This application is being submitted in response to Notice Number: NOT-TR-20-011 to highlight the urgent need for research on the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and is an administration supplement to our parent grant. The outbreak of COVID-19 and the life-threatening acute respiratory syndrome caused by the virus (SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV) have led to a severe, global public health crisis, and economic disruption. Sadly, in this epidemic, NYC is the epicenter of epicenters. Some neighborhoods in NYC have been more exposed than others to COVID, and there seems to be clear correlation with the prevalence of COVID and its severity between certain ethnic and racial populations. Importantly, it is recognized that biology factors alone do not exclusively account for disease outcomes in those stricken with Covid-19. Social determinants have a significant impact on various health-related outcomes such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, kidney and lung disease (1,2). Evidence also indicates that a myriad of social risk factors- such as low income, poor education, minority race or ethnic background- coupled with inadequate community housing and resources, together with limited health care access and decreased health utilization, results in poor health outcomes and increased susceptibility and severity to Covid-19 (3-14). For this study, we assembled a multidisciplinary team from Weill Cornell Medicine's Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC); Englander Institute for Precision Medicine (EIPM), the Weill Cornell's Center for Health Equity. The initial study will be conducted with the New York Presbyterian (NYP) Hospital health care system database involving ?hotspot? areas in NYC with COVID. The NYP network is the largest healthcare system by bed counts in New York City and is on the frontlines of the struggle against the COVID pandemic. By discerning the interaction/relationship of the biology with the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), we will gain further insight into why certain racial and ethnic groups are more susceptible to Covid -19, and why they develop the more severe forms of the virus. Furthermore, if we are able to identify the especially vulnerable, and provide adequate isolation and early medical intervention in the disease process- then we can save lives. Protecting and providing preventive and early care for the vulnerable would also allow the remainder of society to interact in daily activities and prevent the economy from a major collapse. The less vulnerable who are out in society would on average develop mild coronavirus infections. Consequently, once the larger and mildly affected less vulnerable population recover and gain natural immunity, the risk to the most vulnerable would fall dramatically and the country would stabilize.
The overall goal of this research is to determine the biological and social determinants of health that collectively explain the marked racial/ethnic variations in COVID-19 severity and outcomes. Recent reports from the NYC Department of Health and elsewhere strongly suggest that underserved minority populations and especially African Americans and Hispanics have much higher COVID-19 fatality rate when compared to Caucasians and Asians (1-3). The reasons for such these disparities are not known. biological determinants and such as access to care, adequate housing, and occupation may represent major risk factors for acquiring Covid-19 and especially a more severe manifestation of Covid-19. We hypothesize that defining the biological factors and determining the interrelationship with Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) in combination with clinical factors will provide clarification as to why certain racial and ethnic groups are more susceptible to Covid -19, and to developing the more severe forms of the disease.
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