The COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 is the disease manifestation (primarily pulmonary disease) of SARS-CoV2 - a coronavirus responsible for the 2020 pandemic. The mortality ranges from 1-5% in several parts across the globe. As there are no proven treatments, much of the available therapies are supportive. There are over 1000 clinical trials that have been launched studying various treatment modalities mostly in the pharmacologic space. For a pandemic of this unprecedented nature that has affected humans of every culture, nation, religion, race and language a therapeutic answer is much sought after.

The Power of Prayer

Prayer is often used as a medium to invoke divine intervention for affirmation of life, healing of the sick and protection of the vulnerable. This often remains a controversial intervention from a scientific perspective. Although used regularly in the inpatient setting of critically ill patients, the benefit of prayer on healthcare outcomes has been heavily debated. While historical studies have aimed at demonstrating improved health outcomes in patients who pray, these studies are typically difficult to reproduce and are subject to bias. Many studies have attempted to focus on improvement in quality of life or improvement in symptoms of psychiatric disease. The lack of available information regarding the impact of prayer on inpatient outcomes prompted our further investigation.

The COVID Prayer Study

Unlike the prior studies that have used a single religious denomination, the COVID PRAYER Study is designed to use a multi-denominational approach. Using modern assessment tools and outcome data, we sought to evaluate the impact of a universal multi-denominational prayer in a randomized controlled trial. COVID Prayer Study Protocol