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COVID-19 antibody testing and research conducted this past summer in various regions of Virginia by University researchers indicated relatively low antibody presence among the state’s population. By testing for antibodies, researchers aimed to better understand the feasibility of achieving herd immunity yet found evidence that shows that immunity itself cannot be reached through antibody production alone.
The University has recently joined a national effort headed by the National Institutes of Health which aims to better understand infection, viral shedding and transmission of COVID-19 in individuals who have received the vaccine. The study is currently recruiting 600 University students to receive the Moderna vaccine in two different testing groups and participate in follow-up activities in the coming months. The study will use the data collected to predict how well the vaccine can prevent asymptomatic infection and the transmission of the virus to others, which is a current gap in health officials' understanding of COVID-19 vaccines.
Numerous chronic conditions manifest with unpredictable symptoms, which can sometimes make it difficult for clinicians to take necessary action in a timely manner when tending to patients. Researchers at U.Va. Health working in the field of predictive analytics have created a software that uses artificial intelligence to estimate a patient’s relative risk by combining physiological data from thousands of previous patients, with a current patient's physiological state. The software is crucial in allowing clinicians to assess a patient’s risk for deterioration sooner than they normally would, allowing them to take — often critical — proactive actions towards maintaining the patient’s health.
Virginia received approximately 285,725 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in early December and hospitals and health care departments have been working to distribute them since. However, as of Saturday, less than 25 percent of those vaccines have been recorded as administered, and Virginia is ranked 41 out of 50 states when it comes to the percentage of the state’s population that has received the vaccine.
University researchers are taking part in an unprecedented research project centered on the biological effects of exercise after receiving a grant from the National Institutes of Health and joining a national consortium of research institutions that includes Stanford University, the University of Florida and Duke University. They are applying Big Data and machine learning techniques, which are methods used to analyze large amounts of often complex data, to a robust molecular map in order to identify the prominent molecules involved in exercise. The long-term goal of modifying those molecules is to develop medical interventions which mimic the effects of exercise in the body.
As the pandemic continues, research has shown that certain demographic groups are disproportionately affected by socioeconomic constraints such as insufficient healthcare access and housing insecurity. The Native American, African American and Latinx populations in particular have been affected the most by these constraints.
The Patient Student Partnership program officially began at the School of Medicine in 2018 and functions by pairing each medical student in the entering class with a patient undergoing long-term care within the U.Va. Health System. The program has resulted in numerous benefits for medical students — who understand more about their patients and learn to build relationships with them — and for patients — who gain assistance in navigating the health care system, which has further proven invaluable in coping with the challenges brought by the pandemic.
As the University strives to closely monitor COVID-19 cases and accordingly modify plans for controlling the spread, first years living in dorms are being tasked with adapting to protocols which include — but are not limited to — widespread testing, quarantine and isolation. After five Balz-Dobie residents tested positive for COVID-19 and SARS-Cov-2 was detected in the dorm’s wastewater, the dorm underwent testing for COVID-19. According to some residents of the dorm, the process for mandatory testing went smoothly, and as testing and relocation of students will likely continue in the coming weeks, both students and University staff provide advice to help students better acclimate to this new normal.
From January to November 2019, customers at 16 Panera Bread cafes around Virginia were given the opportunity to round up their order totals to support the University Children’s Hospital transplant program, which aims to help adolescents in need of transplant surgeries live better, more healthy lives. During this 11-month period, these donations steadily accumulated, eventually totaling over $178,000 — money expected to help dozens of children receive life-saving medical care.