CONTACT: Amy West, 617-636-6025,

BOSTON – Leaders from Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) announced two research projects related to COVID-19 that were selected to receive $25,000 each in pilot studies grant funding:

  • Targeting Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)-α as a Central Driver of the Cytokine Storm in Lethal Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), led by Paul Mathew, MD of Tufts Medical Center, with co-investigators Debra Poutsiaka, MD; Andreas Klein, MD; Amandeep Godara, MD; and Hilal Hachem, MD (also of Tufts Medical Center). This project will study whether early institution of TNFα inhibitor therapy in patients with severe COVID-19 infections will reduce the need for advanced cardiorespiratory support and early mortality. Dr. Mathew’s project was also awarded a $5,000 voucher for direct costs for clinical support provided by the Tufts CTSI Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC).
  • PCR Free RAPID Testing for COVID-19 with One Step Assay for Colorimetric Viral RNA Detection, led by Tania Konry, PhD of Northeastern University. This project will develop a novel viral detection principle that can quickly detect low levels of viral-RNA by colorimetric signal using isothermal (room temperature) amplification coupled in a POCT- oriented device.

Pending institutional, regulatory, and National Institutes of Health (NIH) approvals, projects will be funded for one year beginning on May 1, 2020.

Tufts CTSI sought proposals for innovative, high-impact, translational science projects from the basic, clinical, and/or applied sciences to address the urgent need for research on the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19). Proposed approaches could include studies that: 1) advance cutting-edge COVID-19 prevention practices; 2) support translation of new diagnostics, treatments, and behavioral interventions into clinical care; 3) increase the overall effectiveness and quality of COVID-19 health care and public health interventions; or, 4) assess the impact of COVID-19- related health policies.

During a shortened application period of only two weeks, Tufts CTSI received more than a dozen proposals for novel, thoughtful, translational projects to address important scientific questions surrounding COVID-19.

To read the abstracts of the awarded projects, please visit:

For more information about the Tufts CTSI COVID-19 Pilot Studies Program, please visit:

For more information about the CTRC Voucher Program, please visit:

To learn about other Tufts CTSI initiatives, resources, services, and tools related to COVID-19, please visit:,

About Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Tufts CTSI), established in 2008, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is dedicated to stimulating innovative broadly-engaged team science across the translational research spectrum to improve clinical care and health. Founded by Tufts University and Tufts Medical Center, it also includes other academic institutions (including all the schools of Tufts University, Brandeis University, MIT, Northeastern University; and RAND), the hospitals affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine, community stakeholders, and various members of the health care industry. Tufts CTSI’s purpose is to accelerate the translation of laboratory and medical research into clinical use, widespread medical practice, and into improved health care delivery and health policy. It connects people to research resources, consultation, and education, and fosters collaboration with scholars of all disciplines and with community members, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of the public. Tufts CTSI is funded by a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, award number UL1TR002544.