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Are Children Making Antibodies That Will Protect Against Future COVID-19 Infections?

More than 50 research studies to understand, detect, treat and prevent the novel coronavirus in children and families have launched at Seattle Children’s since the virus emerged in late 2019. The following post is part of the “Quest(ion) for Discovery” series highlighting this research in progress and the search for answers that could result in major scientific breakthroughs that save lives and slow the spread of the virus.

When Dr. Janet Englund, a member of the Center for Clinical Translational Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, received news in late February that a Seattle Children’s patient had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and represented the first example of community transmission in Washington state, she knew things as we knew them were never going to be the same.

Englund, who has long studied respiratory viruses and their transmission in children and frequently provides her expertise as part of national scientific advisory panels, believed we were facing something very different from any pandemic Seattle – or the world for that matter – had ever seen before.

She and her collaborators quickly proposed supplements to their existing studies primarily focused on seasonal influenza, so they could begin to learn about how the new coronavirus impacts children. One study, which she discusses in greater detail here, asks: Are children making antibodies that will protect against future COVID-19 infections? Read full post »

How Might COVID-19 Reshape this Generation of Children?

More than 50 research studies to understand, detect, treat and prevent the novel coronavirus in children and families have launched at Seattle Children’s since the virus emerged in late 2019. The following post is part of the “Quest(ion) for Discovery” series highlighting this research in progress and the search for answers that could result in major scientific breakthroughs that save lives and slow the spread of the virus.

An expert in screen time for children, Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis, leads a team of researchers out of Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development. In a recently published editorial in JAMA Pediatrics, Christakis argues that it’s critical to focus on overlooked decisions, such as the return to school, in the wake of the COVID-19 surge because of its lasting implications for children.

Here, he shares research his team has proposed to understand some of the effects of COVID-19 on child development and wellness while addressing the question: How might COVID-19 reshape this generation of children? Read full post »

Should Schools Go Screen-Free: Study Reveals Significant Portion of U.S. Middle and High Schools Do Not Limit Phone Use During Lunch or Recess

The latest screen-time related research from Dr. Pooja Tandon, a child health and development expert at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, was inspired by her oldest son.

“When my son entered middle school, I learned that students in many middle and high schools were allowed to have their phones with them at all times,” Tandon said. “I looked into this a bit more and found that even in schools where policies limited use during class, cell phones could still be used unrestricted during lunch and recess.”

This struck Tandon, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, whose research focuses on promoting healthy active and outdoor play for children and teens.

“My fellow pediatricians and I follow guidelines that recommend children and teens enjoy two hours of age-appropriate recreational screen time a day,” she said. “Yet, many children may be spending most of their waking hours in school with what could be unsupervised and unrestricted access to their phones.” Read full post »

Do Llama Nanobodies Hold the Secret to Fighting COVID-19 in Humans?

More than 50 research studies to understand, detect, treat and prevent the coronavirus in children and families have launched at Seattle Children’s since the virus emerged in late 2019. The following post is part of the “Quest(ion) for Discovery” series highlighting this research in progress and the search for answers that could result in major scientific breakthroughs that save lives and slow the spread of the virus.

At Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Dr. John Aitchison co-leads the Center for Global Infectious Disease Research, the largest pediatric infectious disease research group in the U.S.

Aitchison’s lab and a team of scientists from Rockefeller University are researching how nanobodies produced by a llama’s immune system can be used to develop a therapy that eliminates COVID-19 in humans. Here he answers the question: Do llama nanobodies hold the secret to fighting COVID-19 in humans? Read full post »

Can a Greater Understanding of COVID-19 in Children Reduce the Overall Impact of the Coronavirus?

More than 50 research studies to understand, detect, treat and prevent the coronavirus in children and families have launched at Seattle Children’s since the virus emerged in late 2019. This is the first post in a new weekly series called “Quest(ion) for Discovery” highlighting this research in progress and the search for answers that could result in major scientific breakthroughs that save lives and slow the spread of the virus.

As the senior vice president and chief academic officer at Seattle Children’s, Dr. Leslie R. Walker-Harding helps set the vision for Seattle Children’s Research Institute, one of the top five pediatric research programs in the country. Here she addresses the question: Can a greater understanding of COVID-19 in children reduce the overall impact of the coronavirus?

Read full post »

Kawasaki Disease in Children with COVID-19

Although children don’t typically fall seriously ill from the new coronavirus, doctors in Europe are now expressing concern that children with COVID-19 have developed mysterious symptoms that mimic those appearing with Kawasaki disease.

On the Pulse asked Dr. Michael Portman, pediatric cardiologist and director of the Kawasaki Disease Clinic at Seattle Children’s, to help break this emerging issue down for parents and caregivers. Read full post »

Zeroing in on COVID-19

A curb side initial screening for COVID-19 symptoms allows nurses to determine if a patient needs isolation before entering the Emergency Department. (Slide 1/6)

If a patient is showing potential symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to be cared for in the hospital, then they are admitted to Seattle Children’s Special Isolation Unit (SIU). This photo was taken during a recent simulation training in the SIU. (Slide 2/6)

Dr. Whitney Harrington, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, plans to launch a study that will provide valuable epidemiological data from a community cohort on who’s becoming infected, when they’re becoming infected, and who’s getting sick from the infection. (Slide 3/6)

The Coler Lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute is using their expertise to support the clinical trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine. (Slide 4/6)

Another collaborative research effort led by Dr. Peter Myler, a principal investigator at Seattle Children’s, has already contributed findings about for vaccine development efforts and new knowledge generated daily is expected to aid in drug development. (Slide 5/6)

Children and teens trying to make sense of what the COVID-19 pandemic means for their families and communities may feel more worry than usual. Any caregiver can take steps to help children and teens cope during this stressful time. (Slide 6/6)

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When health officials learned a Seattle Children’s patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in late February, it sent a ripple through health and scientific communities nationwide. It was the first example of community transmission in the state of Washington, indicating the virus causing COVID-19 had likely been spreading in Seattle and the surrounding region undetected.

It was a moment Seattle Children’s had prepared to face since establishing an incident command center more than one month prior. From this command center, teams from across the organization met to support advance planning and coordinate actions for a potential COVID-19 surge in the region.

“Before there were any confirmed cases in the U.S., Seattle Children’s anticipated the potential for an outbreak in our region,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, Seattle Children’s Chief Executive Officer. “Over the past several weeks, we have provided specialized training for our team, established strict protocols for health and hygiene, and consolidated essential supplies so that we would be ready to protect our patients.”

Now other cities are turning to Seattle for insight on what to expect as the growing pandemic reaches their communities. On the Pulse offers a behind the scenes look at how the leading pediatric hospital and research institute at the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak is responding to this quickly evolving global health issue. Read full post »

Childhood Tics: Will My Child Outgrow Them or is It Something More?

Childhood tics come in all shapes and sizes. Tics can range from a subtle nasal sniff or throat clearing to a more severe head snap or vocal outburst.

Tics that start in elementary school and continue during adolescence are also common. According to Dr. Dararat Mingbunjerdsuk, a neurologist that specializes in movement disorders at Seattle Children’s Neurosciences Center, up to 10-20% of school-age children may exhibit a tic at one point in their life.

“Tics that come and go are the most common cause of movement disorder we see in the clinic,” she said. “The vast majority of children eventually outgrow their tics or the tics become less frequent or less severe as the person enters adulthood.”
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For Mother-Daughter, Science and Medicine Run in the Family

Dr. Bonnie Ramsey (left) and Dr. Ann Dahlberg (right), are not only mother-daughter but also fellow clinical researchers and at Seattle Children’s.

When Dr. Bonnie Ramsey entered medical school at the advice of an undergraduate professor in the early 1970s, she and her female classmates at Harvard Medical School were still among the early coteries of women to pursue careers in science and medicine.

“We were the first bolus of women,” Ramsey said, using the medical term to describe their injection into a field dominated by male physicians. “It was interesting. When you are the first cohort, there is a tendency to compete with each other rather than work as a team.”

Since finding her footing in those early days, Ramsey has pioneered therapies improving the lives of children with cystic fibrosis (CF). Today, she leads all clinical research efforts at Seattle Children’s as the director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

Her career will no doubt leave a lasting impact for the future physicians, researchers and women that will follow her, but for Ramsey, it’s a personal legacy that makes her most proud. Over the last decade, she’s watched her daughter enter the medical field and become a formidable physician-scientist in her own right.

“I am so incredibly proud of her,” Ramsey said. “Watching what she has to juggle and balance is in some ways harder for me than doing what I did with no real generation ahead of me to look to for guidance.” Read full post »

Ellie Soars Thanks to Breakthrough Cystic Fibrosis Therapy

Ellie Osterloh, 17, participated in the clinical trial for Trikafta, a breakthrough cystic fibrosis therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2019. Photo courtesy of Audrey Redfern.

When 17-year-old Ellie Osterloh spins high above the ground from a lyra, a circular hoop used in aerial acrobatics like Cirque du Soleil, she feels empowered.

“On the lyra, it’s an incredible feeling to be so high in the air with no harnessing,” Ellie said. “It’s a lot of adrenaline and I feel like I can do anything.”

Now, thanks to Trikafta, a new drug approved in October 2019 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ellie, who participated in the clinical trial for the drug, shares a similar zeal for her future.

“Even though it’s hard sometimes to be so optimistic, I’ve always thought it might be possible to go to college and have kids and a family of my own,” she said. “It’s crazy how my outlook has changed. I’m still processing all the possibilities.”

That’s because Ellie has lived her entire life with cystic fibrosis, a rare, progressive, life-threatening disease. She had her first appointment with Dr. Bonnie Ramsey, the director of Seattle Children’s Center for Clinical and Translation Research, still in her mother’s womb. Hours after birth she was transferred to Seattle Children’s where she began intensive therapy that she’s continued over the last 16 years.

“This is a really big step forward for Ellie and other people living with cystic fibrosis,” said Ramsey, a pioneer in cystic fibrosis treatment. “Ellie is a highly talented young lady with a bright future ahead of her.” Read full post »