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.
LSU Health Shreveport begins distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine to Louisiana residents 70 years and older.
Watch video to learn more ⇒
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 led by Allen Organick, President.
With the support of Governor John Bel Edwards and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), scientists at LSU Health Shreveport have established the Emerging Viral Threat (EVT) Laboratory to address the need for faster detection and processing of COVID-19 tests. The EVT Lab at LSUHS is the first in North Louisiana approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to conduct and analyze tests to determine if an individual has COVID-19. The EVT Lab is currently in operation and fully staffed as of today, March 25.
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
Cell: (318) 458-0166
Public Relations Coordinator
Phone: (318) 675-8789
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.
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.
“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 GE Ghali, DDS, MD, FACS, FRCS (Ed), chancellor of LSU Health Shreveport.
KSLA12- “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.
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.
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.
KTBS3 News - 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 reports, "Louisiana is getting pummeled by the virus. But without a comprehensive early testing program in Shreveport, it would have been worse still."
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).
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.
"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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
It's not a typical blood drive. It’s a battle between the medical students and allied health students to see who can rally around their school and community to donate the most units.
Research from LSU Health Shreveport has shown that nitric oxide is a strong protector against tissue hypoxia. “It’s just really a raging phenomenon that occurs in the lung and if we can just calm that down a little bit and allow the body’s natural systems to come in an heal it, that’s the real goal,” said Scott.
The plasma transfusion is a clinical trial to see whether anitbodies that their immune systems created would help those who are battling a more advanced stage of the coronavirus. The trial is the first of its kind in Louisiana and the third of its kind in the U.S.
The LSU Health Shreveport Department of Medicine has joined up with the Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Alabama-Birmingham to enlist patients in a test study using inhaled nitric oxide to heal lungs damaged by COVID-19.
Keith Scott, MD, MSc, FCCM, Principal Investigator at LSU Health Shreveport for the nitric oxide clinical trial said, “We have tremendous confidence this therapy will alter the devastating effects of CoVID-19 but we must test it.”
The FDA just released new guidelines allowing us to investigationally use convalescent plasma for patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 infections. The only source of this convalescent plasma is donations from people that have recovered for at least two weeks from COVID-19 and have produced antibodies.
Research from LSU Health Shreveport has shown that nitric oxide is a strong protector against tissue hypoxia, which occurs during severe Covid-1 infection”, said Dr. Chris Kevil, Vice Chancellor for Research at LSU Health Shreveport.
Officials say a critically ill COVID-19 patient at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Academic Medical Center is being treated with the first convalescent plasma therapy in Louisiana, donated at LifeShare Blood Center just hours before the treatment began Saturday.
Due to some forward thinking by Dr. G.E. Ghali, chancellor of LSU Health Shreveport, three years ago, northwest Louisiana might be in better shape to fight complications from COVID-19 than other areas of the state.
Dr. Martin Sapp, Chair of Microbiology at LSUHS, shares how the EVT Lab will help with current and future viral threats.
Some doctors from LSUHS have made the long haul to the front lines of the COVID-19 fight in Louisiana: New Orleans. Guided by Dr. Angela Cornelius, the seven residents come from various specialties but have the same mission: providing much needed aid to an overwhelmed hospital.
LSU Health Shreveport has sent a medical strike team to assist staff at a hospital in the New Orleans area. The team consists of seven residents and emergency physician Dr. Angela Cornelius. They are currently working at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero.
With so many questions surrounding COVID-19, Dr. G. E. Ghali, Chancellor LSU Health Shreveport explains the warning signs. He also discusses ventilators and the race for treatment and a vaccine.
“Certainly we’ve ramped up our testing,” Dr. G.E. Ghali, LSUHS Chancellor, said. “We’ve increased our capacity by 60 percent right off the bat of number of ICU beds that we have.” The increased testing is thanks to the new Emerging Viral Threat Lab that can provide results in less than 48 hours, freeing resources.
The Shreveport Times reached out to Professor Andrew Yurochko, Carroll Feist endowed chair of viral oncology and department vice-chair of microbiology and immunology, LSUHS, with the Emerging Viral Threat lab which began processing COVID-19 samples last Wednesday.
If you are a frontline medical worker in the Shreveport-Bossier area, and could use some additional help, click here to take a survey. Once completed, you’ll be connected with a volunteer who will be able to assist you. You are also able to email email@example.com with any questions you may have.
Chancellor Ghali explains the medical school's growing role in the COVID 19 fight. "We already have a robust and incredibly well known virology department," he says, adding that their experience in SARS virus research laid the groundwork for this challenge. "What (our) lab allows us to do is test up to about 2,000 samples a day." Ghali says these samples are coming to LSUHS from all over the country.
Dr. Puja Nambiar, an infectious disease specialist at LSUHS, states that Shreveport experts have been able to work closely with the team at the Ochsner Health in New Orleans, adopting protocols and surge planning developed by experts a week ahead of the epidemic. Hopefully, that will help stem the tide. (CNN.com)
Working together with Governor John Bel Edwards and following the guidance of state public officials that we improve surge capacity for COVID-19 patients, we are rapidly modifying our St. Mary Medical Center, located in the Highland neighborhood of Shreveport.
Dr. John Vanchiere, an infectious disease specialist at LSU Health Shreveport discusses symptoms and treatment protocol for COVID-19 on KEEL News Radio.
LSU Health Shreveport chancellor, Dr. G.E. Ghali, implores all citizens to adhere to the guidelines set forth by Governor Edwards.
Having an academic medical center is a “gem” touted frequently throughout north Louisiana and beyond. While many in the nation are fearful of having appropriate access to testing and quality care during the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to LSU Health Shreveport, north Louisiana is infinitely better positioned than most communities to face Covid-19.
In this video, Dr. Mark Cogburn, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavior Medicine, talks to parents about how to talk to their child about COVID-19.
Dr. Yetman says, “We’re very lucky here in Shreveport – we don’t have the population density that other cities have… you can still get out, you can still walk. Exercise both for children and adults is very important for maintaining your physical health as well as your mental health.”
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated there is a high risk of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreading to other countries around the world.
Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, particularly those in persons with underlying severe and chronic health issues, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects - such as desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. If they are standing within six feet of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them. In other words, COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to flu.
Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.