NIGMS is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to highlight the urgent need of documenting COVID-19-related patient outcomes among medically underserved populations.
Coronaviruses are a diverse family of viruses that cause a range of disease in humans and animals. There are currently no approved coronavirus vaccines or therapeutics. In January 2020, a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was identified as the causative agent of an outbreak of viral pneumonia centered around Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Current information regarding confirmed cases is changing daily and can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and through other sources. Transmission characteristics and the associated morbidity and mortality are not completely understood, but there is clear evidence of human-to-human transmission. Fatality rates of COVID-19 patients among racial and ethical minorities, and residents of rural areas and underserved urban communities appear to be significantly higher than that of other populations. Documentation of COVID-19-related outcomes of patients from medically underserved populations is crucial to understanding the impact and to effectively combating the pandemic. The IDeA-Clinical Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) networks are uniquely positioned to address this need; they are located in IDeA states that typically have less access to medical research resources and are focused on addressing health challenges of medically underserved populations .