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COVID-19 News and Research

 
Experimental coronavirus vaccine to be tested in Rochester
名门棋牌Injectable medications in sealed vials and a disposable plastic medical syringe - stock photo
Rochester is one of only four sites in the U.S. that will be conducting early stage studies of the vaccine. (Getty Images)

The Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health are investigating a new potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial will recruit 90 individuals in the Rochester area ages 18 to 85 who have not been infected with COVID-19 and will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of up to four variations of the vaccine. Pfizer contracted with the Medical Center to conduct the clinical trial in Rochester; the recruitment of study volunteers and testing of the vaccine will occur at Rochester General Hospital. The study is the only active COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in upstate New York, and Rochester is one of only four sites in the U.S. that will be conducting early stage studies of the vaccine.

Edward Walsh, a professor of medicine, and Ann Falsey, a professor of medicine and co-director of the Medical Center’s Vaccine Trials and Evaluation Unit, are leading the Rochester arm of the study. Both are members of the Infectious Disease Unit at Rochester General Hospital. “While the scientific and medical community are moving at an unprecedented speed to advance vaccine candidates, it is critical that this effort be conducted in a rigorous manner that evaluates the safety and efficacy of potential vaccines,” says Walsh. “This new clinical trial is the first step in that process.”

Individuals interested in learning more about volunteering for the study should call (585) 922-5944 or email rghcovidvaccinetrial@rochesterregional.org.

The study is the latest in Rochester research focusing on coronavirus and COVID-19. That work includes a separate study on a potential drug treatment and other research efforts across the University.

 
Medical Center clinical trial results ‘promising’ for COVID-19 treatment
名门棋牌Two vials sit next to each other on lab table

The University of Rochester Medical Center is taking part in a clinical trial for using the drug remdesivir as a potential coronavirus treatment. Preliminary results are ‘promising’ in using remdesivir to treat adults diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Medical Center is one of only nine Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit (VTEU) sites in the US conducting this type of research.

While the trial is still ongoing, this early Rochester data is a positive sign.

Read about the coronavirus treatment study results so far.

 
Rochester RNA research could help develop COVID-19 treatments
名门棋牌Illustration of coronavirus protein binding to receptor on human cell

Researchers at the University of Rochester are studying the ribonucleic acid (RNA) of viruses, which could provide key information for understanding COVID-19 and developing coronavirus treatments.

The University of Rochester’s Center for RNA Biology has a unique and interdisciplinary approach to researching RNA. By including experts from across the University and the Medical Center, the Center for RNA Biology aims to enhance understanding of RNA biology and ultimately apply it to medical treatment.

RNA research is key to understanding the coronavirus and developing a treatment because COVID-19 is an RNA virus. Put simply, when COVID-19 enters the body, it attaches to a person’s cells and releases RNA, which drives the virus to replicate and grow.

Learn more about the science behind RNA, and explore the Rochester RNA research.

 
Rochester ethicists: COVID-19 pandemic a ‘wake-up call’
名门棋牌Planet Earth with a medical mask.

Three University of Rochester philosophers took part in a roundtable discussion of ethics as it relates to COVID-19.

They called the current pandemic a “wake-up call” for the future by considering the moral and ethical dilemmas raised by the coronavirus crisis. They also provided recommendations for what we can do at an individual level to help in an ethical way, such as donating blood.

Ultimately, as Professor Randall Curren concludes, it’s crucial to consider the ethical implications of our collective systems and actions, and “we’d all be much better off if we didn’t wait until crises occur to take ethics seriously”.

Read the full discussion.

 

 
Rochester researchers pursue quick ways to detect COVID-19
名门棋牌image of nanoparticle filter

Three University of Rochester scientists are rapidly adapting previous research to help develop new tests to detect COVID-19. These include:

  • Martin Zand’s research around developing a finger-stick blood test for quick detection.
  • Benjamin Miller’s research on using optical properties to detect the virus.
  • James McGrath’s research on membrane technology, which could allow “instant” testing and results for patients.

 

All three scientists say their tests could not only help in detection, but could also improve overall understanding of the mechanisms of COVID-19. This could ultimately lead to new treatments and vaccines.

Learn more about their research efforts.

 
Rochester economist: Without stronger leadership, ‘disaster’ lies ahead
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The COVID-19 economic downturn is likely to be deeper and more prolonged than any since before World War II, says University of Rochester economist Narayana Kocherlakota. (Getty Images photo)

The stimulus package that passed recently as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act carried with it an assumption that “we’ll see a rapid economic recovery in the next 4 to 6 months,” says Narayana Kocherlakota, the Lionel W. McKenzie Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester. “My own forecast is that the downturn will be severe and last much longer.”

One reason for that prediction is that to resume economic activity, we need “mass testing, tracing, and quarantining.” And, Kocherlakota, a former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, says, “I do not see enough leadership at the federal level to make that happen.”

Read the Q&A with Kocherlakota.

 
New URMC coronavirus research examines immune response
名门棋牌medical researcher in a lab wearing protective gear
Specifically, the study will track the production of antibodies that seek out and flag the virus for destruction by immune cells.

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is launching a new study to understand how the body’s immune system responds to COVID-19, including if and when a person could be re-infected with the virus and whether some people have pre-existing immunity. The findings could have significant implications for the public health response to the pandemic, the development of COVID-19 vaccines, and decisions related to re-opening the economy and society.

The new coronavirus research is being led by URMC’s David Topham, Angela Branche, and Ann Falsey under the University’s New York Influenza Center of Excellence (NYICE), one of the five international centers in the Centers of Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance network. The research is supported by approximately $5 million in funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the institute headed by Anthony Fauci.

“This research will seek to answer several important questions, including the durability of immunity from the virus once a person has been infected and recovered, whether the virus is mutating, whether previous exposure to other seasonal coronaviruses provides a degree of protection from COVID-19, and how long potential vaccines could provide immunity from the virus,” says Topham.

Read the full story.

, on Long Island near the border with Queens, and , in Queens, for nearly a week.

The trip was in part initiated in response to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s  for medical personnel to come to the help of stricken New York City, now the epicenter of the virus.

“We were thrilled to be able to go and pitch in, roll up our sleeves, and we couldn’t be more grateful to Northwell for allowing us to jump right in,” said Aekta Andrea Miglani, the medical director of Emergency Medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Read about the insights they gained.

 
Will COVID-19 finally spur a revamp of US health care?
名门棋牌Patient being rushed through hospital corridor
The coronavirus pandemic “has exposed the limits of such an individualistic approach” to health care, writes University health policy historian Mical Raz in the Washington Post. (Getty Images)

America’s individualistic outlook toward health care has shaped the country’s health care policy and system—and not for the better, according to physician and historian Mical Raz, the Charles E. and Dale L. Phelps Professor in Public Policy and Health at the University.

Now, the coronavirus pandemic “has exposed the limits of such an individualistic approach,” one in which we prize our own health while blaming other people’s poor choices and lifestyles when they fall ill, writes Raz in a Washington Post “Made by History” op-ed.

She outlines how the United States has historically responded to health policy crises—such as the shortage of dialysis machines in the 1960s—by carving out exemptions for treating specific illnesses rather than rethinking the health care system as a whole. “And, over decades, we’ve done this sort of thing hundreds of times, producing an incoherent, inefficient system in every aspect of health care,” Raz writes.

She calls on policymakers not to repeat these past mistakes. Instead, they must respond “by rethinking this individualistic mind-set, in recognition that healthy individuals make healthy communities, which produce a healthy nation.”

in the Washington Post.

 
Lessons from 1918 for 名门棋牌?
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With masks over their faces, members of the American Red Cross remove a victim of the Spanish Flu in 1918 from a house in St. Louis, Missouri. (Uncredited photo / public domain)

April 1, 名门棋牌

With masks over their faces, members of the American Red Cross remove a victim of the Spanish Flu in 1918 from a house in St. Louis, Missouri. (Uncredited photo / public domain)

Rochester alumnus and historian John Barry ’69 (MA) has been much in the news this spring. The author of the award-winning 2004 book The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, Barry has shared insights on similarities and differences between the 1918 influenza pandemic and the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic.

In guest essays in the , and the , and in appearances on CBS News and other national outlets, he has made several key points:

  • The most important lesson from the 1918 pandemic is “to tell the truth.” Faced with concern about wartime morale in 1918, warnings by doctors in Philadelphia to cancel a planned war bond parade were never printed. The parade went ahead, and in 48 hours, Philadelphia became an epicenter of the illness with an eventual death toll of 14,500.
  • Restrictions designed to impose social distancing may have to be repeated. Barry wrote in the New York Times that even with influenza’s much shorter incubation period, many cities in 1918 “imposed restrictions, lifted them too soon, then reimposed them.”
  • The long-term course of COVID-19 is yet to be understood. Barry noted that the 1918 influenza pandemic didn’t end until 1920. One reason was that people began to develop immunity. Another reason was that the virus mutated in ways that made it less lethal. How novel coronavirus will behave is unknown.
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