March 18, 2020
Your well-being is the utmost priority for all of us at the Lupus Research Alliance (LRA). We are consulting with top lupus clinicians and scientists in monitoring the situation posed by the spread of the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) often referred to as COVID-19, across the world and committed to doing everything we can on your behalf.
We listened to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) and concerns from our own lupus community. People with lupus are considered immunocompromised, meaning at greater risk for infection both from the disease and certain treatments.
In accord with recommendations for people who are at greater risk to avoid travel and crowds as much as possible, we have cancelled all events through early May. We will continue to monitor policies from federal, state and local governments and update you about our special events and programs being postponed to future dates.
Using Technology to Keep Moving Forward:
- We postponed our March 9-10 Annual Lupus Meeting and Advocate for Lupus Research Day on Capitol Hill and in less than a week, turned it into a successful virtual event. The following day, lupus advocates reached out to legislators through our Legislative Action Center by email, social media and phone. The entire community can keep the momentum going by using the Legislative Action Center tools to continue to reach out to members of the Senate and House of Representatives. In addition, we have rescheduled the meeting and Congressional briefing for September 14-15. Stay tuned for more details.
- A meeting by Lupus Therapeutics, our wholly-owned affiliate, involving our LuCIN Clinical Investigators Network of top researchers from major academic centers and industry partners, was postponed from early April to December. We are committed to maintain the pace of research within the limitations the virus has imposed.
Meanwhile, the work of the Lupus Research Alliance keeps moving full steam ahead.
- Applications for LRA’s competitive lupus research grants are continuing through a highly intensive review process.
- Our Scientific Advisory Board and expert reviewers are “meeting” via videoconference to evaluate the promise of each project to improve lives of people with lupus.
- We are extending the upcoming deadlines for our $1M Distinguished Innovator Award and our $3M Global Team Science Award to enable the submission of highly competitive proposals despite the unprecedented, unfolding global crisis.
LRA Employs Innovation in All Our Work
In addition to using the latest technology in our scientific research, we are using it in our daily work to find alternative ways to serve all of you. Our Operations and Finance Department is keeping the office running in every way, both physically and virtually. The lights are “on” and the doors are “open” even when we’re not there.
Over the next couple of weeks every department will be reaching out with ways to stay informed and actively involved with the organization and your lupus community.
While we are all following recommendations to “socially distance” that doesn’t mean isolation. We are here for you and we urge you to stay connected!
- Visit our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the virus from the specific perspective of the lupus and autoimmune community. We are updating this regularly.
- Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up with the latest news about COVID-19 and developments in lupus research. And share information with others who look to you as a resource.
- Stay informed on lupus-related news by visiting our Newsroom for updates. We are continually updating our website with news that is of special interest for people with lupus.
- And, of course, the connections you’ve made with one another through the Community Forum on the LRA website remain present and strong.
The Lupus Research Alliance exists to improve the lives of people with lupus. We are not physicians and cannot offer medical advice and urge you to speak with your rheumatologist or caring physician about medical concerns. What we are is your best source of reliable information about science – the science of the disease and its treatment as well as the support in helping you understand issues that you may face – particularly during this challenging time.
Let’s stay in close touch and take good care.
Kenneth M. Farber
President & CEO
Lupus Research Alliance