LSU Health Shreveport responds to COVID-19 Crisis   

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If you would like more information on any story seen here, efforts of LSU Health Shreveport during the COVID-19 pandemic, or are interested in interviewing one of our faculty members, please contact: 

Lisa Babin, Executive Director 
Public Affairs, Communications and Development
Email: lbabi6@lsuhsc.edu

Jazmin Jernigan
Public Relations Coordinator
Email: jjerni@lsuhsc.edu

LSU Health Shreveport first to detect New COVID-19 Variant in Louisiana

The EVT Viral Genomics and Sequencing Lab at LSU Health Shreveport is first in the state to sequence and report that a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been detected in Louisiana. The new variant, B.1.630, was sequenced last week from two samples collected in Baton Rouge.

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Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport addresses President Biden’s vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more workers

KTAL/KMSS - “By November 1st, if people are not vaccinated then they would not be able to work inside of the various Ochsner facilities,” says Dr. Charles Fox, the chief medical officer at Ochsner LSU Health. 

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African American Celebration Committee hosts COVID-19 vaccination clinic with LSUHS

KSLA12 - “We can do it. We know there is no reason why we can’t do it. Most of the people who have been hospitalized or have severe disease now have not been vaccinated. We know that getting vaccinated reduces the likelihood that you end up in the hospital, at least 25-fold,” said Former State Representative Barbara Norton.

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LDH reports alarming increase in Severe Pregnancy Outcomes due to COVID-19

KSLA12 - “What we tended to see with the Delta variant is it has impacted our pregnant populations very very hard, especially at the height of the Delta variant we had transfers from all over the state of pregnant woman who were in respiratory distress and significantly decompensating,” said Dr. Caitlin Busada, associate program director of residency of Obstetrics & Gynecology at LSUHS.

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FDA review of Pfizer data for child vaccinations could take weeks

KTBS3 - Dr. John Vanchiere, the lead investigator in the Pfizer vaccine study at LSUHS said, “We expect that to take at least four to six weeks of time. And Pfizer and Moderna are both starting additional enrollment in the pediatric studies in that 5- to 11-year-old age range, so that they can get more data under the research protocol to submit to the FDA when it’s appropriate.”

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Immunobridging data used in Pfizer vaccine study for kids

KTBS3 - Dr. John Vanchiere, an infectious disease and pediatrics specialist and the lead investigator on the Pfizer vaccine study at LSU Health Shreveport, shares "Demonstrating effectiveness that is preventing hospitalization and death or severe disease is very challenging in the pediatric population, because kids don't get generally very sick."

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Delta’s highly infectious nature positions it to outcompete new variants, scientists say

Wall Street Journal - Some virologists believe the Delta variant evolved to maximize transmissibility and that its ability to spread rapidly will eventually reach a ceiling as more of the global population gets vaccinated. “It looks like this virus is already driving a Lamborghini right now in terms of transmissibility, so I’m not sure it can get much faster,” said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSU Health Shreveport who is studying coronavirus genetics. Read the full article.

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LSUHS Infectious Disease Professor sees signs Delta may be slowing in NWLA

KTAL/KMSS - “It seems that we’re past our peak of this delta variant surge,” said LSUHS Professor Dr. John Vanchiere. “Most of the rest of the nation is still in the climbing phase of this delta surge, so we’re a few weeks ahead of many places in terms of, our numbers seem to be slowing down on hospitalization side.”

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Lambda, B.1.621 variants: How many cases of new COVID-19 variants have been found in Utah

ABC4 - “We do not know whether this is going to be better or worse than Delta, there’s not enough information,” Dr. Andrew Yurochko with LSU Health Shreveport tells NewsNation. “Forty-four states have reported Lambda cases and WHO has labeled it “a variant of interest.”

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“Worst surge we’ve seen”: Some hospitals in delta hot spots close to breaking point

AAMC.org - Despite more than 70% of adults in the country having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 81% of people 65 and older being vaccinated, a dramatic spike in infections among unvaccinated younger people, coupled with staffing shortages, is testing the surge plans hospital systems developed for previous waves.

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LSU Health Shreveport physician that help oversee Pfizer COVID vaccine trial says FDA full approval is a milestone

LA Radio Network - “Those who have been hesitant to take this as a very important milestone that should allow them just to breathe a sigh of relief and go get their vaccine,” said LSUHS Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. John Vanchiere.

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Viral evolution 101: Why the coronavirus has changed as it has, and what it means going forward

StatNews - By cutting how much the virus replicates — both through preventing infections and by shortening the infections that do occur — vaccines limit the likelihood of additional, more dangerous variants. Says Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSUHS, “The virus has to replicate in order to mutate, but each virus doesn’t get many lottery tickets in a vaccinated person who’s infected.”

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Children caught in Covid culture wars as US politicians defy health advice

The Guardian - Dr. John Vanchiere, a professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at LSUHS, shared that caring for seriously ill children is always distressing, but more so when “we know the vast majority of these infections are preventable." 

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Masks required for runners at Falmouth Road Race

Cape Cod Times - “I would say (the road race) is probably minimal risk” for the spread of the novel respiratory virus,” said Jeremy Kamil, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at LSUHS, where he leads COVID-19 genomic sequencing. “It’s a lot of people running, breathing hard, but they’re breathing outside. The ventilation factor is enormous.”

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LSUHS to administer third dose of COVID vaccine for immunocompromised

KSLA - Emerging data have demonstrated that immunocompromised people who have low or no protection following two doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may have an improved response after an additional dose of the same vaccine. No appointments are necessary to get the additional shot, but LSUHS suggests you come based on a schedule shown here.

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Pfizer vaccine study for kids younger than 12 continues

KTBS - With children headed back to school during yet another COVID-19 surge, many parents of young children are wondering when those under age 12 will be able to get vaccinated. Dr. John Vanchiere, lead investigator on Pfizer vaccine trials at LSUHS, said the hospital is seeing an increase in vaccinations for the 12-18 age group. As for kids ages 5-11, the trials are ongoing and expanding.

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COVID ‘Doomsday Variant’ Report Criticized for ‘Fear Mongering’

Heavy.com -  Dr. Jeremy Kamil, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at LSUHS leads COVID-19 sequencing at the institution shared that he believes a doomsday variant is extremely unlikely and that people should be talking instead about the importance of getting vaccinated because variants can develop when large numbers of people do not.

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Clinical Leaders address COVID-19 at LA-CEAL Town Hall

Dr. John Vanchiere, Professor of Pediatrics and Infectious Disease at LSUHS served as was one of eight clinical leaders in Louisiana invited to participate in The Louisiana Community Engagement Alliance Against Covid-19 Disparities (LA-CEAL) Town Hall meeting which was designed to provided updated information on COVID-19.

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Parents encouraged to observe their child’s mental health as they return to school

KNOE - Dr. Shawn McNeil, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at LSUHS says mental health is as important and in some cases more important than a person’s physical health. He says some children are going through a lot of stressful events right now. including their sleep schedule changing, more expectations in a new grade level, or the pandemic, including mask mandates.

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Indoor mask mandate ordered across Louisiana

KSLA12 - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has implemented a statewide indoor mask mandate to combat the spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant of the virus. Gov. Edwards made the declaration during a news conference Monday, Aug. 2. The new mask mandate is set to expire on Sept. 1, 2021, but could be extended if needed, the governor said.

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LSUHS awarded contract for K-12 COVID testing in 32 parishes

KTAL/KMSS - LSUHS was awarded one of three contracts in Louisiana to deliver FREE COVID-19 testing in kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) for the 2021-2022 school year. The agreement is in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) with funding provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

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Protocol for the fully-vaccinated as Delta Variant is spreading fast

KTAL - Dr. Yurochko, a Professor and Vice-chair of Microbiology and Immunology at LSU Health Shreveport, said by now one ought to know that “masks absolutely work” — and his stance on it is abundantly clear, citing Delta variant is more infectious and anyone who is more vulnerable or who has underlying health issues should mask up.

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In Louisiana, Vaccine Misinformation Has Public Health Workers Feeling ‘Stuck’

New York Times - Facing deep mistrust stoked by rampant conspiracy theories, local health officials are fighting for influence when the only sure strategy for beating back the virus is getting more people vaccinated. “It’s a lot of small battles in different places,” Dr. John Vanchiere said, “and every battle is going to be different.”

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In Louisiana, vaccine misinformation and Delta variant grow

Boston Globe - Dr. Jeremy Kamil, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at LSUHS, oversees a team of scientists reading the genomes of positive virus samples each week. A run of samples this week found the number of cases involving the delta variant had exploded. Dr. John Vanchiere, a professor of infectious disease at LSUHS said a growing public awareness of local delta cases was one reason his team was now vaccinating twice as many people as a month ago — as many as 100 a day.

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Local clergy and Vaccination providers are joining forces to administer free vaccinations to all citizens at TEEN FEST

Local clergy and Vaccination providers, including LSU Health Shreveport, are joining forces to administer free Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccinations to all citizens with particular emphasis on teenagers.  Also, other health screening services will be offered including blood pressure checks, COVID-19 Rapid Test, glucose/blood sugar check and physical fitness activities for the whole family.

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More Variants Are Coming, and the U.S. Isn’t Ready to Track Them

Bloomberg News - Given the patchy start to COVID surveillance last year, some experts have expressed concern over whether the CDC can create a system that will help bring the pandemic to a true end. Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSUHS, points out that the agency takes weeks to provide data from sequencing including diseases such as influenza, too.

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LSUHS Pediatrician on masks in schools debate

KSLA 12 - On Monday, July 19, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested all kids age 2 or older should wear a face mask. “The ages 12 and under, they are a vulnerable population and the argument from the AAP that wearing mask in schools will help lessen the risk of transmission and infectivity for those, I think is a very strong argument,” said Thomas.

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Hospitals responding to latest surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations

KSLA 12 - Dr. Jonathan Eaton, a critical care doctor with LSUHS shares his main concern during this latest surge in COVID-19 cases is the new age group being impacted. “The best thing we have is being vaccinated. Don’t think because your 30 to 40 years old you’re invincible to this.”

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Facts Not Fear: Top Shreveport Doctor Has Delta Variant Answers

KEEL Radio - LSUHS Dr. John Vanchiere talks about the medical community's growing concern over the new COVID Delta variant. "We've gone from a hundred cases a day to over twelve hundred cases a day," he says, addressing the increase across the state, "We're seeing a lot more infections now, locally as well as statewide. It's a big surge in infections."

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As Delta variant rises, so do second-dose skippers

Boston 25 News - Dr. Jeremy Kamil, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at LSU Health in Shreveport, Louisiana, calls the two-dose data very clear and very strong. “You can control your behavior and go back and get that second shot and do your part to protect our community and to protect our country from the pandemic having another big wave here."

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COVID-19 boosters likely not needed for first year

KTBS 3 - Dr. John Vanchiere, an infectious disease specialist and the principal investigator in the Pfizer vaccine study at LSU Health Shreveport, said they are now in the 10th month of the initial clinical trials and no booster is needed so far. “So our current look is that for the vast majority of people, boosters are not on the horizon, at least for the first year after injection.”

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Getting the vaccine gets easier, multiple agencies collaborate to bring it to communities

KTBS 3 - A mobile vaccination effort continued at the Renaissance of Allendale Apartments. This was a collaborative effort of multiple agencies: City of Shreveport, HUD, Department of HHS, LSU Health Shreveport and Shreveport Housing Authority. "The way that we combat that virus, the way that we get back to normalcy is through being vaccinated and I do not want us to let our guard down," said Shreveport Mayor Perkins. 

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Delta plus India: Scientists say too early to tell risk of Covid-19 variant

BBC World - Even with 166 examples of Delta plus shared on GISAID, "we don't have much reason to believe this is any more dangerous than the original Delta," according to Dr Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSU Health Shreveport. "Delta plus might have a slight advantage at infecting and spreading between people previously infected earlier or who have weak or incomplete vaccine immunity."

Nurse with COVID syringe

NOLA.com - “This virus can get past the defenses that our bodies made against earlier pandemic viruses,” said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist who has been sequencing variants at LSU Health Shreveport. Being infected last summer will not necessarily protect someone from being infected by the delta variant.

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CDC: Higher number of Myocarditis cases reported after second dose of mRNA Covid vaccines

Louisiana Radio Network - LSU Health Shreveport infectious disease professor Dr. John Vanchiere said cases have been the highest amongst men under the age of 18. “The cases that have been reported in-depth on, about 400 cases, they have said that all of those who’ve been effected have recovered.” (image from Amelia Heart & Vascular Center)

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Delta coronavirus variant: scientists brace for impact

Nature - The rapid rise of the highly transmissible strain in the United Kingdom has put countries in Europe, North America and Africa on watch. Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSU Health Shreveport, expects Delta to eventually become dominant in the United States, “but to be somewhat blunted by vaccination”.

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COVID vaccination efforts continue into summer months

KSLA 12 - Across Louisiana, more than 3 million doses of the vaccine have been placed in arms, while 1.4 million Louisianans are fully vaccinated — about 32% of the state. “The faster we can vaccinate ... the more difficult it is for these variants to emerge across the world, and we are seeing it,” LSUHS Dr. John Vanchiere said.

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LSU Health Shreveport receives grant for global response to pandemic threats

Louisiana Radio Network - The objective of the grant is to strengthen global capabilities to detect and respond to pandemic threats in the future. Director for Emerging Viral Threats at LSUHS Dr. Andrew Yurochko said the award is indicative of LSU Health Shreveport’s strides in detecting variants and assisting with vaccine rollout.

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LSU Health Shreveport Receives $730,000 in NIH Funding for Sequencing of COVID-19

Red River Radio - Work by Drs. Jeremy Kamil and Rona Scott along with COBRE principal investigators Drs. Andrew Yurochko and Chris Kevil has produced and shared 2,839 full coverage SARS-CoV-2 genomes, which amounts to over 60% of the SARSCoV-2 genome surveillance from Louisiana, and 1.2 % of the total US data submitted to GISAID which is the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data.

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Rockefeller Foundation announces grant funding to LSUHS to build coalition to detect and respond to pandemic threats

The Rockefeller Foundation - LSU Health Shreveport (LSUHS) is receiving funding ($340,000) from the Rockefeller Foundation. This follows the announcement yesterday of LSUHS being awarded $730,000 to further its work in genomic sequencing of COVID-19 through a NIH supplemental grant.  LSUHS joins Harvard and the Broad Institute at MIT among others in the US Regional Accelerators for Genomic Surveillance.

Read More about Rockefeller Foundation announces grant funding to LSUHS to build coalition to detect and respond to pandemic threats
As Vaccines Turn Pandemic’s Tide, U.S. and Europe Diverge on Path Forward

New York Times - The split is particularly stark in Britain, which is facing the spread of a new variant, while America has essentially lifted all rules for people who are vaccinated. “Globally, it’s a nightmare, because most of the world is still not vaccinated,” said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport. “It raises the stakes.”

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LSU Health Shreveport detects first reported B.1.617.2 (Indian) COVID-19 variant in Louisiana

LSU Health Shreveport has identified two cases of the novel COVID-19 variant of concern, B.1.617.2, which was first identified in India and is rapidly spreading around the world. LSU Health Shreveport sequencing also reveals that B.1.1.7, sometimes called “the U.K. variant,” remains dominant in North Louisiana, as is the case in the rest of the United States, as well. 

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Fully vaccinated can mostly forgo masks; shots still recommended

Daily Iberian - "What we know is that people who were vaccinated, if they do get sick, if they catch COVID, their symptoms are generally mild, and the amount of virus in their nose is generally less,” said Dr. John Vanchiere, infectious disease and pediatrics specialist at LSU Health Shreveport.

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Why second shot is critical for COVID-19 protection

ArkLaTex Homepage - “Why the second shot is so important, is the first one gives you a good response, the second one is better, and the third one gets even better and better and better. And so it just primes your immune response,” Dr. Andrew Yurochko, professor of microbiology and immunology at LSUHS said.

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brain cell image

Los Angeles Times - Scientists have found that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is capable of infecting two types of brain cells — neurons and astrocytes. Scientists have been trying to understand why and how it causes these issues in the brain, said study leader Diana Cruz-Topete, a molecular endocrinologist at LSU Health Shreveport.

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A COVID-19 patient receives treatment at a hospital in Bangalore, India

China Daily - "Despite a few mutations here and there, the virus is still SARS-CoV-2 and the disease is still COVID-19. Risk will be highest to the elderly, and to those in high-risk groups, such as people who are diabetic, overweight, (have) high blood pressure, or who have inborn errors of immunity," warned Dr. Jeremy Kamil, LSUHS associate professor.

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Jose Guzman-Wug, 16, received a COVID-19 vaccination on April 15 in Los Angeles, California, while his mother looked on. (All

The74Million - “Until you get upwards of 80 percent of children vaccinated, you’re going to have a hard time going back to pre-pandemic practices without some risk of illness and death,” Jeremy Kamil, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport, told The 74.

Read More about Vaccines For Youth 12 & Up Expected This Summer, But Schools Unlikely To Require Shots (opens in new window/tab)
syringe

KTBS - Dr. John Vanchiere, lead investigator on the Pfizer vaccine study at LSUHS said, “The vaccine is effective at several things. Number one, reducing people from getting sick from COVID and spreading it to other people. Big time important is that vaccination reduces hospitalization and death.”

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Community Testing and COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

LSU Health Shreveport continues COVID-19 testing, while simultaneously offering large scale vaccine clinics and leading Louisiana in sequencing the virus from positive test samples. Testing and vaccine sites are located throughout Northwest Louisiana—including Minden, Monroe, Ruston and rural outlying cities like Tallulah. A concerted effort has been made to deliver testing and vaccines regardless of the ability to register or travel far outside of one’s home as “access for all” has been a guiding principle for the delivery these services.

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Nurses prepare vaccine shots

KPVI 6 News - "A bit of low-grade fever, or muscle aches, fatigue for a couple of days, even headaches after getting your vaccine are not uncommon,” states Dr. John Vanchiere, the lead investigator on the Pfizer vaccine study at LSU Health Shreveport. “That’s an indicator that your immune response is kicking in."

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People in line for COVID19 testing in Jammu, Kashmir by EPA

BBC News - A coronavirus variant identified in India is being investigated by scientists across the world. However, it is not yet known how far it has spread or whether it is driving the deadly second wave of Covid in India itself. Dr Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSUHS, says, "I doubt whether the Indian variant is more infectious than the UK variant - and we must not panic."

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MiGS image

Pitt News - “A variant is like a unique constellation of mutations while a mutation will be like one star in that constellation,” stated Jeremy Kamil, virologist at LSU Health Shreveport. “Alternatively, if a variant was a fingerprint, then a mutation will be one line that’s part of the fingerprint.”

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Center for Medical Education building draft image

KEEL 101.7FM - The local medical community has stepped up on several fronts to battle COVID-19 on the front lines and in the lab. The Commission has approved the donation of as much as $1 million dollars for the Center for Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT). This money will be used for a new building to expand the local medical school and for continued research.

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woman receiving covid19 vaccine

KTBS 3 - "Those who are hesitant, and I would say that's the vast majority ... those who are hesitant, than refusing ... will see very quickly that their colleagues have gotten the vaccine and no adverse side effects or long term complications or other issues," said Dr. John Vanchiere of LSU Health Shreveport.

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Image of nurse with vaccine vial from BBC News Russia

BBC.com/Russia - Scientists from the United States and Argentina came to this conclusion after analyzing the neutralizing ability of the sera of those vaccinated with the Russian vaccine. But Sputnik still protects against a severe form of the disease, the authors emphasize.

Read More about Sputnik may be less effective against South African strain of coronavirus
Health officials focus on helping the homeless receive a COVID-19 vaccine

KTBS 3 - It's been difficult for much of the homeless to get to sites like the Louisiana State Fairgrounds. That's why Dr. John Vanchiere, an infectious disease specialist with LSU Health Shreveport, looked at all options, even transportation to get the homeless population there.

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vaccine vials in distribution machine

KSLA12 - LSUHS Dr. John Vanchiere said as a country we have a long history of producing vaccines and it’s normal for manufacturing issues to occur. The fact that it’s recognized and there’s a transparency to the reporting should give us even more trust.

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Health experts turn to younger people as eligibility expands for COVID-19 vaccines

KSLA 12 - “If you can minimize the spread in the group that’s spreading it the most, you, of course, dramatically drop the infection rate,” explained Dr. Andrew Yurochko, a professor in LSU Health Shreveport’s microbiology and immunology department.

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Health expert speaks on vaccine apprehension, herd immunity

“There are still folks who are still a little nervous that the vaccine was produced in a relatively short length of time think the important thing to note here is the technology is not new while the vaccine is the technology is something, we’ve been working on for decades,” Dr. John Vanchiere shares.

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Multitude of coronavirus variants found in the US — but the threat is unclear

Nature.com - Ramped-up sequencing efforts are helping to identify mutations that might boost transmission or help a virus evade immune responses. For the scientists who have spent the past year poring over hundreds of thousands of coronavirus genomes, the United States has been an enigma.

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‘Now, it’s about trust:’ With more people able to get the COVID-19 vaccine

“LSUHS is adjusting our strategy to accommodate more folks,” Dr. John Vanchiere said. “I would like to see longer lines and more people there getting vaccinated. And we have (the) capacity to vaccinate more than 2,000 or 2,500 people per day.”

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COVID Variant Hunter: Even Vaccinated Should Keep Wearing Masks

NBC CT - LSU Health Shreveport Virologist Jeremy Kamil told NBC Connecticut Investigates that halting their spread will require other measures. Kamil was among a team of researchers that discovered seven new COVID-19 strains, known as "variants," aside from the variants first identified in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil. 

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Dr. Michael Sewell - LSU Health Shreveport

Louisiana Radio Network - LSU Health Shreveport Chief of Hospital Medicine Dr. Mike Sewell said the current case fatality rate is far lower than it was this time last year when, according to one study last year, it was as high as four percent in New Orleans. He estimated we’re closer to one in one thousand cases.

Read More about Outcomes for COVID patients significantly better one year later (opens in new window/tab)
LSU Health Shreveport holds Saturday and Tuesday vaccine clinics aimed at those working traditional hours

To date, LSU Health Shreveport has administered over 48,000 vaccines as the first large-scale vaccine clinic in Louisiana. In order to accommodate those who work standard hours throughout the work week, and to maintain the health and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers, several changes are being made to the vaccination schedule moving forward. 

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The vaccines are working. That's why we shouldn't panic about variants.

NBC News - "There are certain variants that are more transmissible, and we have strong data on that, but the thing people should take away from the variant story is just: Don't let your guard down," said Dr. Jeremy Kamil, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport.

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hand holding vaccine vial

Four thousand three hundred (4300) doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will be available during the twelve-lane vaccination clinic to be held at the Brookshire Grocery Arena located at 2400 Century Link Center Drive from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Read More about LSU Health Shreveport and Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport partner to bring first large-scale vaccination clinic to Bossier City this weekend (opens in new window/tab)
Large number of Americans don't want COVID vaccines right now

KTBS3 - As more and more coronavirus vaccines becomes available, it's becoming clear that a lot of people don't want it. Whether it's reluctance, hesitancy or flat out refusal, a huge percentage of Americans are not interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine, according to surveys.

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So, you got your vaccine. What should you do now?

KSLA12 - According to the CDC, medical experts are still working to learn whether or not the vaccine slows transmission rates, even if you don’t get sick. That’s why, for now, even after you get the vaccine, you are urged to continue behaviors that are proven to slow the spread of the virus.

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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards press conference

Baton Rouge Advocate - In Shreveport, LSUHS - in partnership with Christus Shreveport-Bossier Health and Willis Knight Health System - had been doing about 1,500 shots a day at a drive up community vaccination site. That was shut down Monday because of the storm, said LSUHS spokesperson Lisa Babin, and won’t resume until next week.

Read More about Louisiana expanding coronavirus vaccine, distribution affected by winter storms (opens in new window/tab)
Dr. G.E. Ghali to speak at National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine

We are proud to announce that on February 24, 2021, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST Dr. G.E. Ghali, Chancellor for LSU Health Shreveport has been invited to be part of a panel of four people on one of the Town Hall Sessions on the topic of Building Bridges between Public Health and Healthcare Systems to Ensure Equitable Vaccination.

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LSUHS COVID-19 Community Vaccine Site Receives Visit & Thank You from Governor John Bel Edwards

Governor John Bel Edwards visited Louisiana’s first mass community vaccine clinic to see firsthand just how well the community effort involving LSU Health Shreveport faculty, students and staff, Region 7 Office of Public Health, Louisiana National Guard, BPCC nursing students, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System and Willis-Knighton Health System is working

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Dr. John Vanchiere at media conference, photo by Scott Ferrell, Shreveport Times

Shreveport Times - Dr. John Vanchiere, professor and chief of pediatric infectious diseases at LSUHS, talked about the benefits of getting the vaccine and its safety. “We know that early on when people get infected with COVID-19, most people have no symptoms at all and that is one of the very critical features of this type of infection compared to influenza."

Read More about LSU Health sets the record straight on COVID-19 vaccine (opens in new window/tab)
doctor walking down hall in hospital

KSLA's Christian Piekos asked our local healthcare heroes to write a reflective letter to their 'pre-pandemic' selves highlighting the unthinkable challenges they'd face responding to the pandemic. (You have to be logged in to Facebook to watch the video.)

Read More about Facebook: In Their Words: Reflections From the Frontlines of the Pandemic (opens in new window/tab)
video clip image of LSU Health Shreveport building

KTBS-3 - The Center of Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats at LSU Health Shreveport plays a big role in COVID-19 testing and community vaccinations. But another important role it plays involves the identification of COVID-19 mutations and the variants they cause.

Read More about LSUHS's Center of Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats is a major player in the fight against COVID-19 (opens in new window/tab)
Vaccines appear to be effective against COVID variants

KTBS 3 - “The quicker that people get vaccinated, the less chance of any virus being around and given the opportunity to mutate,” Dr. Ghali, LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor explained. “The longer a virus is around, the longer they're going to be able to mutate. It's a natural course in the development of the virus.”

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LSU Health Shreveport faculty address questions, concerns about current state of pandemic

KSLA12 - According to professor and pediatrics chair Dr. Maroun Mhanna, the COVID-19 vaccine takes about one week to 10 days to become effective. Therefore, it is still possible to test positive for the virus, even after getting the vaccine. Also, in order to ensure maximum effectiveness, it is important to get both doses of the vaccine.

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‘We’re in the dark’: The U.S. is way behind on testing for dangerous COVID variants

Fortune.com - Even the type of sequencing done in the U.S. has been lacking, some experts say, with much of the effort focused on finding cases of the U.K. variant, rather than casting a wider net for any variant, including ones not previously identified, said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport.

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scientist in lab

Bloomberg.com - Even the type of sequencing done in the U.S. has been lacking, some experts say, with much of the effort focused on finding cases of the U.K. variant, rather than casting a wider net for any variant, including ones not previously identified, said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSU Health Shreveport. “It’s the Wild West,” he said. “Every state, city, county is doing its own thing. It’s a bunch of random cats and no one is trying to herd them.”

Read More about U.S. Falters in DNA Testing to Detect Dangerous Covid Mutations (opens in new window/tab)
man holding a sticker that says I got the COVID-19 vaccine at LSU Health Shreveport

This week LSU Health Shreveport took a historic step towards stopping the spread of the coronavirus. In addition to continuously testing for COVID-19, the Emerging Viral Threat Lab has now organized the distribution of the vaccine to individuals age 70 and up. On the first day of testing, over 1100 seniors were able to get the vaccine from the safety of their vehicles.

Read More about COVID-19 Vaccinations at the Fairgrounds
Pfizer Offers COVID-19 Shots to Health Workers Who Got Placebo

Bloomberg - On Monday, John Vanchiere, the principal investigator for a trial site at LSU Health Shreveport, emailed 245 participants to let them know the COVID-19 vaccine trial would be slowly unblinded. By Wednesday afternoon, seven placebo recipients got their first shot, all of them health-care workers.

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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine vial

KSLA 12 - Dr. Robert Rhoads, professor and emeritus chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health Shreveport, developed key components of the mRNA over years of work. The vaccine uses messenger RNA, or mRNA, which essentially provides instructions to the body on how to fight the novel coronavirus.

Read More about Technology developed at LSU Health Shreveport played key role in COVID-19 vaccine development
COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport

KSLA 12 - “It is gratifying to see LSU Health Shreveport’s contributions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine through licensing of a LSUHS patent to BioNTech for mRNA-stabilizing cap analogs and in serving as the only north Louisiana vaccine trial site. Additionally our numerous COVID-19 clinical trials are providing access to novel therapies reflecting the benefit of having an academic medical center in our community,” shared Dr. G.E. Ghali, Chancellor of LSU Health Shreveport.

Read More about COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport
video clip image

KSLA 12- “If the EVT Lab had not existed, quite frankly, I think we’d be in a much darker place here in the northern part of the state,” said Dr. Chris Kevil, vice chancellor of research and one of the leading minds behind creation of the lab. “The EVT Lab has been fundamental in our ability to monitor COVID infections in patients out in this community."

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Patients can experience Chronic fatigue as aftereffect of COVID-19

According to Sharon Dunn, the dean of LSU Health Shreveport’s School of Allied Health Professionals and the president of the American Physical Therapy Association, chronic fatigue is one of the aftereffects of COVID-19 on some patients.

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LSU Health Shreveport Leads Louisiana  in COVID-19 VIRAL GENOME SEQUENCING

The Emerging Viral Threat (EVT) Lab at LSU Health Shreveport has now sequenced a total 651 Louisiana SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes making them the largest contributor to date of genetic data on SARS-CoV-2 in the state. SARS-CoV-2, which is short for ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2,’ is the virus that causes COVID-19, and viral genome sequencing is contributing to a worldwide effort to fight the ongoing pandemic.

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LSU Health's Emerging Viral Threat Lab makes big impact in first 6 months

KTBS 3 - Andrew Yurochko, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at LSUHS, shares, “When you think about total tests, 0.1% of the total tests of the entire country are done right here in Northwest Louisiana, where we’ve focused on our own citizens, not just in Shreveport or Caddo Parish, but in all of Region 7 which is Northwest Louisiana.”

Read More about LSU Health's Emerging Viral Threat Lab makes big impact in first 6 months
LSUHS COVID Surveillance Strike Team honored as a Patriot of the Pandemic

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce honored “Patriots of the Pandemic” to recognize those in the community who played key roles in fighting back the pandemic. LSU Health Shreveport’s COVID Surveillance Strike Team received a special Eagle Award for testing coordination inside nursing homes.

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Syringe. Pixabay

LSUHS is expanding enrollment in the Pfizer-sponsored COVID-19 vaccine study for the next two weeks to include individuals ages 16-18 and those older than 85 years of age.  Those interested in participating in this important vaccine trial should sign up as quickly as possible.  

Read More about Pfizer-sponsored COVID-19 Vaccine Study at LSUHS Expands Enrollment Ages
COVID-19 testing administered in drive up testing. LSU Health Shreveport

Health Matters host, Dr. Sanford Katz, was  joined by LSUHS's Andrew Yurochko, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Carroll Feist Chair of Viral Oncology and Dr. John Vanchiere, Chief of the Department of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases. to discuss testing, treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

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map of COVID19 cases on July 30, 2020

The state's peak in April came mostly from widespread infections in New Orleans. Now the rest of Louisiana is surging, reports William Taylor Potter and Michael Stucka, Lafayette Daily Advertiser and USA TODAY.

Read More about New COVID-19 surge in Louisiana worse than first, and unique as only state with two spikes (opens in new window/tab)
KTBS-3 ABC Shreveport story on more people under 30 are positive for COVID-19 than over 60

There are more than 7,500 positive cases; more than those in the 60 to 69 age range, where there are close to 6,900 cases. LSUHS Chancellor Dr. G.E. Ghali said it could be due to more testing. But he says this age group is also less likely to practice social distancing.

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LSU Health Shreveport one of five sites in world studying inhaled nitric oxide vs COVID-19

KTBS 3 - “What makes this so exciting is not only are we on the forefront, we are on the forefront of the forefront,” said Dr. Keith Scott, the principal investigator for the trial at LSU Health Shreveport. This is not the first time inhaled nitric oxide has been used to fight a coronavirus. It was used in 2004 during the SARS outbreak.

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(Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)

"As a result of a lot of sacrifice by our community, including importantly the business sector, the number of new cases, hospitalizations and patients needing (help) for COVID-19 is declining," shared Chancellor Ghali.

Read More about LSUHS Chancellor joins business leaders to unveil website for reopening economy (opens in new window/tab)
Photo courtesy of KSLA: ambulance at St. Mary Medical Center in Shreveport, LA

St. Mary Medical Center will now be able to accommodate inpatient pediatric, labor and delivery, Neonatal ICU and Pediatric ICU patients. This move will allow the hospital system to add 100 more beds that’s part of their ICU expansion to mee the need for COVID-19 patients.

Read More about Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport moving patients to St. Mary Medical Center Apr. 27
EVT Lab testing equipment, photo arklatexhomepage.com

We are very appreciative of this generous gift from Mr. Organick and Inferno Manufacturing Corp. It will be put to invaluable use in expanding the access to both viral and antibody testing, particularly in underserved areas of north Louisiana,” stated Chancellor Ghali.

Read More about Private donation helps support LSU Health Shreveport’s mobile COVID-19 testing (opens in new window/tab)
Feist-Weiller Partners in Wellness van repurposed for COVID-19 screenings photo

Dr. Andrew Yurochko shares that in some areas of NW Louisiana, Feist-Weiller's "Partners in Wellness", while focused on mammography and other cancer screening, also provided the only health care available. Now, the program’s three vans offer testing for COVID-19.

Read More about Feist-Weiller mammography vans repurposed to screen for COVID-19 in northwest Louisiana (opens in new window/tab)
News story by WBRZ-2 with update on clinical trials

WBRZ News - “We know a lot of these things work, we just don’t know when they work the best. And that’s what we’re trying to figure out really right now is when, how much and where. And that’s the confusing part of this whole disease. It’s nothing like we’ve ever seen, nothing like medicine has ever seen,” Dr. Keith Scott said.

Read More about Researchers say more time, data will determine if nitric oxide therapy is effective against COVID-19 (opens in new window/tab)
LSUHS Chancellor: It's a mistake to open too early, state should remain closed through May

“I'm afraid that if these social mitigation factors are released too early that we could be seeing a second peak, which would be a really bad deal,” Ghali told The Ouachita Citizen in an interview.

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Image: National Guard member cleans hospital bed

Multiple wings serving the needs of women and children are being moved from the Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Medical Center to the St. Mary Medical Center to free up more ICU units to better treat COVID-19 patients.

Read More about MEDIA CONFERENCE announces opening of St. Mary's Hospital as additional site for care of COVID-19 patients
Close up of 3D Printed Nasal Swab

As part of a national cooperative with the University of South Florida (USF) Health, Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider, and Formlabs, LSU Health Shreveport has obtained the printing files for a patented swab design, becoming the first in Louisiana to produce these patented 3D-printed swabs.

Read More about LSUHS Faculty Producing 3D-Printed Nasal Swabs for COVID-19 Testing
Dr. Robert Walter on KTBS-3

Dr. Robert Walter, LSUHS lung specialist, said about a week after contracting the virus a patient’s respiratory system begins to weaken. Patients with severe symptoms require a breathing tube and ventilator.

Read More about Lung specialist shares multiple ways to increase oxygen flow for COVID-19 patients (opens in new window/tab)
Donating Plasma

MyArkLaMiss.com - Scientists at LSU Health Shreveport continue to have a significant impact on the fight against COVID-19 in Louisiana with their latest achievement being able to offer serology testing to support the Convalescent Plasma Therapy clinical trial and help identify ideal plasma donors.

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Press Conference announcing expanded rural mobile COVID-19 Testing

Realizing the need for more testing in rural and other underserved locations in Northwest Louisiana, the Caddo Parish Commission voted to provide up to $175,000 to LSU Health Shreveport for the Clinic’s mobile unit. The allocation will assist with operations and testing. Expanded testing is north Louisiana will occur thanks to a $125,000 gift by Inferno Manufacturing Corporation.

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image of scientist working in lab

LSU Health Shreveport has become one of the leaders in the fight against COVID-19, through its healthcare services, testing and innovative research.The work likely will earn the medical facility a place in the history books as 2020 will undoubtedly be known as the year of the coronavirus. 

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LSU Health Shreveport has a van that will be used to go into rural/hot spots in the community to offer COVID-19 testing. Test

Mayor Perkins said, “To combat this virus, we have to put our resources where they are most needed. This partnership between Caddo Parish and LSU Health Shreveport does just that; it provides rapid testing to medically underserved communities in our area.”

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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards photo at press conference provided by The Advocate

To begin opening the state back up, Edwards has said officials need far more diagnostic tests, along with serological tests that could tell whether people have immunity to the virus. 

Read More about Governor Edwards says 'too many people moving around' and warns of possible coronavirus spike (opens in new window/tab)
LSU Health Shreveport doctors begin Nitric Oxide trial for COVID-19

“What we’re so excited about is this, it’s FDA approved. Almost any hospital of any size already has a ventilator, already has the gas and if this is something that does work it could start being applied immediately,” said LSUHS Professor, Keith Scott, MD.

Read More about How Nitric Oxide can help coronavirus patients as clinical trial gets underway at LSUHS (opens in new window/tab)
Caddo commissioner Steven Jackson photo

Commissioner Jackson said, “This is particularly for individuals who are medically underserved or have access barriers. We want to go off data with the Health Unit to see where there is significant community spread and be aggressive with testing.”

Read More about Caddo Commission will vote to allocate funding for COVID-19 testing at LSUHS EVT Lab (opens in new window/tab)
KTAL News image of Louisiana data

“Louisiana is doing a good job with testing. On a per capita basis Louisiana is number two in the total number of tests done in their state,” said Dr. G. E. Ghali. He says the new numbers show the efforts of the governor are working and if we continue social distancing, the predicted number of deaths will also go down.

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