Dan Barouch, MD, PhD (Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, BIDMC), who helped develop the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, spoke to the vaccine planning process and how, in some ways, the discovery of the virus with pandemic potential was a moment Barouch and team had been preparing for decades.
After a shortened 2020 season filled with grief and isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the first pitches of Opening Day 2021 at Fenway Park on Friday afternoon were thrown out by new Boston Mayor Kim Janey, Cpl. Shamar Martin of the Army National Guard, and Edward Ullman, MD (Emergency Medicine, BIDMC). Ullman has overseen the first aid room at Fenway Park for 18 years, but he treated more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients as an attending physician in the BIDMC Emergency Department. He also oversaw the mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the Boston ballpark, which administered more than 56,000 doses of the vaccine.
A new study shows some hospitalized COVID-19 patients have non-convulsive seizures that may increase their risk of death. Mouhsin Shafi, MD (Neurology, BIDMC) co-authored the study and noted the findings suggest that COVID patients should be monitored closely for non-convulsive seizures.
In this opinion article, Jerome Groopman, MD (Experimental Medicine, BIDMC) discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and how global instability has caused a worrying rise in epidemics.
In a letter to the editor responding to “Prepare Yourself for Grief” (At Home, March 14), Dorothy Holinger, PhD (Psychology, BIDMC) proposed a national day of mourning to acknowledge the nation’s collective grief for more than half a million deaths of grandparents, mothers, fathers, children, siblings and life partners and to celebrate those who were with them as they died.
Sharon Wright, MD, MPH (Infection Protection, BILH) spoke to the CDC director’s latest warning about a potential fourth wave of the virus and noted that although we are close to being able to get more vaccine to get people vaccinated, we are also seeing the number of people acquiring COVID-19 increasing. Wrights cautions it’s still important to physically distance, wear a mask and stay mostly with members of our own households.
During the early days of pandemic lockdown, clinics and hospitals were forced into a massive telemedicine shift. Now, as doctors resume in-person visits, virtual care is poised to play a permanent role. Daniel Sands, MD, MPH (Primary Care, BIDMC) noted healthcare professionals have learned much about the many different things doctors can do to connect with patients in ways never seen before.
A recent study of transplant recipients, who take drugs to suppress their immune system, found that most failed to produce antibodies against the coronavirus after a first dose of vaccine. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD (Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, BIDMC) who worked on developing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, noted it is expected that vaccines will have reduced immune response in immune-suppressed populations.
Public health advocates and academics are asking for the government to exert NIH patent rights over the Moderna vaccine to make it more widely available in the developing world. Kenneth Mayer, MD (Infectious Disease, BIDMC) noted that requiring technology sharing and using the WHO to work with technology organizations in other countries are amongst the things the government can do in a regulated way.