April 13, 2020

Mayo Clinic researchers provide updates, advice on COVID-19 pandemic

By Susan Murphy

By Mayo Clinic News Network

Mayo Clinic doctors, researchers and staff are doing extraordinary work in the response against the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the latest update:

100 days of COVID-19: Mayo Clinic expert discusses how far we’ve come and what lies ahead

It has been 100 days since the World Health Organization (WHO) was first notified about a cluster of unidentified and unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. In the short time since then, the world has changed dramatically. On Feb. 11, WHO announced "COVID-19" as the name of the disease which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A month later, WHO declared the outbreak to be a global pandemic.

Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, has been closely following the pandemic since the beginning, and continues to provide insight and important guidance on preventing the spread of the disease. Read more.

The new super power of handwashing

Researchers are hard at work identifying ways to help patients with COVID-19, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But in the meantime, one common household object can be used to help prevent infection.


Good old soap, the Clark Kent of clean, is really the superhero fatty acid salt, the Superman of clean. Soap is made from a reaction between a fat, and either sodium hydroxide (lye), or potassium hydroxide (caustic potash). When these substances combine, they form a substance that is both attracted to water and repelled by it.

The part that is repelled by water is attracted to oil — naturally occurring on your hands, from whatever you were doing, such as eating, and what's found in the protective envelope around some viruses. You can see this when you put water and oil together. It naturally separates into two layers. But when you add dish soap, and swish it around, the layers blend. The molecules of soap are attracted to the oil/fat, causing the layer to bead up into droplets. Read more.

Mayo Clinic experts offer guidance on treating COVID-19 patients with signs of acute heart attack

Much remains unknown about COVID-19, but many studies already have indicated that people with cardiovascular disease are at greater risk of being susceptible to COVID-19. There also have been reports of ST-segment elevation (STE), a signal of obstructive coronary artery disease, in patients with COVID-19 who after invasive coronary angiography show no sign of the disease.

This false signal of coronary artery disease may cause patients to undergo procedures that present unnecessary risks, especially in the COVID-19 environment, according to a special article published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The article, written by a team of Mayo Clinic cardiovascular experts and radiologists, proposes algorithms for evaluating patients and determining a course of treatment.

"The impact of false activation of the catheterization laboratory includes inherent risks, beginning with the invasive arterial procedure itself and related care for these patients," says J. Wells Askew, M.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. In cases where patients test positive for COVID-19, the risks include respiratory failure, and potential exposure of medical staff and the downstream effects on cardiac catheterization laboratories and cardiac imaging services. Read more. 

Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Because SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus, researchers are still learning how the virus affects the body. And this raises questions for pregnant women. Can COVID-19 affect pregnancy? Is breastfeeding safe? How can a pregnant woman protect herself from the disease?

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist, will discuss COVID-19 and pregnancy.

Click the player below:

Connecting Patients: A different kind of grief in these times

Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. 

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been and continues to be much loss. And different definitions of grief are being revealed. The Mayo Clinic Connect community is opening this conversation and inviting you join.


Shared from a Mayo Clinic Connect Member/Mentor:

If you are like me, you might be feeling uncomfortable, unsteady in your daily activities, perhaps unable to pinpoint just why you feel “off”.

Our lives have been turned upside recently, and this might continue for the near future, but it is not permanent. How we relate to people has changed, how we spend our days is quieter [unless you have kids at home!], a nonchalant hug to a friend is not a good idea. Gatherings, like a meeting, a health club, a place of worship, a sports activity, even school, are but a temporary memory. We have had to become better versed in technology to stay connected, if we want to visit. Celebrations and memorials are on hold. Read more.

Learn more

Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for additional updates on COVID-19. For all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Join the conversation

For more information on the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, visit FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter at @MayoClinicCIM

Tags: covid-19, Uncategorized

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