NICHD and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) lead this trans-NIH workgroup, which includes representation from 18 institutes, centers, and offices (ICOs).
This collaboration emerged from the existing NIH Pediatric Research Consortium, led by NICHD, to enable a nimble and immediate response to the pandemic. The workgroup coordinates funding strategies, data harmonization, and other activities related to COVID-19 in pregnant and lactating women and children across NIH.
NICHD’s activities related to the workgroup are in addition to its other efforts to understand COVID in pregnant and postpartum people, infants, children, and adolescents.
The workgroup’s activities focus on the following topics.
For pregnant and lactating people:
- Risk of infection and severity of disease, especially in the presence of comorbid conditions, as well as perinatal infection
- Adverse health outcomes, such as preterm birth, pregnancy loss/stillbirth, brain and cognitive development, and neonatal abnormalities
- Mechanisms of viral transmission, such as vertical transmission (in utero and via breastmilk), and viral dynamics
- Effects of exposure to antivirals and other medications
- Impact of COVID-19 on placental function, including potential role in transmission
- Impacts of social, behavioral, economic, and environmental exposures (by age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geography), including risk and resilience factors, such as family coping strategies
- Risk of infection and severity of disease (especially in the presence of comorbid conditions; reasons for mild illness, community spread, protective factors)
- Severe disease (e.g., multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children)
- Return to school/day care
- Social, behavioral, economic, and environmental exposure impacts
Research on COVID-19 effects in pregnant and lactating people, fetuses, infants, and children is supported across NIH. The Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools Electronic Reporting database lists all the NIH projects on COVID in pregnant and lactating women, infants, and children.
When combined across datasets, biomedical and psychosocial common data elements (CDEs), measures, and terminology can improve our collective understanding of a specific research topic, in this case, COVID-19. Led by NICHD, this trans-NIH workgroup is coordinating data and terminology harmonization efforts related to its populations of interest, including pregnant and lactating people, infants, and children.
Pregnant and Lactating People and Their Infants
NICHD assembled representatives from the NIH Office of the Director, NIDA, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), and both its intramural and extramural programs to develop recommendations for a set of biomedical and psychosocial CDEs and measures that, when combined across datasets, can improve our collective understanding of COVID-19 in pregnant and lactating women and their infants.
Three working groups (Biomedical, Psychosocial, and Biospecimens) were established with trans-NIH representation from intramural and extramural NIH-funded pregnancy cohort studies, including:
- Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO)
- Study of Pregnancy and Neonatal Health (SPAN)
- HEALthy Brain and Child Development Study (part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative [NIH HEAL InitiativeSM])
- International Maternal, Pediatric, Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) Network
- Early Intervention to Promote Cardiovascular Health of Mothers and Children (ENRICH) program
- Global Network for Women and Children’s Health Research
- Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit (MFMU) Network
- Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS)
Select from the following links to learn more about these efforts:
- Disaster Information Management Research Center: Recommendations for CDEs for COVID-19 Studies Including Pregnant Participants
- Following the Pregnancy Data Harmonization effort, NICHD assembled co-leads and representatives from the NIH Office of the Director; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; NIAID; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Institute of Mental Health; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; the National Library of Medicine; its intramural and extramural programs; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Health Resources and Services Administration; and programs supported by other funders to develop recommendations for a set of pediatric biomedical and psychosocial CDEs and measures. When combined across datasets, CDEs and standard measures can improve our collective understanding of COVID-19 in pediatric populations.
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes
- Fogarty International Center
- National Center for Advancing Translational Science
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
- National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- National Institute of Nursing Research
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
- Office of Research on Women’s Health