So much learned in 1 year of COVID-19

Mar 10 8:00am | Jennifer O'Hara | @jenohara | Comments (9)

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The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how quickly life can change. That's evident in people's personal lives and across the scientific community. Remarkable advances have been made in science over the past year, guided by international research collaborations.

"When you look at nine months from when we first identified this pathogen to having a vaccine, that's as close to a human miracle, if I could use that term, as as one could expect," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group.

But he says there have been some frustrations. "As soon as we make some progress, everybody wants to open up and relax restrictions," says Dr. Poland. "Opening up and getting back to normal is not a light switch."

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland talks about lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that vaccinations aren't enough to beat the COVID-19 virus and variants. He also says that communicating science and public health messaging needs to improve in the future.

To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Read the full transcript.

Connect with others talking about the pandemic and supporting one another in the COVID-19 support group.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Dr. Poland has served as a consultant for Merck & Co. Inc., Medicago Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc, Sanofi Pasteur, Emergent BioSolutions Inc., Dynavax Technologies Corp., Genentech Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., Kentucky BioProcessing Inc. and Genevant Sciences Corp., and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. He is a paid scientific adviser for Johnson & Johnson. Honoraria: Elsevier.

 

I have viewed every podcast with Drs. Poland and Gazelka in the past year and have so appreciated the unbiased and informative information.

I am on prednisone and Actemra injections which are both immunosuppressants and I have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Can Dr. Poland offer any reassurance for those of us with compromised immune systems and are there antibody tests available to us to determine efficacy of the vaccine?

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@gaylekse

I have viewed every podcast with Drs. Poland and Gazelka in the past year and have so appreciated the unbiased and informative information.

I am on prednisone and Actemra injections which are both immunosuppressants and I have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Can Dr. Poland offer any reassurance for those of us with compromised immune systems and are there antibody tests available to us to determine efficacy of the vaccine?

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This question about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of Covid vaccines for immuno-suppressed individuals and if it is possible to obtain a useful antibody test is sooooo very important for so many of us. It seems we are advised that there is no information and that we should not get an antibody test but that leaves millions of us unable to determine whether we have any protection from the vaccines (and therefore, whether we should or should not follow CDC guidelines on relaxing our rules of interaction along with "normal" vaccinated people).

Any response to that question would be most valuable!

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I was invited to be a participant in this study this week, I'll receive the kit to return a blood sample for antibody testing next week they said.
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04609085
and my rare disease is an autoimmune disease, which means my immune system is attacking my CNS. I'm not immunosuppressed at all, which is a treatment for the disease, that I do not opt to take.

So, I find it interesting that the NIH is reaching out now to do this study, just as vaccines are becoming more prevalent with the Johnson $ Johnson vaccine now available.

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Please keep us posted on this site. And thank you for posting.

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@gaylekse @1nan and @rainna, your questions have been submitted to Dr. Poland for next week's Q&A broadcast.

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Yes, Id have a question here, and that is, should those of us with autoimmune diseases get the vaccine? All I hear is that we should get the vaccine from those on the television. But my immunie system is confused about things, I have an autoimmune disease, my community has an antibody test at the pharmacy, I'm wondering if I should try that first. What is Dr. Poland's opinion of these antibody tests? The NIH is giving me one in this study next week.

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@colleenyoung

@gaylekse @1nan and @rainna, your questions have been submitted to Dr. Poland for next week's Q&A broadcast.

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Thank you! I’m also on the “COVID vaccines and neuropathy” discussion. There are a number of us who have experienced increased neuropathy symptoms or flare ups after receiving the Covid vaccine. If it’s appropriate, could a question about this be submitted to Dr. Poland?

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@gaylekse @Erinmfs @1nan and @rainna, here is the link to the podcast where Dr. Poland answers your questions about whether people who are immunocompromised, such as patients undergoing cancer treatment, or people who have autoimmune diseases, should be vaccinated for COVID-19.

– Rapid pace of COVID-19 vaccinations https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/podcasts/newsfeed-post/rapid-pace-of-covid-19-vaccinations

"Both of those categories (of people) should be vaccinated," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "Those are not contraindications. Those are indications to get the vaccine." He adds that research is ongoing, but current information demonstrates the benefits far outweigh the theoretical risks.

In the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland talks about vaccine hesitancy, and patients who are immunocompromised or have autoimmune conditions. Also, he discusses next steps in the journey to vaccinate children for COVID-19. And he reviews recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Control about in-person gatherings.

@athenalee, I am just seeing your question about neuropathy now. I will review to see if this has already been answered. If not, I'll submit your question for next week's podcast.

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@colleenyoung

@gaylekse @Erinmfs @1nan and @rainna, here is the link to the podcast where Dr. Poland answers your questions about whether people who are immunocompromised, such as patients undergoing cancer treatment, or people who have autoimmune diseases, should be vaccinated for COVID-19.

– Rapid pace of COVID-19 vaccinations https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/podcasts/newsfeed-post/rapid-pace-of-covid-19-vaccinations

"Both of those categories (of people) should be vaccinated," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "Those are not contraindications. Those are indications to get the vaccine." He adds that research is ongoing, but current information demonstrates the benefits far outweigh the theoretical risks.

In the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland talks about vaccine hesitancy, and patients who are immunocompromised or have autoimmune conditions. Also, he discusses next steps in the journey to vaccinate children for COVID-19. And he reviews recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Control about in-person gatherings.

@athenalee, I am just seeing your question about neuropathy now. I will review to see if this has already been answered. If not, I'll submit your question for next week's podcast.

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@colleenyoung Thank you so much for keeping this concern front and center. It is reassuring to hear and know there has been an uptake in attention to this issue. Nancy

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