COVID-19 spurred a lot research around Washington State University. The stories below represent some highlights of that research.

Read a quick round-up of more WSU research around COVID-19.

Bat research critical to preventing next pandemic
The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has a likely connection to bats, and the next viral outbreak probably will too, unless scientists can quickly learn more about the thousands of viruses carried by one of the most diverse mammals on the planet.

Bracing for the next pandemic
Inside his laboratory at WSU, Michael Letko is determined to give the world a leg up on the next pandemic. Letko is working on expanding the ever-growing database of the world’s coronaviruses with new data he is acquiring through some unique experimental approaches developed in his lab.

COVID-19 crisis shows need for long-term changes
The upheaval created by the coronavirus 2019 outbreak, or COVID-19, is already transforming our society. Some of those changes may need to last a while to get through this and future outbreaks, according to WSU infectious disease epidemiologist Eric Lofgren.

Testing animals for COVID-19
The Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU Pullman performed limited testing of animal samples for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the causative agent for COVID-19.

Detect coronavirus misinformation in 30 seconds
Coronavirus misinformation is spreading rapidly. WSU digital literacy expert Mike Caulfield has a way to help stop it. Working with university and high school teachers across the country, Caulfield has created a method called SIFT, a simple set of skills that takes about an hour to learn but as little as 30 seconds to implement when encountering information on social media.

COVID-19 boredom boom brings new parenting challenges
Boredom was already a growing problem for adolescents before the outbreak of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), but the crisis is causing a boom in boredom for kids and adults alike as many states issue shelter-in-place orders to curb new cases of the virus. Before parents step in to help, Elizabeth Weybright, a WSU assistant professor, said it’s important to consider a child’s individual personality and needs as every kid is different, but their age is good indicator of how much to interfere.

WSU scientists develop COVID-19 tracking tool for rural areas
Scientists at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine have launched one of the first tracking tools that provides a daily snapshot into COVID-19 cases in rural communities across the country.

COVID reveals jail “cracks”
Crowded jails turned into infectious hot zones during the COVID-19 pandemic and helped fuel widespread community outbreaks. Washington and other states reacted to the situation by ordering a flurry of criminal justice changes⁠—including arrest deferral and early release from jail⁠—that will likely influence policy decisions going forward. WSU epidemiologist Eric Lofgren says jails are clearly an important part of the super-spreader equation.

Project aims to increase COVID-19 testing for Native populations
American Indian and Native Alaskan populations have been hit hard by the pandemic—exactly how hard, no one can say for sure, since there is a lack of information and testing in these communities. Dedra Buchwald, a physician and professor with WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, received a $4.4 million National Institutes of Health grant to help address that knowledge gap and bring resources to curb the COVID-19 crisis within these populations.

Study examines benefits, risks of breastfeeding during COVID-19 infection
Is the SARS-COV2 virus present in breast milk and could it be transmitted from mom to baby? Could antibodies found in breast milk actually help protect babies from the SARS-COV2 virus? Researchers at WSU are part of a new nationwide study on COVID-19 and infant feeding to help answer these questions.

WSU researchers look to head off COVID-19’s deadly pneumonia
A discovery by WSU viral infection researcher Santanu Bose may hold the key to preventing the severe, deadly pneumonia seen with COVID-19.

WSU survey shows Americans unsure about travel, staying at hotels
As states use a phased approach to reopen after widespread shutdown orders due to COVID-19, many Americans still are unsure about returning to normal so soon—especially when it comes to the hospitality industry.

COVID-stress may be hard to beat even with exercise
Exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, but it may not be enough for the levels caused by COVID-19.

More economic worries mean less caution about COVID-19
Workers experiencing job and financial insecurity are less likely to follow the CDC’s guidelines for COVID-19, such as physical distancing, limiting trips from home and washing hands, according to a WSU study.

Alcohol use changed right after COVID-19 lockdown
One in four adults reported a change in alcohol use almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were issued, according to a study of twins led by WSU researchers.

Bond between humans and dogs strengthened by COVID-19
COVID-19 is bringing people together with their four-legged friends like never before, according to a survey led in part by a WSU human-animal interaction expert.

Men less likely to see food as national security issue amid pandemic
On average, men not only showed less empathy toward temporary agricultural laborers, known as H-2A guest workers, but also were less likely to see food supply and production as issues of national security, according to a study led by a WSU researcher.

Doctor communication key to pandemic vaccine adoption
People who talk with their doctors are more likely to get vaccinated during a pandemic, according to a study of evidence collected during the “swine flu,” the last pandemic to hit the U.S. before COVID-19.