Investigators Call for Treatment Centers to Join COVID-19 Global Registry

May 15, 2020
Grant M. Gallagher

A new first-of-its-kind global registry aimed at sharing real-time information on hospital care and ICU admissions could expand the scope of SARS-CoV-2 research.

A new first-of-its-kind global registry aimed at sharing real-time information on hospital care and ICU admissions could expand the scope of SARS-CoV-2 research. And investigators behind the project are asking any treatment center with interest to participate.

Mayo Clinic and the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) partnered to launch the Viral Infection and Respiratory Illness Universal Study (VIRUS), a global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) registry which would shed light on varying treatment patterns around the world.

The registry has gathered information on more than 5000 patients from 81 clinical sites since its initial launch on March 31. The healthcare sites in the registry span 8 countries thus far. The VIRUS dashboard contains data on ICU discharge details, types of medical support received including mechanical ventilation, and demographic information.

The registry collates anonymized clinical data using an extensive Mayo Clinic database. Research sites can access their own data at all times and submit research proposals to use the VIRUS dataset for research.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced unprecedented challenges to healthcare systems worldwide, but we live in a more connected world and we must work together and learn from each other’s experiences to help reduce the severity of the impact," Rahul Kashyap, MBBS, MBA, Mayo Clinic investigator said in a statement. "This dissemination of aggregated knowledge shared in a single database in a timely manner will be essential for comparative effectiveness studies. It will be a game changer."

The registry hopes to rectify issues that arose from what developers call a lack of cohesion during the early stages of recent Ebola outbreaks.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic numbers grew, it quickly became apparent that anecdotal and opinion-based medicine was proliferating along with the virus," Allan J. Walkey, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine, Boston University, and co-principal investigator for the VIRUS study, said in the statement. “We saw an urgent need for reliable data that could be used to guide decision making for this surge of critically ill patients.”

Any COVID-19 treatment center is encouraged to participate, according to investigators.

The project is intended to last a full year and to provide data for future studies on COVID-19. The study team points toward the possibility of a second pandemic wave, arguing information gathered now will help optimize response in the future.

The VIRUS study team will also aim to use the project in order to establish infrastructure for quick data collection and dissemination that would be a model for coordinating future international pandemic response efforts.