COMBO is a large, consortium-style study on maternal and child health related to newborns born during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on understanding the effects of in utero exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on a broad range of outcomes.
Our Research Mission
COVID-19 is a novel disease with uncharted long-term global consequences. Pregnant women and their unborn children are a particularly vulnerable population, often susceptible to severe morbidity and mortality related to infectious etiologies. COMBO seeks to understand the long-term impact of in utero SARS-CoV-2 exposure on both mothers and babies. Using a highly collaborative multidisciplinary approach, we study a broad set of outcomes including neurodevelopment, growth, maternal cognitive function, socioemotional function and much more.
COMBO has two arms: a prenatal arm, spearheaded by Dr. Catherine Monk, and a postnatal arm, spearheaded by Dr. Dani Dumitriu. In the summer of 2020, these two studies merged to officially become the COMBO initiative.
For the prenatal arm, women followed at Columbia University Irving Medical Center for their obstetric care are invited to participate during pregnancy independent of their COVID-19 status. These women fill out a questionnaire on their experiences during the pandemic and have the opportunity to opt into donating biosamples at delivery. At 2-4 weeks postpartum, all women enrolled in the prenatal arm are invited to join the postnatal arm.
The postnatal arm specifically seeks to understand the role of in utero exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, all women with a documented SARS-CoV-2 infection anytime during pregnancy who give birth at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital or NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital are invited to participate. For each woman that enrolls and has had a history of COVID-19, we identify another mother-baby dyad with the same sex, gestational age, mode of delivery, and approximate date of birth, but without a documented history of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and invite them to participate in our study as the control group. Entry points range from 2 weeks to 6 months postpartum. A group of women who gave birth in February 2020, before COVID-19 was known to be in New York City, have also been enrolled, in order for us to better understand the effects of the stress of the pandemic during child birth. Participants fill out a set of surveys and are offered a range of additional assessments they can opt into.
A broad set of child and maternal health and well-being outcomes are collected via surveys during the prenatal period and at key developmental timepoints. Additionally, mothers can opt into a variety of additional assessments including, but not limited to, biospecimens, olfaction testing, detailed growth measurements, video visits for socioemotional and neurodevelopmental assessments, and brain imaging.