The National Institutes of Health announced a new study that is slated to begin soon that is sponsored by the Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute with a view of prayer as a treatment for COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unity.
The study is to investigate the role of “remote intercessory multi-denominational prayer” on clinical outcomes. The patients enrolled will be randomized to use of prayer vs. no prayer in a 1:1 ratio.
Those in the prayer arm of the study will received a “universal prayer” offered by five religious groups – Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism in addition to their medical care. During the ICU stay, the study’s designers say, patients will have assessment of multi-organ function and APACHE-II/SOFA scores evaluated on a daily basis until discharge.
Cardiologist Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy will be in charge of the four-month prayer study, which involves 1,000 coronavirus patients being who are being treated in intensive care in Kansas City.
Lakkireddy told NPR that members of his research team “all believe in science.” He added, “If there is a supernatural power, which a lot of us believe, would that power of prayer and divine intervention change the outcomes in a concerted fashion? That was our question.”
The study is slated to finish up at the end of August.
Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.