Apr. 02 2020

Columbia Public Health Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was first identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has been working on multiple fronts to respond to the spread of the virus. Our experts are conducting research that informs the public and policymakers; collaborating with government authorities on pandemic response; advising Columbia University leadership on contingency planning; providing insights to credible news sources; and mobilizing volunteer efforts. In recent weeks the Columbia Mailman School has moved quickly to protect the health of our School community and our region by moving education, research, and administrative operations online.

Our research spans work to better understand the virus and how it is transmitted; to project its spread; to develop tests, drugs, and vaccines; and to assess the U.S. and global health systems’ preparedness.

Efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • The Center for Infection and Immunity, under the direction of Ian Lipkin, is currently working on rapid and reliable tests to diagnose COVID-19 and to identify sources of transmission. A new diagnostic, called the C3 Test, is ultra-sensitive, highly accurate, quickly scalable, and delivers rapid results. The C3 Test can accurately detect coronavirus infection even among patients exhibiting no symptoms, with results ready in four hours.

  • Numerous faculty have provided expert commentary to the media and in online forums on many public health dimensions of the pandemic, such as how we can protect ourselves from infection, the stress on health systems, xenophobia and discrimination, mental health, and vulnerable groups, such as low-income Americans and incarcerated populations.

  • The Columbia Mailman School has transitioned to distance learning while maintaining supports for student academics and wellness online.

  • The Office of Career Services organized a virtual career fair to connect students and employers looking to fill jobs, including for positions related to the COVID-19 response.