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Challenge to define the Natural History of COVID-19


We do not have strong data on how long it takes someone to go from infection to symptoms, to inpatient then to final disposition due to all the moving parts of this epidemic.

As we try all sorts of different treatments, whether officially (clinical trials) or not, we need to know what the natural history of the disease looks like to see if a therapy has any effect -not really ethical for us to have a placebo control arm at this point, and there is no defined standard of care.

The problem is that no one group seems to have a large enough sample size, particularly to account for the moving effects of test availability, methods of treatments et c. that have changed so much over the past few months.

The large data and computing capacity here may allow for these “environmental” variables to be considered. Additionally, in the future in case there are any genetic variations which may cause some therapies work better than others that could also be examined.

The major thing is to get the “cleanest” description of the development of symptoms, progression and the development of complications and disposition of COVID-19 essentially providing the real world “control” data.

Happy to answer any questions/ discuss more.

(Mark Shapiro) #2

Hi, my team is working on this right now. We have a registry in which we’re collecting daily symptoms and medication from anyone who wants to join (whether or not they have COVID-19). Already we have people in the sample that have tested positive, but the goal was an empirical assessment of symptoms from before infection to after recovery. Happy to share more and collaborate with this group. BEAT19.org is the Web site. Please consider signing up and sharing the link with your network. We’re working to convert our database to OMOP so that it can be de-identified and shared. We’re also working with a number of collaborators in industry and academic to define testable hypotheses and develop the analyses.


That sounds like a great project, thank you for the information. I will definitely check it out.
Hoping the group with access to the large amount of EHR can pick out some trends from existing data as well.

I will contact your group through the beat19.org email and maybe further our collaboration.
Thanks again.