Written by Katie Bradford | September 13, 2021

UAB Researchers Pankaj Arora, MD, and Vibhu Parcha, MD, utilized clinical data from the TriNetX Research Network to inform their recent study on pediatric cases of COVID-19. “We were interested in looking at the real-world evidence around the epidemiology of COVID-19 among children. This work was prompted by our own uncertainty regarding sending our children to schools last year in August 2020,” says Parcha. The team’s assessment of the clinical characteristics and outcomes in pediatric COVID-19 patients was recently published in Nature Scientific Reports in an article entitled “A retrospective cohort study of 12,306 pediatric COVID-19 patients in the United States.”  The data sets used in the study were provided by a network of more than 70 healthcare organizations, the TriNetX Research Network™. TriNetX is a platform containing real-world data from over 100 million patients that combines longitudinal clinical data with powerful, state-of-the-art analytics on a single self-service platform.

Parcha QuoteOne of the significant benefits of leveraging the TriNetX Research Network was the rapid accessibility to very large, multi-site data sets.   With IRB approvals in place and in partnership with the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the UAB Informatics Institute, the investigative team was provided log-in credentials to the TriNetX research platform to conduct their work. This allowed access to clinical information on pediatric COVID-19 patients spanning numerous healthcare organizations across the United States. The platform integrates data visualization tools and analytics through cloud-based high-performance computing, allowing researchers to conduct data experiments quickly and efficiently. Arora and Parcha were also persuaded by the user-friendly platform design and clear, step-by-step approaches to creating cohorts of interest and performing intricate analyses on the data. The CCTS partners with investigators at each step to provide feedback and guidance.

How Can the TriNetx Research Network Help Your Research?

TriNetX is functional in many ways, with several benefits, including:

  • Improving exploratory research.

  • Improving collaborative multi-site research.

  • Allowing principal investigators to undertake research across large patient data sets via a secure collaborative peer-to-peer network with other TriNetX healthcare organization members on a regional, national, or global basis.

As kids head back to school a year later and a more contagious form of the virus fuels the pandemic, the insights established by Arora and Parcha are critical. In the largest in-depth analysis of real-world evidence pertaining to the epidemiology of COVID-19 among children, they found a high prevalence of atypical and non-specific symptoms among children, prompting the need for special screening efforts and diagnostic considerations.  The lower frequency of typical symptoms may allow kids to spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus to other adults and at-risk children. They also acknowledged, though to a lesser extent than adults, children can still have a serious course of the disease leading to hospitalization and requiring critical care, with evidence for disproportionate impact on children of non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic backgrounds. The physicians urge all adults and eligible children to get vaccinated.