April 20, 2020

Mayo Clinic experts provide update on COVID-19

By Susan Murphy

By Mayo Clinic News Network

Mayo Clinic doctors and researchers are working relentlessly to care for patients, search for treatments and provide people with up-to-date information and advice.

Will social distancing be the new normal? A Mayo Clinic expert discusses what the future might look like

As some states look toward relaxing restrictions and social distancing measures, such as stay-at-home orders, new projections suggest social distancing may need to continue through 2022. Researchers predict that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will return every winter, and that prolonged or intermittent social distancing strategies could limit the strain on health care systems.

Dr. Gregory Poland, a Mayo Clinic COVID-19 expert, predicts that the COVID-19 pandemic will change many aspects of U.S. culture in the future, including the need to always practice social distancing measures.

"I think that's going to become inevitable. I think we very well may become a culture, at least in the wintertime when there are so many respiratory viruses circulating, that we'll be more like Asian cultures, where they more readily wear masks when outdoors. I think we'll take more seriously in clinics and hospitals, and nursing homes, the respiratory diseases that circulate every year, and which lead to hospitalizations and deaths ― influenza being the exemplar," says Dr. Poland, who is the director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. Read more.

Ways to fight coronavirus transmission at home

Health care providers and researchers are gaining a greater understanding about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak and how the virus can spread. Public health messages emphasize the importance of frequent, thorough hand-washing and social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

You can also take steps in your home to keep the virus from spreading. No special supplies are required. You likely already have what you need.

How is COVID-19 spread?

The virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread by contact with someone who has COVID-19, as well as contact with surfaces or objects that person has touched.

When someone with COVID-19 sneezes or coughs, respiratory droplets are released into the air. Droplets typically don't travel far — no more than 6 feet (about 2 meters). The virus may stay on surfaces from hours to days.

How can I prepare my home?

You can reduce potential spread of COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets and sinks. Do this daily if someone in your home has COVID-19.

Start by putting on gloves before cleaning and disinfecting — preferably disposable gloves, so you can throw them away immediately after you're done. If you only have reusable gloves, don't use them for any other purposes. Thoroughly wash your hands after removing your gloves.

Cleaning with soap and water removes dirt and lowers the number of germs on surfaces. Once surfaces are clean, you can apply disinfectant to knock out any germs that are left.

Antibody testing, in pictures

Convalescent plasma therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 virus infection is based on the function of antibodies, tiny proteins created by the immune system, that combat invaders to the body in a variety of ways. Some are capable of neutralizing a virus, while others work by mobilizing a range of other immune cells that fight off disease.

A type of serologic test known as ELISA is used to determine if the blood does actually contain antibodies specific to the virus. Blood is collected from patients who had a PCR test to diagnose their illness as COVID-19. The blood is processed through a machine that collects the plasma, since that is where the antibodies are found, and returns the blood cells to the patient. Read more.

Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Mayo Clinic Laboratories launches serology testing

A new serology test from Mayo Clinic Laboratories is being used to identify the presence of immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The serology test is intended only to detect antibodies to the virus. It does not diagnose recent or active infection. Mayo Clinic Laboratories also offers a molecular test to diagnose very recent or active infection. Both tests are important tools in the pandemic response.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Elitza Theel, director of Mayo Clinic’s Infectious Diseases Serology Laboratory, explains why serology testing is initially focused on identifying people in areas where potential immunity is key, including front-line health care workers.

Click the player below:

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

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cannot we use antibody plasma to infuce herd immunity in general public. instead of just saving few lifes. antibodies may live for few months and if person get infected this will be helpful just as a vacine to fight off. and once their purpose is identified , body is going to make more of it to fight.

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