N3C Mobilizes Patient Data to Study COVID-19: Featuring the Immunosuppressed/Compromised & Diabetes/Obesity Domain Teams

National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C)
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National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C)

Built and launched in just a few short months, the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) was established with researchers from more than 300 institutions. Whether you’re a clinician, statistician, data scientist, or translational scientist of any kind, there are numerous ways to participate. The N3C Data Enclave opened on September 2nd and now has over 1 million patient records (over 1 billion rows of data from more than 35 institutions), and over 1200 researchers representing every US state, as well as several foreign countries.

To enable researchers with shared interests to analyze data within the N3C Data Enclave and collaborate efficiently in a team science environment, 15+ Domain Teams have been organized. These multi-disciplinary teams, composed of clinical and subject matter experts, statisticians, informaticists, and machine learning specialists, focus on clinical questions surrounding COVID-19's impact on health to facilitate the collection of pilot data for grant submissions, training of algorithms on larger datasets, and the use tools for large-scale COVID-19 data. In this issue, we feature the Immunosuppressed/compromised and Diabetes/Obesity Clinical Domain Teams.

The Immunosuppressed/Compromised (ISC) Clinical Domain Team co-led by Amy Olex, Senior Bioinformatics Specialist at Virginia Commonwealth University; Roslyn Mannon MD, FASN, University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Vithal Madhira, Palila Software,

Amy OlexRoslyn Mannon, MDVithal Madhira

aims to gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 affects patient populations with suppressed or compromised immune systems. Their initial research will focus on persons with HIV, solid organ transplant patients, and patients with autoimmune disorders, including skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis and eczema. The team will also identify areas of research for the ISC populations that will require additional in-depth study at a level that the N3C data may not be able to provide. Through this research, a better understanding will be gained for how various types, levels, and durations of immunosuppression or compromise contribute toward ISC patient outcomes following COVID-19 infection. The team has been approved to access data in the N3C Data Enclave for their project: N3C Immunosuppressed/Compromised Task Team: The Impact of COVID-19 on the ISC Population.

The Diabetes and Obesity Clinical Domain Team led by John Buse, MD, University of North Carolina, 

John Buse, MD

aims to address questions regarding who among people with diabetes and/or obesity are likely to experience poor outcomes in the setting of COVID-19. Though hundreds of papers have been written on this topic, most involve small sample size, single centers, international data resources or other characteristics that leave unanswered questions. Three protocols have been drafted to examine: (1) effect of glycemic control on COVID-19 outcomes, (2) COVID-19 outcomes as a function of metformin use, and (3) comparative effectiveness research on COVID-19 outcomes as a function of antihyperglycemic medication use at baseline. The overall goal is to evaluate baseline factors for effects on COVID-19 outcomes in diabetes. The team has been approved to access data in the N3C Data Enclave for their project: N3C Diabetes Task Team level 2 request for data exploration.

N3C encourages researchers of all types of expertise and career level to join a Domain Team that represents their interests or to suggest new areas to explore. A Domain Team can submit one or more research projects, but collaboration is encouraged for similar concepts. 

If you are interested in joining a Domain Team, please visit the N3C Domain Teams web page. You can also learn about N3C projects through the N3C Data Enclave Projects page.

CTSA Program In Action Goals
Goal 5: Advance the Use of Cutting-Edge Informatics