We are nearly nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and Geneva has continued to escalate our response in pursuit of effective vaccines, novel therapeutics, rapid diagnostics, and appropriate countermeasures. Our team of investigators, collaborators, and research professionals are working tirelessly to better detect, prevent, treat, and eventually eliminate COVID-19 and the illness that results from infection. We are grateful to be part of the global effort to eradicate this virus.
Geneva is well-positioned to continue the fight against COVID-19. As a leading organization that drives military medical research around the world, Geneva is grounded in experience with a 27-year history of success. We are building upon this history to address COVID-19, one of the most serious infectious diseases of this time. To do this, we are doing what we do best by relying on our proven track record of advancing excellent science, using knowledge gained from research addressing global infectious disease threats, to include Ebola, Malaria, MERS, Sudan virus, and Lassa virus. Our infectious disease research, combined with our scientific and technical program management expertise, puts Geneva in a unique position to support the fight against COVID-19. There are several examples of this focus in action.
OPERATION WARP SPEED: DELIVERING A SAFE AND EFFECTIVE VACCINE
Operation Warp Speed is a public-private partnership that aims to deliver 300 million doses of safe, effective vaccines for COVID-19 by January 2021. Under Operation Warp Speed, Geneva is supporting the conduct of clinical trials for two lead COVID-19 vaccines at six military treatment facilities nationwide. Geneva is proud to lead the onsite support needed to operationalize these trials to ensure vaccine efficacy and safety. In collaboration with global partners including CRO Pharm-Olam, Geneva is providing critical support in the development and execution of these clinical trials.
PIVOTING RESEARCH TO FIGHT COVID-19
Geneva Senior Scientist Dr. Andrew Herbert, at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), is part of an international consortium called Prometheus that is developing monoclonal antibody therapies against COVID-19. This antibody therapy is expected to protect against not just the virus, but also related pathogens that may threaten public health outcomes. In a recent article by The New York Times, the Prometheus antibody treatment, which was initially studied as a treatment for the Ebola virus, is cited as expected to be in human trials for coronavirus in late December and “may be worth the wait.”
Geneva Senior Research Scientist and Geneva’s 2019 Researcher of the Year Dr. Andriy Batchinsky is pioneering wearable life support to change critical care. The lung support and renal technology vest device permits patients to receive ambulatory care at home or at the point-of-injury, reducing the need for ICU beds, and allowing patients to be free of ventilators while conscious and mobile. This important research could have a powerful impact on COVID-19 patients on ventilators, reducing the burden on already overwhelmed hospitals and allowing patients to be free of ventilators while conscious and mobile.
Dr. Amy Shurtleff, a Geneva scientist at USAMRIID, is working with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to coordinate multiple clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates under development.
LEVERAGING EXISTING COLLABORATIONS
Geneva’s work in advancing groundbreaking and impactful medical research is vital to the health and safety of millions of people around the world. As needs escalated in response to the pandemic, we deepened our commitment to the partners with whom we work.
We’re proud of our unique collaborations that supported the development of Remdesivir early on, which became the first drug approved by the FDA to treat coronavirus.
Another team of clinical and technical experts who were already working together on projects convened to provide urgently needed comprehensive telehealth services in order to bring critical care resources to every bedside. Under the leadership of Principal Investigator LTC Christopher J. Colombo, MD at Madigan Army Medical Center, this team was selected to rapidly develop and deploy a National Telecritical Care Network for COVID-19.
The proliferation of improvised masks during the pandemic raised questions of effectiveness and safety. Several Geneva researchers, with the support from Madigan Army Medical Center, conducted important research to test the quality and efficacy of six types of mask filters used in healthcare settings to reduce COVID-19 transmission. Two researchers from this study, Dr. Lammers and Dr. Eckert, were the recipients of Geneva’s 2019 L.T. Murray / Joint Base Lewis McChord Small Grant Competition.
THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS
The events of 2020 have proven that together we can do amazing things. Thanks to the vision, collaboration, and expertise of our research teams and collaborators, we have accelerated efforts to understand and contain the coronavirus at a scale and speed that was unimaginable just a few months ago. We are equally appreciative of our donors, who have demonstrated their commitment to empowering and enhancing research, enabling our teams to tackle formidable challenges from many angles.
Generous donations have enabled Geneva to respond to the pandemic in a variety of ways, including donating COVID-19 test kits to facilities in need, and providing financial support to individual researchers and research programs. Donor contributions have also allowed Geneva to financially support nursing researchers via the Jonas-Geneva Scholarship, a partnership between Jonas Philanthropies (Jonas) and Geneva that funds doctoral candidates seeking to improve healthcare for veterans and military personnel. Navy CDR Melissa Troncoso MSN, NP-C, CHWC was recently selected as the recipient of this scholarship and is currently working to create a culture of health in the military.
This is a once-in-a-generation call to serve to which we are proud to respond. Thank you for your support of our ongoing work to advance medical research on behalf of military and civilian populations worldwide.
We appreciate your unwavering support of Geneva’s mission.
Elise W. Huszar, MBA
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Geneva Foundation