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COVID-19 Research Areas

COVID-19 Research Areas


Seattle Children’s is a leader in detecting and diagnosing COVID-19 infection in children. We detected the first case of community spread in the U.S. in February 2020 and now lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) efforts in chronicling pediatric cases of COVID-19 via viral and antibody testing.

Our researchers are working to improve diagnostics and surveillance so we can better understand how the virus is transmitted in children. Seattle Children’s also aims to shorten the timeline between test and diagnosis so those impacted can quickly isolate and be treated.

Some questions under investigation

  • Diagnostics: How can we better diagnose SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19?
  • Improving Speed of Diagnosis: How can we more rapidly test for COVID-19?
  • Surveillance: How is the coronavirus being transmitted in children and adults?
  • Prevalence in the Healthcare Setting: What is the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibody in healthcare workers on the frontline?

Defining and Understanding

Respiratory diseases cause significant morbidity and mortality in children, but COVID-19 is different. Children seem to have been largely spared. It’s critical we uncover the reasons the virus affects children differently than other populations. Learnings can help protect those who are most vulnerable. We must also work to understand the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic so we can prepare to support our communities for what’s to come.

Seattle Children’s is focused on uncovering why this coronavirus affects children differently than other populations, and understanding the mental health impact on children and families.

Some questions under investigation

  • Epidemiology: What is the COVID-19 virus epidemiology in Seattle Children’s patients and healthcare workers?
  • Population Disparities: Why are different demographics experiencing varying levels of impact?
  • Wellness: What is the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and families, and what can we do about it?
  • Impact on the Healthcare Workforce: What can we learn from healthcare workers on the COVID-19 frontline to inform applicable workforce support services?
  • Navigating Stress and Building Resilience: How can we put a scientifically backed resilience coaching program into the hands of patients, families and staff that need it?

Treatments and Therapies

Our researchers are working together to better understand how COVID-19 functions in the body and its structural components. Findings will help design treatments and therapies to alleviate symptoms and stop virus spread.

Some questions under investigation

  • Neurological Impact: How is the brain affected during a COVID-19 infection?
  • Nanobodies: Could nanobodies produced by a llama’s immune system be used to test for and treat COVID-19 infections in humans?
  • Immune Response: How does the body respond to the virus and produce a protective response?
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS): How can we reduce the prevalence of ARDS to save lives?
  • Structural Genomics: What are the structural secrets of SARS-CoV-2 and how can we use findings to design therapies and treatments?


Our researchers are working on strategies to prevent COVID-19 infections in the future, including the development of a vaccine. The work our team is doing in virus detection, defining and understanding the virus and developing a toolkit of knowledge to better treat the virus, will allow us to quickly pivot to prevent the virus in the future.

Example of question under investigation

  • Vaccine: How can we quickly develop and test a vaccine?

Learn More

Learn more about Seattle Children's Research Institute's COVID-19 Research.


Interested in Partnering With Us?

To learn about partnering with Seattle Children’s Research Institute on COVID-19 research projects, please email the Office of Science-Industry Partnerships

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