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.
LSU Health Shreveport responds to COVID-19 Crisis
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LSU Health Shreveport has been on the front line fighting the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning. The establishment of the Emerging Viral Threats lab in March of 2020 led to mass testing and vaccination sites, clinical trials in patient treatment options and viral sequencing that discovered 7 COVID-19. variants.
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.
KTBS3 - Dr. John Vanchiere, an infectious disease and pediatrics specialist with LSUHS said some of the conditions that do not compromise the immune system, but make a person eligible for a booster shot include obesity, diabetes, heart disease and an age over 65.
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.
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.
A new CDC report finds that U.S. adults reported experiencing increased anxiety and depression symptoms during August through December 2020 as new COVID-19 cases increased. Find strategies to help cope with stress during COVID-19 and how to get help if you’re struggling.
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.”
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."
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.
Forum - Dr. Sarwat Umer, Associate Professor of Medicine/Pediatrics, and Dr. Anusha Vuppala, Rheumatology Fellow, at LSUHS share information on Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a complication associated with COVID-19 infection in children.
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.”
LSU Health Shreveport is looking for Part-time / Temporary workers for their COVID-19 Strike Team. Swab Assistants are needed for Shreveport-Bossier, as well as Monroe, Ruston, Alexandria and Lake Charles areas.
SCIENCE.org - Dr. Jeremy Kamil, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at LSU Health Shreveport, says "that we truly have no idea what mutations will show up next, in what order, or on top of what existing variants."
KSLA12 - “PCR is the gold standard, but people who are nervous, they have a cold, runny nose or fever, it’s a great way to sort of test,” said Dr. Andrew Yurochko, professor and vice-chair of microbiology and immunology at LSU Health Shreveport.
KTBS3 - “What I recommend for most people, especially if they've had symptomatic COVID, is that they wait about a month, six weeks, somewhere in that range before they get their first dose of vaccine,” Dr. John Vanchiere, LSU Health Shreveport.
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.”
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.
FDA.gov - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.
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.
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.”
BBC - Dr, Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSUHS, says "I would be delighted that a vaccine company overcame the immense challenges to make it work. But it's imperative that the efficacy data be vetted independently."
KEEL - Dr. John Vanchiere, LSUHS Pediatric and Infectious Disease Specialist, explains, "Booster shots are recommended for individuals who are moderate to severe immune-compromised. It's the same vaccine, just like the second dose, you're going to get a third dose of the same thing."
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."
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.”
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.
Baton Rouge - The Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics sent a letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards stating that the 750 member organization strongly recommends universal masking while indoors in schools.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.”
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.
LSUHS hosted a press conference where research experts, medical professionals and community leaders gave an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of the new Delta variant of the virus, along with latest numbers and efforts to increase vaccination rates.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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."
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."
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.”
KTAL/KMSS - COVID-19 Pfizer vaccinations were provided by LSUHS at St. Mary of the Pines Catholic Church. There were no out-of-pocket costs, and no one was turned away based on their insurance status as their main priority is keeping the community safe.
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.
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."
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.
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)
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
KTBS 3 - Dr. Jeremy Kamil from LSU Health Shreveport joins the discussion about the latest on the vaccine, variants and the state of our region.
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.
KTAL/KMSS - Health officials from LSUHS say long COVID is something people have been experiencing after recovering from COVID-19. Symptoms like fevers, cold-like symptoms, and extreme fatigue can appear weeks after infection.
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.
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.
Blue Mountain Eagle - Dr. Jeremy Kamil, an associate professor of Microbiology and Immunology at LSU Health Shreveport, said it is crucial to be mindful of “over-interpreting” the emergence of a variant. Virus variants are a significant public health concern, but viruses continually change.
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.
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.
In a collaborative event between LSUHS and LA Tech University, Dr. Chris Kevil, Vice Chancellor for Research at LSUHS, and Theresa Sokol, MPH, Acting State Epidemiologist for the Louisiana Department of Health opened the year with New Frontiers in Biomedical Research lectures focused on patient care.
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.
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.”
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.
CNN News 18 - India recorded on Monday 3,52,991 new Covid-19 cases and 2,812 deaths in the last 24 hours. The country saw 22.5 lakh new infections in the last one week, the highest ever the world has seen, pushing India’s health infrastructure to a brim.
BoomNews India - Number of COVID-19 cases in India is now at the highest per day in any country in the world. Dr. Jeremy Kamil, LSUHS virologist, discusses status of variants, vaccines, and transmissability.
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."
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."
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.”
NBC News - Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSU Health Shreveport, said that he wasn’t surprised this mutation was detected, as lab data suggests it would play a role in breakthrough cases.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Newsweek - Virus samples showing up with multiple mutations is not uncommon, and two mutations is not a lot, according to Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport.
“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.
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.
“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.”
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.
Dr. Suzanne Tinsley, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at LSU Health Shreveport, was interviewed by the Simple Church radio broadcast in Shreveport, LA and shared information on COVID-19 recovery.
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.
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.
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.
Thousands in northwest Louisiana have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Positivity rates have gone down in recent weeks. Deaths from the virus have also slowed. Is the end of the pandemic near?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Popular Science - A new preprint study suggests that last year’s Mardi Gras celebrations were responsible for roughly 50,000 COVID-19 cases across the state.
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
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."
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.)
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.
KTBS3 - While most Americans are still waiting to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some moms-to-be are worried about possible side effects to their unborn children.
KSLA12 - Extended interview with Dr. Andrew Yurochko, Professor and Carroll Feist Endowed Chair of Viral Oncology and Department Vice-Chair of Microbiology and Immunology
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
Shreveport Times - LSU Health Shreveport's Dr. Jeremy Kamil talks about the importance of genome sequencing during COVID-19.
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.
Bossier Press - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards extended the current Phase 2 coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday at a press conference for another 21 days as COVID-19 metrics remain high in the state ahead of Christmas.
As it relates to COVID, each of us will make a choice about the vaccine. I choose to be vaccinated because I have seen the complications of COVID close up and have great faith in the scientific trials supporting this vaccine.
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.
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.
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.
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."
KTBS3 - Ahead of the upcoming holidays, Dr. John Vanchiere of LSUHS, says it is reasonable to get tested prior to attending any gatherings and travel. But says it is best to avoid gatherings all together.
Arklatex Homepage - Chancellor Ghali shares steps to take to stay safe during the holidays.
Lisa Strahan Babin, Executive Director of Communication, Public Affairs and Development, shares how LSUHS has responded to the 2020 challenges in bountiful ways.
Forum News - Marie Vazquez Morgan, PT, PhD, clinical associate professor of physical therapy at LSUHS shares to eat whole nutritious foods, move more, decompress and catch up on your sleep.
Dr. John Vanchiere, professor of pediatrics and infectious disease at LSUHS, shares how many adults have too dramatic an immune response to coronavirus.
Dr. Ghali speaks with KEEL Radio host, Robert J. Wright about COVID-19 symptoms and what to anticipate.
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.
Dr. John Vanchiere, professor of pediatrics and infectious disease at LSU Health Shreveport, stresses that now, more than ever, people should get a flu shot. Particularly if they are around children.
MSN.com - The Emerging Viral Threat (EVT) Lab at LSU Health Shreveport has now sequenced a total 651 Louisiana SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes making it the largest contributor to date of genetic data on SARS-CoV-2 in the state.
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.
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.”
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.
The Emerging Viral Threat Lab at LSU Health Shreveport has processed over 110,000 COVID-19 test samples from multiple public health regions of the state and created over 170,000 test kits which were distributed throughout the state during its first six months of operation.
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.
Shreveport Times recaps the past 6 months with COVID-19 and talks to LSU Health Shreveport's Dr. Chris Kevil about what the next 6 months will entail with vaccine development.
KTBS 3 - LSU Health Shreveport announced this week that it is participating in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine study and is currently enrolling people to participate.
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.
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.
Chancellor Dr. G. E. Ghali spoke at the COVID-19 press conference about the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Louisiana, the EVT Lab and testing in North Louisiana and the importance of wearing masks.
The Daily Beast - "Louisiana is getting pummeled by the virus. But without a comprehensive early testing program in Shreveport, it would have been worse still."
Griggs Enterprises and McDonald's has been providing lunch for several months. Their generosity during this time is so appreciated by our team members, who are working around the clock in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in NW Louisiana has increased in recent weeks. Our teams are rising to this challenge with incredible compassion and professionalism; however, we need your help.
Dr. Keith Scott spoke with KTBS about the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and whether wearing a mask really helps.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and stay at home orders, alcohol sales surged. Dr. Nicholas Goeders was on Red River Radio's Health Matters June 25 to talk about how the pandemic has affected alcohol and substance abuse addictions.
Congratulations to Dr. Arrigo De Benedetti, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Dr. Nadejda Korneeva, Assistant Professor of Emergence Medicine, who have been awarded an intramural COVID-19 grant in amount of $50,000.
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.
Girlology wants to help your family avoid COVID 19 this Summer with practical tips from LSUHS Pediatric Infectious Disease expert Dr. John Vanchiere (AKA: Dr. Germ).
Shreveport Times - From the formulation of an emerging viral threat lab to community testing, LSU Health Shreveport has actively fought COVID-19. Dr. Chris Kevil talks about testing, clinical trials and prevention.
Rick Rowe, KTBS-3 News, talks to EVT Lab scientists and researchers at LSUHS about the work they are doing that is saving lives.
"The stress and fear associated with the COVID-19 pandemic will result in unprecedented increases in drug and alcohol use among our friends, our families and others in our communities," states Dr. Goeders, Executive Director of the Louisiana Addiction Research Center.
Nextstrain reports new sequences from Belgium (19), Italy (12), Uganda (20) and the USA (95). The 95 new Louisiana sequences, provided by the LSUHS EVT Lab are shown together with older samples from Louisiana.
"The funding provided by the Committee of One Hundred is essential for the EVT Lab to continue the costly endeavor of conducting antibody/serology testing, making testing kits, and processing of COVID-19 tests,” shared Dr. G.E. Ghali.
“Our unique team of women made the vision for the EVT Lab a reality. They are the true beating heart of the lab,” said Andrew Yurochko, PhD “Without them, there is no way this would be possible. As a group, they have worked the longest and hardest hours. They are really the superheroes.”
The Lions Club District 8L received a grant from the Lions Club International Foundation that has resulted in a donation to the Emerging Viral Threat (EVT) Lab at LSU Health Shreveport.
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.
LSU Health Shreveport is now one of five sites in the world and the first in Louisiana involved in a clinical trial that assesses inhaled nitric oxide as a treatment for patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.
"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.
The LSU Health Shreveport Foundation has received a $10,000 gift from the U.L. Coleman Companies to support the effort to provide COVID-19 testing to first responders in north Louisiana.
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.
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.
A mobile COVID-19 testing lab for medically underserved citizens began visiting sites across Caddo Parish this week, thanks in part to a partnership with LSU Health Shreveport and the Caddo Parish Commission.
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.
Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport will offer COVID-19 Antibody Testing to healthcare workers in North Louisiana. Beginning this week the test will be available to more than 3,700 employees, and 1,400 physicians and residents.
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.
Steven Alexander, Molecular and Cellular Physiology professor, is leading the effort to start producing these 3-D printed nasal swabs in large quantities.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
LSU Health Shreveport is bringing testing online that will allow them to check a person’s blood for antibodies that may indicate they are immune to coronavirus.
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.
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.
Phase two in the fight against COVID-19 is ramping up. The fight began with testing, now it's the race to find a treatment and eventually a vaccine. Convalescent plasma is so far showing great promise.
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.
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.”
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.
“We will take their blood and run it through and siphon off the plasma, the plasma will have the antibodies and the antibodies will be administered to critically ill patients,” says LSUHS Chancellor Ghali.
“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.
"In general, you have to be symptomatic so the van can go an test them. The test itself is a very short test. I mean, it doesn't take long to do a nose swab. So, you can do an area in a couple of hours," Arnold said.
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.”
“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.
It was a battle between the LSUHS medical students and allied health students to see who could rally around their school and community to donate the most units.
For the majority of the first month of the outbreak in the State of Louisiana, Caddo Parish and Shreveport led the way in completed tests. That trend has now been joined by the way that LSU Health Shreveport is attacking the virus in the effort to defeat COVID-19.