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Coronavirus Research at URMC

University of Rochester Medical Center scientists and clinicians are at the forefront of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evaluating a Coronavirus Vaccine

Our researchers need individuals of all ages to join COVID-19 research studies.

Volunteer for a COVID-19 Study

Physicians and scientists at URMC are investigating coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca. Both vaccines are being evaluated in phase 3 studies, which is the final stage of human testing prior to regulatory approval, production and mass distribution. Individuals interested in volunteering for a vaccine study can visit  or call (585) 276-5212. Because COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on people of color, our researchers are working with community partners to invite Black and Latinx individual to participate in vaccine trials.

Testing Potential Treatments for Coronavirus

URMC is participating in a range of clinical trials testing potential treatments for COVID-19, including remdesivir and convalescent plasma. With patients’ needs top of mind, URMC clinicians and researchers are working together to conduct clinical trials that offer our patients and community the most promising experimental treatments. Learn more about our latest coronavirus-related clinical studies and join our research registry to be alerted of future opportunities to participate in clinical studies.  

Examining the Immune Response to COVID-19

Scientists launched a coronavirus research study to understand how the immune system responds to COVID-19 infection, including how long immunity lasts once a person has been infected and recovered. The findings will help scientists figure out how long potential vaccines could protect against the virus. Learn how you can volunteer for a coronavirus research study.

Another study by URMC researchers suggests that the seasonal colds you’ve had in the past may provide some protection from COVID-19. It showed that the COVID-19-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2, induces long-lived immune cells called memory B cells. These cells appear to attack cold-causing coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2, which could mean that anyone who has been infected by a common coronavirus – which is nearly everyone – may have some degree of pre-existing immunity to COVID-19.

Coronavirus in Nursing Homes

URMC research shows that residents from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds and their caregivers bear the severest brunt from COVID-19 across the entire spectrum of US nursing homes and assisted living communities. Rochester scientists also found that six months into the pandemic, more than 20 percent of nursing homes in the US reported severe shortages of staff and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Developing Tests for Coronavirus

A $5 test that detects COVID-19 from a nasal swab within 15 minutes received FDA Emergency Use Authorization in August 2020 for use by doctors, nurses, school nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers. Evaluated in a clinical trial at URMC, the test uses the same technology as a urine pregnancy test and is just as simple to use.

Studying COVID-19 and Breast Milk

A collaborative project between researchers at URMC, New York University and University of Idaho is examining whether mothers can transmit COVID-19 through breast milk and whether the breast milk itself has immunological properties against the disease. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the study could result in critical guidance for current and soon-to-be mothers. 

Examining the Effects of COVID-19 on Child and Adult Lungs

The Lung Development Molecular Atlas Program (LungMAP) and the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP) collaboratives are examining human lung tissue to determine why children seemingly contract COVID-19 at a lower rate and remain more asymptomatic than older populations.

Identifying Disease Patterns

The New York State Emerging Infections Program (EIP) is part of the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's national effort to provide population-based communicable disease data to identify disease patterns, evaluate vaccine programs, and to identify at-risk populations. The URMC EIP is performing laboratory and population-based surveillance for COVID-19 as part of a multi-site national study. The group is collecting a variety of demographic and clinical data that will be reported to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Monroe County Department of Public Health.

Interested in Participating in Coronavirus Research?

Sign up for our research registry to be alerted of new opportunities to participate in health research (you can select COVID-19/Coronavirus as an area of research interest).