News Release

New nationwide collaborative study to determine factors that predict disease severity and long-term health impacts of COVID-19

Researchers at CU Anschutz are part of the 37 academic medical center cohort

Business Announcement

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

A new nationwide study of more than 50,000 individuals is underway to determine factors that predict disease severity and long-term health impacts of COVID-19.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are part of the NIH-funded study, the Collaborative Cohort of Cohorts for COVID-19 Research (C4R) Study, which includes 37 academic medical centers across the country. Participants in C4R are currently enrolled in 14 long-term studies at cohort institutions.

The new collaborative study will be able to answer important questions about COVID-19 that cannot be answered by smaller, individual studies that have been set up to study COVID-19.

David A. Schwartz, MD, professor of Medicine and Immunology and the Robert W. Schrier Chair of Medicine, along with Joyce Lee, MD, associate professor of Medicine, are PIs of the C4R study at CU Anschutz that specifically focuses on the effects of COVID-19 on patients at risk for pulmonary fibrosis and those who already have pulmonary fibrosis. The major cause of death from COVID-19 is respiratory failure with pulmonary vascular injury, while viral pneumonia occurs in virtually all COVID-19 hospitalized patients.

The overall goal of the COVID-19 Research Study is to leverage the existing infrastructure, processes, data, and biospecimens from available existing patient populations to establish a cohort of cohorts with various types of heart and lung diseases to rapidly launch assessments of the involvement of pulmonary, cardiovascular, and hematologic dysfunction in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality among diverse populations.

"Now that we have a handle on preventing and treating COVID-19, we need to figure out the long-term consequences of this infection, especially among those with chronic heart and lung conditions," said Schwartz.

The study in Schwartz and Lee's multi-ethnic cohort includes more than 3,000 highly phenotyped and genotyped participants with interstitial lung disease (ILD).

Within the two-year study, participants are invited to complete a questionnaire regarding their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, they will be asked if they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, what symptoms they experienced and for how long, and whether they required hospitalization. Medical records will be reviewed to assess cardio-respiratory hospitalizations, and there will be a collection of blood, serologies and nasal samples from participants. Schwartz and Lee are already beginning to plan ancillary and follow-up studies looking into the broader effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the relationship to interstitial lung disease.

Internationally renowned pulmonary investigators, Schwartz and Lee have a depth of expertise and a multidisciplinary approach to their research. Lee developed the interstitial lung disease (ILD) program at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, which reaches out to patients who have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other lung ailments, including those at risk of developing interstitial lung disease. Schwartz and his team have defined the genetic causes of ILD, is working on develop genetically targeted treatment for this disease, and had created a global idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) network that includes more than 10,000 patients with IPF emerging from 30 sites around the world.


About the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is a world-class medical destination at the forefront of transformative science, medicine, education, and patient care. The campus encompasses the University of Colorado health professional schools, more than 60 centers and institutes, and two nationally ranked independent hospitals that treat more than two million adult and pediatric patients each year. Innovative, interconnected and highly collaborative, together we deliver life-changing treatments, patient care, professional training, and conduct world-renowned research. For more information, visit

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