June 30, 2021
On June 11, 2021, The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) co-hosted a full day of virtual COVID-19 research presentations in collaboration with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). The presenters were a combination of HJF, USU, WRAIR, and other Military Health System scientists who have been combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The presentations kicked off with an introduction and welcome from HJF President and CEO Dr. Joseph Caravalho. “Since 1983, HJF has supported the critical work being done by our DoD partners to make our Nation’s warfighters more agile, resilient, and survivable. Faced with the magnitude of challenges of this global pandemic, the talented men and women of the military medical departments poured their energy and collective intellectual horsepower into studying SARS-CoV-2 as part of the Whole of the Nation approach to combatting COVID-19.”
COVID-19 Research Day included more than 30 presentations on topics, including machine learning to predict severe COVID-19 infection, vaccine development and testing, therapeutics research, impact on pediatric patients and future pandemic response considerations. Additionally, two panel discussions interspersed the presentations, while a third offered a summarizing discussion of the many topics showcased throughout the day.
HJF presenters included:
- Dr. Sandhya Vasan, Director of the HJF Component of Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) & Emerging Infectious Disease Branch (EIDB) at the WRAIR, moderated the presentations.
- Dr. Brian Agan, Deputy Science Director of the USU Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program, presented on the Epidemiology, Immunology, and Clinical Characteristics of Emerging Infectious Diseases with Pandemic Potential (EPICC) study, whose research aims to identify risk factors for COVID-19 in the military population, understand the symptoms and disease course, and investigate clinical outcomes.
- HJF’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Merlin Robb, presented on infection rates among pediatric patients in the United States. Dr. Robb is a trained pediatrician and served as HJF’s Program Director in support of MHRP for 17 years.
- Dr. Shelly Krebs, Chief of the B Cell Biology Core at MHRP, presented research on novel monoclonal antibodies (mAB). Her group is working with EIDB to identify and characterize promising mAbs, a type of immunotherapy that may have applications for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
- Dr. Bethany Dearlove, an evolutionary biologist with the Viral Genetics Section at MHRP, presented on the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and the variants of concern emerging as the virus continues to spread across the globe.
“The breadth of research presented at the COVID-19 Research Day was astounding, and we are gratified to have convened this event with co-hosts USU and WRAIR,” said Dr. Caravalho. “HJF is proud to stand alongside all our DoD partners, encouraging collaboration and supporting the ongoing fight against COVID-19.”
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) is a global nonprofit that administers more than $500 million in medical research funds annually. For more than 35 years, HJF has partnered with researchers and clinicians to provide bench to bedside to battlefield research support. More than 3,000 HJF teammates perform as trusted and responsive partners by providing scientific, administrative, and program operations services to researchers in the military, academia, and private industry. For more information, visit hjf.org.
Although the event was co-hosted by HJF, WRAIR, and USU, the information or content and conclusions do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of, nor should any official endorsement be inferred on the part of, USU, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.