. It will also allow us to learn more about what infection with COVID-19 looks like in real-time. That knowledge, in turn, enables us to limit the impact of this virus locally and globally.”
About St. Luke’s
Based in Duluth, Minnesota, St. Luke’s is a non-profit healthcare system including two hospitals and over 40 primary and specialty care clinics as well as two pharmacies serving the people of northeastern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Founded in 1881, the healthcare system has grown from a local hospital to a regional system serving the upper Midwest, yet maintains a local patient-centric culture and focus. With 2,956 employees and 275 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, the healthcare system also employs 513 physicians and APCs on medical staff; the system supports 684,245 clinic visits and 167,387 outpatient registrations.
St. Luke’s Research
St. Luke’s operation is a Clinical Research division centering on oncology, cardiovascular, and pulmonary conditions. The Whiteside Institute for Clinical Research is St. Luke’s research department performing phase 2, 3, and 4 clinical trials.