April Updates from the Coronavirus Pandemic Front Lines

doctor wearing protective equipment

Children's National Hospital's response to COVID-19 is well underway thanks to the dedication and courage of our frontline care team and the generosity of our supporters. We will continue to update you on the progress we make through your support of the COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund.

UPDATE: APRIL 21, 2020

April 20-24 was our 10th annual Research, Education & Innovation Week. We postponed many presentations due to safety restrictions around the coronavirus. However, our keynote lectures are available to you online.

Updates from Our CEO

Team PicChildren’s National President and CEO Kurt Newman, MD, shared updates from the front lines of our coronavirus response during a special webinar last week. Topics included our remote pediatric testing site, the growth of our telemedicine program, critical coronavirus-related research projects and efforts to develop personal protective equipment. You can view the webinar here.


Lifesaving Innovation

reusable N95 facemaskOur Sheikh Zayed Institute is working with the University of Maryland to introduce a light, reusable N95 mask. The unique process uses 3D printing technology to scan a caregiver’s face and print a mask in-house. This will ensure that a user can have quick access to reusable plastic masks with replaceable or refurbishable filters that costs pennies to make. (photo credit: Stephanie S. Cordle/University of Maryland)


Can’t Touch These Moves

Can't Touch This ChallengeOur team not only saves lives, it also lifts spirits. In a much-needed moment of levity, our Clinical Research and Child Life teams danced together for the #CantTouchThis challenge. WUSA9 highlighted our team’s moves as the station’s “Most DC Thing” feature on April 20. You can watch their smooth and sanitized skills on Children’s National’s Facebook page.


UPDATE: APRIL 21, 2020

A Helping Hand
Testing vialsWhen the DC Department of Health ran out of a critical component for coronavirus tests, they turned to Children’s National. Our lab quickly created 1,000 tubes of liquid transport media to keep their labs running. This liquid transport media is part of the quick response testing method we developed in our Center for Genetic Medicine Research.

Lifesaving Innovation: Training T Cells to Combat Coronavirus

Dr. Bollard teamDr. Catherine Bollard and her team at Children’s National are exploring how they can “train” powerful white blood cells called T cells to fight COVID-19. Our team already used this approach to successfully develop novel T-cell therapies to counter norovirus, Zika, Ebola, HIV and numerous other viral invaders.


Special Delivery

Grateful mom Oxivir drop-offLast week, one grateful mom celebrated the 8-year anniversary of her son’s final surgery at Children’s National by delivering five cases of donated Oxivir. There is a severe shortage of this cleaning product, which sterilizes surfaces and keeps our facilities safe. Donations like this one are critical to providing care for kids like her son, who had lifesaving surgery at 2 days old and spent his first month of life in our NICU.


UPDATE: APRIL 14, 2020

A Helping Hand
Coronavirus testing newsThe national shortage of test kits is a serious threat to our nation’s efforts against the coronavirus pandemic. In response, we developed a testing method that returns results in just 90 minutes. We are working to expand access to this vital resource so thousands of vulnerable children and at-risk caregivers can be tested faster and safely.

Lifesaving Innovation: A Natural Defensive Shield Against COVID-19

Dr. VillainEric Vilain, MD, PhD, and our Center for Genetic Medicine Research team are investigating whether the microbiome of bacteria in the human nasal tract acts as a defensive shield against COVID-19. These findings could lead to the development of nasal sprays to prevent advanced disease in COVID-19 patients.


José Andrés Provides Meals & Masks

Jose AndresMichelin-starred chef and global philanthropist José Andrés returned to Children’s National this week to deliver meals to our Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Chef Andrés first visited during the early stages of the pandemic to drop off thousands of urgently needed N95 masks.



COVID-19 Testing Site
Remote testing siteMore than 300 children and young adults were tested at our drive-up site located at Trinity University. This site is the only one to test our area’s youth thanks to the donors who support its operation through our COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund.

Lifesaving Innovation: Creating PPE In-House

Face shieldsInnovators in our Sheikh Zayed Institute are literally cutting out the waiting time for protective gear by producing OSHA-approved face shields. Using laser cutting equipment and hand assembly, they provide frontline doctors and nurses with greater protection.


Telehealth Care

TelehealthMore than 600 Children’s National clinicians are conducting care through telehealth appointments for patients unable to visit in person. Our accessibility ensures that we are always available to our patients and families to provide the care they need.



As the pandemic continues, our needs will evolve. We cannot predict the future, but the COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund will help us prepare. Your support will help protect our patients, our dedicated caregivers on the frontline of this pandemic, and our community.


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