Foundations of Sharp HealthCare

The Sharp Center for Research:

Leadership in the Fight Against COVID-19 


At Sharp HealthCare, we are dedicated to expanding scientific knowledge and providing medical advancements to the San Diego community. The Sharp Center for Research partners with leading pharmaceutical and device companies, philanthropic trusts and government agencies to conduct clinical trials in many areas of medicine. Sharp has one of the leading community-hospital based clinical research programs in the United States.

Your gifts to the Sharp COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund are making a difference today through three major research studies:

A Point Prevalence Survey to Evaluate the Seropositivity For Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Among Sharp HealthCare Workers
Norihiro Yogo, MD, Principal Investigator All Sharp Entities Included

Our first study was to learn about the risk of acquiring COVID-19 by Sharp HealthCare medical staff and employees who had worked the majority of their shifts in high-risk areas, such as designated COVID-19 units, intensive care, and emergency departments at Sharp acute care facilities. The study also included staff who worked with specific vulnerable populations, such as patients receiving long-term care or behavioral health services. In collaboration with Sharp’s Infectious Disease experts and the Employee Occupational Health Department, a total of 1,770 invited participants without symptoms of COVID-19 received polymerise chain reaction (PCR) tests to detect the active presence of the virus, as well as a separate blood test for antibodies that may have developed in response to a past infection. The testing was conducted during the time period of May 20 to June 8, 2020.

Results from the study indicated very low rates of positive test results. Four (4) individuals (0.2% of total) had a positive PCR test, with immediate interventions to promote their recovery and prevent potential exposure to others. Only 1.5% of participants without a previous confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 tested positive for the presence of antibodies. This study offered valuable insights into the relative risk of acquisition for healthcare workers on the front lines, as well as the quality of Sharp’s safety protocols.

Medical Research

Randomized Open Label study of Standard of Care Plus an Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker Compared to Standard of Care Alone to Minimize the Progression to Respiratory Failure in SARS-CoV-2 Infection
George Sakoulas, M.D., Principal Investigator Sharp Memorial Hospital, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center

There is no medical consensus of whether or not using a large variety of different FDA approved drugs are effective for COVID infections. One of those drugs that is greatly debated is the use of a common blood pressure medication, Losartan. Losartan is in the drug class called Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers. Hence, we designed a trial in efforts to provide clarity of the efficaciousness of the use of Losartan in mild to moderate infected patients. The University of Minnesota plans on initiating a similar trial so we can compare our results. As of 7/10/2020, our team has enrolled 34 patients.

The primary objective is to identify whether or not Losartan can halt the progression to respiratory failure requiring transfer into the intensive care unit (ICU) and mechanical ventilation in subjects with mild to moderate hypoxia due to COVID-19.

Secondary Objectives were to identify whether or not the use of Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARB) in mild to moderate COVID-19 subjects decreases the transfer from a non-ICU bed to an ICU bed and if oxygen requirements were affected.

Core Warming of COVID-19 Patients Undergoing Mechanical Ventilation: A Randomized Single Center Pilot Study
David Willms, MD, Principal Investigator Sharp Memorial Hospital

Traditionally, fever has been treated because its metabolic costs were felt to outweigh its potential physiologic benefit in an already stressed host. However, increasing data suggest that fever may be a protective adaptive response that should be allowed to run its course under most circumstances. Temperature has been suggested to influence the virulence of an earlier discovered coronavirus, SARS CoV, [30] and most isolates of human rhinovirus, the common cold virus, replicate more robustly at the cool temperatures found in the nasal cavity (33–35 °C) than at core body (lung) temperature (37 °C).

The aim of this study is to determine the effect of active core warming patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and undergoing mechanical ventilation. We hypothesize that active core warming will reduce the severity of acute respiratory distress syndrome, reduce the duration of mechanical ventilation, and improve survival compared to standard of care.

The battle against COVID-19 comes in many forms: testing, prevention, safety, care; and research toward improved treatments, cure and vaccine. As San Diego’s Health Care Leader, Sharp is at the forefront of every area of medicine and clinical research. And philanthropy is helping to make it possible. Our COVID-19 fund has provided more than $225,000 to fully fund these three vitally important studies.


With appreciation,


Bill Littlejohn,
Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer
The Foundations of Sharp HealthCare


Resource Center: