Skip to main content

On the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis

Research efforts and doing good for the community amid coronavirus

Northwestern faculty, staff, students and alumni are stepping up in response to the global crisis that is the coronavirus pandemic.

From high-impact research, drug trials and innovative new projects, scientists are helping mitigate COVID-19. In our communities, experts and volunteers are pitching in, performing tasks large and small to help lift up neighbors and those in need. On campus, the fabric of the University community is being remade in the digital space so everyone can work, learn and laugh together in ways that feed the soul and sustain us all.

In recent news, Northwestern Medicine has launched a registry, seeking 5,000 volunteers, for a Phase 3 trial to investigate the new AstraZeneca vaccine drug candidate.

Northwestern researchers uncovered a new vulnerability in the novel coronavirus’ infamous spike protein — illuminating a relatively simple, potential treatment pathway.

And, epidemiologist Mercedes Carnethon testified recently before the U.S. Senate on how to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on minority older adults.

COVID-19 Research

Scientists race to mitigate coronavirus

Brain scan

COVID-19 threatens the entire nervous system

About half of hospitalized patients have neurological manifestations of COVID-19, which include headache, dizziness, decreased alertness, difficulty concentrating, disorders of smell and taste, seizures, strokes, weakness and muscle pain, according to Northwestern Medicine.

Read more about neurological symptoms of COVID-19 >

AI speeds search for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines

Northwestern researchers are using artificial intelligence to speed up the search for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. A new AI-powered tool makes it possible to prioritize resources for the most promising studies while ignoring research that is unlikely to yield benefits.

See how the machine model works >

Lab equipment
Micro plate

Team develops new antibody test for COVID-19

As antibody testing ramps up across the country, Northwestern researchers have developed a new method for antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The method requires only a single drop of blood collected from a simple finger prick.

Read more about the test for coronavirus antibodies >

Monitoring COVID-19 from hospital to home

Researchers at Northwestern and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab have developed a wearable device and are creating a set of data algorithms to catch early symptoms associated with COVID-19.

See how doctors can monitor patients from home >

Wearable on the throat
Coronavirus test

Building a better COVID-19 test

Northwestern synthetic biologists have received funding to develop an easy-to-use, quick-screen technology that can test for infectious diseases like COVID-19. Similar to a pregnancy test, the tool uses one sample to provide a quick negative or positive. By simplifying a test, researchers could put diagnostics into the hands of people everywhere.

Read about the COVID-19 test  >

Super-charging coronavirus drug development

Researchers are ramping up production of a promising drug that has proven effective in obliterating SARS-CoV in cellular cultures. The team hopes that the drug might also be effective in the fight against SARS’s close genetic cousin, the novel coronavirus.

Check out the production method for the COVID-19 drug  >

Michael Jewett

Monitoring 7,600 COVID-19 patients at home

Monitoring 7,600 COVID-19 patients at home

A Northwestern Medicine home-monitoring program enables doctors to catch patients before their condition deteriorates, which improves their ability to treat them if they need to go to the emergency department.

look at daily COVID check-ins
Power of a pandemic

Power of a pandemic

As a social scientist whose research is focused on inequality and household well-being, Beth Redbird has chosen to focus on how the pandemic would change our social fabric.

Read about CoronaData U.S.
New drug target found

New drug target found

A multi-university team that includes Northwestern scientists has said new findings suggest drugs that had previously been in development to treat SARS could now be developed as effective drugs against COVID-19.

learn more about covid-19
Mask deactivates viruses

Mask deactivates viruses

To reduce the number and activity of viruses, researcher Jiaxing Huang’s team is investigating anti-viral chemicals that can be safely built into medical face masks to self-sanitize passing respiratory droplets.

read about the mask

Doing Good to Fight COVID-19

Lending a hand to the most vulnerable in the time of pandemic

Kids in school

A path to greater equity in education

More than 200 Chicago community organizations have come together in a new digital space designed by Northwestern learning sciences expert Nichole Pinkard. Her work improves access for Chicago children and helps them connect with friends and mentors, and it is especially valuable in the time of COVID-19.

Read about how My CHI. My Future. works >

COVID-19 got you down? These apps can help

A new Northwestern Medicine collection of mobile apps called IntelliCare is designed to help reduce the anxiety, depression and stress people are feeling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Learn more about how IntelliCare is helping people cope with the COVID-19 crisis >

Woman on phone
Hospital workers

Getting supplies in the right hands

To move vital medical resources during the COVID-19 pandemic where they are needed most, Northwestern University is collaborating with Chicago startup Rheaply to create a central hub that quickly connects Illinois healthcare providers with supplies.

Read how ERx helps combat the COVID-19 pandemic  >

Printing face shields to protect against COVID-19 infection

Powered by a single 3D printer, Northwestern researchers hope to make a meaningful dent in hospitals’ need for personal protective equipment (PPE). A critical piece of PPE, face shields protect health care workers from the coronavirus as they treat patients.

Watch the 3D printer make PPE  >


We felt doing nothing was not an option.”

First-year medical students Tricia Rae Pendergrast is co-organizer of the project Students Supporting the Community During COVID-19. The project has put more than 140 volunteers on the street to help the local community with shopping, virtual tutoring, collecting masks and more.

COVID-19 Analyzer fights misinformation

COVID-19 Analyzer fights misinformation

A team of Medill students is providing daily fact-checks on public statements about the ongoing pandemic. The COVID-19 Analyzer enables users to research stories, public statements and social media reports for accuracy.

read about the tool
Kellogg boost for local business

Kellogg boost for local business

Northwestern and Kellogg are partnering with the City of Evanston to provide strategic consulting support to local business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

see how the initiative works
Professor will aid Chicago recovery efforts

Professor will aid Chicago recovery efforts

Economist Ben Harris of Kellogg has been named to the Chicago COVID-19 Recovery Taskforce, which will advise city government as economic and social recovery planning gets underway.

read about the taskforce
Accelerating COVID-19 prison release efforts

Accelerating COVID-19 prison release efforts

Safe social distancing is virtually impossible in prison, and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law attorneys have been working to release detainees from Cook County jails, young adult prisons and detention centers.

learn about the clinic

Please take this seriously.”

This selfie video captures Northwestern Medicine professionals urging the public to do the right thing — step up and stay home to protect us all from the coronavirus outbreak.

Published: July 30, 2020. Updated: August 31, 2020.

Back to top