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UT Institutions Make Impact in Fight Against COVID-19

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A collage of the 14 UT institutions arranged 7 in a top and bottom row. All images are exterior photos of the campuses on a dark blue background.

All 14 UT institutions along with their faculty, researchers, health care providers, staff and students are meeting the challenges of COVID-19 with ingenuity, compassion and perseverance.

Here's a look at the extraordinary efforts taking place at institutions across the UT System. You can search stories by institution or topic, and there are also videos and infographics featuring contributions of multiple institutions.

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UT Arlington

Robots that help train UTA nursing students remotely

A new grant will help UT Arlington triple its fleet of telepresence robots and bring onboard new devices to continue clinical training for rural and remote nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Funded through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Nursing Innovation Grant Program, telepresence robots, which resemble computer tablets on wheels, enable UTA nursing faculty members and students to move about a clinical space in another location and interact with patients and other caregivers.

UTA musicians join with Levitt Pavilion for free video series

Musicians from UT Arlington have teamed up with the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts for a free weekly video series focused on different genres of music. The collaboration offers a way for students and faculty to continue performing and serving the community in the absence of live concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drive-in film fest showcased student projects

The Cinematic Arts’ End of Semester Showcase at UT Arlington—a drive-in movie night that featured short films produced by undergraduate and graduate students—creatively and safely showcased students’ efforts, as they worked hard in the middle of the pandemic to complete their projects. Sierra Clark, a graduate student pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in cinematic arts, noted that  “Filmmaking is a collaborative medium that can take an insane number of hours to accomplish, so seeing your film or a film you helped create on the big screen is a rewarding experience.”

Pandemic response suggests nations copy their neighbors

A recently published analysis from Evan Mistur, a UT Arlington assistant professor in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs, suggests that nationalistic governments around the globe are more likely to copy other nationalistic governments in responding to the current pandemic.

Reuniting through art: New mural for unique times

Five student artists and two art professors from UT Arlington have created a colorful mural in the Science & Engineering Innovation & Research building that captures our unusual moment in history. The mural depicts colorful, 10-foot-tall head-and-shoulder portraits of individuals wearing masks. It occupies a basement hallway used by masked and gowned staffers of UTA’s North Texas Genome Center, which processes campus COVID-19 tests.

How to enjoy healthy holidays in the COVID-19 era

Erin Carlson, associate clinical professor and director of graduate public health programs in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at UT Arlington, warns that during this upcoming holiday season, small gatherings could lead to big problems, so families should rethink their holiday plans. Carlson offers several holiday safety recommendations for assessing risks, traveling and gathering socially.

School of Social Work addresses food insecurity, COVID

In a Halloween twist, the School of Social Work at UT Arlington will use a “trunk-or-treat” event to distribute more than 700 boxes of fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy items, meat and washable face masks to local families in need. Additionally, social work students, staff, faculty and alumni will hand out up to 500 packages with five washable masks in each.

Health tips for voting in person

Erin Carlson, director of graduate public health programs at UT Arlington, offers advice to stay safe from COVID-19 while exercising your civic duty.

COVID-19 challenge: Keeping transportation infrastructure operating

Mohsen Shahandashti, assistant professor of civil engineering at UT Arlington, is determining how to keep transportation construction workers safe during the coronavirus pandemic while ensuring that critical infrastructure systems are properly inspected and maintained. Shahandashti is using a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant to identify challenges that impact workforce decision-making processes in the transportation construction industry during the pandemic.

Celebrating Hispanic heritage during COVID-19

Amid a global pandemic, UT Arlington has organized virtual events—including bachata and salsa lessons, interactive trivia and speaker sessions—to mark Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month.

The show must go… online

UT Arlington’s Department of Theatre Arts and Dance is now streaming productions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staging plays as well as dance and vocal performances that people can watch remotely. In the midst of all the unprecedented changes, the silver lining is that this opens up the students’ work to people who would never be able to come to the UTA theater.

How to make Halloween safe in the COVID-19 era

Erin Carlson, an associate clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at UT Arlington, offers several Halloween safety recommendations to keep families healthy this holiday.

COVID-19 may damage bone marrow immune cells; another reinfection reported 

Dr. Katy Rezvani of UT Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center coauthored a report that describes a way to take donor T cells that target the novel coronavirus and make them resistant to the deadly effects of steroids.

UTA group lends help to Arlington families

Knowing that COVID-19 has severely affected low-income Latino communities, UT Arlington’s Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) gave 1,600 bags filled with masks, hand sanitizer and health information in English and Spanish to low-income families in Arlington to help stay safe.

Online learning expert shares tips on how to make virtual classes work

Many students are enrolled in virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and parents are concerned about how to make remote learning work. UT Arlington professor Peggy Semingson studies online learning and shares a few tips to help parents and families as they navigate the school year online.

UT Arlington student group donates 600 face masks to Dallas Fire-Rescue

A UT Arlington student group that wanted to support front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic has donated 600 face masks to Dallas Fire-Rescue. The group hopes to make more donations in the future and inspire other student groups to get involved.

UTA biologists: COVID-19 virus originated in bats, not dogs

Todd Castoe, associate professor of biology at UT Arlington, has co-authored two papers regarding the COVID-19 virus and its origins. The first study disputes earlier claims that the coronavirus may have jumped from dogs to humans. The second reconstructs the evolutionary history of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 crisis. Castoe also found no evidence that the virus was either manufactured in or accidentally released from a lab in Wuhan, China, as some have speculated.

UTA examines antimalarial drugs to treat COVID-19

A published study from researchers at UT Arlington suggests that using chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 (SARS-Cov-2) patients can have dangerous side effects, especially for older adults. The benefits of the drugs, say the authors, are “at best, hypothetical.”

North Texas Genome Center strengthens UTA’s COVID-19 testing

UT Arlington is leveraging the expertise and resources of its North Texas Genome Center (NTGC) to bolster its on-campus COVID-19 testing capabilities. NTGC is establishing on-site COVID-19 test processing to help provide for the safe repopulation of the UTA campus and to assist local public health agencies.

If relaxed too soon, physical distancing measures might have been all for naught

A study co-authored by a team of mathematicians and scientists, including UT Arlington associate professor of political science Daniel Sledge, found that if physical distancing measures in the U.S. are relaxed while there is still no COVID-19 vaccine or treatment and while personal protective equipment remains in short supply, the number of resulting infections could be about the same as if distancing had never been implemented to begin with.

Federal aid will shore up health care supply chains

TMAC at UT Arlington received $3.3 million in federal funding to help small- and medium-sized businesses respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. TMAC is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership in Texas and works to bolster the global competitiveness of the state's economy by increasing its extended manufacturing enterprise through developing and improving profits, products, processes, technology and people.

Is it safe to dine out? It’s safer outside. Stay 6 feet away. 4 tips for safe dining

Erin Carlson is a foodie who also oversees the UT Arlington School of Public Health. She offers precautions to take for those who want to dine out.

Helping Mavericks with their tech needs

As UT Arlington prepares for a blended approach to fall 2020 courses, student accessibility to technology for online and hybrid courses is a top priority. Among its new resources and accommodations, the university is offering students laptop lending, better Wi-Fi, and specially designed socially distant computer labs.

International students can take classes from abroad in fall term

For international students experiencing travel difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UT Arlington is making a number of academic programs available online to provide a first-class education to the Maverick family. New and continuing students who have submitted their financial and immigration documents are eligible to take fall 2020 classes online from their home countries and transition to on-campus enrollment in Arlington for the spring 2021 term.

Drive-in movie night featured Maverick-made films

After the coronavirus interrupted the spring semester, there was concern about how to screen the films created by students in UT Arlington’s Art & Art History Film/ Video Program. The response was UT Arlington’s first ever drive-in movie night showcasing short films produced by talented undergraduate and graduate students. Cars parked six feet apart and guests stayed in their vehicles during the event to observe campus social distancing while viewing 16 films encompassing a variety of genres.

$5 device could deliver COVID-19 test results in 10 minutes

A researcher at UT Arlington is developing a $5 portable device that can deliver COVID-19 testing results on-site in about 10 minutes. Seong Jin Koh, professor of material science and engineering, received a National Science Foundation RAPID grant to develop the device, which will be about the size of a person’s thumb.

UTA students to assist COVID-19 case investigations

A group of public health students and recent graduates from UT Arlington will volunteer this summer to aid Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) with COVID-19 case investigations, contact tracing and data entry. The UTA students, who already are equipped with scientific and population-health knowledge in the five core areas of public health, will receive training in data collection and contact tracing investigation methods already in place at TCPH.

Amid pandemic, UTA helps clinicians help themselves

UT Arlington partnered with UTHealth to help health care providers make decisions that better protect themselves and their patients. A UTA team created a tool that outlines current COVID-19 testing strategies and the pros and cons associated with each to help clinicians identify and choose the best strategy for their practice and service.

Alumni educate, care for community during pandemic

UT Arlington trains and educates thousands of students each year for careers in nursing, public health and social work. This look at Mavericks on the front lines of the pandemic highlights a nurse, an epidemiologist and a social worker offering critical care and support to patients and the public during these difficult times.

How to stay safe as Texas reopens: Dallas-area doctors answer your coronavirus questions

Dr. Mamta Jain, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, who oversees COVID-19 clinical trials, and Erin Carlson, associate clinical professor and director of graduate public health programs at UT Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, discussed coronavirus and what North Texans need to know as the state reopens.

University of Texas at Arlington holds drive-thru event to raise spirits of incoming freshman

UT Arlington held a special drive-thru event for its newest freshmen, where school leaders safely distributed giveaways in cars and hoped to raise spirits with a DJ, balloons and cheering student leaders. University officials say they know it’s been a tough year for graduating high school seniors and they wanted to get them excited for their freshman year of college.

UT Arlington ranked among the best schools in Texas for education during the coronavirus pandemic

UT Arlington ranked among the best schools in Texas for education during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Educate to Career, a California-based education nonprofit. The ranking has traditionally focused on economic value, but this year also factored in the ability of colleges and universities to educate students remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dedicated students keep UTA community informed

Across the country, college students are staying off campuses and completing their studies online because of the coronavirus pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped dedicated students at UT Arlington from keeping their communities up-to-date and entertained with student-run media, including UTA RadioUTA News en Español and The Shorthorn.

In COVID-19 hot spots, Mavericks make a difference

This week’s Mavericks on the Front Lines series profile two Mavericks who are using their skills and training to help others. Dr. Jocelyn Zee a critical care physician, and Elisabeth Berglund, a nursing senior, are demonstrating bravery and professionalism as they help patients during the pandemic. 

A supply chain for COVID-19 medication

Working with artificial intelligence, a UT Arlington researcher is developing a rapid-response supply chain designed to quickly deliver COVID-19 medications, once they are available, to vulnerable urban populations in Texas.

Maverick heroes of COVID-19

An emergency medicine physician, a gatekeeper for COVID-19 testing and a social work student caring for the homeless are among the thousands of Maverick heroes providing essential support and care during the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating that the UT Arlington community is a force for good. 

‘I want to do my part’

Among the 230,000 UT Arlington alumni and 60,000-plus students, staff and faculty are thousands of Maverick heroes providing essential support and care to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. From treating ill patients to making do-it-yourself personal protective equipment to serving the hungry at food banks, Mavericks near and far are making a difference.

UTA students use 3D printer to make face shields for hospital staff

UT Arlington students are using 3D printers in the UTA Libraries FabLab facilities to make face shields for John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. 

‘Masks alone are not enough’

Erin Carlson, public health expert and associate clinical professor and director of graduate public health programs in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at UT Arlington, provides guidelines for correct mask usage and useful prevention tips.

Becoming a nurse in the age of COVID-19

The 365 nursing students expected to earn their diplomas next month from UT Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation could soon find themselves on the front lines of a pandemic. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently expanded the state’s nursing workforce by allowing temporary permit extensions for recently graduated nurses who have yet to take the state’s licensing exam. The governor is also allowing students in their final year of nursing school to meet their clinical objectives by exceeding the 50% limit on simulated experiences.

Mavericks on the front lines

Mavericks near and far provide essential services. From a UT Arlington freshman to veteran, front-line nurses, Mavericks are making a difference. 

Nursing students prepare to enter workforce

Hands-on training that would normally be done inside area hospitals isn’t possible right now, so colleges are turning to technology. Lessons have moved from the College of Nursing at UT Arlington and away from area hospitals to online simulations. UTA says 365 nursing students will enter the workforce next month.

UTA professor hosted jazz piano recital from home

Dan Cavanagh, the music chair at UT Arlington, hosted a live in-home jazz piano recital from his living room. He streamed the concert on YouTube as a fundraiser for students and to spread some joy during this difficult time. “Music and the arts, in general, are very important to the human experience - with shelter-in-place, we are in the middle of a time when we can't be physically closer to each other,” he says.

UTA study finds people trust their feelings instead of facts during crises

Two associate professors of marketing at UT Arlington have published a study showing that people are more likely to base decisions on anecdotal information instead of facts when they feel anxious and vulnerable. Traci Freling and Ritesh Saini explained this irrational decision-making could help explain why there has been a run on toilet paper during the recent pandemic.

Professor sets up virtual reading class connecting future teachers with students

As schools shuttered across the country, John Romig, assistant professor of special education at UT Arlington, found a way to continue giving his students the classroom experience they need. He set up virtual reading classes that not only help his students practice their teaching, but also allowed children now stuck at home to participate in a virtual reading program.

Online teaching expert shares tips on creating better digital classrooms

Peggy Semingson, an associate professor in UTA’s College of Education, celebrated her colleagues’ quick adaptation to distance learning. “This is a long-term skill set teacher need,” she said. She also shared, via video, tips on how to offer encouragement to students.

Social Work faculty offer social distancing strategies for older adults

In an online Q&A, Noelle Fields and Ling Xu, assistant professors in UTA’s School of Social, offered strategies to help older adults during social distancing. They encouraged people to reach out to older family members, friends and neighbors to help them combat loneliness. “Social distancing does not mean social isolation,” they say.

UT Arlington math professor shows how quickly coronavirus spreads.

Dr. Christopher Kribs, a UT Arlington mathematics professor whose research focuses on studying the spread of viruses through math models, explained how exponential growth in infections happens through contacts.

Coronavirus modeling shows spread remains dangerously high globally

The reproduction number of the novel coronavirus is still at a dangerously high level globally, requiring greater public health interventions, according to data analyzed by a group including Daniel Sledge, an associate professor of political science at UT Arlington.
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UT Austin

UT Austin receives some of Texas’ first COVID-19 vaccines to protect healthcare staff serving the region 

UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Medical School at UT Austin, was among the first in Texas to receive the long-awaited first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines. The 2,925 Pfizer vaccine vials received in December were the first of two doses earmarked to protect UT Austin’s front-line health care workers, including faculty, staff and students who are actively involved in clinical care delivery to patients in the Austin community. Facing the COVID-19 crisis, UT nurses were cheered by the arrival of the vaccine and as of January 2021, have administered almost 10,000 doses, and School of Nursing faculty, staff and students have volunteered more than 3,500 hours at UT Austin clinics.

The pandemic as trauma: Accepting our emotions

Psychologist Ginny Maril, associate director for clinical services at UT Austin’s Counseling and Mental Health Center, says support is important in these times of social distancing, and gives tips on how people can cope going forward.

As isolation intensifies for older adults during the pandemic, researchers test out a treatment for loneliness

The Dell Medical School at UT Austin and Meals on Wheels of Central Texas have been testing a program that could help combat the health effects of loneliness and isolation, particularly among older people. Through “sunshine calls,” volunteers call older adults who are homebound and often isolated in their daily lives just to get them to talk about themselves. 

Coronavirus ‘infodemic’: fear causes misinformation spread, more rigid thinking

Fear in response to COVID-19 causes people to think more rigidly and makes it harder for them to recognize misinformation and more likely to spread it, according to a new research study led by Carola Salvi, Ph.D., a research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Dell Medical School at UT Austin. 

U.S. kids struggle to keep moving

Sheri L. Burson from UT Austin’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Education worked with Professor Darla Castelli’s Kinetic Kidz Lab to understand how quarantine may affect child behavior. They distributed online questionnaires to parents in Central Texas, asking about types of physical activity, time spent sitting, and school and non-school device use. Presenting their results, the researchers also provide recommendations to keep kids moving during these challenging times.

On the COVID-19 front lines 

As the first coronavirus wave hit the country, clinical faculty and residents working at Dell Seton Medical Center, the main teaching hospital of Dell Medical School at UT Austin, braced for impact. But months later, when leaders began to analyze COVID-19 case data from the beginning of the outbreak, the extraordinary came to light: Dell Seton’s patients survived at twice the rate of other COVID-19 patients across the nation. UT Dell Medical School physicians explain how these outcomes reflect their nimble internal working groups and community partners.

The COVID vaccine’s long journey: How doses get from the manufacturing plant to your arm

Dr. Amy Young, vice dean of professional practice at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School and chief clinical officer at UT Health Austin, explained how the hospital handled its first shipment of 2,925 doses of vaccine. Hospital staff started immunizing people the next day.

Voces Oral History Center documents how Latino community is being affected by COVID-19 

The Voces Oral History Center in the Moody College of Communication at UT Austin has been documenting the voices and stories of the Latino community since 1999, beginning with stories of World War II veterans. For the first time, they are documenting history as it is unfolding, creating the new collection “Voces of a Pandemic,” comprised of oral history interviews of the Latino experience with COVID-19.

Tips on dealing with change

The pandemic has caused sudden transition to online learning, remote work, new obligations to care for young children at home, and isolation from friends and relatives, life seems more unfamiliar, causing upticks in stress and anxiety. Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, a professor at UT Austin and an expert on change, offers tips to help regain a sense of stability.

LBJ School policy leaders craft solutions for a resilient future

Twenty-nine LBJ School authors have come together to craft interdisciplinary and resilience-based policy solutions, published today in one toolkit called Resiliency in the Age of COVID-19. This toolkit comes as researchers from across UT Austin continue to offer first-of-its-kind groundbreaking research and discovery in the fight against COVID and its long-lasting impacts on public health, business and the future of governance.

Meet the lab mice helping scientists find a COVID-19 vaccine

Niharika Reddy Badi, a cancer research associate at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School, is currently working with a mouse colony for COVID-19 vaccine research with UT biologist and cancer researcher John Powers. Until last spring, Powers’s lab was focused on looking for potential cures for melanoma and pancreatic cancer.

Protein storytelling to address the pandemic

The Frontera supercomputer at UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center — the fastest at any university in the world — allowed Ken Dill, director of the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology at Stony Brook University, and his team to make structure predictions for 19 additional proteins for COVID-19. Each of these could serve as an avenue for new drug developments. They have made their structure predictions publicly available and are working with teams to experimentally test their accuracy.

UT's COVID-19 projections for Austin and how they're made

Professor Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the UT Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, explains how they make projections for Austin.

Texas coronavirus scientists win award for research with ‘Great Societal Benefit’

The world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society has announced that Jason McLellan, a UT Austin associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, and Daniel Wrapp, a graduate student fellow, were among seven winners of this year’s Golden Goose Award. The prize this year went to scientists “whose federally funded research has had a significant impact for the response and treatment of COVID-19.” Their research has played a pivotal role in developing the monoclonal antibody therapies that, so far, appear to be one of the most effective ways to prevent severe cases of COVID-19.

Custom fit

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., one of the most immediate needs that arose was filling a shortage of PPE for health care workers. So, inside UT Austin Cockrell School’s Texas Inventionworks studio, engineers immediately galvanized into action to create customized 3D-printed masks.

WATCH: Key innovation from UT Austin’s McLellan Lab powers COVID-19 vaccines

Highly effective COVID-19 vaccines have been developed in record time thanks to the scientific community’s rapid response to the COVID-19 outbreak and years of dedicated research. Remarkably, one key innovation, made by a small team of scientists at UT Austin and the National Institutes of Health, is powering many of the leading vaccines.

UT study links COVID-19 and food insecurity in Travis County

A Dell Med Department of Pediatrics research team led by Megan Gray, M.D., MPH, and Ana Avalos, M.D., partnered with CommUnity Care Health Centers to conduct a study of 645 Austin-area families between April to August 2020 who sought care at two CommUnityCare clinics. The study showed food insecurity affected families surveyed 33% to 70% during this time, with an average of 47%. The fluctuations corresponded to Travis County COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations, and with changes in the labor market.

Tips on building your resilience

Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, shares advice on cultivating resilience during a pandemic.

UT Austin professor joins national committee for COVID-19 vaccine allocation study

Dr. Jewel Mullen, associate dean for health equity at UT Austin's Dell Medical School, is one of the experts helping decide who should get a COVID-19 vaccine first. Dr. Mullen and 17 others served on a national committee recommending a four-phase approach to fairly distribute the vaccine.

UT professor wants to turn COVID-19 vaccine into powder to help storage, distribution

UT Austin pharmacy professor Dr. Bill Williams is part of COVID-19 vaccine research that would not only change how it’s administered, but increase the vaccine’s shelf life in order to distribute it to areas without ultra-cold freezers.

This Longhorn startup is bridging the generation gap to combat loneliness

UT Austin student entrepreneurs Allen Zhou, Aditi Merchant and Anthony Zhou realized that older adults — who struggle with loneliness in normal times — were suffering even more as retirement communities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes locked down and family and friends were denied visits. The trio decided to do something about it by launching Big & Mini, a nonprofit organization focused on connecting older adults (Bigs) and young people (Minis) through virtual communication.

Video: Celebrate Thanksgiving safely

Dr. Brandon Allport-Altillo, assistant professor in the departments of Population Health and Internal Medicine at UT Austin Dell Medical School, offers advice on how to alter your holiday traditions to minimize risk.

Watch: A UT Austin researcher explains the role his lab played in several leading COVID-19 vaccines

At least four of the COVID-19 vaccines showing promise are using technology developed in Jason McLellan's lab at UT Austin. Watch McLellan discuss next steps for the vaccine rollout and why he says he plans to vaccinate his entire family once one or more contenders are proved safe and effective for all ages.

One in six Texans have been infected with COVID-19, study finds

An estimated one out of every six Texans — roughly 4.75 million people — has contracted COVID-19, according to a recent statistical analysis by the UT Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. The study estimates that the virus is spreading rapidly and so far has infected more than 16 percent of people in Texas, far more than the state’s tally.

New tool helps parents and educators estimate COVID-19 infection numbers at their school

With COVID-19 cases hitting new highs across the country, a new online tool can help families and school leaders estimate how many infected people are likely to show up at a school on a given day anywhere in the United States. The free, interactive dashboard was produced by The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

How UT researchers are working to thwart COVID-19’s resistance to treatments

UT Austin researchers, led by Jason McLellan, associate professor in molecular biosciences, are using their insight into the coronavirus “spike proteins” to help drive vaccines, treatments like antibody therapies and understanding of COVID-19’s resistance to treatments.

UT researchers study why certain groups don't trust public health information on COVID

UT Austin researchers are in the middle of a study looking at where people get their health information, specifically on COVID-19, and if they trust it to be true. The results hopefully will help officials better understand the people they need to convince to follow health recommendations.

New UT report reveals the devastating toll of COVID-19 in Texas prisons and jails

A new report from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at UT Austin provides groundbreaking data on the impact of COVID-19 in state-operated prisons and county-operated jails. According to the report, 231 people have died from COVID-19 in Texas prisons and jails — more than any other state in the country — and people in Texas prisons are testing positive for COVID at a rate 490% higher than for the state of Texas as a whole.

UT Dell Medical School is building post-COVID-19 treatment center

Doctors at UT Austin's Dell Medical School are taking a closer look at the long-term health effects of COVID-19 and working to create a post COVID-19 patient center to help pinpoint treatment and learn more about why symptoms persist.

COVID-19 pandemic is having little to no effect on intimate relationships 

Scientists at UT Austin have found that relationships have mostly continued much as they were before, with the happiest couples seeing a small boost. In a new study in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers found people’s overall satisfaction levels with their relationships changed little during the pandemic, even amid significant stressors, from job losses to health concerns.

Hot or cold, weather alone has no significant effect on COVID-19 spread

Research led by Dev Niyogi, a professor at UT Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences and Cockrell School of Engineering, is adding some clarity on weather’s role in COVID-19 infection, with a new study finding that temperature and humidity do not play a significant role in coronavirus spread. That means whether it’s hot or cold outside, the transmission of COVID-19 from one person to the next depends almost entirely on human behavior.

On the defense against COVID-19

Every Friday, a group of molecular biosciences experts at UT Austin comes together in a virtual meeting to study and mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Led by Andrew Ellington, professor of molecular biosciences, founder of the Ellington Lab and holder of the Wilson M. and Kathryn Fraser Research Professorship in Biochemistry, the group includes a cohort of various undergraduate researchers in addition to the campus experts who discuss their findings for the week and share constructive feedback about their working scientific theories.

Curbing COVID-19 hospitalizations requires attention to construction workers

Construction workers have a much higher risk of becoming hospitalized with the novel coronavirus than non-construction workers, according to a new study from researchers with UT Austin’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. Researchers found that construction workers were five times as likely to be hospitalized with the coronavirus as workers in other occupations. The finding closely matches forecasts the team made in April.

Coronavirus mutation may have made it more contagious

study carried out by scientists from UT Austin and Houston Methodist Hospital involving more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in Houston finds that the virus that causes the disease is accumulating genetic mutations, one of which may have made it more contagious. According to the recently published paper, that mutation, called D614G, is located in the spike protein that pries open cells for viral entry. It’s the largest peer-reviewed study of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences in one metropolitan region of the U.S. to date.

University of Texas support for low-income students increases amid economic challenges of the pandemic 

Thanks to new financial aid programs that cover tuition and provide additional support for low-income students, UT Austin enrolled one of its largest-ever classes of Pell Grant students this year while increasing the overall percentage of Pell Grant students enrolled as undergraduates. The increase comes at a crucial time for Texas families struggling with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and bucks a national trend of declining college enrollments among low-income students. The higher numbers at Texas suggest the effectiveness of UT’s two latest financial aid expansions, the Texas Advanced Commitment and, new for this year, UT for Me – Powered by Dell Scholars.

Positive change made in Austin's coronavirus outlook for Thanksgiving

Projections from the UT Austin's COVID-19 Modeling Consortium now show fewer people could be in the hospital in late November than are hospitalized right now. Recent cold weather could have fewer people outside and that combined with a downward trend in hospitalizations has the November outlook improving rapidly.

Austin area could see 700 in hospital for coronavirus in November, health chief says 

Based on the Austin and Travis County’s current transmission rates of the coronavirus, as many as 700 people could be in the hospital by the third week of November, according to projections from the UT Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

Half of Texans consider COVID-19 a crisis; Willingness to get vaccine declines 

The share of Texans who think that the coronavirus is a “significant crisis” continues to decrease, according to data from the latest in a series of polls by UT Austin measuring Texas attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic and Texans’ reported behavior in response to it.

UT COVID-19 model suggests 66% chance that epidemic is growing 

UT Austin's COVID-19 Modeling Consortium shows 8% more infections in the "14-day change" category in the Austin area. For Texas, the Modeling Consortium says there are 18% more infections in the "14-day change" category.

UT students rise to the occasion of pandemic research

When the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium sent out a request for help, over 150 UT Austin students rose to the occasion and applied for new positions across a dozen new projects. They will tackle challenges as varied as quantifying school reopening risks to simulating and analyzing vaccine trials.

Is coronavirus mutating amid its rapid U.S. spread? 

A new study involving more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in Houston finds that the virus that causes the disease is accumulating genetic mutations, one of which may have made it more contagious and easier to spread. The study was carried out by several UT Austin scientists, including visiting scholar Jimmy Gollihar, associate professors of molecular biosciences Jason S. McLellan and Ilya J. Finkelstein, and graduate students Chia-Wei Chou and Kamyab Javanmardi.

Navigating friendships and relationships during the pandemic

Many social norms from our pre-pandemic life are out and continually morphing as COVID-19 levels oscillate. Marci Gleason, a UT Austin professor and relationship expert whose research looks at how close relationships influence individuals’ ability to cope with stress and major life transitions, offers advice on how to work through challenges like these.

UT COVID-19 dashboard is updated with positivity rates, estimated active cases and more dynamic views

In response to community input, UT Austin is taking steps to make its dashboard even more useful by adding more detailed information across several new categories. The updated COVID-19 dashboard includes the following changes: dynamic date range slider, testing sources for cumulative cases, estimated active cases, semester total cumulative cases, cumulative 7-day moving average, expanded proactive community testing summary with positivity rates, and UT Austin clinical testing summary with positivity rates.

Your poop is helping UT Austin researchers predict COVID-19 spikes 

Researchers at UT Austin are monitoring the city's wastewater because, according to them, it is a leading indicator for COVID-19 spikes in the community. Suzanne Pierce, Ph.D., Kerry Kinney, Ph.D., and Mary Jo Kirisits, Ph.D., are all part of UT's Canary Team, testing wastewater in hopes of catching COVID-19 spikes sooner than tests would.

UT student startup pops college social bubbles

Being stuck in quarantine doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t meet new friends. At least that’s what Pop Social Inc. founder and CEO Yoon Lee believes. While a management information systems student at UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business last year, Lee and his team launched Pop, a social app that aims to be a casual and hassle-free way for UT students to connect with others primarily through common interests.

Getting a COVID-19 test is now easier at UT Austin

Providing easy access to on-campus COVID-19 testing has been a critical component of a safe return to classes this fall at UT Austin. Students, faculty members and staffers have offered valuable feedback on how the testing process could improve. In response, UT Austin is rolling out various changes to facilitate the process, including no-appointment walk-up testing, easy form completion through a free app, one-stop comprehensive testing, and an incentive program to encourage further participation in proactive community testing.

Report: UT students could amplify coronavirus spread

The return of students to UT Austin this fall has the potential to amplify coronavirus transmission in the broader Austin area, according to new projections published Friday by the university’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

Massive genetic study shows coronavirus mutating and potentially evolving amid rapid U.S. spread 

A new study of the coronavirus reveals the continual accumulation of mutations, one of which may have made it more contagious, although the mutations do not appear to have made the virus deadlier or changed clinical outcomes. Led by Houston Methodist Hospital, scientists from UT Austin, Weill Cornell Medicine, the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory contributed to the study.

UT researcher: 20% of Houston may already have been infected with COVID

Lauren Ancel Meyers, professor of integrative biology at UT Austin and director of the COVID-19 modeling consortium, speaks about how Texas is doing with COVID-19 and what we can expect in coming weeks.

Teaching goes ‘Total Recall’ at Texas university, hologram technology to launch in response to COVID-19

The McCombs School of Business at UT Austin has contracted with Austin-based Contextual Concept Group to create a new 3D immersive video solution that combines in-person, hybrid and online teaching to deliver an engaging and interactive distanced learning experience, including beaming a professor into the classroom as a hologram.

COVID-19 widened the gender gap among the world’s top scientists

A new study conducted by researchers at UT Austin shows that the proportion of medical and biological scientific papers with female authors has declined during the pandemic.

New dashboards launched to track COVID-19 across Texas communities

UT Austin’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium has launched a new online dashboard to track the spread and impact of the virus, including in hospitals across Texas, with detailed information for 22 areas, tracking ICU patients, standard hospitalizations and the COVID-19 effective reproduction number.

Antibody test developed for COVID-19 that is sensitive, specific and scalable

An antibody test for the virus that causes COVID-19, developed by researchers at UT Austin in collaboration with Houston Methodist and other institutions, is more accurate and can handle a much larger number of donor samples at lower overall cost than standard antibody tests currently in use. In the near term, the test can be used to accurately identify the best donors for convalescent plasma therapy and measure how well candidate vaccines and other therapies elicit an immune response.

How people who can’t work from home face a ‘double burden’ from COVID-19

As COVID-19’s spread across the U.S. prompted stay-at-home orders and business closures, the share of non-remote workers who lost their employment by early April was three times higher than the share of remote workers who lost their jobs, according to a study conducted by researchers from UT Austin and the University of Southern California. The study found that non-remote workers also experienced worse respiratory health than those who worked remotely.

COVID-19 tracking website shows counties most at risk for an outbreak

People living in some of the largest U.S. cities and their surrounding areas face the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 in the near future, according to a new set of online dashboards created by researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin. The risk analysis model examines more than 3,000 U.S. counties scored on 13 different variables. It features three dashboards that focused on risk, exposure, and vulnerability.

Ask the COVID-19 Experts (Audio)

Three UT Austin experts answer the UT community’s questions about the coronavirus, including safety of visiting an infant, reinfection, virus mutation and vaccine development. Specialists featured are  Lauren Ancel Meyers, epidemiologist and leader of the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, Greg Ippolito, research assistant professor of molecular biosciences and an expert on how our immune systems respond to pathogens, and Jason McLellan, associate professor of molecular biosciences whose team created a critical component in several COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials.

UT students, health experts say student behavior key in controlling COVID-19 on campus

A new study from researchers with the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium estimates 82 to 183 students may arrive infected during the first week of classes. UT officials say they are using this data to safely prepare ways to re-open campus, citing that extensive and rapid testing coupled with voluntary precautionary behavior can make reopening safer and more feasible.

UT Austin will test more than 5,000 a week for COVID-19

UT Austin purchased three state-of-the-art robots and assembled additional equipment as part of a wide-reaching, in-house infrastructure built to ensure its on-campus community remains safe amid the pandemic. The investment will enable the university able test hundreds of symptomatic students, faculty and staff members every day, as well as an additional 5,000 each week who do not have symptoms — something known as proactive community testing — at no cost to them. The in-house facilities ensure the university can continue to test even if a surge in demand overwhelms private labs.

UT professor compares businesses’ coronavirus risk, consumers’ opinions as guide for reopenings

As the coronavirus pandemic subsides, businesses like banks, dentists’ offices and universities should give priority to reopening based on their comparatively low risk of transmission and high economic impact, according to a study produced by Avinash Collis, business professor at UT Austin. 

Free distance learning modules available for Texas middle, high school educators thanks to new partnership

One of UT Austin’s signature initiatives, OnRamps, is partnering with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to include five free modules from OnRamps Distance Learning Catalog in TEA’s Strong Start resources to help prepare Texas middle and high school teachers to teach in distance or hybrid-learning environments. Interim President Jay Hartzell stated that “by providing resources to assist Texas middle and high school teachers with distance learning, we not only help them and their students navigate the pandemic, we also help those students continue to receive a high-quality education. This will ensure that they don’t miss a beat and continue to thrive now and in the future.”

Early spread of COVID-19 appears far greater than initially reported

In a new paperepidemiological researchers from UT Austin estimated COVID-19 to be far more widespread in Wuhan, China, and Seattle, Washington, weeks ahead of lockdown measures in each city. Patients with undiagnosed flu symptoms who actually had COVID-19 last winter were among thousands of undetected early cases of the disease at the beginning of this year. In the U.S., about a third of the estimated undiagnosed cases were among children.

New UT research on decisions behind reopening Texas businesses finds some concerns

Researchers at UT Austin say that even when businesses are reopening in phases, data-driven decisions should be considered, especially when it comes to the impact that type of business has on Texas and the likelihood it could be a place of transmission.

COVID-19 vaccine with UT ties arrived quickly after years in the making

UT Austin associate professor of molecular biosciences Jason McLellan and his team used their experience with respiratory viruses to quickly figure out the three-dimensional structure of the protein in the novel coronavirus. They reengineered it, developing a safe version of it for the body to recognize and respond to-- and the modification could enable much faster and more stable production of vaccines worldwide. They helped make history when their work led to the first COVID-19 vaccine being produced for human trials – in just 66 days after the genome sequence of the virus was published. Phase 1 of the vaccine's trial yielded promising results and will enter the final phase of human trials in late July, thanks in part to these scientists at UT Austin who laid the groundwork. A paper published in the journal Nature describes both preclinical results and important protein engineering led by the team.

Finding blood's breaking point: New research aims to explore the relationship between coronavirus and blood clots

Blood clots have emerged as one of an increasing number of deadly side effects of the novel coronavirus in some patients. Researchers at UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering are embarking on a project to learn more about the onset of thromboembolism, the obstruction of a blood vessel by a clot that can cause everything from strokes to heart attacks to pulmonary embolisms, as a result of COVID-19.

A UT undergrad helped build the app that will assist students coming back to school this fall. Here’s what it can do.

Henry Rossiter, a UT Austin computational engineering senior, has logged long hours working with a team of computer scientists, medical experts and engineers to build a mobile application that will help students and faculty safely return to campus this fall. The app, called Protect Texas Together, will allow people to track their symptoms, record COVID-19 test results, get connected to medical resources and — potentially, in the future — even assist in contact tracing. It will be available in the Apple App and Google Play stores starting in mid-August.

What are the chances of a COVID-19 case in the first week of school? UT Austin researchers take a look

A UT Austin research team used cases per person data to make a model of how many infectious students would show up in schools in week one. The map breaks down the risk across the nation, county by county.

Pandemic’s weight falls on Hispanics and Native Americans, as deaths pass 150,000

A forecast from UT Austin projects an escalating death toll through Aug. 20, at which point it predicts the number of daily fatalities will top 3,000, a mark that would be record-setting.

The risk that students could arrive at school with the coronavirus

New estimates from researchers at UT Austin provide a rough gauge of the risk that students and educators could encounter at school in each county in the United States.

Redesigning the nursing home system: health & design experts study COVID-19 spread and how to stop it

Some of the state’s top health care professionals and designers are searching for solutions to the coronavirus crisis in nursing homes. After the Austin City Council approved a resolution dedicating resources to long-term care facilities, UT Austin’s Design Institute for Health Executive Director Stacey Chang said they would begin looking at the root problems contributing to the spread of the virus and how to redesign the system to prevent it. Chang’s team has been working on the “Nursing Home System Study” alongside experts from the UT School of Nursing, the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, Austin Public Health and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

New tool to guide decisions on social distancing uses hospital data and emphasizes protecting the vulnerable

With communities throughout the United States combating surges in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, researchers at UT Austin and Northwestern University have created a framework that helps policymakers determine which data to track and when to take action to protect their communities. The model specifies a series of trigger points to help local entities know when to tighten social distancing measures to prevent hospitals from being overrun by virus patients. The method also aims to minimize the economic impact to communities by suggesting the earliest times for safely relaxing restrictions.

UT Austin and partners support innovators fighting COVID-19 with launch of new consortium

A collaborative group of more than 50 organizations in the academic, public and private sectors has formed the Texas Global Health Security Innovation Consortium (TEXGHS). Organized by Austin Technology Incubator at UT Austin, the consortium will coordinate efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and future pandemics by supporting innovators working toward pandemic readiness, response, recovery and resiliency.

E-cookbook promotes healthy eating amid COVID-19 and raises funds for charity

A team of 20 undergraduates from UT Austin created a donation-based e-cookbook titled "Food: For the Love of Community" that offers easy recipes and guidance on how to maintain healthy food habits amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Spirit Golf Association, The University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School unite to feed Central Texans in need

To help support the 1 in 4 Austin households struggling to put food on the table, The Spirit Golf Association is teaming up with UT Austin, UT’s Dell Medical School and community partners to provide healthy food for Central Texans during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. It will also help at-risk adults stay safe by avoiding crowded grocery stores and food pantries and will help create jobs for workers affected by the pandemic.

Dry powder inhalation could be a potent tool in COVID-19 antiviral treatment

Scientists at UT Austin are using their novel thin-film-freezing technology to deliver remdesivir through dry powder inhalation, potentially making treatment more potent, easier to administer and more broadly available.

Texas has reached a coronavirus plateau. Is that good enough?

Modeling from UT Austin predicts a decline in daily COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients in intensive care units in the Austin-Round Rock metro area. UT’s models, which use hospitalization data and cellphone mobility data for the Austin area, also provide daily estimates for the rate of COVID-19 spread in the area. The model suggests that as hospitalizations began to surge, amid intense news coverage, more people followed best practices for preventing the virus and the transmission rate began declining, according to Spencer Fox, a research associate at the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. 

The universe doesn’t stop for the pandemic

While industries around the world shut down during the pandemic, UT Austin’s McDonald Observatory continued operating—the only major optical astronomical observatory in the world to do so. The observatory also operated the only large optical telescope in the world that stayed online through the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. As other observatories around the world are coming back online, they are looking to McDonald as a model for accessibility during a time when human contact is a health risk.

Texans’ concerns about COVID-19 declined as pandemic worsened

As the number of reported cases of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations was increasing in June, Texans expressed less concern about the threat of the virus than they did in April and were much less likely to stay home because of the pandemic, according to polling by the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin.

UT launches its own COVID-19 dashboard for students, faculty and staff

UT Austin has launched its own COVID-19 Test Results Dashboard that provides case numbers and testing and hospitalization data to the public, as well as information related to the outbreak for the university’s students and employees. The dashboard is the result of collaborative efforts by UT Austin’s University Health Services, UT Health Austin clinics, Occupational Health Program, Dell Medical School, and Austin Public Health.

Watch: A Dell Med professor answers your questions about using plasma to treat COVID-19

UT Austin Dell Medical School professor Dr. Rama Thyagarajan, an infectious disease specialist, joined KUT for a livestreamed discussion about using plasma to treat the coronavirus, answering questions about the latest developments and the need for plasma donors who have recovered from COVID-19 to help treat patients who are sick now.

New sensor may soon test for coronavirus and flu simultaneously

With another wave of the coronavirus likely to appear right as we get into flu season, there’s an urgent need for diagnostics that can differentiate between COVID-19 and influenza. Researchers at UT Austin are now developing a new sensor that can tell the difference between the two illnesses and test for both simultaneously.

UT Austin will temporarily change standardized test score requirement

High school students who apply to UT Austin for fall 2021 undergraduate admission will not be required to submit an ACT or SAT test score as part of their application. This change will allow the university to better serve potential students by ensuring that testing limitations related to COVID-19 do not affect a student’s ability to apply.

UTEP College of Health Sciences collaborates on UT Austin-led LGBTQ+ COVID-19 Texas study

Oralia Loza, Ph.D., public health sciences associate professor at UT El Paso, and the Borderland Rainbow Center (BRC) have collaborated on a survey that examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the LGBTQ+ population in Texas. Led by Phillip W. Schnarrs, Ph.D., at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School, the survey involved a statewide coalition of community and research partners, including UTEP and El Paso’s BRC, to better understand the needs, concerns and challenges of LGBTQ+ Texans and their allies during the coronavirus outbreak.

Health care workers will feel stress of coronavirus long after pandemic is over, researchers say

Through a $60,000 grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at UT Austin, the Dell Medical School has launched a mental health hotline for health care workers working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus perspectives: An information breakdown

UT Austin researchers argue that information scientists have a bigger role to play in the crisis because of the proliferation of conflicting messages. They outline their ideas in a recent opinion paper published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. Three of the authors share their perspectives on the pandemic.

Debunking mask myths

Elizabeth Matsui, M.D., MHS, a professor in the departments of population health and pediatrics at Dell Medical School, debunks myths that some people cite in defending why masks do not need to be worn during the coronavirus pandemic.

Face masks may be the key determinant of the COVID-19 curve, study suggests

A new study finds that wearing face masks may be the central variable that determines the spread of the virus. The study was conducted by a team from UT Austin, Texas A&M University, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California San Diego.

​​​​​​​Texas engineering graduate students step up to help COVID-19 testing companies

UT Austin students from the Cockrell School of Engineering are stepping up to help testing companies in the Austin area. Graduate students are working part-time at companies producing and analyzing coronavirus tests, in addition to their current research projects in a campus lab, where they focus on infectious disease protein therapies and vaccines. (6/12/20)

COVID-19 convalescent plasma therapy is safe, with 76% of patients improving

The country’s first peer-reviewed study of a COVID-19 treatment that transfuses blood plasma from recovered patients into critically ill patients shows 19 out of 25 patients improving, including 11 discharged from the hospital. Houston Methodist Hospital was the first academic medical center in the U.S. to transfuse plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients into two critically ill patients. Collaborators at UT Austin developed an antibody test and selected recovered patients with the highest levels of antibody response for donation.

Ways U.S. colleges support international students during COVID-19

Texas Global, which serves as the international office for UT Austin, has partnered with the school's Counseling and Mental Health Center to offer webinars for international students on coping strategies to help navigate isolation and manage stress caused by the pandemic. Support for international students also includes offering career support, food and emergency housing assistance, and advice on changing immigration policies and procedures.

Researchers map Houston areas most vulnerable to COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread across Texas and the nation, scientists from the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering & Sciences at UT Austin and the University of Houston have created a mapping tool for determining which populations in Houston and the city’s surrounding areas appear most vulnerable to the infection.

COVID-19 drug development could benefit from approach used against flu

A new study from researchers at UT Austin has found that some antivirals are useful for more than helping sick people get better — they also can prevent thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of virus cases if used in the early stages of infection.

For each day’s delay in social distancing, a COVID-19 outbreak lasts days longer

In a new paper from epidemiological researchers at UT Austin, an analysis of COVID-19 outbreaks in 58 cities has found that places that took longer to begin implementing social distancing measures spent more time with the virus rapidly spreading than others that acted more quickly.

Drastic changes in social lives raise future mental health concerns

People’s social lives aren’t what they used to be. But exactly how they’ve changed and what it might mean for mental health is what psycho-linguistic researchers at UT Austin are trying to figure out in the Pandemic Project.

New delivery method could transform vaccine distribution to remote, developing areas

Access to vaccines around the world could get easier thanks to scientists in the College of Pharmacy at UT Austin who have developed an inexpensive and innovative vaccine delivery method that preserves live viruses, bacteria, antibodies and enzymes without refrigeration.

Cooperation can be contagious particularly when people see the benefit for others

In a new study, psychology researchers at UT Austin confirmed that people can be heavily influenced by others, especially when it comes to taking on prosocial behavior — actions designed to benefit society as a whole. Understanding this is important now, when large-scale cooperation and adoption of protective behaviors — wearing face masks and avoiding gatherings — have important implications for the well-being of entire communities, the researchers said.

Antibodies from llamas could help in fight against COVID-19

A 4-year-old llama named Winter could be critical to finding a treatment for COVID-19, UT Austin researchers say. The researchers linked two copies of a special kind of antibody produced by llamas to create a new antibody. Initial tests show the antibody blocks viruses that have the spike protein found in the coronavirus. 

Is it safe to go to the gym? An infectious disease expert weighs in

Dr. Rama Thyagarajan, an assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School and an infectious disease specialist, said those who are considering going to the gym need to think about whether doing so could risk their health, but offers key things to look out for in a recently reopened gym to keep them safe. 

A ‘coronavirus inhaler’ sounds weird. Here’s why it makes sense

Scientists have isolated a special antibody from llamas that could prevent or treat COVID-19 and be delivered via an inhaler, according to a new study co-led by Jason McLellan, a biochemist at UT Austin. 

UT research paves way for significant development in creating COVID-19 vaccine

Research from the McLellan Lab at UT Austin has paved the way for a significant development in creating a vaccine for COVID-19. In February, the UT researchers created a 3D model of the spikes on the virus, providing a roadmap that companies are using to develop and test possible vaccines. 

Curious about COVID-19 contact tracing? You can sign up to be a volunteer contact tracer

Addison Allen, a junior at UT Austin, is a volunteer contact tracer. She founded a group called CLEAN, which stands for COVID-19 Longhorn Epidemiological Assistance Network. CLEAN volunteers have, so far, contributed about 500 hours of contact tracing.

Amid pandemic, Dell Medical School launches child mental health center

As isolation causes a rise in cases of anxiety and depression in children, UT Austin’s Dell Medical School is hoping its newly formed Child Psychiatry Access Network will assist Texas pediatricians with their young patients.

UT student startups lend a hand to Texans in need

As Texas starts to head into the next phase of our new normal, many vulnerable populations are still struggling to access food and other supplies. These four UT Austin student startups have stepped up to help mitigate this crisis and continue to help those in need across Texas.

Driving disease

UT Austin researcher Junfeng Jiao is using AI algorithms to predict the spread of COVID-19 through the New York state transportation system. 

Blowing up the coronavirus: New research aims to remove covid-19 from big indoor areas with diesel engines

A group of researchers at UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering are pursuing a plan to do something a lot of us would like to: incinerate the novel coronavirus. The researchers plan to use a modified, electric motor-powered diesel engine that can suck up air and essentially burn up SARS-CoV-2 particles that cause COVID-19 through compression heating. If the experiment is successful, it could have major implications for protecting people from the virus in busy places like hospitals and grocery stores. 

3D-printing project aims to meet UT community’s PPE needs

In response to the growing demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) in health institutions, the Pharmaceutical Engineering and 3D Printing (PharmE3D) Lab at UT Austin is using its 3D-printing resources to fabricate face shields for Dell Medical School and other health institutions. The project, called RAPID Shield, leverages the lab’s quick turnaround to meet demand until stocks can be replenished.

The first class from Dell Medical School gets ready to graduate in the midst of a pandemic

The inaugural class of UT Austin’s Dell Medical School is set to graduate May 21. After students were pulled from clinical rotations due to safety concerns related to the pandemic, Dell Med quickly created virtual courses to help the students get their credits and graduate on time.

UT students organize fundraiser for hospitals hit hard by coronavirus

UT Austin students launched Fuel Our Heroes to raise money for hospital personnel. The organization has raised over $130,000 for personal protective equipment, food and overtime hours for frontline health care workers at hospitals in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Chicago and Denver, in addition to UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of UT Austin’s Dell Medical School. 

In times of crisis, Longhorns step up

Addison Allen, a UT Austin junior majoring in public health, formed the COVID Longhorn Epidemiological Assistance Network (CLEAN) in March to give UT students an opportunity to help with the Austin pandemic response.

Collaborating to produce low-cost ventilators

UT Health San Antonio researchers are collaborating with a team from UT Austin to build a new type of ventilator made of inexpensive, widely available materials to help fill the demand created by the spread of COVID-19 for these critical devices that help patients breathe.

Texans unite to provide emergency shelter and care for people with COVID-19 experiencing homelessness

UT Austin’s Dell Medical School is teaming up with Austin Public Health, CommUnityCare Health Centers and the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) to help limit the spread of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness by providing a safe place to self-quarantine and receive health care. 

Making masks active with soap to protect against coronavirus

UT Austin engineering researchers are teaming up with a group from the University of Florida to infuse chemicals in soap into face masks, enhancing their ability to protect people from SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 disease it causes. 

Music students create a way to share live performances—from a distance

Students from the Butler School of Music did not let social distancing stop them from continuing to be creative together. Less Than <10 is a group of UT Austin musicians scattered across the country who livestream concerts on Twitch to raise hope and awareness for musicians struggling during this time of uncertainty. 

As remote school for Texas kids continues, try these STEM learning resources

With many schools closed through the end of the school year, many families and teachers are looking for resources to support learning from home. Several outreach programs in the College of Natural Sciences and at UT Austin are supporting STEM learning from afar

Tips for connecting with nature during coronavirus

Connecting with nature is a great way to relax and focus on something nourishing in the midst of the stress of the pandemic. Andrea DeLong-Amaya, the director of horticulture at the UT Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, shares some tips for how to safely connect with nature while staying close to home. 

Tips on being kinder to yourself during trying times

Kristin Neff, UT associate professor of educational psychology, shares tips on supporting yourself emotionally through the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tips for developing a workout habit at home

UT fitness expert CieCie Leonard shares five tips on staying motivated and moving while social distancing. 

Leading model projects some states could reopen by May 4. Not so fast, say other modelers.

A consortium at UT Austin released a model that tries to correct what the Texas researchers see as flaws in the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) forecast. The IHME model predicts the U.S. already passed its peak of coronavirus deaths this week; the Texas model found there is only a 17 percent chance the peak has passed and an 80 percent chance the peak will happen by May 7. 

Testing and tracing could get us out of quarantine someday. But what's tracing? Here's how it works.

Darlene Bhavnani, a clinical epidemiologist at UT Austin, and a Dell Medical School team are doing contact tracing for COVID-19 cases. That team is ramping up to as many as 200 tracers to deal with the expected increase in cases in the coming weeks.

Nursing students translate COVID-19 handbook into Spanish

Two bilingual UT Austin students are volunteering to translate and distribute COVID-19 health information to Spanish-speaking communities, bridging a critical information gap during the pandemic.

Tips for balanced learning with your young kids at home

Experts at UT Austin’s College of Education offer advice and resources to help families with young children balance online learning with life experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nine physical therapy exercises you can do at home

UT Health Austin physical therapists in the Musculoskeletal Institute have compiled a list of helpful physical therapy exercises you can do at home on your own to combat some of the most typical muscle and joint aches you may be feeling right now.

Handling mail during the COVID-19 outbreak

Elizabeth Jacobs, M.D., shares tips for safely handling mail and packages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid pandemic, student-run company serves people facing food insecurity

A student at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School co-founded Good Apple as an answer to food insecurity. Now the service is providing emergency grocery delivery for people at risk of severe complications from COVID-19. The program, “Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” has served more than 2,000 people and delivered over 62,000 pounds of fresh produce and pantry staples, providing an estimated 42,231 meals.

UT study: Construction activity can raise coronavirus risks for workers, community

New research from UT Austin finds that construction work can undermine efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus and lead to larger numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations unless steps are taken to protect workers from virus transmission at job sites and to monitor their health.

Dell Med students are learning quickly about the coronavirus. In a few months, they’ll be fighting it.

Dr. Tim Mercer, director of UT Austin Dell Medical School’s Global Health program and an assistant professor in the departments of population health and internal medicine, created an elective course for upper-level med students to study the impact and the response of the coronavirus. In “COVID-19 Pandemic: Global Health on the Front Lines,” 27 third- and fourth-year students are taking a deep dive into the clinical features of the virus, how the current situation compares with historical pandemics, and how government leaders and health officials are communicating with the public.

COVID-19 may be silently spreading across rural counties, University of Texas researchers believe

A new study from researchers at UT Austin suggests that U.S. counties with only a few cases or none at all may still have “sustained community transmission” of the virus. Out of Texas’s 254 counties, 161 have reported COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday. While dozens of counties have reported only a few cases, researchers argue that people living in those areas may still be facing a significant risk.

UT Student Emergency Fund receives over $800,000 for students facing financial challenges

As of Wednesday afternoon, donors have raised $803,444 to help UT Austin students dealing with coronavirus-related challenges less than a month after the Office of the President promised to match all donations to the Student Emergency Fund on HornRaiser. Money from the Student Emergency Fund is available for all university students facing financial emergencies, especially those related to current COVID-19 concerns. As of Saturday, 1,527 students have submitted requests for aid related to the coronavirus.

Mental health programs change strategy under COVID-19

Due to the unique challenges that COVID-19 presents to underserved Austin communities, the African American Church-Based Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) program is going online. The program, a collaboration between the School of Nursing and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at UT Austin, is partnering with Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Rehoboth Baptist Church to support the mental and physical health of African American residents through church-based education, counseling and chronic disease management.

New delivery method could make niclosamide an effective antiviral to treat COVID-19

Repurposing drugs such as the FDA-approved niclosamide is a highly efficient way to leverage drugs with known safety profiles to fight the coronavirus outbreak. A collaborative team of researchers in UT Austin’s Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery is investigating varying methods of drug delivery to repurpose existing drugs into forms that could prove effective at treating and preventing serious COVID-19 virus symptoms in patients.

Coronavirus creeping undetected through Texas and U.S., researchers write

Calculating the risk that there already is sustained community transmission that has not yet been detected, UT Austin researchers found the disease is likely spreading in 74% of all counties in the U.S., containing 95% of the national population. The new UT paper, which was posted online by the researchers, suggests the coronavirus might already be spreading even in areas with no known positive tests of the disease.

Supercomputing speed proves crucial in the race against COVID-19

The Texas Advanced Computing Center’s supercomputers are helping scientists optimize health care response and fast-track research in the fight against COVID-19. Supercomputers are essential when trying to combat a pandemic quickly. Calculations or simulations that take regular computers days, months or even years to complete can be done by supercomputers in mere minutes or hours.

New online resources available for deaf students during COVID-19

The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes has customized resources for deaf students and their families, as well as for educators and service providers at colleges, high schools, and vocational rehabilitation agencies who are struggling to make online learning accessible and equitable.

Dell Med students enter the virtual field in the fight against COVID-19

Coronavirus: UT researchers developing emergency ventilator prototype

Two UT students launch website that tracks store inventories

Rithwik Pattikonda and Darshan Bhatta, two UT Austin computer science students, are the masterminds behind Instok.org. Users type in the item they're looking for and their zip code and the site searches the inventory of nearby stores like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Target.

Texas supercomputers helping researchers in fight against coronavirus

Researchers are harnessing the power of the Frontera supercomputer at UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center to process information gathered by scientists across the world in the fight against the coronavirus.

UT researchers developing 3D-printed face masks

A group of researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin, along with some at Dell Medical School, are researching ways to increase supply through 3D printing.

A new Texas COVID-19 pandemic toolkit shows the importance of social distancing

Professor Lauren Ancel Meyers and a team of researchers at UT Austin has built a new model to project the spread of COVID-19 across the U.S. Their pandemic toolkit is now being used by hospitals and cities to make better projections about where more beds and ventilators might be needed to treat COVID-19 patients.

UT sets up emergency fund for students displaced by coronavirus, will match donations up to $2 million

UT Austin has set up an emergency fund for students whose lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus. President Gregory L. Fenves said his office would match donations to the fund up to $2 million.

Coronavirus spreads quickly and sometimes before people have symptoms, study finds

Infectious disease researchers at UT Austin studying the novel coronavirus were able to identify how quickly the virus can spread, a factor that may help public health officials in their efforts at containment.

UT Austin researcher explains lab's key role in coronavirus vaccine development

At UT Austin’s McLellan Lab, scientists have made a critical breakthrough toward developing a vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus.
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UT Dallas

Understanding the COVID vaccine distribution process

Dr. Tim Bray, the director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research at UT Dallas, explains the logistics involved in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and how the effort is going so far.

UT Dallas researcher concerned COVID-19 vaccination efforts could last a full year

Dr. Tim Bray, the director for the Institute for Urban Policy Research at UT Dallas, crunched the numbers to try to determine when the COVID-19 vaccine could be available for a majority of the public. At the current distribution rate, Bray calculated that it will likely take a year to hit the target of vaccinating 80% of Texas’ population. 

Researcher investigates preparedness for new disease outbreaks in South Korea

The availability of adequate health care facilities is one of the most important factors that public-health policymakers grapple with when preparing for infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19. And one of the most critical resources for controlling infectious respiratory diseases is the negative-pressure isolation room (NPIR). In a new study, Dr. Dohyeong Kim, associate professor of public policy and political economy and of geospatial information sciences in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences at UT Dallas investigated the allocation process and spatial distribution of NPIRs in South Korea during past outbreaks.

‘OK, COVID, take this’: With the help of UT Dallas dancers, patients express their feelings 

Misty Owens, who teaches the UTDance Ensemble at UT Dallas, created a dance video that provides a social outlet for Parkinson patients to combat depression and help maintain flexibility and balance even as the neurological disease progresses.

What we know so far about how COVID affects the nervous system

Neuroscientist Theodore Price, who studies pain at UT Dallas, says nerve infection could contribute to acute, as well as lasting, symptoms of COVID. In a recent study published in the journal Pain, Price and his team found that SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, may gain access to the nervous system through entry into neurons that form free nerve endings at the outermost layers of skin and luminal organs. In another recent study, Price, who is director of the Center for Advanced Pain Studies, a component of UT Dallas’ School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, led a team that identified interactions between the immune system and nerves in the lungs that can cause rapid deterioration in a COVID-19 patient’s condition.

Jindal School researchers examine COVID-19 impact on manufacturing

Two faculty members from the Naveen Jindal School of Management at UT Dallas have examined how manufacturers are — or aren’t — pivoting successfully in response to major manufacturing disruptions as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found that manufacturing response to the disruption has been largely reactive and uncoordinated, and many firms’ crisis communication plans do not include managing an infectious-disease outbreak.

Comets find bright way to help during pandemic with senior care packages

Driven by the mental health effects of the pandemic, a group of UT Dallas students decided to reach out to local senior citizens with care packages and handwritten notes. Their volunteer effort, called COVID Check-In, has distributed more than 700 care packages to senior living communities in Collin County.

Computer expert offers tips for working or learning from home

With millions of Americans working from home and many children learning at home, your internet service may have slowed to a crawl. Dr. Ravi Prakash, a professor of computer science at UT Dallas provides tips to help make working or learning from home more efficient.

UT Dallas scientists caution against potential long-term neurological effects of COVID-19

Researchers at UT Dallas are debunking the notion that COVID-19 is a purely respiratory virus by shedding light on how the nervous system might be contributing to the disease. Their new study points to a neuroimmune interaction as the driving force behind certain COVID-19 symptoms, such as headaches, delirium and bodily aches and pains, many of which they suspect could result in long-term neurological issues.

New fellowship program bolsters research opportunities for master’s students

The Office of Research and the Office of Graduate Education partnered to establish the Master’s Research Fellowship Program, which encourage UT Dallas master’s students to engage in research across a wide range of disciplines. Recognizing the COVID-19 pandemic has left many students in financial difficulty, the fellowship program not only provides educational opportunities but also a crucial infusion of resources.

Lab-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations up 36% from last week

Dr. Tim Bray, director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research at UT Dallas, and his team have created a COVID-19 dashboard for North Texas.

Pain researchers may know why COVID-19 spreads quickly in patients’ lungs, researchers examine how COVID-19 virus may increase lung inflammation

Fourteen scientists from the Center for Advanced Pain Studies, a component of UT Dallas’ School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, collaborated on a project to determine if pulmonary issues associated with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, originates with the nervous system. The results of their study, published online June 1 in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, identified interactions between the immune system and nerves in the lungs that can cause rapid deterioration in a COVID-19 patient’s condition. Some of these interactions might be countered by existing drugs.

Team shares university’s world-class appeal with prospective international students

UT Dallas faculty are working to remove obstacles and reduce uncertainty for international students considering UTD graduate programs this fall.

Data show spike in family violence after stay-at-home orders

A study by researchers at UT Dallas have found that incidents of domestic violence in Dallas increased in the three weeks after local stay-at-home orders went into effect in response to the coronavirus pandemic, then they gradually declined.

Lockdowns making things worse for obese Americans: Study

After Texas ordered people to shelter in place in late March, Sarah Messiah and her colleagues at the UT Dallas School of Public Health surveyed their obese patients to find out how they were adapting and whether they had been infected by COVID-19. The results were worse than expected.

University adapts to needs of new Comets with virtual orientations

With on-campus activities still suspended due to COVID-19, UT Dallas is helping new students become acclimated to university life — even at a distance — through its first virtual orientations. Staff have transitioned all orientations for new freshmen and transfer students as well as new international students to online formats.

Software project aims to keep patient data protected in COVID-19 research

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for sharing patient data to help scientists learn more about the virus and how to stop it from spreading. But health providers must also protect patient privacy. Dr. Murat Kantarcioglu, a professor of computer science in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas, along with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, received a $200,000 grant through the National Science Foundation’s Rapid Response Research (RAPID) program to create an open-source software tool to help policymakers and health care providers determine the details they can share without violating patient privacy.

Terry Scholars cook up way to help restaurants, feed hospital workers

Two Terry Scholars students at UT Dallas have established the nonprofit organization COOKED-19  to purchase meals from local restaurants and donate and deliver them to hospital personnel in cities most impacted by COVID-19. Their efforts have been backed by a grant from the Victor L. Worsfold Grant Program Fund, which was established by UT Dallas’ Eugene McDermott Scholars Program Alumni Association to support student-led service activities providing creative solutions to community problems, and a grant from RevTech Ventures, a retail technology venture capital firm in Dallas.

Student Success Center shifts services online to help Comets make the grade remotely

Students at UT Dallas who seek academic support to be successful can access from home the resources they need from the Student Success Center. The center’s staff and student leaders this spring transitioned their face-to-face academic support operation to digital services, offering peer tutoring, supplemental instruction, peer-led team learning, a writing center, communications lab, academic coaching and the Institute for Peer Mentoring workshops.

Researchers chart vital territory with COVID-19 data dashboards

To contribute to the public battle with COVID-19, UT Dallas faculty, staff and students have built different websites that track current coronavirus health data and model future scenarios. Researchers from the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, the School of Economics, Political and Policy Sciences, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, and the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics developed the dashboards so that government entities and the general public can access the same data.

Campus community’s mask project ensures fellow Comets are covered

Debra Greszler, a member of the UT Dallas Staff Council and a manager in the Office of Information Technology, volunteered to lead the university effort to provide two reusable, washable face coverings to each employee who regularly reports to campus to perform essential job duties. UT Dallas staff, faculty, students, family, alumni, and university retirees donated supplies and sewed the masks for employees.

UT Dallas provides overview of North Texas COVID-19 cases

The Institute for Urban Policy Research at UT Dallas is trying to help North Texans get a clearer picture of the COVID-19 cases in their area by providing a 12-county overview of the number of active cases, recoveries and deaths. 

Telehealth adds needed touch to Callier Center’s Care, clinical training

After the UT Dallas campus closed due to COVID-19, the Callier Center quickly developed and implemented a telehealth model so that patients could continue to access audiologists, speech-language pathologists and clinical staff. The new telehealth program also enables graduate students training to be audiologists and speech-language pathologists to continue earning clinical hours. 

UT Dallas response lab projects add new dimension to help COVID-19 fight

UT Dallas researchers have designed and 3D-printed a critical ventilator part and are working to manufacture testing swabs and personal protective equipment in a campus lab mobilized to address potential supply shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to keep your brain healthy during this time of extraordinary stress

Brain experts at the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth offer four science-backed tips to boost brain health during this time of stress, uncertainty and isolation. 

UTD creates new COVID-19 dashboard and modeling websites

The Institute for Urban Policy Research at UT Dallas has compiled data on COVID-19 in North Texas to enable residents and policymakers to make more informed and timely decisions. Director Tim Bray explains how three new interactive websites will be used to help track COVID-19 in the region.

Students develop recipe to help North Texas Food Bank during COVID-19 outbreak

Students in a new sustainability service learning class at UT Dallas have put their knowledge to work with a virtual fundraising and donation campaign called #WhooshAwayHunger to support the North Texas Food Bank during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

UT Dallas researchers say they're in final stages of creating rapid tests for respiratory viruses like COVID-19

Researchers at UT Dallas are close to finishing a years-long project to develop rapid and sensitive diagnostic tests for respiratory viruses like the novel coronavirus.

UT Dallas and SMU partner with RevTech on higher ed SAFE schools challenge

UT Dallas and SMU are teaming up with RevTech, a retail technology venture capital firm, on a challenge grant for solutions aimed at a new “safe normal” on higher ed campuses. RevTech will award $5,000 grants to students with the best ideas for virus suppression at universities and colleges. 

University theatre group makes sure show goes on with ‘Faust’ radio play

While theater companies and musical organizations around the country are shutting down productions during the COVID-19 pandemic, UT Dallas’ theatre program creatively improvised to transform the “Faust” stage play into a radio play, complete with music, audio effects and a robust website to provide the audience with the feel of the play’s period. 

Brain breaks and deep breaths to help ease the stress

With stay at home orders still in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many Texans will spend another week working from home and making sure kids at home are doing schoolwork. Several subject matter experts at the Center for Brain Health at UT Dallas have put together short videos providing tips on reasoning and resilience to help brain health and performance during these stressful times. 

The lessons hospitals are learning from the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Britt Berrett, director of the Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management at UT Dallas, speaks on the lessons hospitals are learning during this evolving global pandemic crisis.

Coronavirus outreach

UT Dallas launched a new site that features the positive ways the UTD community has united during COVID-19 and will include a video every Friday in a new series, “Friday Night Brights.”

University expands donations of protective gear to local medical centers

UT Dallas continues to help protect area medical professionals against the novel coronavirus as university staff and faculty contribute PPE supplies to UT Southwestern Medical Center and Methodist Richardson Medical Center.

Alumni step up to help protect health care workers on COVID-19 front lines

Two UT Dallas alumni have designed and manufactured a valve attachment that can convert a snorkel mask into safety gear for health care workers in the event of a shortage of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student emergency fund supporters help ease COVID-19 hardships

More than 365 individuals have already contributed more than $73,000 to a new Student Emergency Fund at UT Dallas that was created to help students facing unforeseen financial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

University keeps students connected with computer loan program

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) at UT Dallas connected with every school and department to find computers for students who needed them for online classes. After finding computers being prepared to send to surplus plus laptop and desktop computers that were at or near the end of their life cycle, the OIT staffers worked long hours and on weekends to prepare the computers for students. So far, approximately 70 computers have been lent to students.

Coronavirus in Texas: UT Dallas makes 3rd donation of personal protective gear to area hospital

UT Dallas made a third donation of personal protective gear to help those on the front lines dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Staff members from the university’s research labs brought more than 31,000 gloves, 350 face masks, 120 N95 masks, along with 300 gowns and 500 shoe covers to Methodist Richardson Medical Center.

UT Dallas donates protective medical gear to Parkland in COVID-19 response

UT Dallas responded to the shortage of personal protective equipment for area health care workers by delivering gloves, face masks, gowns and more to Parkland Health & Hospital System.
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UT El Paso

UTEP receives 975 doses of Pfizer COVID-9 vaccine for students and faculty

UT El Paso has received nearly 1,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for current students, faculty and staff. These will be the first COVID-19 vaccines administered by the university.

UTEP frontline workers immunized in rollout of TTUHSC El Paso’s COVID-19 vaccination program

Members of UT El Paso’s Coronavirus Proactive Testing and Vaccination programs began receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Monday, December 28, thanks to the university’s ongoing partnership with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso). This is the latest example of how the two institutions are collaborating to make a positive impact on the well-being of the region they both serve.

Emergence, UTEP student athletes team up to share important message about holiday blues

Emergence Health Network, together with the UT El Paso Athletics Department and its student athletes, created a video to share with the community about the "holiday blues," along with tips to get through the tough time.

With NIH grant, UTEP to provide COVID-19 testing to underserved, vulnerable populations

A new research grant from the National Institutes of Health will support UT El Paso’s efforts to increase access to COVID-19 testing for populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Op-ed: A vaccine isn’t enough to defeat COVID-19

Heather Wilson, president of UT El Paso, and Richard Lange, president of Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso, explain how employing multiple strategies simultaneously provides the best chance to suppress the disease.

UTEP artists lend a hand to thank COVID-19 caregivers

Students, faculty and alumni from UT El Paso were part of an international art effort to honor health care workers who risk their lives daily in service of COVID-19 patients. The Hand Medal Project is a collaboration of more than 3,000 artists from 66 countries to produce hand-shaped medals to honor health care workers who serve COVID-19 patients. UTEP-affiliated artists produced 314 of the medals and delivered them to El Paso-area health professionals.

UTEP geospatial scholar receives National Fellowship for COVID-19 study

Jayajit Chakraborty, Ph.D., a professor in UT El Paso’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology and director of UTEP’s Socio-Environmental and Geospatial Analysis Lab, will investigate whether people with disabilities, particularly socially disadvantaged people with disabilities, are overrepresented in communities with higher COVID-19 prevalence.

Hunt Institute at UTEP: Some economic improvements as COVID-19 impact continues

According to the most recent report released by the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at UT El Paso, the economy is showing some signs of recovery in the region, even as the COVID-19 pandemic and surge continues.

UTEP health care students learn to work together online during pandemic

Under normal circumstances, hundreds of UT El Paso students from different health disciplines would participate in-person in an Interprofessional Education (IPE) experience, working collaboratively to address the health care needs of an imaginary patient from a vulnerable population. But the coronavirus outbreak upended UTEP’s plan to organize an in-person IPE activity in 2020. They adapted by using telehealth and holding virtual interdisciplinary simulation exercises. An October virtual event involved over 350 students from nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, rehabilitation counseling, social work, speech-language pathology and the medical school working together on different case studies.

UTEP to offer Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certificate program in spring 2021

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recently approved a new postgraduate certificate in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration at UT El Paso. The certificate program will help address the critical need for more mental health providers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, said UTEP School of Nursing Dean Leslie K. Robbins, Ph.D.

UTEP and City of El Paso collaborate on new COVID-19 drive-through testing site

UT El Paso and the City of El Paso have formed a partnership to help the community get tested for COVID-19. UTEP will host a free drive-through state testing site open to the public on campus.

UTEP launches COVID-19 dashboard tracking campus cases since Aug. 24

UT El Paso launched a COVID-19 data dashboard last week, joining other Texas public universities, including the UT System's flagship campus in Austin, in publicly posting the number of positive cases among its campus community.

UTEP shows go online, on radio for fall ’20 season

Theater administrators and faculty members at UT El Paso have announced artistic alternatives for the live performances that were canceled last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting in September, students will participate in virtual performances scheduled by the Department of Theatre and Dance as well as the UTEP Dinner Theatre throughout the fall 2020 semester. Patrons may enjoy the events via the internet or, with a nod to the past, their radio.

UTEP’s Center for Accommodations and Support Services lunches ‘Virtual Front Desk’

UT El Paso continues to innovate its accommodations process to create a more inclusive environment where all students can thrive amid the social distancing measures brought about by the pandemic. UTEP's Center for Accommodations and Support Services (CASS) launched cassportal.utep.edu, the Accessible Information Management (AIM) system that serves as the office’s virtual front desk. Students with a disability or a temporary disability can request an accommodation through an easy-to-use system that initiates contact with a CASS staff member.

UTEP pharmacy professor receives grant to continue research to develop COVID-19 antiviral drug

Suman Sirimulla, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the UT El Paso School of Pharmacy, was awarded $80,000 from the National Science Foundation through UTEP’s Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials Center for Advanced Materials Research to support his research to develop antiviral drugs that will target COVID-19.

​​​​​​​UTEP, EPCC biology STEMGrow program pushes ahead amid pandemic obstacles

The STEMGrow Program, a groundbreaking initiative between UT and El Paso Community College that has successfully stewarded students between the two institutions, continues to bridge gaps between faculty and students forced to be physically distant this summer by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Texas Breather”: TTUHSC El Paso and UTEP develop a low-cost, 3D-printed ventilator for hospitals

A team of physicians and engineers developed a hands-free resuscitator bag compression device that can be utilized as an emergency ventilator during the COVID-19 pandemic. The collaboration includes researchers from UT El Paso and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, with contributions from Bessel, Ansys and Stratasys. The Texas Breather is designed to fall into the FDA’s new category of devices that qualify for emergency use authorization.

UTEP College of Health Sciences collaborates on UT Austin-led LGBTQ+ COVID-19 Texas study

Oralia Loza, Ph.D., public health sciences associate professor at UT El Paso, and the Borderland Rainbow Center (BRC) have collaborated on a survey that examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the LGBTQ+ population in Texas. Led by Phillip W. Schnarrs, Ph.D., at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School, the survey involved a statewide coalition of community and research partners, including UTEP and El Paso’s BRC, to better understand the needs, concerns and challenges of LGBTQ+ Texans and their allies during the coronavirus outbreak.

Pangolins, bats or what? New coronavirus' path to humans still unclear

Armadillo-like animals called pangolins may have played a role in the emergence in humans of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, but they weren't the only links in animal-to-human transmission, scientists say. Researchers at UT El Paso, Duke University School of Medicine, Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and New York University are studying the virus that causes COVID-19, and their research sheds new light on how it was able to make the leap from animals to people.

UTEP study examines COVID-19 stress, coping strategies, and well-being

Active coping, denial, emotional support, humor and religion are among the coping strategies that help people with chronic conditions and disabilities deal with stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recently published study written by researchers at UT El Paso.

UTEP to use university labs for city coronavirus testing

A new agreement between UT El Paso, the City of El Paso and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso will enable UTEP to help the city Department of Public Health with COVID-19 testing. At the city’s request, UTEP purchased FDA-approved equipment that can process about 500 COVID-19 samples in an eight-hour day, enabling the city to assess more samples overnight and get results to patients more quickly.

TMAC UTEP assists nationwide effort to identify medical equipment suppliers to support COVID-19 response

The Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC), a manufacturing consulting center based at UT El Paso, is leveraging its relationships with partners to outfit the El Paso community and others with critical supplies, such as medical masks and gowns, needed in the fight against COVID-19. TMAC is helping organizations and businesses nationwide connect with manufacturers that can fill the need for medical devices and medical services, including personal protective equipment (PPE).

UTEP Career Center offering virtual resources to help students, graduates

After UT El Paso transitioned to distance learning in March, the University Career Center quickly launched the Virtual Career Center, which includes links to resume and cover letter virtual reviews, virtual interview tips, links to job postings and video tutorials to help students reach their professional goals. 

UTEP President Heather Wilson joins university leaders in discussion with VP Mike Pence, Education Secretary DeVos

UT El Paso President Heather Wilson was one of 14 university presidents who joined Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Dr. Deborah Birx from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a teleconference call on May 13 to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s institutions of higher education and plans to reopen campuses.

Alzheimer chapter partners with UTEP for workshops

The coronavirus pandemic has increased anxieties among caregivers of people with forms of dementia, so the West Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association partnered with UT El Paso to offer virtual workshops to help ease those fears. A pair of UTEP faculty members have volunteered to help the chapter promote and execute “Mindful Bridges,” a four-part social engagement series for caretakers of people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

UTEP nursing students finish clinical rotations during pandemic to graduate in May

Twenty-five students in UT El Paso’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program chose to complete their clinical training in El Paso hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are among 75 nursing students expected to earn their degrees on May 16.

UTEP researcher earns $114k NSF grant for COVID study

The National Science Foundation has approved a $114,000 RAPID award to UT El Paso’s April Gile Thomas, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, to research the effect of COVID-19 on at-risk youth. 

UTEP student teachers help with switch to online education

Student teachers from UT El Paso helped area school districts transition to online delivery formats, thanks in part to the preparation they received at UTEP.

Air pollution has decreased during COVID-19 pandemic

Tom Gill, an environmental science and engineering/geological sciences professor at UT El Paso, reviewed data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality monitoring system at UTEP and found the level of air pollution has gone down this year compared to last year.

UTEP music students collaborate in confinement

UT El Paso graduate student Chris Beroes-Haigis is collaborating with musicians around the world and digitally recording the experience to help maintain the human connection, as many musicians are isolating at home during the global pandemic.

UTEP costumers sew face masks to assist local, out of town agencies

A request for fabric face masks to assist elderly residents at an assisted living facility in Washington state became a call to action for several costume makers at UT El Paso’s Department of Theatre and Dance, and their efforts have expanded to benefit border agencies.

UTEP partners with local health care professionals to fit test personal protective equipment

UT El Paso’s Environmental Health and Safety department (EHS) is working with local health care professionals to fit test their personal protective equipment to ensure that they are properly protected while working amid COVID-19 patients. EHS is utilizing its equipment to fit test N95 respirators and other respirators using an instrument to measure leakage around the face seal to ensure that the individual wearing the mask is protected while working in hazardous environments.

UTEP School of Pharmacy developing COVID-19 vaccine, drug treatments using supercomputing

Research is underway at UT El Paso’s School of Pharmacy to develop vaccines and antiviral drugs to combat the novel coronavirus within 15 months to two years. Suman Sirimulla, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UTEP, is leading a group of experimental researchers to virtually develop the molecular structure of a protease inhibitor that would target the coronavirus. Sirimulla is using UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to more quickly simulate the interaction between the molecules and the viral proteins to better understand and refine the binding process.

“Making Music Matter,” Grammy Award winner Zuill Bailey sharing virtual performances

UT El Paso cello professor and Grammy Award-winning El Paso Pro-Musica artistic director Zuill Bailey, along with UTEP graduate student Chris Beroes-Haigis, created a virtual video using split/screen technical effects that allows them to perform together. The music is being shared throughout the community to provide soothing and healing sounds.

Webinar explores impact of COVID-19 on U.S.-Mexico border

The Center for Inter-American Border Studies (CIBS) at UT El Paso, in partnership with the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT Arlington, hosted a bilingual webinar took an in-depth look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting health access, employment, and movement of people in Texas and along the U.S.-Mexico border.

UTEP, City of El Paso sign agreement to allow employees to assist with coronavirus testing

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UT Permian Basin

Do face masks really work? UTPB biology department conducts mask experiment

A team of UT Permian Basin students and a microbiologist put together a controlled experiment to take a closer look at whether or not masks prevent the spread of droplets. The results were clear that masks do prevent the spread of airborne droplets.

UTPB nursing educators keeping up clinical chops

Two top academicians at UT Permian Basin are among many that have stepped in to help with clinical needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UTPB faculty give back beyond the classroom

During these unprecedented times, UTPB professors have teamed up to give back. Every Wednesday morning during the month of May, the professors will head to the local food bank to fill boxes with food for the growing number of families in need in West Texas. The faculty at UT Permian Basin continue to exemplify the generosity and compassion.

Testing waived, financial help at UTPB

UT Permian Basin is waiving testing requirements for admissions to remove barriers for students who may not have access to testing or transcripts. UTPB also is identifying resources and funds for emergency grants and scholarships to help students find a way to go to college.

UTPB creates way to test without need for PPE

The College of Engineering at UT Permian Basin helped create a booth that will allow medical personnel to test for COVID-19 without using PPE

UTPB Chemistry Department mixes up a solution to fight COVID-19

UT Permian Basin’s chemistry department is mixing up their own solution of hand sanitizer. UTPB Chemistry Department Chair Dr. Milka Montes was joined by Mikayla Rodriguez, undergraduate student researcher at UTPB, and together they created Falcon Hand Sanitizer to be given to local first responders. 

Crisis breeds both challenges and opportunities

UT Permian Basin President Sandra Woodley reflects on how UTPB adjusted to the demands of coronavirus mitigation, shares her thoughts on the impact of a potential recession, and discusses the importance of supporting students now and those who will be coming due to job loss.

UTPB provides housing to medical heroes

UT Permian Basin is working closely with Medical Center Health System and Odessa Regional Medical Center to provide housing during the COVID-19 response for those who need it most: local medical providers and first responders.

UTPB students help on front lines, behind the scenes

UT Permian Basin nursing students have been helping on the front lines and behind the scenes during the coronavirus pandemic as interns at Midland Memorial Hospital and the Ector County Health Department. An engineering student has been helping 3D print supplies for area hospitals.

UTPB Food Pantry still available

UT Permian Basin facilities may be physically closed, but the food pantry is still open by appointment.  To-go bags are also available if students aren’t able to make it in and deliveries can be made if someone is sick.

UT Permian Basin nursing students helping the county with COVID-19 efforts

The Ector County Commissioners Court on Monday voted to partner with UTPB’s nursing department to help tackle COVID-19. Nursing students will be able to get their clinical hours by helping the county trace down those who may have been exposed to the virus.

UTPB partnership creates much-needed equipment for hospitals

UT Permian Basin engineers along with Texas Tech University Health Science Center faculty have designed prototypes for two important medical devices: face shields and splitters used for ventilators.

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UT Rio Grande Valley

UTRGV receives first COVID-19 vaccines, starts immediate inoculations for its frontline workers and expands distribution throughout Rio Grande Valley

UT Rio Grande Valley received 1,950 COVID-19 vaccines that were administered to the university’s healthcare providers and support staff in December. UT Health RGV continued to strengthen frontline personnel by administering the COVID-19 vaccine to EMS providers from across the Rio Grande Valley who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services like pre-hospital care and transport. As UT Health RGV prepares to receive and administer more COVID-19 vaccines, university medical and physician assistant students are volunteering to help administer the long-awaited vaccine. Vaccine distribution spanned the Rio Grande Valley, including in MercedesHarlingen, and Brownsville. The UTRGV School of Medicine began to administer the second round of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in early January. 

UTRGV vaccine information campaign combats conspiracies

Dr. John Krouse, dean of the UT Rio Grande School of Medicine, answers questions on the vaccine and how it will be distributed, assuaging concerns and providing insights in an effort to combat misinformation and conspiracy theories about the vaccine rollout, something he says he’s genuinely concerned about.

UTRGV film student’s documentary selected for International Film Festival in Russia

For Joann González, a 20-year-old UT Rio Grande Valley Theater and Film major, the COVID-19 pandemic affected her family in various ways – but one of the hardest was not being able to visit her grandfather. Now her film, “A Series of Windows,” about the struggle with social distancing during the pandemic, has been selected to be part of the 40th International VGIK Festival in Moscow, Russia.

UTRGV wins Texas Social Media Award for its informative work during the pandemic

UT Rio Grande Valley recently won a Texas Social Media Award, highlighting its work on keeping the university community informed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Texas Social Media Research Institute awarded UTRGV first place in the public universities category, recognizing their engaging messages and overall efforts to keep their faculty, staff and students informed about the COVID-19 pandemic.

UT Health RGV pediatrician develops children’s book on coping during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Keila Rodriguez, UT Health Rio Grande Valley pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics in the UTRGV School of Medicine, wrote a children’s book titled “When the World is Sick,” that addresses the pandemic and the best precautions to help protect families from the virus.

UTRGV health experts list best safety practices for holidays during pandemic

With COVID-19 cases surging again globally, Dr. Michael Dobbs, UT Health Rio Grande Valley chief medical officer, offers important safety guidelines to follow this Thanksgiving, especially as the COVID-19 situation in the Rio Grande Valley becomes increasingly dangerous.

Dr. Timothy Heath helps UTRGV's medical residents maneuver pandemic challenges

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine students had to work on the front lines in circumstances most residents could never dream of. Dr. Timothy Heath, professor of internal medicine at the UTRGV School of Medicine and program director of internal medicine at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, has committed his time to helping UTRGV SOM residents assist with COVID-19 patients.

UTRGV student shares story after contracting COVID-19, urges caution

One UTRGV student admitted she didn’t really pay much attention to all the news about COVID-19 – until she got sick in July and tested positive. She's made a full recovery and is telling others to take precautions.

Opportunities available for businesses affected by COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on businesses, with many struggling and hoping to survive. But help is available through the UTRGV Center for Innovation and Commercialization, thanks to a $300,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration. The UTRGV CIC will be offering and coordinating a student internship program to help businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 and, as a result, have had to reduce their staff. The internships will be in person, virtual or hybrid, based on the company's need.

Mourning during a pandemic: ‘I felt so helpless’

Dr. Cynthia Cavazos Gonzalez, director of the UT Rio Grande Valley Psychology Clinic, is herself one of the thousands of people in the Rio Grande Valley who wants to comfort family and friends after the death of a loved one, as she recently lost her brother to COVID-19. Dr. Gonzalez provides special insight, advice and new approaches on how to handle grief during the pandemic.

UT Health RGV Clinical Lab receives Clinical and Translational Science grant for expanded COVID-19 testing in underserved South Texas communities

The UT Health Rio Grande Valley Clinical Lab has been awarded a Clinical and Translational Science Award partnership grant for expanded research in COVID-19 testing. The grant is part of a multi-institutional approach designed to address COVID-19 testing disparities among vulnerable populations in Texas and help regional efforts to identify a more precise number of COVID-19 cases.

UTRGV to provide more financial support with Spring Relief Packages

To continue the financial support for UT Rio Grande Valley students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has added a Spring Relief Package for 2021 that includes $500 cash grants or UTRGV tuition relief in the amount of $250 for those who do not qualify for the CARES Act.

University professor charts behavior during pandemic

Elena Quercioli, assistant professor of economics at UT Rio Grande Valley’s Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship, is developing a scientific model that accounts for virtually every dynamic of human behavior during a pandemic, which she hopes will ultimately inform policies to contain future outbreaks and save lives.

UTRGV puts a spotlight on E-Learning in new series

From across the globe ­– Turkey, Sweden, Canada, and the Rio Grande Valley – individuals joined the virtual conversation in the first installment of UT Rio Grande Valley’s new series – The Frontier – that put a spotlight on “E-Learning in the Age of COVID-19.” Led by two experts in the field of online learning – Robert G. Doyle, U.S. representative of the International Council for Educational Media, and Badrul H. Khan, author and educator focused on web-based training and educational technology – the live Facebook event discussed how the education world has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UTRGV School of Rehabilitation Services and Counseling offering free counseling services to frontline medical workers 

To help address the emotional, as well as the physical toll frontline medical workers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Rehabilitation Services and Counseling is offering free counseling services. The initiative, called “The Wellness Project,” focuses primarily on individuals in healthcare who have been affected by the pandemic. Counseling will be individually focused and participants can address any topic in the sessions, including issues related to stress, grief, death and dying.

UT Health RGV providers stress importance of getting flu vaccine this season

Given complications that could arise from confusing COVID-19 with the flu, UT Health Rio Grande Valley medical professionals are strenuously encouraging the public to get vaccinated for the flu and have provided resources and recommendations for obtaining flu shots. They note that widespread vaccinations against flu can reduce unnecessary COVID-19 testing, as well as protect people who are more vulnerable.

UTRGV nursing professors volunteer at COVID-19 testing call centers 

As UT Health RGV rolled out its COVID-19 testing sites, UT Rio Grande Valley School of Nursing professors volunteered at the UT Health RGV COVID-19 Patient Call Center in Harlingen to respond to the needs of a population hit hard by the pandemic.

UTRGV School of Medicine co-sponsors U.S. Surgeon General’s roundtable on health disparities in era of COVID-19

Five former U.S. Surgeons General will discuss the problem of racial inequity in health care in the United States during COVID-19, at an online roundtable discussion where the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine is a presenting partner.

UTRGV SOM collaborates with Stanford Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for “My Hero is You” short film

UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine has collaborated with Stanford Medicine and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to release a video adaptation of the children’s book, “My Hero is You.”  The purpose of the video and book is to help educate children around the world about COVID-19.

UT Health RGV to provide COVID-19 antibody testing to the public

UT Health RGV, the clinical arm of the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, has launched COVID-19 antibody testing as a third component of their pandemic initiatives, along with drive-thru testing and contact tracing operations. Rio Grande Valley residents now can get tested for COVID-19 antibodies after they have tested positive for coronavirus.

Going the distance: Remote training program overcomes virus challenges

Dr. Sudershan Pasupuleti, the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Social Work’s MSSW accelerated online program director, helped develop remote training through community networks to provide students the field placements necessary to graduate while in-person meetings are off-limits during the pandemic.

UTRGV expanding their coronavirus test capacity

As mass public testing sites have moved out of the Valley, UT Rio Grande Valley will be expanding their resources and test capacity to accommodate the increased need due the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in the community.

UTRGV offers ‘pay what you can’ bags of fresh produce

The UT Rio Grande Valley Office of Professional Education & Workforce Development and the UTRGV Baptist Student Ministries partnered to offer “pay what you can” bags of fresh produce at both the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses as a way to eliminate hunger and enhance access to healthy food.

UTRGV Career Center offering online services to help job searches challenged by pandemic

The UTRGV Career Center is providing the Class of 2020 with new job search tools to help them overcome the challenges due to COVID-19. Students can take advantage of virtual walk-in office hours via Zoom and recent graduates can access job listings on Handshake, an online career management system, and schedule virtual appointments with Career Center staff to get help with resumes and job interview preparation. The Career Center also offers live chats on Instagram, job tips on its Facebook page, and a podcast.

UTRGV medical school dean urges increased precautions against COVID-19 this July 4th weekend

Dr. John H. Krouse, dean of the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and executive vice president for health affairs, calls upon the community to face the facts around the current surge in coronavirus infections and provides recommendations to be responsible and celebrate safely this 4th of July holiday weekend.

UTRGV professor participates in pandemic research with international team

Dr. Elena Quercioli, assistant professor of economics and finance in UT Rio Grande Valley’s Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship, is working with an international team of researchers to study the role human behaviors play in spreading contagion.

UTRGV addresses increased demand on testing sites due to local surge in COVID-19 cases                                                  

With the surge in COVID-19 cases in the Rio Grande Valley, the demand on UT Rio Grande Valley’s Patient Call Center and testing sites has tripled since last week. UTRGV clinical providers and staff are mobilizing to meet an increasing demand and working to continue to increase testing capacity further over the next couple of weeks across all their drive-thru locations.

UTRGV increases COVID-19 testing capacity from 150 to 1,000 daily

The UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, through its practice plan, UT Health RGV, is substantially increasing the number of COVID-19 tests it can process in-house, via an automated extraction machine called the Thermo Fisher Kingfisher Flex. The automation will allow the lab to process up to 1,000 tests each day, rather than the 150 possible with manual testing.

Free Wi-Fi available to UTRGV community via campus parking lots

As classes remain online through the summer semesters, the UTRGV community is studying and working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing that some students may not have Wi-Fi available at home, UTRGV is providing fast, free Wi-Fi service throughout its campuses, including from the parking lots, so they can maintain safe distances from others.

UTRGV serving RGV Safety Net Clinics during COVID-19 pandemic

The UTRGV School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health & Biostatistics is leading “Covid Minds at Work,” an inter-departmental work group focused on providing innovative, scientific solutions that directly impact the health of the Rio Grande Valley community and contribute to the regional response during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the group was able to connect health clinics serving underserved areas of the community with gowns, masks, and face shields made by the UTRGV Theatre Department. 

UTRGV Psychology Clinic launches “warmline” to help RGV community find emotional support

The UT Rio Grande Valley Psychology Clinic will provide a new, confidential phone service called a “warmline” to help community members find support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The warmline will be a free and brief counseling telephone service for individuals experiencing emotional and mental distress related to the pandemic. It also will provide early intervention with support that can help prevent a crisis.

UTRGV School of Medicine opens fourth site in Harlingen

The UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine has opened a fourth COVID-19 testing location, this one at UTRGV’s Harlingen campus. Previously opened UTRGV sites in Brownsville, Mercedes and Edinburg have performed more than 1,700 COVID-19 tests

Group chat leads to donations for UTRGV Student Food Pantry, local police departments

A group chat about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a donation of more than $1,000 to the UTRGV Student Food Pantry and 1,000 face masks to two Rio Grande Valley police departments. The people participating in the chat, including members of the Chinese Student & Scholar Association at UTRGV, raised the funds in just a few days.

UTRGV Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center helping struggling businesses impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

The UTRGV Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center (ECC) is creating networking opportunities and other initiatives to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ECC is providing outreach and technical support to the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation and its StartUp Texas program is helping businesses access federal funding through the Small Business Administration and its partner lenders.

UTRGV BMED alumni helping current students during pandemic

Alumni of UT Rio Grande Valley’s Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences (BMED) Scholars program now at UTHealth’s McGovern Medical School held their first online meeting with 45 current UTRGV BMED students to provide guidance and serve as mentors. They offered important information for the BMED students pursuing careers in the medical and health fields during the pandemic. 

UTRGV Athletics donates concession stand surplus to Student Food Pantry

UT Rio Grande Valley Athletics has donated more than $4,000 worth of food originally set to be sold at the baseball concession stand – including 1,320 hotdogs – to the UTRGV Student Food Pantry to help students who might be struggling with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students and staff from UTRGV use 3-D printers to make masks for healthcare

UT Rio Grande Valley students and staff have joined forces to help construct plastic face masks for medical professionals.

UT Health RGV Clinical Lab working on COVID-19 screenings, testing

The UT Health RGV Clinical Lab, also known as the UTRGV Center for Vector-Borne Disease, is playing a key role in the Valley’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lab – which normally focuses on viruses like Zika that are transmitted through insect or other arthropod bites – now is helping with COVID-19 testing, which the UTRGV School of Medicine’s clinical practice, UT Health RGV, started March 30 with testing sites in Brownsville and Edinburg.

UTRGV School of Medicine dean ‘optimistic’ of Valley’s condition

During U.S. Rep Vicente Gonzalez’s first telephone town hall meeting, Dr. John Krouse, dean of the UT Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine, said he is hopeful that the region’s prompt reaction to the coronavirus pandemic could be effective.

UTRGV School of Music carries on tradition online

Social distancing orders are not stopping the UTRGV School of Music from carrying on its tradition. Although many of their concerts have been canceled, Dr. Dahlia Guerra, assistant vice president for public art at UTRGV, said they are taking their Patron of the Arts series online for the first time. “These are moments that would give us some comfort,” said Guerra. “When you’re listening to the music, you escape, you’re not only entertained, you’re comforted in a way that only music can do.” 

Rio Grande Valley university students fighting on virulent coronavirus front line

A month ago, student scientists at UT Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg were collecting mosquitoes and ticks to study the human pathogens they carry, including Zika and Lyme disease. Now these students and faculty at the university’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease are on the front line of tracking COVID-19.

UTRGV graduate students assisting in coronavirus tests

UT Rio Grande Valley's COVID-19 testing sites became available to the public just last week. Its virology lab has since received "CLIA" certification, short for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, so they can tell patients right away whether they've tested positive for coronavirus rather than just referring them elsewhere for further testing.

UTRGV outlines process for virus analysis

Two new drive-thru testing sites have been established on the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses of UT Rio Grande Valley. The tests are free to UTRGV students, staff and the general public for individuals with a fever over 100.4 degrees and COVID-19 respiratory symptoms. UTRGV is able to offer the tests free because the medical school created the tests, marshalled the proper medical equipment and is doing the lab work in-house.

UTRGV faculty helps make face masks

Mechanical engineering faculty at UT Rio Grande Valley is helping to develop 3D printed masks and other personal protection equipment. The engineering department is working with the theatre department for their creativity and skills.

UTRGV School of Medicine establishes COVID-19 testing site

The UTRGV School of Medicine’s practice plan, UT Health RGV, the Office of Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Hidalgo and Cameron county leaders, and the City of Brownsville are working in collaboration to combat the spread of COVID-19 by establishing drive-thru testing sites.

UTRGV loosens tuition financial cap in response to pandemic

Beginning this fall, UTRGV will now cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for qualified students with a family of $95,000 or less; the threshold for the program was previously set at $75,000 or less.  
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UT San Antonio

Drug combo helps COVID patients recover quicker, doctors say

Dr. Thomas Patterson, a doctor with UT Health San Antonio and University Hospital, says a combination of remdesivir and an anti-inflammatory drug called baricitinib helped COVID-19 patients recover faster.

Landmark case study finds coronavirus easily transmitted in ideal outdoor conditions  

study spearheaded by Kiran Bhaganagar, associate professor of mechanical engineering at UT San Antonio, found that outdoor areas may not be as safe as first thought to protect against the coronavirus. According to Bhaganagar, this is the first study to measure spread of coronavirus in outdoor conditions. 

Project helps transition to telehealth services for autism therapy

As therapies and support programs for children with autism are canceled or suspended, Leslie Neely, assistant professor of educational psychology at UT San Antonio and coordinator of the applied behavior analysis program, is spearheading a new project that will enable the much-needed services to continue in a virtual setting. Using videoconferencing software, she and her colleagues are teaching behavior therapists how to conduct sessions virtually.

New UTSA research identifies link between food insecurity and unengaged distance learning among San Antonio K-12 students

A new study by the UT San Antonio Urban Education Institute found that food insecure students in San Antonio struggled with distance learning and academic engagement more than their peers. The findings linking food insecurity and learning signify how hunger and larger issues of family instability during the ongoing pandemic threaten student growth. Researchers have produced three reports summarizing their findings on how this pandemic has impacted student engagement, the ability to teach and even the socioeconomics -- food, hunger, employment for parents and their families during this trying time.

UTSA’s Business Recovery Accelerator provides solutions on road to recovery

The UT San Antonio Institute for Economic Development launched the Small Business Development Center COVID-19 Business Recovery Accelerator (SBDC COBRA) to help small businesses weather the financial hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. COBRA is the only recovery accelerator of its kind in Texas to help stabilize and rebuild the small-business economy. Unique decisions regarding how and when to reopen, evaluating supply chains, workplace safety, financial recovery strategies, training and cybersecurity are just some of the areas the team of professional SBDC advisers are equipped to address.

San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics fuels COVID-19 research

Fueling transformative research through collaboration, the San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics (SAPPT) has announced the funding of three more collaborative COVID-19 research efforts in San Antonio that are led by researchers from UT Health San Antonio and UT San Antonio. SAPPT awarded more than $600,000 to fund these projects, in addition to funding a SARS CoV-2 vaccine project that was announced in April. SAPPT was created by four leading San Antonio research organizations: UT San Antonio, UT Health San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute and Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

Researcher awarded grant for novel approach on COVID-19 drug

UT San Antonio’s Doug E. Frantz, the Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, has received an award from the San Antonio Medical Foundation to support his collaborative work with UT Health San Antonio and SwRI on a novel approach for COVID-19 drug discovery. The grant will help fund collaborative studies that combine virology, high-throughput screening, medicinal chemistry and in-silico drug design expertise.

UTSA mathematician projects up to 1.2 million COVID-19 deaths in U.S. by March

Dr. Juan Gutierrez, chair of the math department at UT San Antonio, tracks daily coronavirus cases and predicts how certain events — mask mandates, emergency orders, holidays — will affect transmission regionally and nationally. Gutiérrez says if people don’t wear masks and stay home over the holidays, there could be between half a million and 1.2 million deaths by the end of March.

Experts study effects on families of parental job loss during pandemic

Monica Lawson, an assistant professor of psychology; Megan Piel, an assistant professor of social work; and Michaela Simon, psychology graduate student in the College for Health, Community and Policy, have published research findings that demonstrate parental job loss due to the pandemic can have negative consequences on young children, including increased risk for psychological and physical abuse at the hands of their parents. The researchers also found that focusing on parental mental health and fostering healthy coping strategies among families is important during times of economic crises and may help to reduce family violence.

Student Disability Services rises to meet student, faculty need during pandemic

When all university classes went remote in March because of the growing pandemic, students with disabilities at UT San Antonio as well as their faculty faced a serious dilemma. Through determination and collaboration with Academic Innovation, the university’s Student Disability Services team ensured all online courses were accessible and inclusive, upholding the institution’s mission, vision and core values.

Researcher awarded grant for novel approach on COVID-19 drug

Doug E. Frantz, the Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UT San Antonio, has received an award from the San Antonio Medical Foundation to support his collaborative work with UT Health San Antonio and SwRI on a novel approach for a COVID-19 drug discovery. Frantz is leading a group of researchers involving UTSA, UT Health San Antonio and the Southwest Research Institute to develop antiviral drugs that block SARS-CoV-2 from entering human cells to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

Management professor discusses team communication for the virtual workforce

Shannon Marlow, an assistant professor for the Department of Management in UT San Antonio’s College of Business, discusses the virtual shift’s impact on how teams work together, who’s falling behind in an increasingly teleworking world, the benefits of a hybrid approach after COVID-19, and her current research on team psychology.

Researchers connect coronavirus to what’s flushed down the toilet 

A UT San Antonio research team is finding plenty of evidence that the spread of the novel coronavirus can be tracked using the sewer systems. Vikram Kapoor, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is nearing the end of an eight-month study testing wastewater for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Kapoor’s team has received nearly $160,000 in CARES Act funding through the Health Collaborative and San Antonio Metro Health to work on the project. Their research is proving to be successful as samples collected between June and August showed that COVID-19 levels found in wastewater matched the trend of COVID-19 infections that Metro Health reported.

Study explores COVID-19’s impact on Texas’ minority working moms

Nazgol Bagheri, an associate professor of geography at UT San Antonio, has conducted a regional study of over 40 women of color to better understand the pandemic’s impact on the future employment, mothering and other quality-of-life-issues of this population.

Students gain wellbeing support during pandemic through new services and outreach

UT San Antonio’s Counseling and Mental Health Services and student advocates are providing a vast array of support services to help students maintain a healthy wellbeing during the pandemic. In its commitment to the wellbeing of the campus community, UTSA has initiated several new programs designed to support students’ overall wellness while managing virtual learning.

New course explores COVID-19 patterns in San Antonio, beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping lifestyles, schooling and research—and students from the UT San Antonio’s Honors College will have a chance to dive into the rich yet complex data on the virus that has been mounting for Bexar County and other places. Kara Joyner, department chair and professor in the Department of Demography, has developed a course for undergraduate students that will use the pandemic as a laboratory for research.

UTSA career program helps more than 2,000 furloughed San Antonians find work

While many San Antonians were furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UT San Antonio says its Career-in-Focus program to help residents find work has helped more than 2,000 people find jobs. The program provides free and deeply discounted career advancement assistance leading to skills-based digital badges or professional certificates.

UTSA students learning COVID-19 contact tracing through new fall program

A new program at UT San Antonio this fall semester is allowing students to be part of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The course on contact tracing gives students hands-on experience on how to track people who were exposed to COVID-19.

UTSA to offer free online tutoring 24/7 for undergraduate students

UT San Antonio announced it is launching a new free online tutoring service, called TutorMe, that will be available to undergraduate students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With the shift to online learning, UTSA wanted to provide an extra layer of accessible, relevant and effective virtual academic support to ensure students are successful in the new learning environment.

UTSA Music adapts to meet the challenge of the pandemic

The Department of Music at UT San Antonio offers a great lesson in flexibility. The Spirit of San Antonio marching band, UTSA orchestra, lyric theatre and music are adapting to extraordinary virtual and in-person hybrids for rehearsals, performances and curriculum. The changes will enable students to perform and learn together and virtually, fostering a sense of community while maintaining UTSA safety protocols.

Research looks at pandemic’s effects on U.S. STEM students, faculty

A new national study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is identifying how the COVID-19 pandemic affected student learning and faculty work in STEM fields. “The Challenges and Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” a collaborative study between UT San Antonio, University of Kansas and Claremont Graduate University, surveyed about 1,087 STEM faculty and 4,603 STEM students from around the U.S in June about the effects COVID-19 has had on their mentorships, research, academic careers and mental health.

Graduate student researchers win top prizes in COVID-19 team challenge

Five teams made up of 22 graduate students working across research disciplines at UT San Antonio have taken top honors in the first COVID-19 Transdisciplinary Team Grand Challenge. The transdisciplinary nature of this challenge brought UTSA master’s and doctoral students from different fields together to work with community partners to tackle issues brought to light by the current pandemic and to develop proposals for creative, innovative concept projects that address the concerns facing society today.

Research shows some distance-learning lessons deepen student engagement - UTSA study of K–12 distance learning informs local planning for fall

Mike Villarreal, director of the Urban Education Institute at UT San Antonio, and his team have spent the summer surveying almost 2,000 K–12 public school students, parents and teachers across seven Bexar County school districts and one local network of career-themed schools to find out what worked and what didn’t during pandemic distance learning. The findings in the report, “Teaching and Learning in the Time of COVID-19,” are helping inform current local planning identify what makes online education engaging and effective to  improve distance learning for the fall in participating schools.

UTSA phone campaign will reach out to 1,600 student veterans

UT San Antonio launched a phone campaign called Operation Buddy Check. In an effort to foster connection during the pandemic, student workers and other staff plan to reach out to all 1,600 student-veterans enrolled at the university.

UTSA experts find bias in disease-tracking algorithms that analyze social media

In one of the first studies of bias conducted on biomedical content on Twitter, UT San Antonio researchers found that machine-learning algorithms used to train and classify tweets have an inherent bias because they do not account for how minority groups potentially communicate health information. If machine bias is left unchecked, it can aggravate health disparities instead of improving them, according to Anthony Rios, assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems and Cyber Security in UTSA’s College of Business.

UTSA to offer virtual career expo for students

In response to the pandemic, UT San Antonio is collaborating with other academic institutions across San Antonio to create an opportunity for students and alumni to network from home via the Greater San Antonio Virtual Career Expo. Students at partnering institutions will have the opportunity to virtually connect with employers from across the nation.

UTSA brings hope to small-business owners during pandemic

UT San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development launched its COVID-19 Business Recovery Accelerator to help local businesses access emergency funds and help reboot small businesses impacted by the pandemic. COBRA is the only recovery accelerator of its kind in Texas designed to help stabilize and rebuild the small business economy. 

UTSA professors working on COVID-19 tracking technology

UT San Antonio is at the forefront of a COVID-19 exposure notification system that uses technology to track where COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring. Wearable devices help trace the virus in a large population through sensors that would indicate whether a person has been exposed to the virus and how the body changes in response.

UTSA welcoming thousands of new Roadrunners via online orientation

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UT San Antonio is now offering orientation online for the safety of its new students. Online orientation will provide incoming students with a preview of their first year at UTSA, offering a unique virtual activity that features engaging modules and videos that will kick-start a student’s academic journey.

UTSA professor awarded NSF grant for COVID-19 research

Researchers from UT San Antonio and the University of Kansas have launched a study to investigate the life and academic challenges that STEM faculty and students around the U.S. are facing—particularly in their mentor-mentee relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic. A $153,899 Rapid Response Research grant from the National Science Foundation, using funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, will help fund their research.

New triage scheduling software paves road to recovery

Amita Shah, M.D., assistant professor and associate program director for the Division of Plastic Surgery, created a patient task management and triage software program with a group of UTSA computer science software engineering students to aid with the complicated task of rescheduling appointments and elective surgeries cancelled by the pandemic. 

UTSA-led research team seeks to adapt vaccine for coronavirus

The San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics has awarded $200,000 for a collaborative study to develop a novel vaccine to combat COVID-19. Researchers believe a vaccine originally developed to combat tularemia, the rare and deadly “rabbit fever,” could also work against the coronavirus. UT San Antonio microbiologist Dr. Karl Klose is leading a consortium of scientists from UT San Antonio, UT Health San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute and Texas Biomedical Research Institute are working together on this effort.

Chicago Latinos see higher rates of COVID-19 infections

Rogelio Saenz, a professor of demography at UT San Antonio, analyzed data from states and the District of Columbia that reported COVID-19 infection cases or deaths for Latinos. States reporting racial data indicate overwhelmingly high rates of infection within the Latino population but fewer deaths from the virus. 

UTSA engineers develop new breathing tube used in ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients

UT San Antonio engineers used 3-D printing to develop a new breathing tube used in ventilators that solves the problem of instability and tissue damage from the long-term ventilation of coronavirus patients.

UTSA launches Career in Focus initiative to help revitalize workforce

UT San Antonio has launched Career in Focus, a workforce initiative in direct support of San Antonio citizens facing widespread job instability due to the pandemic. Core to the initiative is UTSA’s Job Jumpstart program a series of free and discounted online career advancement courses intended to help San Antonians, particularly those recently furloughed and unemployed, sharpen their skills and explore potential new careers. 

UTSA refunding $10 million to help students during COVID-19 pandemic

UT San Antonio is sending $10 million in refunds to students to help with financial concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of the week, UTSA will have delivered more than $7.4 million in refunds for housing, meal plans and parking.

Experts: Even without symptoms, many can spread the coronavirus

Dr. Juan Gutierrez, chairman of UT San Antonio’s math department, produced a model of the local epidemic that found the average number of new infections thought to arise from a single case was higher than generally believed. As health officials realize that symptom-free carriers of the virus are more abundant than previously thought, Gutierrez says his analysis has been justified. 

Social support of veterans especially important during pandemic

The social distancing and self-isolation measures that have slowed the spread of COVID-19 may worsen PTSD symptoms and increase the risk for suicide among veterans. Sandra Morissette, a clinical psychologist, professor and interim chair of the Department of Psychology at UT San Antonio, recently received funding from the Veterans Administration to research the impact of social networks on suicide, which could in turn inform how suicide prevention is approached. 

UTSA researchers discuss their efforts to monitor, treat COVID-19

Five of UT San Antonio’s brightest researchers who have been identified as expert resources for understanding and combating COVID-19 answered public questions via livestream chat during a panel discussion called, “Beating COVID-19: How Close Are We?”

Professor helps feed San Antonio’s less fortunate during pandemic

UT San Antonio social work adjunct professor and alumna Kimberly Goodwin wants to make sure no one in San Antonio goes hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s helped to feed over 500 people across the city by providing meals to the needy and lending a helping hand to local community restaurants that have been affected during these unprecedented times.

UTSA grad students to tackle COVID-19 issues in transdisciplinary challenge

The Graduate School at UTSA, in partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise, will launch the COVID-19 Transdisciplinary Team Grand Challenge in May. The challenge is designed to unite UTSA graduate students from a wide range of academic programs to work with community partners while problem-solving the many issues created by the pandemic.

Students, scientists make hand sanitizer for health officials during COVID-19 outbreak

As the battle against COVID-19 wages on, students and scientists at UT Health San Antonio and UT San Antonio are standing on the front-lines making hand sanitizer for local health providers.

Researchers study college students’ actions in pandemic setting

A team of UTSA researchers is teaming up with San Antonio College in a new study investigating the attitudes and behaviors of college students amid the coronavirus pandemic. The study will provide a better understanding of how students protect themselves and how the public health response can be improved during infectious respiratory disease outbreaks. 

VR could be the key to more people wearing masks to beat COVID-19

Long-term compliance to rules like use of mandatory face coverings require new engagement methods. Researchers at UTSA have conducted an experiment that shows how virtual reality videos, when coupled with well-known figures, especially celebrities, can influence positive health behaviors. 

UTSA experts lay out pandemic’s impact on San Antonio economy

Four UTSA experts convened for a virtual panel discussion to describe the broad economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic at the local, state and national levels. 

Create web-trackers to pinpoint community resources

Amina Qutub, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at UT San Antonio, along with a group of faculty, staff and students, developed a website to help people find food and personal protective equipment when the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses and schools. 

Grounding yourself while you are grounded

Mary McNaughton-Cassill, Ph.D., a professor of clinical psychology at UT San Antonio, offers tips for managing stress associated with the coronavirus pandemic. 

UTSA models: Without social distancing, coronavirus cases would skyrocket

Using Metro Health data, two teams at UT San Antonio predict an astronomical increase in local coronavirus cases without continued social distancing measures.

UT San Antonio chemistry prof working on coronavirus treatment

Doug Frantz, a chemistry professor at UT San Antonio, working on ways to thwart the coronavirus. On Monday, he shipped samples of compounds he developed to UT Medical Branch, where they can be tested on coronavirus-infected cells. They included formulas related to hydroxycholorquine, which is being studied internationally as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Franz and other scientists are part of a collaborative effort between UTSA, UTHealth, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the Southwest Research Institute working to tackle the virus on multiple fronts.

UTSA donates protective equipment to local health care workers

To help health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus battle in San Antonio, the UTSA research community has made a sizable donation of personal protective equipment to sister institution UT Health San Antonio.

UTSA professor reveals the risks of a globally interconnected economy

As several industries are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamid Beladi, a professor at UT San Antonio, details the connectedness of industries to companies and countries, “positive in good times and a problem when times are difficult.”

UTSA contributes supplies to shield sister campus against the coronavirus

To help health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus battle in San Antonio, the UTSA research community has made a sizable donation of personal protective equipment to sister institution UT Health San Antonio. Researchers from several areas around campus, including biomedical engineering, chemistry, anthropology, and occupational health and lab safety, provided safety glasses, surgical masks and sleeves, shoe covers, face shields and other items that will help protect health care providers.

Researchers develop site to help Texans find vital resources during pandemic

Researchers with UTSA’s Matrix AI Consortium for Human Well-Being have created a website that helps Texans share the location of scarce consumer goods in real-time.

Students explore issue of community compassion during pandemic

With the help of the virtual realm a group of Roadrunners is connecting not just with each other but with their fellow San Antonians to show what compassion means during the age of COVID-19.

UTSA professor offers strategies to cope during a pandemic

As a professor and clinical psychologist with an emphasis on behavioral medicine, Mary McNaughton-Cassill of UTSA’s Department of Psychology conducts research involving stress and coping in our complex, technologically driven world.

UTSA launches emergency funds to connect students to resources

To help relieve some of the stress that students might be facing due to coronavirus-related changes to their daily lives, UTSA has created key funds that support Roadrunners’ most prevalent needs during this time.
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UT Tyler

UT Tyler, Workforce Solutions East Texas partner to train businesses and employees about environmental safety during COVID

Workforce Solutions East Texas is working with UT Tyler to provide up-to-date COVID-related information for businesses and individuals interested in working in the environmental safety industry. Hosted by the UT Tyler Longview University Center, the virtual training, COVID: Safety & Sanitation for Business, teaches participants how to maintain a healthy and safe environment for employees and patrons.

Rural Texas nurses fight COVID-19 surge

For three years, the Intune Mobile Clinic, a collaboration between UT Tyler and Special Health Resources, has been traveling to rural areas, mainly in East Texas. However, the mission has become more challenging during COVID and the recent surge in the region.

UT Tyler to receive $300,000 in CARES Act funding to help boost local economy

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration announced Monday that it will be awarding a $300,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to UT Tyler to boost their capacity to support regional economic development strategies in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

UT Tyler surveys Texans’ mental health during COVID-19

UT Tyler‘s Center for Opinion Research conducted a survey of mental health in Texas to determine perceptions about the threat of the coronavirus. Respondents indicated they understand the threat to society and so are more likely to follow public health recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

UT Tyler professor: Shopping locally, to-go services can improve retail marketplace decline

As the retail market has declined during the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery could depend greatly on consumers shopping at local small businesses, according to a UT Tyler marketing professor.

Report: Tyler estimated economic loss from COVID-19 more than $100 million

The UT Tyler Hibbs Institute for Business and Economic Research recently examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Tyler’s economy. The Institute released a special report detailing estimated losses exceeding $100 million for Tyler-area business due to Smith County's stay-at-home order.

Professors, students sew masks for vulnerable population

Two UT Tyler professors, Dr. Jenifer Chilton, associate professor of nursing, and Dr. Kerri Camp, associate professor of marketing, along with students and community members have sewn 600+ masks for those in the vulnerable population and healthcare industry of East Texas.

UT Tyler donates protective equipment; hospital systems address community donation protocol

One symptom of coronavirus: Fear of the unknown

COVID-19 is new, and much about it remains unknown. Professors and specialists at UT Health Science Center at Tyler discuss how they're still learning about the coronavirus and its impact.
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UT Southwestern Medical Center

COVID-19 arrives at UT Southwestern

UT Southwestern Medical Center anticipated an initial shipment of 5,850 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and more than 6,000 front-line health care workers at UT Southwestern have received initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine after the first shipment was delivered to the Medical Center.

What are the differences between the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines?

Dr. James Cutrell, infectious disease specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, provides an overview of the two COVID-19 vaccines.

Giving cells an appetite for viruses

A team led by UT Southwestern researchers has identified a key gene necessary for cells to consume and destroy viruses. The findings could lead to ways to manipulate this process to improve the immune system’s ability to combat viral infections, such as those fueling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Study finds low risk of pregnancy complications from COVID-19

Pregnant women who test positive for COVID-19 and their newborn babies have a low risk of developing severe symptoms, according to a new study from UT Southwestern. The study shows that 95 percent of women who tested positive for COVID-19 during pregnancy had no adverse outcomes. Additionally, the study found that the virus was transmitted to the fetus in just three percent of the cases. 

COVID-19 patient outcomes affected by cardiovascular risk

Research presented by UT Southwestern cardiologists at the annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2020 showed that Black and Hispanic people were more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than white patients, and that nonwhite men with cardiovascular disease or risk factors were more likely to die.

Overweight and obese younger people at greater risk for severe COVID-19

According to a new study from UT Southwestern, individuals under age 50 are more likely to be hospitalized, need a ventilator, and die from COVID-19 if they're severely obese. While all adults who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for serious complications from the disease, the link is strongest for those age 50 and under.

UT Southwestern expanding COVID-19 study online

A major UT Southwestern study aimed at tracking the spread of COVID-19 is now expanding its reach, tapping trusted allies in the community to both survey and serve those most at risk. Initially launched as an invitation-only study, volunteers from anywhere in Dallas or Tarrant counties are now being encouraged to go online and enroll.

UT Southwestern tracks hospitalization rates

The number of people being hospitalized for COVID-19 is just one data point that researchers at UT Southwestern use to create a tool that’s quickly become a go-to for decision makers and the public alike.

UT Southwestern studying COVID-19’s disproportionate effect on minorities 

UT Southwestern Associate Professor Jasmin Tiro is leading a study on the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on communities of color to determine why COVID-19 hits certain communities harder than others.

About 5% of D-FW residents have been exposed to COVID-19, say experts at UT Southwestern and Texas Health 

About 5% of Dallas-Fort Worth residents have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to early results from an ongoing study by researchers at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources. That puts Dallas below an estimated national average of 9% and far below the 60% to 70% threshold that many experts believe is needed to reach herd immunity — the point at which enough people become resistant to the virus that it starts to fade.

DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study expands

As more DFW businesses and schools have reopened, and as cases have begun to surge again, UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources researchers are expanding participation in the DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study, which is uniquely designed to reveal how widely COVID-19 has spread and why some communities are harder hit.

UTSW projections: Could there be 2,500 new daily COVID-19 cases by January?

Projections by UT Southwestern, which have been accurate throughout the year, are predicting a terrifying winter. The latest models show that without a change in the effectiveness of disease abatement efforts, there could be 2,500 new cases each day by January.

UT Southwestern analyzes state of coronavirus in North Texas, forecasts what may be next

new analysis from UT Southwestern Medical Center shows COVID-19 cases are on the rise in both Dallas County and Collin County and people in the 30 to 50 age bracket are most impacted.

4 simple tips to avoid developing ‘tech neck’ during COVID-19 

Dr. Renee Enriquez, assistant professor for the physical medicine and rehabilitation department at UT Southwestern Medical Center, sees patients with tech neck and offers tips to avoid the ailment or lessen the pain.

Revised clinical trial rules during COVID-19 pandemic may benefit patients, survey shows

Following guidance from federal agencies, UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center led efforts to adapt clinical trial operations due to the pandemic. To protect patient safety, changes such as utilizing remote consents, conducting telehealth study visits, and shipping oral study treatment to patients’ homes have streamlined the cancer clinical trial participation process. A survey of UTSW clinical cancer research professionals found that most clinical trial coordinators, managers, and nurses report positive experiences with these COVID-related adjustments. In fact, a majority are in favor of keeping the new protocols even after the pandemic ends.

UTSW researcher wins prestigious NIH Pioneer Award to look for answers to pandemics like COVID-19 in animal genes

A UT Southwestern researcher who studies how the body’s innate immune system responds to coronaviruses is one of 10 recipients of the coveted NIH Director’s Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health. John Schoggins, Ph.D., will receive $3.5 million over the next five years to examine whether animals that carry viruses such as Ebola and SARS-CoV-2 possess antiviral genes that allow them to survive. The hope is that this information could help researchers develop treatments for humans who contract diseases like COVID-19.

Remote neuropsychology tests for children shown effective 

Administering neuropsychology evaluations to children online in the comfort of their own homes is feasible and delivers results comparable to tests traditionally performed in a clinic, found a new study led by UT Southwestern researchers and Children’s Health. The recently published finding could help expand access to specialists and reduce barriers to care, particularly as the popularity of telemedicine grows during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical experts discuss COVID-19 trials and when a vaccine might be available in North Texas 

Doctors from UT Southwestern Medical Center talked about the state of the pandemic, new treatments and children’s health in a recent call with Dallas News readers.

Factors inherent to obesity could increase vulnerability to COVID-19

Conditions related to obesity, including inflammation and leaky gut, leave the lungs of obese patients more susceptible to COVID-19 and may explain why they are more likely to die from the disease, UT Southwestern scientists published in a new article. They found that inflammation in the lungs combined with high viral loads of the novel coronavirus create a perfect storm for obese patients with COVID-19. They suggest that drugs used to lower inflammation in the lungs could prove beneficial to obese patients with the disease.

A surprising opportunity for telehealth in shaping the future of medicine

Expanded telehealth services at UT Southwestern have proved effective at safely delivering patient care during the pandemic, leading to an increase in patients even in specialties such as plastic surgery, according to a new study. The study, published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, illuminates the unexpected benefits that telehealth has had during the pandemic and provides insight into what this may mean for the future of medicine in the United States.

Mother transmitted COVID-19 to baby during pregnancy, UTSW physicians report

A pregnant mother who tested positive for COVID-19 transmitted the virus causing the disease to her prematurely born baby, UT Southwestern physicians report. Both were treated and recovered. The case, detailed in an article published in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, adds to a growing body of evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be transmitted in utero. It also underscores the importance of limiting COVID-19 exposure for pregnant women.

UT Southwestern announces open enrollment for at-home COLCORONA clinical trial

UT Southwestern Medical Center is the first facility in Dallas and the surrounding region to participate in the international COLCORONA trial. Researchers are testing a combination of drugs that may be able to help patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19. The goal is to find treatments that can be given to patients before their illness becomes severe and they require hospitalizations.

Medical guide helps parents with back-to-school decisions

Experts from UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Health put together a guide to help parents look at the risks and decide what's best for their families before determining whether their child should go back to the classroom or learn virtually. The guide also helps parents who have children with underlying health conditions determine low, moderate or high-risk when it comes to COVID-19.

​​​​​​​North Texas hospitals are testing drugs for milder cases of COVID-19

UT Southwestern Medical Center opened a dedicated outpatient clinic to test a half-dozen treatments for patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

5 ways UT Southwestern Medical Center is fighting COVID

While most of the world shifted to home-based work to avoid COVID-19, virus researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center stayed on-site, amping up their lab and data work to fight and defeat the virus.

UT Southwestern, Texas Health launch collaborative study to better understand COVID prevalence in DFW

To gain a better picture of the unfolding pandemic in Dallas and Tarrant counties, researchers at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources will conduct what is expected to be one of the nation’s largest studies on community prevalence of COVID-19 by testing tens of thousands of people who represent a cross-section of the North Texas population.

How safe is a classroom? Dallas doctor answers questions for parents

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, a professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center and chief of infectious diseases at Children's Health, provides advice for families trying to decide whether their children will be in a classroom or learning at home when the new school year begins. 

UT Southwestern scientists investigate pneumonia drug as possible COVID-19 treatment

Scientists at UT Southwestern have identified a possible treatment for COVID-19 that may soon be tested on patients in the Dallas area. Atovaquone, a drug that is best known for its use treating pneumonia in HIV patients, prevents the virus that causes COVID-19 from replicating in cells.

UTSW COVID-19 model predicts surge in DFW cases in the coming weeks

UT Southwestern's revised COVID-19 model indicates a 20% spike in virus-related hospitalizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the next two weeks.

Mental, physical health of people with obesity affected during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on people with obesity as they struggle to manage their weight and mental health during shelter-in-place orders, according to research led by UTHealth and UT Southwestern. The researchers believe their work can inform clinicians and other health professionals on effective strategies to minimize the physical and psychosocial health impacts from COVID-19 among adults with obesity.

Experts warned of a second wave of coronavirus cases as reopenings swept Texas in May

In mid-May, experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center projected that new daily cases could surge more than threefold, to 800 per day, by July in Dallas County. Their latest forecast, updated May 29, shows daily case counts falling to just below 200 by July.

How to stay safe as Texas reopens: Dallas-area doctors answer your coronavirus questions

Dr. Mamta Jain, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, who oversees COVID-19 clinical trials, and Erin Carlson, associate clinical professor and director of graduate public health programs at UT Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, discussed coronavirus and what North Texans need to know as the state reopens.

UT Southwestern models show COVID-19 surge in Dallas-Fort Worth by July

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Dallas-Fort Worth will likely more than double by early July even if current social distancing measures and other prevention steps continue, according to a report by UT Southwestern.

Three approved drugs can curb COVID-19 virus replication

Three drugs that are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration or other international agencies can block the production of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in human cells, according to computational and pharmaceutical studies performed by UT Southwestern scientists.

Can science predict the coronavirus? UT Southwestern thinks so.

UT Southwestern is actively responding to the spread of COVID-19, with infectious disease physicians leading efforts to keep patients informed, educated, and safe. UT Southwestern researchers are making publicly available on the institution’s website what they have learned from predictive modeling about the virus and how our behaviors affect its spread. The goal is to help policymakers keep the region ahead of the virus.

Depression, anxiety may be side effects as nation grapples with COVID-19

Millions of Americans are being impacted by the psychological fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic aftermath, and large numbers may experience emotional distress and be at increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. An article co-authored by Carol North, M.D., a UT Southwestern crisis psychiatrist, calls on health care providers to monitor the psychosocial needs of their patients as well as themselves and fellow health care workers during this time.

A recipe for success: Chemists step up to make hand sanitizer

When hand sanitizer fell into short supply as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, two organic chemists at UT Southwestern cooked up a solution. Now their lab-produced sanitizer is helping keep hands germ-free for UT Southwestern caregivers and staff.

UT Southwestern’s research in the fight against COVID-19

UT Southwestern Medical Center is making tremendous progress in treatment, diagnosis, and vaccination development. This highlights some of the breakthroughs. https://swmedical.org/ut-southwesterns-research-in-the-fight-against-covid-19/

UTSW nurses improvise, innovate to cope with coronavirus

Nurses at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified dozens of ways to reduce the risk of exposure and preserve scarce protective resources such as masks and gowns.

UT Southwestern scientists look for COVID-19 answers

Dr. John Schoggins, assistant professor of microbiology at UT Southwestern, is leading a team of researchers and computational biologists to determine if any FDA-approved drugs already on the market could fight coronavirus.

Students jump into action to volunteer during COVID-19 crisis

Hundreds of UT Southwestern students, led by class leaders of the Medical School, launched an unprecedented wave of volunteerism in mid-March as campus educational programs and research activities scaled back amid concerns over COVID-19.

FDA-approved drugs could help fight COVID-19

Drugs that are already approved by the FDA could hold promise in fighting COVID-19, according to computer modeling studies performed by UT Southwestern scientists.

How to deal with your COVID-19 anxiety

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting us at home, exactly where we want to feel safest. Dr. Ahmad Raza, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern’s O’Donnell Brain Institute, joins host Krys Boyd to talk about COVID-19 anxiety and how we can both calm ourselves and care for others.

UT Southwestern researchers help identify human protein that inhibits coronavirus

Researchers at UT Southwestern have helped identify a human protein they say inhibits the coronavirus. The protein, produced naturally by the human immune system, impairs the ability of coronaviruses to initiate infection.

Data scientists ID potential vulnerabilities in the COVID-19 virus

UT Southwestern Medical Center data scientists analyzing genetic sequences of the COVID-19 coronavirus have identified potential vulnerabilities that could help in vaccine development and further study of the infectious disease now spreading worldwide.
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UT Medical Branch at Galveston

New antibody therapies found to potentially fight COVID-19

Researchers at UTHealth and UT Medical Branch have discovered a potential new antibody therapy for COVID-19 -- identifying a combination of two antibodies CoV2-06 and CoV2-14 that may help stop the spread of the virus. “By leveraging the unique antibody drug discovery capabilities at UTHealth and the strong virology expertise at UTMB, we started to generate SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies in February of last year. The lead antibody combination out of our research is now being developed with a biotech partner for the treatment of COVID-19,” stated Zhiqiang An, PhD, professor and Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, and faculty member at MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

COVID Help Desk: Your questions answered on vaccine ingredients, allergies and more

Dr. Megan Berman, a physician and faculty member at the Sealy Institute of Vaccine Sciences at UT Medical Branch, addresses questions about how the virus works and what to expect with the vaccine.

Galveston County, UTMB to open mass COVID-19 vaccination hub

Galveston County officials and UT Medical Branch announced plans Wednesday to collaborate on a mass COVID-19 vaccination hub at Walter Hall Park in League City, which will eventually have the capacity to administer thousands of shots per day. 

COVID-19 vaccines may become annual shots, UTMB researchers say

Even after much of the general population gets COVID-19 vaccines, they will likely need to get annual doses to protect against future mutations of the virus, according to researchers at UT Medical Branch.

‘We know this is real’: New clinics aid virus ‘long-haulers’

Dozens of facilities have cropped up around the U.S. to address the effects of COVID-19 that can stubbornly afflict some people weeks or months after the infection has subsided. At UT Medical Branch’s post-COVID-19 clinic in Clear Lake, patients range in age from 23 to 90. Half were never hospitalized.

Breast milk can be powerful, but can it stop the new coronavirus?  

Researchers at UT Medical Branch are trying to figure out if breast milk has any innate ability to stop the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, or if an infected mother can pass antibodies to her breastfeeding child. Dr. Roberto Garofalo, John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics at UTMB, said his new study, which is funded by a three-year grant from the Gerber Foundation, could provide some answers by asking pregnant women to provide samples of breast milk after they give birth.

What you need to know about the new COVID-19 variant

UT Medical Branch microbiologist Pei-Yong Shi recently published a paper on the variant, which was discovered in the United Kingdom and also appeared in South Africa. He said it’s still unclear if the new variant will interact differently with COVID-19 vaccines, but says no one should panic. Rather, he says it’s an opportunity for researchers like him to learn all they can to get ahead of its spread.

UTMB researchers find Pfizer vaccine effective against new COVID-19 strain

New research from UT Medical Branch suggests that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine can protect against a mutation found in two easier-to-spread variants of the coronavirus that erupted in Britain and South Africa. Pfizer teamed with UTMB researchers  for laboratory tests to see if the mutation affected its vaccine’s ability to do so.

Opinion: The COVID-19 vaccine is safe. Here's why.

Farah Kudrath, a preventive medicine physician and psychiatry resident at UT Medical Branch, and Janek Patel, director of infection control and healthcare epidemiology at UTMB, explain how the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA were able to overcome the barriers that usually slow down vaccine development.

New coronavirus variant found in U.K. What does it mean for the world?

Dr. Vineet Menachery, who studies coronaviruses at UT Medical Branch, explains the potential risks associated with new mutations of the coronavirus.

Vaccine arrives and first doses to be administered to first responders and medical staff

UT Medical Branch received and began administering the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to its “first tier” health care workers—frontline employees who are at elevated risk for occupational exposure to the virus.

UTMB study shows spike mutation in COVID-19

A new study by a multidisciplinary team from UT Medical Branch has shown a dominant mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein enhances viral replication in the upper respiratory airway, which may contribute to the increased transmission of COVID-19. This finding is important in understanding the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 as well as in the development of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies.

Biological markers may let doctors know who gets sicker from COVID-19

Dr. Lawrence Sowers, professor of pharmacology and medicine at UT Medical Branch, and his team have completed a systematic study of how SARS-CoV-2 causes disease and the biological indicators that could identify vulnerable patients faster, allowing health care providers to intervene quicker and more aggressively.

UTMB researchers identify proteins that block immune response to COVID-19

Researchers from UT Medical Branch have discovered SARS-CoV-2 proteins that suppress the body's immune response, thereby enabling infection and transmission of the disease. The recently published findings are paramount to understanding the biology of COVID-19 and to developing new vaccines against the disease. Pei-Yong Shi, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology who led the study at UTMB, stated that the most practical application for this research is for a vaccine.

In Galveston County, hundreds volunteer for COVID-19 vaccine trials

Dr. Richard Rupp, the director of clinical trials and clinical research at UT Medical Branch, said 500 to 1,000 people in Galveston County are participating in trials at the medical branch for two vaccines, one being developed by Moderna and another by Pfizer. In the global Pfizer trial launched in late July, UTMB has enrolled more than 500 of the study’s nearly 44,000 participants at its three sites — Galveston, League City and Clear Lake.

Four scenarios on how we might develop immunity to COVID-19

Vineet Menachery, a coronavirus researcher at UT Medical Branch, describes four possible scenarios for how humans might interact with SARS-2 over time — in other words, what kind of immunity we might expect.

Vaccine 101: What you need to know about possible COVID vaccine

Researchers are hoping to get a COVID-19 vaccine by 2021, and even that would be record time. UT Medical Branch is involved in clinical trials. Dr. Alan Barrett, the director of vaccine sciences at UTMB, says that even though they are doing what they normally do to develop a vaccine, they’re assembling everything together at warp speed to obtain research data.

Fireflies help kindle new tests and treatments for COVID-19

Scientists at UT Medical Branch have employed an unlikely partner in their quest to develop treatments for COVID-19 disease: the common firefly. UTMB virologists are using the luciferase, the enzyme that causes fireflies to glow at twilight, to develop faster and more accurate diagnostic tests for COVID-19 as well as to analyze potential therapies and gain a clearer understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself.

COVID-19 lingers in the air for hours, UTMB researcher says

Scott Weaver, the scientific director of the Galveston National Lab and director of the UT Medical Branch Institute for Human Infections & Immunity, explained a new study that shows how long the virus can stay in the air. Dr. Weaver also provided recommendations on how to stay safe from airborne microparticles that could carry coronavirus.

Super heated air filter can ‘catch and kill’ coronavirus

Implementation of a specialized air filter to “catch and kill” SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, may be one step closer to reality, according to researchers from UT Medical Branch, the University of Houston and Medistar Corporation.

Wearing a mask is a public duty

Dr. Ben Raimer, UTMB president ad interim, explains why it is important to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Raimer notes that masks are not a silver bullet against the illness, but they are a useful and effective tool along with other prevention measures, including social distancing, frequent and thorough hand washing, and self-isolation when ill. (6/26/20)

County, UTMB to offer antibody testing starting Wednesday

UT Medical Branch and Galveston County will offer free coronavirus antibody testing to county residents beginning Wednesday.

Estrogen and testosterone therapies may decrease severity of COVID-19

Researchers from UT Medical Branch explored the effects of estrogen and testosterone and their possible therapeutic effects in treating older patients with COVID-19. The findings are now available in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

UTMB part of NIH-funded study of how COVID-19 pandemic may impact pregnancy outcomes

A team of researchers from UT Medical Branch are active partners in the National Institutes of Health’s newly launched study to learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pregnancy and post-partum care. The study is conducted within UTMB and the other 11 health care sites across the U.S. that encompass the Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network. The network accounts for more than 160,000 deliveries each year, and the large and diverse sample allows researchers to generalize their study findings to the U.S. population.

Finding a cure: Texas research lab confirms drug blocks coronavirus in human cells

UT Medical Branch’s Galveston National Laboratory was one of three labs to confirm a therapeutics company’s drugs were able to neutralize the pandemic coronavirus. “Our lab tested a panel of antibodies against a real SARS-CoV-2 in biocontainment. We were pleased to see very good neutralizing activity for some antibodies. We are working on their testing in vivo, and I hope to see protection soon,” said Dr. Alex Bukreyev at UTMB’s Galveston National Laboratory. 

Galveston County, UTMB to open mass testing site for county residents

UT Medical Branch and Galveston County are teaming up to provide free testing for county residents. Three mass COVID-19 testing sites will open on May 20 in Galveston, League City and Texas City. 

Drug developed by Galveston scientist to be tested for COVID-19 use

Darrell Carney, CEO of an independent biotech firm and principal developer of a drug that will be tested for clinical application to problems related to COVID-19, credits UT Medical Branch’s partnership with the Galveston Economic Development Partnership’s business incubation program.

Researchers believe to have found solution to disinfect face masks for medical professionals

As the coronavirus spread, demand for face masks grew. Professor Miguel Grimaldo, biological containment director at UT Medical Branch, and his team tested a system that works to clean N95 masks used in hospitals by steam heating. 

Moody Foundation gives $2.5 million to UTMB

The Moody Foundation is donating almost $2.5 million to UT Medical Branch for neurosurgery and for simulation education and training for physicians and students in fields related to COVID-19. 

The Sealy & Smith Foundation gives $3.35M to UTMB for COVID-19 research   

The Sealy & Smith Foundation of Galveston has awarded a $3.35 million gift to UT Medical Branch to support research focused on fighting the COVID-19 virus. The gift will enable UTMB’s most noted scientists to work together concurrently to more quickly advance promising vaccines and therapies. 

Team has developed new system for combatting COVID-19 that can be used for other viruses

A multidisciplinary team at UT Medical Branch at Galveston working to combat the COVID-19 virus has a system that will unlock researchers' ability to more quickly develop and evaluate developing vaccines, diagnose infected patients and explore whether or how the virus has evolved. The scientists developed the system by engineering a reverse genetic system, which allows researchers to make the virus in the lab and manipulate it in a petri dish.

In Texas, a coastal city tries to test its way out of coronavirus pandemic

As Texas prepares to lift some stay-at-home restrictions, health and municipal authorities have moved to the more ambitious job of surveillance testing of the general population. Galveston residents are being tested at a rate three times the national average. UT Medical Branch is providing all testing materials and processing for Galveston County. 

Galveston National Laboratory dedicating all research to COVID-19

The Galveston National Laboratory at UT Medical Branch is dedicating all its lab space and researchers to the search for drugs to prevent and treat COVID-19 as well as studying the evolution and changes in the virus that causes it. actively work with the virus in their labs

Inside the frantic—and frustrating—race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas

There may be no other institution in the world throwing as much brainpower at COVID-19 as UT Medical Branch. UTMB’s researchers were among the first in the world to receive live coronavirus samples from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allowing some to actively work with the virus in their labs while others were studying the virus using data.

Galveston hospitals, clinics work to get coronavirus test results faster

UT Medical Branch this weekend began conducting coronavirus tests from which it can get results in 30 minutes. The rapid tests are limited to only those who really need them, such as health care providers, first responders, pregnant women or patients who need an immediate procedure. If physicians know quickly whether a patient is negative for coronavirus, then health care workers don’t have to waste valuable personal protective gear such as gowns and masks when treating the patient, said chief medical officer Dr. Gulshan Sharma.

Coronavirus could finally push telemedicine into the mainstream

UT Medical Branch, which has for decades been practicing telemedicine to provide care to inmates across the state and scientists at the South Pole, was prepared for the recent need to provide medical care virtually.

University of Texas Medical Branch once helped defeat Ebola

UT Medical Branch quickly created an Ebola vaccine but university researchers are now grappling with the nuances of the far more complex novel coronavirus. As the director of UTMB’s infectious disease research programs, Scott Weaver is tasked with helping manage nearly two-dozen projects related to the coronavirus.

Hive mind of makers rises to meet pandemic

The swift spread of the new coronavirus is rallying countless scientists and tinkerers to address the grave shortage of medical equipment. That includes Dr. Chris Zahner, a UT Medical Branch pathologist and former NASA engineer, and Aisen Caro Chacin, an artist and medical device designer, who developed a prototype made of a simple air pump that uses ordinary blood pressure cuffs, car valves sold by auto parts stores and items found in most hospital supply closets.

UTMB developing tool to help create COVID-19 vaccine

UTMB is developing a test that focuses on preventing infections through vaccine development by creating a technology that helps determine how well a developing vaccine protects a person from COVID-19.

UTMB developing new coronavirus tests to help diagnose patients, study virus

A team of experts at UT Medical Branch is working on two different tests: one to help diagnose COVID-19 cases and another to understand better the history and mutations of the virus in order to develop vaccines.
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UT Health Science Center at Houston

Surgeon asked to virtually participate in Inauguration Day

Phuong Nguyen, MD, assistant professor of surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth was asked to virtually participate in an Inauguration Day event by the presidential inauguration committee in the form of a recorded song with Demi Lovato celebrating health care workers for their heroic work during the COVID-19 pandemic. What sparked this personal invitation? A simple, yet clever music video produced and promoted early in the pandemic by Nguyen and other health care workers across the U.S.

New antibody therapies found to potentially fight COVID-19

Researchers at UTHealth and UT Medical Branch have discovered a potential new antibody therapy for COVID-19 -- identifying a combination of two antibodies CoV2-06 and CoV2-14 that may help stop the spread of the virus. “By leveraging the unique antibody drug discovery capabilities at UTHealth and the strong virology expertise at UTMB, we started to generate SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies in February of last year. The lead antibody combination out of our research is now being developed with a biotech partner for the treatment of COVID-19,” stated Zhiqiang An, PhD, professor and Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, and faculty member at MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Taking a swing at COVID-19: Olympic heavyweight champion advocates for vaccinations

George Foreman, the retired two-time heavyweight boxing champion, is teaming up with UTHealth to outline facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. He was vaccinated during a Thursday afternoon event to help encourage others, especially in the Black and Hispanic communities that have been disproportionately affected by the virus, to get the vaccine when available.

Maternal-fetal medicine physician and expectant mom receives COVID-19 vaccine 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and if infected, they might have an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth. That’s why at 30 weeks pregnant, Jacqueline Parchem, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and maternal-fetal medicine specialist with UT Physicians, chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Katelyn Jetelina, PhD, an assistant professor with UTHealth School of Public Health, broke down the science behind the vaccine for pregnant women in a recent article.

Researchers receive DOD funding to expand study of investigational drug to prevent ARDS in COVID-19 patients

Researchers evaluating whether an investigational oral drug, vadadustat, can help prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients were awarded $5.1 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to expand the Phase II clinical trial at UTHealth. “In addition to vaccination, we direly need treatments to prevent ARDS, one of the deadliest complications of severe COVID-19. If we can arrest coronavirus infection at an earlier stage before the onset of lung complications that cause mortality, COVID-19 outcomes would be so much better,” commented Holger Eltzschig, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Anesthesiology with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. 

Everything you need to know about the more contagious COVID-19 variant found in Texas

Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at UTHealth School of Public Health, explains the COVID-19 variant and its potential impact.

Texas officials join UT System, UTHealth to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations

As COVID-19 vaccines become available to those on the front lines of the pandemic response and the general public, the UT System and UTHealth are partnering with state and local officials to strongly encourage vaccination. At a December 30 press conference, UT System and UTHealth leaders, along with the elected officials, provided factual information about the COVID-19 vaccines, including vaccine safety, who is eligible to receive the two-dose vaccine, and why everyone who is eligible (especially those in higher risk categories) should choose to be vaccinated.

One step closer: UTHealth vaccinating front-line employees with Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

UTHealth received Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and is in the process of inoculating its front-line workers. UTHealth will receive subsequent allocations from state and federal agencies until all employees, students, and trainees who have chosen to receive the vaccine have been given the opportunity to do so.

As a year like no other draws to a close, the power of gratitude can bring healing

Doctors and researchers with UTHealth who have been working tirelessly on the COVID-19 front lines shared their pockets of gratitude in the midst of a challenging year. A mental health expert with UTHealth says reminiscing on the moments that brought joy in this last year can help with both mental and physical wellbeing, as research has shown that expressing gratitude can lead to increased activity within the parts of the brain that facilitate decision-making, reward-anticipation, empathy, and emotion.

Maximizing safety during the holidays if you can’t achieve the NBA-style social bubble

Some families have chosen to create a COVID-19 social bubble to celebrate the holidays this year, after the NBA leveraged the technique during its most recent season. But creating a bubble requires two weeks of diligent quarantine, testing, and temperature checks for anyone planning to be included. UTHealth experts say the best way to guarantee safety is to celebrate the holidays virtually with anyone who lives outside of your home. If you do plan to gather, Michael Chang, MD, infectious disease pediatrician with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and UT Physicians, offers advice on how to maximize safety.

Surgery on rare side effect of COVID-19 gives patient ability to eat, smile again

After a Florida man lay on his stomach for 12 hours a day for three weeks – necessary to heal ailing lungs due to COVID-19 – a new alarming complication awaited him and his family. The patient’s tongue was severely swollen – to the point where he was unable to speak or eat. James Melville, DDS, an associate professor and oral surgeon at UTHealth School of Dentistry, was able to perform surgery to repair his massive macroglossia, a rare complication from COVID intubation infection.

Study says binge drinkers are consuming even more alcohol in lockdown

Researchers from UTHealth's School of Public Health reported that one in three Americans said they had consumed alcohol at harmful "binge drinking" levels during the coronavirus pandemic. The findings also showed that binge drinkers consumed an extra 19 percent for every week in lockdown, compared to what they drank prior to the pandemic.

Preparing for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine

UTHealth infection disease experts explain the authorization, approval and distribution process for the COVID-19 vaccine.

You ask, we answer: How protected are you after one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Dr. Luis Ostrosky, a professor of infectious diseases at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, answers questions regarding the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine, including the number of doses to achieve the optimal level of protection, having pre-existing allergies, and vaccine temperature needed to safely inject.

Is your holiday bubble COVID-19 proof?

Experts at UTHealth caution that it requires unwavering commitment to a two-week period of testing, temperature checks, and quarantine from all parties involved to create a “family bubble” for the holidays. They provide steps to take to have the highest chances of accomplishing a coronavirus-free get-together.

Bringing harmony to chaos: UTHealth trauma surgeon repairs lives

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the deadliest complication of COVID-19, a life-threatening injury that allows fluid to leak into the lungs, causing extreme breathing difficulties that often require treatment with a ventilator. Laura Moore, MD, trauma surgeon with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, is leading a clinical trial on a stem cell therapy for patients with severely injured lungs that may benefit those suffering through the most devastating consequence of COVID-19.

I gathered with people for Thanksgiving, so when should I get tested for COVID-19?

Getting a COVID-19 test immediately after Thanksgiving may not give you an accurate result, according to Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at UTHealth School of Public Health. Dr. Troisi explains the COVID-19 incubation period, timing for the different types of tests and her recommendations for quarantine periods before the next holiday gathering.

Is holiday travel worth the risk? Experts say with rising community spread, it isn’t.

While staying home is the option that guarantees the most safety – and is what the CDC and most public health officials are recommending – if you travel or entertain visitors, infectious disease experts with UTHealth provide some advice to help keep you safe.

Neurologists test novel compound for lung and brain injury in severe COVID-19 patients

Neurologists are researching whether a novel immunomodulatory treatment, OP-101, can reduce lung and brain injury in hospitalized COVID-19 patients through a clinical trial at UTHealth. OP-101 is an investigational compound designed to selectively attack the immune cells responsible for hyperinflammation, lung injury, and multi-organ failure caused by infections.

Researchers seeking volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine study

A Phase III clinical trial to assess if a potential vaccine is effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 is now open for enrollment by UTHealth in collaboration with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. Led by Roberto C. Arduino, MD, professor of infectious disease with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, this trial seeks to enroll 30,000 individuals across the nation. The Houston research site is the UTHealth Clinical Research Unit at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. The local trial, which started in late October, is looking to enroll 200 people considered a high-risk of contracting COVID-19, in particular older patients, and minorities, since they’re disproportionately affected by COVID.

What to consider when planning holiday travel

New data shows some types of transportation do not carry the risk that they did at the beginning of the pandemic. Michael Chang, infectious disease pediatrician with UTHealth, explains what to consider before making holiday travel plans.

Providing a safe environment for psychiatric patients during pandemic

When COVID-19 began, there was no existing published guideline on how to manage a highly infectious virus in a freestanding psychiatric hospital. UTHealth clinicians and staff have since created a strategy for the UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center to provide the best psychiatric care while maintaining a safe environment during the pandemic. Their strategy for the largest provider of inpatient psychiatric care in the Greater Houston area was published in the October issue of Psychiatry Research.

Woman recovering from COVID-19 shares experience as monoclonal antibody clinical trial participant

Roberto C. Arduino, MD, professor of infectious disease with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, is leading a research team that is studying the effectiveness of multiple COVID-19 outpatient treatments in preventing mild cases from advancing to severe illness. An adaptive clinical trial is now enrolling patients at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, where researchers will observe patient outcomes and any side effects that occur during the trial.

Public health experts at DSHS and UTHealth collaborate on nation’s largest COVID-19 serological testing assessment

To help public health professionals and scientists better understand the spread of COVID-19 in Texas and the immune response it causes in individuals, researchers at UTHealth are partnering with the Texas Department of State Health Services to launch the Texas Coronavirus Antibody Response Survey (Texas CARES). Texas CARES will determine the proportion of people throughout Texas who have COVID-19 antibodies, indicating a past infection and presumably some degree of immune protection.

UTHealth partners with local schools to provide timely mental health care virtually to children

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to induce stress for many, a team of multidisciplinary mental health specialists with UTHealth is leveraging telemedicine to connect students experiencing emotional or behavioral crisis with sustainable care. Through the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) program, UTHealth has partnered with seven school districts in the Greater Houston area to prevent unnecessary psychiatric hospitalizations in youth and connect them with community support for therapy, psychiatry, and positive development. The program is part of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, which was created by the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019, and seeks to establish and improve access to care for children throughout the state. 

Pregnant Hispanic patients more likely to contract COVID-19 than other racial-ethnic groups 

Pregnant Hispanic patients were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than other racial/ethnic groups and most were asymptomatic, according to research by UTHealth. The clinical study was the largest and most diverse universally tested obstetric cohort to date, and the first for COVID-19 pregnancy data from the Southern part of the U.S.

Is it worth the risk? A guide to navigating holiday travel during the pandemic

The holiday season is quickly approaching and many are eager to spend long-awaited time with loved ones to end a challenging year. But the critical question underlying travel during the COVID-19 pandemic lingers: Is it safe? Infectious disease experts with UTHealth provide some advice to help guide your decisions.

Do face shields really help stop coronavirus?

Michael Chang, MD, assistant professor of infectious diseases at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, explains the effectiveness of face shields for preventing COVID-19 infection spread. For maximum safety, Dr. Chang recommends using shields for eye protection, coupled with face masks that cover the nose and mouth.

Don’t delay getting a mammogram due to the pandemic

“It’s now clear the virus will be in our communities longer, and as such, we don’t want the public to be putting off health maintenance and important screenings like mammography,” said Pamela Berens, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. Dr. Berens explains why it is important to continue regular screenings and the precautions that UT Physicians clinics are taking to ensure patient safety.

How to trick-or-treat safely during a pandemic

Susan Wootton, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist with UT Physicians and associate professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, offers tips to help keep families safe this Halloween. The newly adopted rituals – wearing a mask, social distancing, and proper handwashing hygiene – should be integrated into trick-or-treating and other fall activities this year.

UT Health studying Regeneron’s antibody treatment to help stop spread of COVID-19

Researchers at UTHealth are investigating if Regeneron’s antibody treatment -- which is currently used for tetanus, rabies, hepatitis B, and some herpes exposures -- could prevent COVID-19 in people who have had sustained exposure to someone with the virus. "If this trial demonstrates that this treatment is effective, it could be used in various settings where exposure risk is heightened, such as health care, airlines, meatpacking factories, nursing homes, and among first responders," said Roberto C. Arduino, MD, the study's lead investigator at UTHealth.

$5 million NIH grant awarded to reduce COVID-19-related disparities in vulnerable populations

To help reduce COVID-19-related health disparities in vulnerable populations in Texas, a multi-institutional team of researchers led by UTHealth will identify disease hotspots and testing deserts in three racially diverse areas, and then develop and evaluate intervention strategies to increase COVID-19 testing. The study is funded by a $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to UTHealth through the Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

First Houston post-coronavirus clinic part of new UTHealth COVID-19 Center of Excellence

UTHealth has established the UTHealth COVID-19 Center of Excellence. The center includes the first post-COVID-19 clinic in Houston at UT Physicians, the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, which is dedicated to helping adults and children who are still suffering the aftermath of one of the deadliest viruses in global history.

Team assessing if dual-antibody injection prevents COVID-19 illness 

combination antibody treatment for preventing COVID-19 illness in individuals who have had sustained exposure to someone with the virus is being studied by researchers at UTHealth. Led by Roberto C. Arduino, MD, professor of infectious disease with McGovern Medical School, the clinical trial is enrolling patients at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.

“Not every illness right now is COVID-19” – A common virus this time of year in babies and toddlers 

Experts with UT Physicians and the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth explain common viruses in children during the fall and winter seasons, providing advice on what do to if your child gets sick in the midst of the pandemic. 

Preparing for asthma attacks during a pandemic

Pushan Jani, MD, MSc, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, provides tips on how to avoid asthma attacks and possible hospitalization during a pandemic.

Double lung transplant, one of the nation’s first, saves Houston-area COVID patient  

Soma Jyothula and Manish Patel, professors at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, performed a double lung transplant, one of the first in the United States for the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Double lung transplant, one of the nation’s first, saves Houston-area COVID patient

Soma Jyothula and Manish Patel, professors at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, performed a double lung transplant, one of the first in the United States for the disease caused by the coronavirus.

UTHealth joins NIH trial to test antibodies and other experimental outpatient treatments for mild COVID-19 pneumonia

A study on the effectiveness of multiple treatments, including laboratory-made antibodies, in preventing mild COVID-19 from advancing to severe illness in the outpatient setting is underway by researchers at UTHealth. The clinical trial is enrolling patients at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.

Could the time of day impact the effectiveness of COVID-19 treatment?

Experts have warned against the use of anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, to treat COVID-19 symptoms. In a review report, researchers at UTHealth suggest that when anti-inflammatory medications are administered could impact the body’s response to the drug without interfering with the immune system’s fight against the virus. Harry Karmouty-Quintana, PhD, and Seung-Hee Yoo, PhD, both assistant professors of biochemistry and molecular biology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, looked into how taking the circadian rhythm into account can help target the optimal time the body can use a particular medication.

Separation anxiety and back to school: Facilitating a smooth return during COVID-19

This year, in addition to the normal routine of navigating school supplies, books, and course schedules, parents also have to consider something new: the mental health effects of COVID-19. Melissa Goldberg, PsyD, a clinical assistant professor in the Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, offers tips on how to ease separation anxiety during the pandemic.

Team is first in Texas to join NIH-sponsored study investigating efficacy of convalescent plasma for COVID-19

Using a multimillion-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health, physician-scientists at UTHealth will investigate whether convalescent plasma infusions can prevent the progression of COVID-19 in one of the first randomized clinical trials in the country.

Grant launches research into COVID-19 symptoms among cancer patients

A new research study investigating symptoms of COVID-19 experienced in patients with and without cancer is being launched by an interprofessional team of researchers and clinicians at UTHealth and UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Leading the study is Meagan Whisenant, PhD, APRN, assistant professor at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, in collaboration with Loretta A. Williams, PhD, APRN, an associate professor in the Department of Symptom Research at MD Anderson.

UT Physicians offers corporate COVID-19 testing

While many offices continue to enforce work-from-home protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many more that are open for business and concerned about keeping their workforces safe and healthy. UT Physicians developed a corporate COVID-19 testing program to help businesses and organizations provide a safe and healthy workplace. As a part of UTHealth, UT Physicians care team members gather patient information, collect samples, test them, and report results in two to three days to help businesses keep operations going safely.

Managing your child’s diabetes during COVID-19

Michael Yafi, MD, associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, shares insight into the impact COVID-19 has on children with diabetes, how uncontrolled diabetes can increase health risks, and offered tips on how to manage diabetes.

Combating child weight gain during COVID-19

With delayed school openings and possible continued virtual learning for all during the pandemic, weight gain could affect even the youngest of Americans and cause lingering negative health issues for a generation of youth. Deborah Horn, DO, MPH, medical director of the Center for Obesity Medicine and Metabolic Performance at UTHealth, offers at-home diet and exercise tips for children to help minimize weight gain.

Grant funds COVID-19 research with Hispanic families

Daphne Hernandez, PhD, associate professor at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, has received a $25,000 Dean’s Research Award to further study how Hispanic immigrant families get information about COVID-19, their beliefs about the disease, how socio-economic factors are affecting their health behaviors, and the overall impact of COVID-19 and other stressors on mental health.

Remdesivir effectiveness among 35 COVID-related studies underway at Harris Health hospitals

The effectiveness of remdesivir in the treatment of coronavirus is among 35 COVID-related research projects that are being conducted at Harris Health System hospitals in conjunction with researchers at UTHealth’s McGovern Medical School and the Baylor College of Medicine.

UT Physicians launches Spanish COVID-19 information center

UT Physicians has published a Spanish COVID-19 information center website. A replica of its English counterpart, the center helps individuals stay up to date on the virus in the Spanish language.

Review report outlines rehabilitation strategies for COVID-19 patients

Early rehabilitation of COVID-19 survivors is important to reduce long-term complications, according to researchers at UTHealth. In a review reportexperts explored different interventions and provided a guide on how critically ill patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can rehabilitate and get back to their normal lives.

Public health experts launch real-time COVID-19 data dashboard with prediction modeling for Texas

UTHealth recently launched a new COVID-19 tracking tool that can tell Texans what is happening in real time in their own communities and anticipate how one person can infect dozens more. TexasPandemic.org, developed by public health researchers in collaboration with biostatisticians and data scientists, is a free tool available to the community to inform public health decision-making across the state.

COVID-19: What school may look like during the pandemic

UTHealth provides recommendations that will help give both parents and their children some idea of what to expect for the next school year.

Researchers study whether vadadustat, an investigational therapy, could mitigate acute lung injury in COVID-19 patients

Physicians are studying whether vadadustat, an investigational therapy, could protect the lungs of COVID-19 patients by triggering the body’s protective response to low oxygen levels in a randomized Phase II clinical trial at UTHealth.

UTHealth joins study of blood pressure medication’s effect on improving COVID-19 outcomes

An interventional therapy by physicians at UTHealth, aimed at improving survival chances and reducing the need for critical care treatment due to COVID-19, is underway at Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center and Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. The clinical trial is investigating the effectiveness of the drug ramipril, an ACE inhibitor, at reducing the severity of COVID-19.

Simple blood test can predict severity of COVID-19 for some patients

An early prognosis factor from a simple blood draw could be a key to determining who will suffer greater effects from COVID-19. Researchers at UTHealth made the discovery that could help clinicians better prepare for these patients. Results of the findings were published in the International Journal of Laboratory Hematology.

Team is first in Texas to investigate convalescent plasma for prevention of COVID-19 onset and progression

A research team at UTHealth is the first in Texas to investigate whether plasma from COVID-19 survivors can be used in outpatient settings to prevent the onset and progression of the virus in two new clinical trials.

Lung physiology and immune function in children could be protecting them from severe COVID-19

Differences in lung physiology and immune function in children could be why they are more often spared from severe illness associated with COVID-19 than adults, according to a recent paper by pediatric and adult physicians at UTHealth and Baylor College of Medicine, who teamed up to investigate the disparity.

McGovern Medical School students step up to relieve burdens for frontline physicians

McGovern Medical School students at UTHealth created the Covert Undercover Virus Response Team to help frontline attending physicians and residents. The student volunteers have collected personal protective equipment for them and tutored their children as school went virtual during COVID-19.

UTHealth joins trial of arthritis drug’s effect on COVID-19-induced cytokine storm

A drug is being studied for its effectiveness in treating a type of severe immune overreaction seen in patients with COVID-19-induced pneumonia by researchers at UTHealth. The clinical trial is enrolling patients at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.

Managing anxiety in the face of a pandemic

Anjail Z. Sharrief, MD, associate professor of neurology at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, provides tips about how neurologic patients can manage anxiety during the pandemic.

Flattening Houston’s curve (again) will take weeks, disease scientist says

Catherine Troisi, an epidemiologist at UTHealth, discusses the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Houston area and offers guidance on how individuals can keep themselves safe and help limit the spread of the virus.

Planes, trains and automobiles: reducing the risks of traveling this summer

Experts at UT Physicians and UTHealth provide tips on how to reduce the risks of traveling during the pandemic and make health-conscious decisions.

Mental, physical health of people with obesity affected during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on people with obesity as they struggle to manage their weight and mental health during shelter-in-place orders, according to research led by UTHealth and UT Southwestern. The researchers believe their work can inform clinicians and other health professionals on effective strategies to minimize the physical and psychosocial health impacts from COVID-19 among adults with obesity.

Watch out for signs of mental illness in teens as a result of current events

The coronavirus pandemic, coupled with recent headlines of injustice, riots, racial tension and protests, has surfaced feelings of anxiety and depression in adults, but young people are no doubt feeling the impact as well. Two UTHealth pediatric mental health experts provide tips to spot signs in teen behavior that may indicate an adolescent has an issue that needs to be addressed.

Autopsy research aims to advance COVID-19 knowledge

Findings in a study led by L. Maximilian Buja, MD, of UTHealth focused on reviewing autopsy reports of COVID-19 patients to help better improve care and give current patients a better chance at surviving the virus. Autopsy reports on COVID-19 patients are helping researchers piece together a picture of a virus that damages endothelial cells, causing a clotting disorder that can lead to deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli.

Ombudsmen advocate for long-term care residents at a distance during COVID-19

The Harris County Long-term Care Ombudsman Program at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth provides a staff ombudsman and volunteer advocates for every nursing home and licensed assisted living facility in Harris County. During the pandemic, the team of seven staff ombudsmen within the school’s Center for Nursing Research, along with 77 volunteers, have continued to support and advocate for residents of skilled nursing homes and assisted living centers, relying on phone calls and videoconferencing in place of personal visits.

Can COVID-19 damage your heart? Here’s what we know

A new study by Dr. Mohammad Madjid, MS, assistant professor of cardiology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, finds COVID-19 can cause heart injury, even in people without underlying heart issues.

Tracking COVID-19: New research app will help trace the spread of the virus

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the U.S., a new free research app is hoping to slow the outbreak of the disease by tracking symptoms of millions across the country. To bring the app home to Texans, researchers at UTHealth have joined the national research project led by Harvard University.

Keeping your immune system well-balanced

After several weeks of closure due to COVID-19, businesses are slowly starting to open back up, bringing people out of their homes and in contact with one another. Although social distancing measures are still in place, concerns over contracting the virus remain. Kanika Monga, MD, rheumatology fellow with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and UT Physicians, offers tips to help minimize the risk of illness by balancing the immune system.

Texas public health experts host webinar series on how to reopen businesses safely

"Reopen Texas: Return to Work the Right Way" is a webinar series hosted by the UTHealth School of Public Health and the Houston Area Safety Council aimed at providing health and safety best practices for Texas business owners as they reopen after COVID-19 closures.

Why having a national health information technology infrastructure could help save lives

Real-time data about health and health care during the COVID-19 pandemic can help contain the virus but has been difficult to obtain. A new paper published in JAMA by researchers at UTHealth and Baylor College of Medicine explains why the U.S. health system should consider implementing a real-time, technology-driven, surveillance and reporting infrastructure to help respond effectively to public health emergencies and aid in planning and containment efforts. 

How to go the gym safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

Catherine Troisi, PhD, epidemiologist with UTHealth’s School of Public Health, offers precautions to take to minimize your risk of contracting the virus while at the gym. 

Sewing hope: Dental hygiene student Kristen Valenzuela has a passion for helping the community

Kristen Valenzuela, a second-year dental hygiene student at the UTHealth School of Dentistry, was already volunteering at the food distribution center at the MD Anderson Family YMCA, distributing food daily to up to 250 families impacted by COVID-19. Itching to find more avenues to help, the Albert Schweitzer Fellow started making masks for health care workers and others on the frontlines. With help from her mother, she has now made more than 220 masks.

With summer camp plans in limbo, experts offer tips to recreate the learning and fun at home

Pediatric experts at UTHealth have advice for parents wanting to keep their children engaged academically as schools remain closed until the fall semester due to COVID-19, as well as those hoping to recreate the learning and fun at home.

The search for IgG: What you need to know about antibody testing

As officials consider how to reopen the country safely, researchers say antibody testing will play an important role in navigating future decisions. UTHealth public health experts explain what is known so far about antibody testing, also referred to as serology, and what we can expect to see in the future. (4/28/20)

Helpline aims to assist Texas first responders battling mental health disorders

First responders in Texas can now call a confidential phone number set up through the HEROES Program at UTHealth to seek treatment for substance use and mental health disorders. 

Experts at UTHealth successfully treat severe case of COVID-19 in 3-week-old infant

In one of the first reported cases of its kind, a 3-week-old infant in critical condition recovered from COVID-19 due to rapid recognition and treatment by physicians from McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. As more data has been released on COVID-19, the original belief that pediatric patients are spared from the worst of the disease has been disproven.

UTHealth doctor, surgeon band make song asking people to ‘stay at home, help the doctor’

Dr. Phuong Nguyen, a UTHealth pediatric plastic surgeon, is the lead singer of his virtual band, “Help the Doctor," that is comprised of other surgeons from around the country. Nguyen created a song called “Stay Home" as a public service announcement and it’s now going viral on social media. All of the stars of the music video are working to combat the coronavirus.

New dashboard takes an in-depth look into local, national, and global COVID-19 cases

A dashboard developed by experts at UTHealth’s School of Biomedical Informatics takes a new look into local, national, and global cases of COVID-19 to offer better insights from currently available data. The dashboard provides analyzed data of the amount of confirmed cases, mortality rates, and testing analysis. 

COVID-19 survivor donates plasma to help others recover from the virus

A COVID-19 survivor donated plasma through an experimental therapy program being investigated by physicians at UTHealth for use at Memorial Hermann in the hope that the antibody-rich plasma could save a life. Researchers believe transfusing plasma from someone who has survived the virus to someone who is critically ill could give the patient the boost they need to overcome the illness. 

How to practice good eye-hygiene in the coronavirus era

Dr. Amir Mohsenin, an assistant professor for ophthalmology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, offers tips for eye protection during the coronavirus pandemic.

UTHealth is joining forces with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and NIST on COVID-19 search engine effort

UTHealth has teamed up with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop search engines that will help streamline COVID-19 research for health care experts fighting the virus. 

Public health experts explain what our new normal will look like

As local, state, and national government leaders release guidelines on reopening businesses and returning to a “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic, public health and infectious disease experts at UTHealth say a gradual, cautious return would be the most effective.

First COVID-19 patient in Texas enrolled in UTHealth stem cell therapy study at Memorial Hermann

The first COVID-19 patient in Texas has been enrolled in a stem cell therapy clinical trial designed to combat acute respiratory distress syndrome, according to UTHealth.

How best to combat COVID-19 at home

James Langabeer II, PhD, FAHA, a professor of emergency medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, provides some guidance on how families should prepare in case someone in their household comes down with COVID-19. 

Expert advice on how parents of children with special needs can help them during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ricardo Mosquera, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, offers advice to parents of children with disabilities on how to manage the unique challenges they face as a result of extended school closures. 

UTHealth team designs face shields for those on front lines of COVID-19 response

With cake collar material, a three-hole punch, a scrapbooking paper trimmer, and the drive to protect those on the front lines of health care, a team from UTHealth has designed a face shield that can be used by thousands of providers in the Texas Medical Center. 

Preventing at-home injuries and creating a routine during COVID-19

Sandra McKay, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, explains why it is crucial for parents or caregivers to create a new routine for children and take proper steps to prevent an injury during the midst of a global pandemic.

Experts weigh in on how to limit quarantine weight gain

The fear of gaining the “COVID-15” is real. Dr. Deborah Horn, weight management specialist with UTHealth’s McGovern Medical School, recommends storing food out of sight to help prevent stress eating. Dr. Michael Weaver, addiction specialist with McGovern Medical School and UT Physicians, says being thoughtful and intentional can be particularly helpful during quarantine.

Houston-area hospitals issue urgent call for plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus

Doctors at UTHealth are joining Houston Methodist and Baylor College of Medicine in developing convalescent plasma therapy for coronavirus patients. An additional experimental therapy to help patients recover from COVID-19 by transfusing plasma from virus survivors into critically ill patients is being investigated by physicians at UTHealth for use at Memorial Hermann. They are asking for anyone in the Greater Houston area who has recovered from COVID-19 and been symptom-free for at least two weeks to fill out this form to determine if they qualify to donate plasma and potentially save lives.

UTHealth maps out where high levels of care likely needed for COVID-19 in large Texas cities

Researchers at the UTHealth School of Public Health have mapped out areas of the big Texas cities where residents will most likely need high levels of care for COVID-19, such as hospitalization or ICU care.

UT Physicians COVID-19 testing

UT Physicians is now conducting COVID-19 testing at two drive-thru locations with additional testing sites planned.

How to encourage healthy eating for the body and mind during stay-at-home orders

Wesley McWhorter, MS, RD, a chef and dietitian with the UTHealth School of Public Health, provides tips to provide healthy, immunity-boosting food for families in a practical way.

Sick babies and teens in ICU: Houston doctor gives inside look at COVID-19 fight

Dr. Bela Patel, the vice dean of healthcare quality at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and executive director of critical care for Memorial Hermann, provides an inside look at what it’s like to be a doctor on the front lines fighting the coronavirus. Right now, she said Memorial Hermann is treating 191 patients with coronavirus across all of their hospitals in Greater Houston. Most of the cases she’s seeing are community spread, a grim reminder of why this doctor says social distancing is so important.

A guide to using nonmedical masks

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending everyone voluntarily wear fabric or cloth coverings while in public to prevent spread of COVID-19. UTHealth provides helpful guidelines on the proper use of nonmedical masks.

Medical experts answer common questions about COVID-19

As new data on COVID-19 continues to roll out on a daily basis, questions are asked about who’s at risk, how it’s being transmitted, and what additional precautions people need to take. Experts at UTHealth help break it down.

How to stay safe from COVID-19 while running essential errands

Two UTHealth infectious disease experts – Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, professor of infectious diseases, and Michael L. Chang, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics/infectious diseases at McGovern Medical School – have basic guidelines on how to complete essential tasks and errands while protecting yourself and others.

Certain health conditions up risks for severe COVID-19

UTHealth researchers warn that young adults need to be aware they can spread the illness to their more vulnerable parents, grandparents and other loved ones and high-risk people need to take social distancing seriously to avoid contracting the coronavirus.

Cardiac injury among hospitalized COVID-19 patients tied to higher risk of death in new study

Mohammad Madjid, a cardiologist and assistant professor at McGovern Medical School was first author of a review paper that describes how Covid-19 is associated with a "high inflammatory burden" that can induce cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeat, and inflammation of blood vessels and heart muscle.

Strict Houston COVID-19 regulations could see the end of the pandemic by mid-May, UTHealth study suggests

Researchers at UTHealth used artificial intelligence to create a model based on cases in China and Italy, and applied the data to 150 countries around the world. The modeling was used first at the state level and then the major metropolitan areas in Texas, including Houston.

Facts versus fiction – breaking down COVID-19 myths

Here’s how to self-quarantine if you’re at risk for COVID-19

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UT Health Science Center at San Antonio

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial opens at UT Health San Antonio, University Health

San Antonians will have the opportunity to participate in the fifth international COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial beginning in January through UT Health San Antonio and its clinical partner, University Health. In this Phase 3 randomized control trial (which globally seeks 30,000 volunteers), study sponsor Novavax seeks to enroll approximately 500 local participants. Dr. Barbara Taylor, the principal investigator for the local study site, answers questions about the importance of the program and how it will be conducted.

New England Journal of Medicine publishes COVID-19 treatment trial results

clinical trial involving COVID-19 patients hospitalized at 100 sites globally, including UT Health San Antonio and University Health, found that a combination of the drugs baricitinib and remdesivir reduced time to recovery, according to results published Dec. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Six researchers from UT Health San Antonio and University Health are coauthors of the publication. 

Latinos and other underserved San Antonio groups most impacted by pandemic, but reluctant to take vaccine

UT Health San Antonio’s Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) Center and the South Central Area Health Education Center are engaged in campaigns intended to support informed decision-making by first trying to understand community perspectives. Amelie Ramirez, director and founder of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, said public health messages will need to be consistent to counter misconceptions about the vaccine’s safety. 

Mil Gracias for not smoking indoors amid COVID-19!

The Mil Gracias campaign, led by a team of experts at UT Health San Antonio, invites people to share gratitude for smokers who respect others’ air and features English and Spanish flyers with key messages to help people reduce their risk for smoking-related diseases and COVID-19. By choosing to not puff away indoors, smokers deserve a thank-you for protecting their family, friends and neighbors from secondhand smoke, especially during the COVID-19 respiratory pandemic. 

COVID-19 attacks on brain health 

The latest journal article by Dr. Sudha Seshadri from UT Health San Antonio dives into how COVID-19 impact long-term brain health. The article specifically looks at the brain health of older adults.

‘Hope in a vial’: COVID-19 vaccinations begin at UT Health San Antonio

UT Health San Antonio was one of only four sites in Texas to receive the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to frontline health care workers. Health care workers at UT Health San Antonio received their first dose in December and the second dose in January, with the goal of completing the first round of vaccinations by mid-January 2021. 

Large-scale global study to investigate links between COVID-19 and cognitive decline

Gabriel A. de Erausquin, an investigator at the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Health San Antonio, will lead a large international study to investigate the correlation between the coronavirus and cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia in later life.

Pregnant, immunocompromised or have allergies? Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines

Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease specialist at UT Health San Antonio, addresses questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Allergy symptoms to soar on Christmas Eve, or could it be COVID-19?

Claudia Miller, MD, MS, allergist-immunologist and professor emeritus in the UT Health San Antonio Department of Family and Community Medicine, explains how difficult it can be to differentiate between cedar fever, allergies, the common cold and COVID-19, stressing the importance of staying home when possible and continuing to social distance.

Be merry and masked during winter holidays

Although the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine is now here, cases and hospitalizations continue to soar and holiday travel and gatherings are cause for concern for many. UT Health San Antonio provides recommendations for safely celebrating the winter holidays in accordance with the CDC’s recent guidelines.

'Perfect storm' of COVID-19, allergens, flu launch winter assault on people with breathing problems

Environmental health experts at UT Health San Antonio say those with compromised respiratory systems may enter a “perfect storm” in the months ahead with the convergence of COVID-19, the flu, and cedar fever season.

A tribute to heroic service

UT Health San Antonio pays tribute to its frontline staff for their heroic service and contributions made in the battle against COVID-19.

San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics fuels COVID-19 research

Fueling transformative research through collaboration, the San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics (SAPPT) has announced the funding of three more collaborative COVID-19 research efforts in San Antonio that are led by researchers from UT Health San Antonio and UT San Antonio. SAPPT awarded more than $600,000 to fund these projects, in addition to funding a SARS CoV-2 vaccine project that was announced in April. SAPPT was created by four leading San Antonio research organizations: UT San Antonio, UT Health San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute and Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

Ask a doctor: Will a COVID-19 vaccine that’s been in cold storage be painful?

UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine delivery, including referral requirements, second doses and pain experienced.

COVID-19 vaccine: fact vs. fiction

Dr. Jason Bowling, lead epidemiologist for University Health System and UT Health San Antonio, addresses questions and misconceptions about vaccine safety.

Despite COVID-19 vaccine, you will still need to wear mask, San Antonio doctor warns

Dr. Fred Campbell with UT Health San Antonio said he worries people will see the vaccine arrive and neglect safety protocols like wearing masks and social distancing. He notes it will be at least six months before it can be ensured that transmission of this virus is curtailed.

9 takeaways from KSAT’s COVID-19 vaccine town hall with Metro Health doctors

Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease doctor with UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, answers questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and its distribution.

Ask a doctor: How promising are the COVID-19 vaccines, and how many people need to get one?

UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers questions about the effectiveness and promise of coronavirus vaccines.

Showing gratitude to essential employees

To show appreciation to campus departments and front-line workers who have continuously served the UT Health San Antonio community throughout the pandemic, members of the Student Government Association, Office of Student Life and the Title IX Office partnered to provide treats, coffee and gratitude. More than 200 staff members from the departments of Facilities Management, UT Police, food services and campus screeners were “treated” for their service to the campus community during the pandemic.

Psychologist recommends sending Christmas cards this year to help amid pandemic

A psychologist with UT Health San Antonio says just going back to the basics can help us all stay connected during this time. Dr. Jason Schillerstrom recommends sending pictures and Christmas cards to loved ones, as well as encouraging them to use technology like Skype, Zoom and FaceTime.

The task of testing: Pathology lab team goes ‘above and beyond’ to support community

Being both on the frontlines and behind the scenes, the work done in the UT Health San Antonio pathology labs has been and continues to be crucial in the response to COVID-19 in the community. These technologists have processed 20,145 samples to date, directly handling test samples as they meticulously accession vials and analyze the data, and often working late hours and on weekends.  

5 safety tips for those celebrating Thanksgiving in person

Dr. Robert Leverence, chief medical officer at UT Health San Antonio, said health care professionals are extremely concerned with the rising number of COVID-19 cases and offered five ways to celebrate more safely if gathering in-person with family this Thanksgiving.

San Antonio’s first double lung transplant for COVID-19 performed at University Hospital

Dr. Edward Sako, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery at UT Health San Antonio and surgical director of University Hospital’s lung transplant program, and Dr. Deborah Levine, a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine and medical director of University’s lung transplant program, discuss the double lung transplant performed recently on a patient who suffered permanent lung damage from COVID-19.

UT Health San Antonio offers advice for Thanksgiving

As we enter the holiday season, Dr. Tess Barton of UT Health San Antonio’s Pediatric Infectious Disease department offers guidelines for how to properly and safely celebrate. 

UT Health San Antonio answers the call for COVID backup

UT Health San Antonio faculty members are serving on interprofessional teams throughout the state through the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force, part of the Texas Disaster Medical System. The deployments are coordinated statewide by the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council. Medical teams currently are deploying to COVID-19 hotspots in El Paso, Eagle Pass and the Texas Panhandle.

Give thanks safely

Anthony Hartzler, MD, associate professor and infectious disease specialist with UT Health Physicians, provided recommendations to stay safe and mitigate risk during the upcoming holidays. He stressed the importance of continuing to practice mask-wearing, hand hygiene and maintaining physical distance throughout any gathering.

UT Health San Antonio infectious disease experts share COVID knowledge through podcasts

UT Health San Antonio infectious disease physicians are offering a podcast series called “COVID Minutes” for anyone who would like to learn more about the pandemic, including health care workers who can earn continuing medical education credits at no cost. Through the podcasts, UT Health San Antonio faculty experts give insights on what they have learned about COVID-19, including the treatment of patients and research into new cures and vaccines.

‘We’re seeing a positive glimmer of hope’: UT Health SA doctor says as Pfizer vaccine inches closer to approval

Dr. Robert Leverence, with UT Health San Antonio, joined Leading SA on Sunday to discuss the timetable for the vaccine and what we can expect to see during the holidays this year, as well as offering suggestions on how to keep safe if attending a gathering.

Campus COVID testing ready for any surge

UT Health San Antonio is ready to increase COVID-19 testing should a rise in cases occur. The School of Nursing oversees testing for UT Health San Antonio faculty, staff, residents and students through Wellness 360, including drive-thru appointments outside the nursing school. Results are available the same day, as the nasal swab PCR tests are analyzed in the Long School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. UT Health San Antonio is administering over 1,100 screenings every week, including 600 to 700 mostly student-athletes at UTSA and another 500 at the Center for Oral Health Care and Research, the School of Dentistry’s primary clinical location.

The doctor can see you, right now

Ramon Cancino, MD, MS, FAAFP, medical director of primary care at UT Health San Antonio Physicians, said that without the ability to have a virtual visit with doctors, many patients would delay necessary care due to fears of COVID-19. That’s why UT Health San Antonio Physicians is expanding its digital footprint by launching On-Demand Urgent Care. The service provides patients with immediate access to convenient appointments and expert care for minor medical conditions directly through a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Students provide COVID-19 patient follow up through virtual outpatient clinic

The COVID-19 Virtual Outpatient Clinic was founded to address the emerging need for outpatient followup at UT Health San Antonio’s clinical partner, University Health. Faculty members in the UT Health San Antonio’s Division of Infectious Diseases and the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education helped their students adapt a secure-data virtual system that enables student volunteers to call patients and check on them shortly after diagnosis or discharge from the hospital.

EMS fellowship physicians from UT Health San Antonio helping with surge in El Paso

Emergency medical services physician specialists from the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio are in El Paso to aid with the response to hospital overflow caused by the surge of COVID-19 infections there. They are working in a mobile medical unit set up in front of University Medical Center, caring for patients whose condition is a step down from needing the intensive care unit.

‘Protect your grandparents’ this holiday season with coronavirus precautions 

With the holidays around the corner, Dr. Ruth Berggren with UT Health San Antonio says it is crucial to protect those who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus. While celebrating with your family, keep in place precautions like handwashing, social distancing and mask wear.

Ask a doctor: How can my family celebrate Halloween safely this year?

UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers more of Texas Standard listeners’ most pressing questions about the coronavirus, including how to celebrate Halloween safely this year.

This fall, keep up your resolve – and masks! – against COVID-19

As trick-or-treating nears, followed by Election Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, there will be a lot of opportunities for South Texans to get together and unwittingly spread COVID-19. UT Health San Antonio experts provide tips to help keep everyone safe during this critical time, including to continue mask wearing and handwashing, using hand sanitizer often, observing social distance of at least six feet, avoiding large gatherings (especially indoors) and getting your flu shot.

Wellness calls prevent isolation, health issues for older adults

The pandemic has hit older adults especially hard. Not only are they more at risk for becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19, but this vulnerability also has led to increased isolation. With the pandemic making it unsafe for older adults to attend programs at senior centers, UT Health San Antonio nursing professors and students have changed from wellness visits to wellness phone calls to provide continuity of support and care.

San Antonio doctor stresses importance of routine mammograms during pandemic

Dr. Kate Lathrop with UT Health San Antonio and Mays Cancer Center encourages women to get screened for breast cancer even during COVID, as it’s a very important way to help increase survival rates if diagnosed with breast cancer.

When will we see a COVID-19 vaccine? UT Health infectious disease expert weighs in

Dr. Jason Bowling, a UT Health San Antonio infectious disease specialist, broke down the steps in vaccine development and relayed his theory on why he thinks we’ll be wearing masks for a while.

Viral ‘molecular scissor’ is next COVID-19 drug target

Researchers from UT Health San Antonio and the Wroclaw University of Science and Technology laid out a novel rationale for COVID-19 drug design – blocking a molecular “scissor” that the virus uses for virus production and to disable human proteins crucial to the immune response.

Avoid the ‘twindemic.’ Get your flu shot.

Doctors at UT Health San Antonio say a “twindemic” or surge in COVID-19 cases coupled with a severe, or even average, flu season could be devastating to the health care system that’s already stressed. Fred Campbell, MD, an internal medicine physician and associate professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio and Robert Leverence, MD, chief medical officer of UT Health Physicians practice, explain the characteristics and complexities of both the COVID-19 and influenza viruses, and provide recommendations to mitigate risks during the upcoming fall season.

Amid pandemic, Boeing grant helps meet national need for mental health providers trained in top PTSD treatments

A grant from Boeing Co. to UT Health San Antonio will support expert training for mental health providers that continues to increase in importance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The $150,000 grant will go towards the previously established Boeing Scholar Program within UT Health’s STRONG STAR Training Initiative, where it will fund partial scholarships for 100 community mental health providers nationwide to receive low-cost training in the top treatments for military-related post-traumatic stress disorder.

COVID-safe Halloween celebration ideas from San Antonio doctor

Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease doctor with UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, commented on a list of unique ways to keep the Halloween spirit alive without sacrificing safety.

Ask a doctor: How big a threat is aerosolized spread of the coronavirus?

UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers listeners’ most pressing questions about the coronavirus, including aerosolized spread research and safety of social gatherings.

Post-COVID syndrome severely damages children’s hearts; ‘immense inflammation’ causing cardiac blood vessel dilation

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), believed to be linked to COVID-19, damages the heart to such an extent that some children will need lifelong monitoring and interventions, according to a new study published by Alvaro Moreira, MD, MSc, a neonatologist and an assistant professor of pediatrics in UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine.

Ask a doctor: If my child goes back to in-person school, what symptoms should I look out for? 

UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers listeners’ questions about the coronavirus, including symptoms to monitor if your child is going back to school in person, Halloween trick-or-treating, and a possible COVID-19 vaccine.

We Can Stop the Spread: COVID-19 makes it even more vital to get your flu shot

The COVID-19 pandemic should be motivation enough to change our behavior and get the flu shot this year, said UT Health San Antonio primary care director Ramon Cancino, MD, MS, FAAFP. Dr. Cancino provides tips and recommendations on COVID-19 precautions, as well as the steps to take when getting a flu shot this year.

New Latino-focused campaign: Juntos, We Can Stop COVID-19!

COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact Latinos, killing more than 33,000 and hospitalizing many others. That is why Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio is launching the “Juntos, We Can Stop COVID-19” digital communication campaign to inform and urge Latino families to take action to help slow the spread of coronavirus, especially among those with underlying illnesses. The campaign features culturally relevant fact sheets, infographics and video role model stories — all united with the hashtag #JuntosStopCovid.

FLUVID: Flattening the flu curve during a coronavirus pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the flu killed more than 30,000 Americans during the 2018–2019 flu season. With COVID-19, which has killed nearly 190,000 Americans since the first death was reported in February, there's the potential for an unimaginable health crisis this winter. Ralph Riviello, MD, MS, FACEP, chair of emergency medicine at UT Health San Antonio and University Hospital, discusses how hospitals are preparing for the possibility that virus and influenza infection rates may increase in tandem on Texas Public Radio’s Petrie Dish podcast.

Don’t let Labor Day become a COVID day. Mask up!

The rise of the virus in Texas was well documented after Memorial Day. Experts from UT Health San Antonio provide tips and recommendations to stay safe during the upcoming Labor Day holiday, including urging everyone to wear masks, observe 6-foot social distance, wash hands vigorously, avoid indoor and large gatherings.

Ask a doctor: Is it safe to go to the dentist?

UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers listeners’ most pressing questions about the coronavirus, including if it’s safe to visit the dentist, current death rate and possibility of COVID-19 aerosol transmission.

Continued bar closures, use of face masks will keep COVID-19 hospitalizations in San Antonio down, infectious disease specialist says

A new projection model shows COVID-19 hospitalizations could be in the 200-300 range in September if people continue to use face masks and bars remain closed, said Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease specialist at UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine.

How do you stay healthy?

Beyond contracting the virus, the disruptions caused to daily life by COVID-19 can also be detrimental to our health and overall wellness. Physicians from UT Health San Antonio detail the different opportunities to develop new healthy habits, maintain routine health care and take care of your mental health during the pandemic.

Nine ways to fight those pandemic blues

As COVID-19 continues to spread and social distancing and other public health measures go on interminably, mental health issues are skyrocketing as well. UT Health San Antonio clinical health psychologist Kathryn E. Kanzler, PsyD offers several coping mechanisms to deal with the stress, anxiety, lack of motivation, loneliness and feelings of isolation that may be brought on by the pandemic.

San Antonio doctor opening first COVID-19 recovery clinic to help fight long-term effects

Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, is opening the first post-COVID rehabilitation clinic in South Texas to help survivors recover from the lingering effects of the virus.

Doctors warn of long-term health effects COVID-19 has on its survivors

Dr. Anoop Nambiar, a pulmonologist at UT Health San Antonio, is now seeing the effects COVID-19 can have on the brain, heart and lungs, especially if a patient is on a ventilator for two weeks or more. (8/10/20)

UT Health San Antonio, University Hospital begin third remdesivir study

UT Health San Antonio and its clinical partner University Health System are among the first study sites in the nation to begin the third phase of the COVID-19 clinical trial involving remdesivir. The Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial, or ACTT 3, opened on August 6 in San Antonio and is testing remdesivir in combination with a drug already FDA-approved for multiple sclerosis.

Ask a doctor: How do I sneeze safely right now?

UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers listeners’ most pressing questions about COVID-19 respiratory droplets, cleaning procedures and sneezing safely. (8/07/20)

SA researchers warn of delayed danger in children with COVID-19

A new study that UT Health San Antonio researchers are participating in is providing new details about what is happening to children who survived the novel coronavirus, only to end up weeks later in the emergency room with a serious condition called multisymptom inflammatory syndrome of children (MIS-C).

How to road trip in a pandemic

Fred Campbell, MD, an internal medicine physician and associate professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio, provides recommendations to safely “road trip.”

Mask up: Trouble Shooters' experiment shows face masks work

Scientists at UT Health San Antonio’s School of Health Professions demonstrate how well masks help protect against the spread of COVID-19.

How parents can prepare children for a drastically new school year

Dr. Donna Roybal, a child and adolescent psychiatrist with UT Health San Antonio, discusses how to return to school safely and says it’s important that parents prepare their children for how different schools will be this fall compared to before the pandemic.

Hydroxychloroquine toxicity

Dr. Mohamed Hagahmed, an associate professor at UT Health San Antonio and a University Hospital emergency medicine physician, co-authored an article about hydroxychloroquine. He says the drug “does not work” for treatment of COVID-19 and can have adverse effects.

Coronavirus disguises itself to hide inside our cells and replicate

A new study by Yogesh Gupta, assistant professor of biochemistry and structural biology at UT Health San Antonio, identified the pathway the coronavirus uses to hide inside the human cell and replicate in the body. These findings help explain what makes the virus so deadly and provide a framework for developing novel antivirals against COVID-19 and emerging coronaviral illnesses in the future.

Study co-authored by UT Health San Antonio researcher looks at treatments for cancer patients with COVID-19

A new study, co-authored by a researcher from UT Health San Antonio, found that cancer patients with COVID-19 who were treated with the anti-viral medication remdesivir had lower mortality rates than those who weren’t.

Ask a doctor: Are clear face shields as effective as masks?

UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers listeners’ questions about their health during the coronavirus pandemic, including explaining residual effects of the virus and different types of mask wear. 

Texans encouraged to do their part to slow the spread

The Office of the Texas Governor and Francisco G. Cigarroa, MD, renowned UT Health San Antonio transplant surgeon and former UT System chancellor, released a new Spanish-language PSA urging Texans to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. In the PSA, Dr. Cigarroa encourages people to wear a face mask, wash their hands regularly, stay home when possible and practice social distancing.

Maternal-fetal medicine expert shares ways expectant mothers can protect themselves from COVID-19

Dr. Patrick Ramsey, chief of maternal-fetal medicine at UT Health San Antonio and University Health System, says expectant mothers and women who just gave birth need to take additional precautions to avoid infection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ramsey provides recommendations for new moms to protect themselves before and after delivery.

San Antonio scientists running largest remdesivir trial in world find early success

UT Health San Antonio, in partnership with University Health System, is conducting the world’s largest trial of the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir and wrapped up phase two of the trial at the end of June. Results of the latest phase point to a shortened recovery time and reduced mortality rate for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Iraq war, pandemic both show need for improved airway devices

Robert A. De Lorenzo, MD, adjoint faculty member in the UT Health San Antonio and UT San Antonio’s Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering, was an Army doctor in the Iraq war, where he saw a gap in care due to antiquated airway devices. Now in University Hospital’s emergency department treating COVID-19 patients, Dr. De Lorenzo again sees the critical need to advance airway management. So he is leading a team of researchers to develop a more modern breathing tube as well as an improved suction device to clear airways.

COVID-19 antibody tests explained

Jason Bowling, MD, an infectious disease expert, explains the facts and myths surrounding antibody tests. 

UT Health San Antonio experts offer new COVID-19 testing advice

Surge in cases has changed recommendations. UT Health San Antonio experts say the surge in coronavirus cases has forced testing sites to return to a more-disciplined approach, providing advice for these new circumstances.

Doctor cites urgent need for convalescent plasma in COVID-19 battle

With little remdesivir available at University Hospital, UT Health San Antonio’s teaching hospital and partner, doctors are turning to convalescent plasma as an alternative therapy for COVID-19 patients. But the supply of convalescent plasma from recovered patients is also in short supply. Leslie Greebon, MD, assistant professor of pathology and medicine at UT Health San Antonio and director of transfusion medicine at University Hospital, encouraged recovered patients to donate plasma to help others as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in San Antonio, across the state and much of the country.

Diabetes, dialysis patients must remain vigilant in pandemic

Carolina Solis-Herrera, MD, assistant professor in the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio urges people with diabetes to continue taking precautions during the pandemic and provides action steps for patients, as well as tips for family members to help avoid infecting their loved ones who have diabetes. 

Campus visits go virtual for future students and residents

As restrictions associated with the novel coronavirus continue, UT Health San Antonio is meeting recruitment challenges with creativity and innovation. For interview day, when prospective students, residents and fellows make an in-person campus visit to determine their “fit factor,” admissions recruiters are applying innovative efforts to engage and impress future students and residents in a virtual setting using videos and social media campaigns.

Over 500 people randomly tested to study the impact of asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus

UT Health San Antonio is working in partnership with San Antonio Metro Health and San Antonio Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program to study the impact of asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus. Medical students from UT Health’s Long School of Medicine volunteered as members of household testing teams, randomly testing over 500 people across the county with the help of San Antonio Fire Department's Mobile Integrated Health team.

Latino, Black people dying and becoming infected with COVID-19 at staggering rates, data shows

Rogelio Saenz, a professor at UT San Antonio’s College for Health Community and Policy, has been studying the death and infection rates for Latinos since the pandemic started. In his latest report, Dr. Saenz noted that Latinos are now overrepresented among people who have caught the virus in 43 of the 44 states that provide race information.

Ask the expert: Dr. Ruth Berggren warns of July 4th celebrations amid pandemic

Dr. Ruth Berggren, infectious diseases specialist and director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at UT Health San Antonio, cautioned about celebrating Independence Day in big crowds and if people decide to celebrate outdoors, offered precautionary measures as the risk of transmission does still exist in those spaces.

Minimize 'contact intensity' to stay safe

Barbara Taylor, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, explains the elements of “contact intensity” – the science of social distancing – and the importance of understanding the concept to mitigate risk.

Why are we dying? Race, ethnicity and health justice in the COVID-19 pandemic

Three UT Health San Antonio experts with decades of experience in health research examine the pandemic’s impact on Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities. The discussion is presented through the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics and Pan Pals, a comprehensive website that leverages the tools of ethics, philosophy, history and art to respond to the moral and ethical needs of the community during the COVID-19 crisis.

‘We Can Stop the Spread’ this July 4th with social distancing

As the Fourth of July approaches, UT Health San Antonio’s ”We Can Stop the Spread” campaign reminds Texans that the principle of freedom upon which our country was founded includes the choice of behaviors that can lower their risk of COVID-19 this holiday.

San Antonio doctor invents device to protect health care workers from COVID-19

Dr. Steven Venticinque, a clinical professor of anesthesiology and surgery in the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, invented a flexible shield to better protect medical workers treating coronavirus-infected patients. The 'stat enclosure,' a clear tent-like covering, can be placed over a patient's head while health care workers provide treatment. The device was fast-tracked under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization and is already on the market with help from UT Health San Antonio’s Office of Technology Commercialization. 

There’s a lot more to this ‘strange disease’

Anthony W. Hartzler, MD, a clinical associate professor at UT Health San Antonio who works with coronavirus patients at University Hospital, said he’s seeing an increase in the number of people coming in with atypical presentations of the disease, reinforcing the importance of testing for COVID-19.

Children more resilient against coronavirus, study reveals

A newly released study by researchers from the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio shows that the majority of children with COVID-19 fared well clinically compared to adults during the first four months of the pandemic. The study is the largest systematic review to date of children and young adults with COVID-19 in 26 countries.

What you need to know about COVID-19 testing

Confused about whether you should get tested for COVID-19? Infectious disease experts at UT Health San Antonio answer questions about testing and share a few things they want you to know.

Glenn Biggs Institute, Caring for the Caregiver at UT Health San Antonio ready to help caregivers coping with the pandemic

Faculty and staff of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Health San Antonio, in partnership with the Caring for the Caregiver program of the School of Nursing, are concerned about caregivers’ mental health as the necessary – yet uncomfortable – isolation imposed by the coronavirus crisis. The Biggs Institute offers resources and online Zoom video counseling and support groups to combat isolation and promote social engagement. 

Respiratory therapists: Key caregivers on COVID-19 team

As San Antonio experiences a second surge of COVID-19, the city will be even better prepared as more respiratory care graduates from the School of Health Professions at UT Health San Antonio have entered the workforce. In the last four months, respiratory therapists have been playing a major role in treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19. They understand how to keep patients breathing and are skilled in how to manage modern mechanical ventilators that can have as many as 15 to 20 different modes of ventilation.

‘We Can Stop the Spread’ aims to impact behaviors and save lives

William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, president of UT Health San Antonio’s, called for area residents to intensify their commitment to safe behaviors in response to a marked increase in COVID-19 cases. He announced ”We Can Stop the Spread,“ a public education initiative aimed at sustaining and increasing the simple behaviors that will help keep the community safe, including wearing masks, meticulous hand-washing and avoiding crowded indoor venues.

Can I go to a pool party now? What's safe in the summer of COVID-19?

Two UT Health San Antonio faculty members — Fred C. Campbell, MD, and Maria Fernandez Falcon, MD — offer various tips, ideas and perspectives on partaking in favorite activities while minimizing risk this summer of COVID-19.

How to avoid skin irritation and acne from masking

Guidelines for stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus have included wearing protective masks when out in public, but those masks can cause skin irritations and acne outbreaks. Sandra Osswald, MD, chief of the Division of Dermatology in the Department of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, shares tips and recommendations on mask wear to prevent any damage to the skin.

Local doctors hope to hold clinical trial for COVID 'antibody cocktail' treatment

Doctors from UT Health San Antonio and University Hospital are involved in talks to join a clinical trial for a new antibody cocktail treatment for COVID-19.

New study shows cancer patients with COVID-19 at higher risk of death

Cancer patients who get COVID-19 have a 13% risk of dying, more than double the rate for all patients with COVID-19 combined, according to a report by the new, international COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC-19). Three faculty members from the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, are authors of the data analysis involving more than 900 cancer patients. Dr. Ruben Mesa, director of the Mays Cancer Center, facilitated the center’s participation. 

Military doctor combats unseen enemy

Scott Farber, MD, assistant professor/clinical in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine and a member of the United States Navy Reserve, was deployed to New York City in March to save lives — not in a combat zone overseas, but aboard the U.S. Navy’s hospital ship, USNS Comfort —as part of a mission to help New York City’s overwhelmed health care system in its fight against a new enemy, COVID-19. A plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Farber worked 12-hour days, seven days a week for two months treating patients who were critically ill with COVID-19.

UT Health San Antonio specialist explains why diabetics are at greater risk of complications from coronavirus, COVID-19

Dr. Carolina Solis-Herrera, a diabetes specialist with UT Health San Antonio and University Health System, says people with diabetes are more vulnerable to COVID-19 if they become infected and advises patients about how to protect themselves. 

New triage scheduling software paves road to recovery

Amita Shah, M.D., assistant professor and associate program director for the Division of Plastic Surgery, created a patient task management and triage software program with a group of UTSA computer science software engineering students to aid with the complicated task of rescheduling appointments and elective surgeries cancelled by the pandemic. 

Pan Pals focuses on deeper meanings of the pandemic

An ambitious effort is underway by UT Health San Antonio’s Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics to chronicle the pandemic’s overarching threats, not only to health but also to the structures of society, and to pose the deepest questions of morals and ethics in a shaken world. Pan Pals is a comprehensive website intended to leverage the tools of ethics, philosophy, history and art to respond to the moral and ethical needs of the community during the COVID-19 crisis.

UTSA-led research team seeks to adapt vaccine for coronavirus

The San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics has awarded $200,000 for a collaborative study to develop a novel vaccine to combat COVID-19. Researchers believe a vaccine originally developed to combat tularemia, the rare and deadly “rabbit fever,” could also work against the coronavirus. UT San Antonio microbiologist Dr. Karl Klose is leading a consortium of scientists from UT San Antonio, UT Health San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute and Texas Biomedical Research Institute are working together on this effort.

Mental health care doesn’t stop for COVID-19

Wellness 360, based in UT Health San Antonio’s School of Nursing, is using telemedicine to increase its capacity to provide behavioral and mental health care. Wellness 360 provides mental health and behavioral health services to UT Health San Antonio employees, students and pediatric patients, including managing pharmacotherapy, providing individual psychotherapy and even play therapy by video conferencing.

Students buddy up during social distancing

The UT Health San Antonio Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences has launched a new program called “Buddy Connections” to help students feel less alone during the COVID-19 pandemic and to forge new connections and friendships. Dean David Weiss, Ph.D., said the program was started to keep social distancing from turning into social isolation, and help keep students connected and watching out for each other. 

USAA gifts expand testing, vaccine research at UT Health San Antonio

USAA and The USAA Foundation, Inc. on May 19 announced $6.3 million in assistance to military families and communities affected by COVID-19, including gifts that will expand vaccine research and critical testing capacity at UT Health San Antonio for patients and front-line health care workers.

New device helps protect providers performing intubation on COVID-19 patients

Health care providers providing tracheal intubation, a common procedure in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, are among the most vulnerable to infection. Seeing a need for greater protection, Steven G. Venticinque, M.D., a clinical professor of anesthesiology and surgery in UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, has created the Droplet and Aerosol Mitigating Enclosure. The device, a plastic enclosure that shields frontline health care workers during intubation, is lightweight, low-profile and can be easily shipped and stored.

Second phase of clinical trial for promising COVID-19 drug begins

The COVID-19 Infectious Disease team at UT Health San Antonio and University Health System is beginning the second stage of the remdesivir clinical trial, which is being sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In this second phase of the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial, the COVID-19 Infectious Disease team will administer an anti-inflammatory medication along with the remdesivir to see if they can further improve outcomes. 

Faculty warn of risks surrounding herd immunity in fighting COVID-19

As physicians and scientists around the world race to find a cure or drug-based treatment for COVID-19, a few have championed herd immunity as a way to both shut the door on the virus and open the economy. UT Health San Antonio’s Carlos Roberto Jaén, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of family and community medicine and an epidemiologist, said since COVID-19 has no vaccine, intentionally exposing people is not a good idea.

San Antonio eyes $70 million plan to expand testing for novel coronavirus, contact tracing

Metro Health announced it plans to move forward with a study — to be conducted in collaboration with researchers at UT San Antonio and University Health System — of 385 random households to try to get a more accurate view of how widespread asymptomatic cases of the virus are in the community. 

UT Health San Antonio doctor aids homeless people in pandemic battle

Fred Campbell, M.D., an internal medicine physician and associate professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio, volunteered his medical services to help approximately 300 homeless people who agreed to move into a vacant hotel and self-isolate. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, which worked with the city’s largest homeless shelter to create a place where the most vulnerable people without homes could be sequestered and limit possible exposure to COVID-19. Dr. Campbell and other health professionals also volunteer regularly at the emergency health clinic set up in the hotel.  (5/11/20)

Coronavirus drug tested in San Antonio found to speed recovery

Early results of a COVID-19 treatment study being conducted by UT Health San Antonio at University Health System show a faster recovery time and fewer deaths for patients on a new therapy using the drug remdesivir. Dr. Thomas Patterson, chief of UT Health San Antonio's infectious disease division, led a team of investigators responsible for 20 of the 1,063 patients enrolled in the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Results led to the FDA issuing an emergency order to speed up the delivery of the drug remdesivir for the treatment of patients severely ill with COVID-19.

Chief resident thinks ‘outside the box’ by building them

Dean Kellogg III, M.D., internal medicine chief resident at UT Health San Antonio, has used his spare time to build and distribute aerosolization boxes—large acrylic boxes that fit over a patient while they’re being intubated. The box helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to health care staff. 

Talking to kids about COVID-19

Brigitte Bailey, M.D., training director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program and a clinical professor of psychiatry at UT Health San Antonio, offers these tips for communicating with children in the time of COVID-19. 

UT Health San Antonio researchers study antibodies against coronavirus

As laboratories across the country rush to find answers for the novel coronavirus, UT Health San Antonio is supporting multiple research projects in vaccine development.

Turning to a century-old idea to fight COVID-19

Doctors across the country, including UT Health San Antonio physicians, are hopeful that a century old idea—convalescent plasma—can now be used as an effective therapy in the fight against the novel coronavirus. 

Virtual food pantry helps students in need

Once the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, UT Health San Antonio moved its food pantry to a virtual option to continue providing resources for students who are experiencing food insecurity. 

Students, scientists make hand sanitizer for health officials during COVID-19 outbreak

As the battle against COVID-19 wages on, students and scientists at UT Health San Antonio and UT San Antonio are standing on the front-lines making hand sanitizer for local health providers.

Collaborating to produce low-cost ventilators

UT Health San Antonio researchers are collaborating with a team from UT Austin to build a new type of ventilator made of inexpensive, widely available materials to help fill the demand created by the spread of COVID-19 for these critical devices that help patients breathe.

Music that heals

Grace Notes, a community choir supported by the Caring for the Caregiver program at UT Health San Antonio, has adapted to the pandemic by going online with its weekly concerts for families living with dementia. Believing that music heals and melodies mend, choir organizers knew the show—and the human connection—had to go on. 

Webinar answers patient questions about COVID-19

The Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, hosted a live webinar that gave patients and caregivers the opportunity to connect with cancer experts and have their questions answered about COVID-19. 

Giving the gift of blood

During this necessary period of decreased social mobility, the supply of fresh blood products decreases because donors can’t make it their typical locations. In response, UT Health San Antonio organized donation locations on campus and gathered volunteers so that faculty, staff and students could donate blood. 

San Antonio’s role in fighting COVID-19

UT Health San Antonio researchers are teaming with Texas Biomedical Research Institute scientists at biosafety level 3 and 4 labs at the institute. These labs allow scientists to work with the live virus conducting COVID-19 research. The current research project focuses on antibodies as a key to vaccine development.  

Ask the expert: Infectious disease specialist Dr. Ruth Berggren answers listener questions

Dr. Ruth Berggren, director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at UT Health San Antonio, answers questions about antibodies testing, maintaining health routines for chronic diseases and whether Tamiflu works as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

Local researchers studying heart damage in COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 has been perceived as mainly a respiratory illness, but research is now showing one-fifth of patients are experiencing severe heart damage. A team at UT Health San Antonio is trying to figure out why some people’s hearts are affected and others aren’t. Researchers will follow recovered patients for the next 10-15 years, all the while studying basic mechanisms that underlie the cardiac damage.

Doctors stress proper usage, sanitation of face masks

Dr. Fred Campbell with UT Health San Antonio and Dr. Mandie Svatek with University Health System offer advice for properly wearing and cleaning face coverings. 

Hitting the lab to fight COVID-19

At UT Health San Antonio, special funding has been awarded to nine researchers for the COVID-19 Rapid Response Pilot Program. Projects were selected based on their potential to realistically produce short-term outcomes. The awards were offered to help drive research to timely results that can then be submitted in larger National Institutes of Health grant proposals this summer.

Dr. Henrich explains how UT Health San Antonio is fighting COVID-19

President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, discussed how UT Health San Antonio is fighting COVID-19 on multiple fronts.

Researchers utilize expertise in fight to find coronavirus cure

Through a partnership with Texas Biomedical Research Institute, researchers at UT Health San Antonio are able to get virus samples and materials needed, and their research findings are shared openly with Texas Biomed as they both work independently in the race to help find a cure for the coronavirus. Clinicians at UT Health San Antonio pivoted from their current research focusing on malaria, lupus, cancer, and other illnesses to COVID-19 about a month ago. 

Sewing for you

Qun Li and Michelle Bendele, research associates in the department of endodontics in the School of Dentistry at UT Health San Antonio, were partnering with a local nonprofit to help sew cloth masks for medical center hospitals. But when UT Health San Antonio implemented a face mask protocol for all personnel on campus, they pivoted and began sewing masks for non-clinical employees from their department who didn’t have surgical masks.

UT Health San Antonio doctors share findings regarding COVID-19, pregnancy in webinar

Dr. Patrick Ramsey, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at UT Health San Antonio, has taken center stage in a weekly webinar that shares ever-changing information on how COVID-19 affects pregnancy. 

New COVID-19 Health Transition Team to develop plan to move city, county out of social distancing

Dr. Barbara Taylor, associate professor of infectious diseases at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, will lead the COVID-19 Health Transition Team responsible for developing a plan to move San Antonio and Bexar County out of social distancing.

People with diabetes are at higher risk for serious COVID-19 illness, complications

Experts from UT Health San Antonio discuss the risks that COVID-19 poses to people with diabetes, the existing disparity-and-diabetes crisis, and how to manage diabetes during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

Testing for COVID-19 just got faster

UT Health San Antonio faculty helped to design, build and expedite COVID–19 testing that provides test results more quickly than most other local labs.

Ask a doctor: What’s the criteria for ‘release’ from self-quarantine, and other questions answered

UT Health San Antonio physician, Fred Campbell, answers listeners’ questions about their health during the coronavirus pandemic.

San Antonio doctor who helped fight Ebola virus now combatting COVID-19 in Bexar County

In 2014, Ralph Riviello was working at a Pennsylvania hospital where he was part of the response team that took on the Ebola outbreak. Now, as the chair of emergency medicine at UT Heath San Antonio and University Hospital, Riviello is helping lead the charge to fight COVID-19 in Bexar County.

Local scientists studying levels of immunity in COVID-19 survivors

Teams of local scientists from UT Health San Antonio and Texas Biomedical Research Institute are working together to determine where COVID-19 falls on the immunity spectrum. Currently, scientists don't know whether COVID-19 immunity will be like the flu, where people get an annual vaccine, or more like the chickenpox, which people usually only get once in their lifetime. The ultimate goal is to use the results to make a better, stronger vaccine.

UT Health San Antonio using telemedicine to care for HIV patients

UT Health San Antonio medical staff are using telemedicine to help care and provide for HIV patients during the coronavirus pandemic. The program, called Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO), involves telemedicine meetings either by phone or by video and audio across HIV clinics so providers and healthcare workers can learn and offer care in their own communities.

UT Health joins global effort to study experimental coronavirus drug

UT Health San Antonio researchers study antibodies against coronavirus

UT Health San Antonio has repurposed strategic teams in its research enterprise to focus on a precise and effective vaccine to prevent infection from the novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus questions and answers

UT Health San Antonio to lead local COVID-19 treatment study at University Hospital

Infectious disease physicians at UT Health San Antonio are among the first in the nation to test an investigational drug developed to treat the novel coronavirus. Thomas Patterson, M.D., professor in the Long School of Medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at UT Health San Antonio, is leading the study center that will enroll patients under care at University Hospital.

Emergency dental specialists work daily despite extreme risk of COVID-19 transmission

Local pediatric specialist conducting coronavirus research from home

UT Health San Antonio pediatric specialist, Dr. J.B. Cantey, has some good news and bad news when it comes to children and the coronavirus.

UT Health San Antonio leads statewide effort to treat opioid use disorder

UT Health San Antonio is leading a movement to change how opioid use disorder is treated in Texas. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has awarded UT Health San Antonio a $7.2 million contract for the Texas Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (TxMOUD) initiative.

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UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

New app gives Houston hospital a better shot at giving COVID-19 vaccinations to employees

As part of its planning to roll out vaccinations for its more than 21,000-member workforce, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center developed an in-house app that enables employees to schedule their own vaccination appointments. Data from the app is used to adjust operating hours for vaccination clinics.

Houston's first COVID-19 vaccine arrives at MD Anderson

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, the first Houston hospital to receive the highly anticipated weapon against the pandemic. Health officials have allocated 4,875 doses of vaccine in the first shipment to MD Anderson for use with frontline health care workers. Within the first 48 hours of arrival, more than 600 frontline health care workers at MD Anderson will receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

MD Anderson joins thousands of top U.S. hospitals encouraging everyone to #MaskUp

UT MD Anderson Cancer Center and more than 100 of the nation’s top health care systems, representing thousands of hospitals in communities across the U.S., came together for an urgent plea to all Americans to mask up, because wearing a face mask is our best chance at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic now. A public service message will run in national and regional newspapers, as well as include messages on digital platforms, social media, online information, links to vital health resources and more.

COVID-19 may damage bone marrow immune cells; another reinfection reported 

Dr. Katy Rezvani of UT Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center coauthored a report that describes a way to take donor T cells that target the novel coronavirus and make them resistant to the deadly effects of steroids.

Could this device help save COVID-19 patients before the ICU?

After reading reports that noted lower levels of T-cells in patients with severe cases of COVID-19, Dr. Cassian Yee of UT MD Anderson Cancer Center led the development of a test and device to quickly determine a patient’s T-cell count that could help identify the most vulnerable patients (T-cells attack cancer cells and may help doctors determine how vulnerable a patient is to COVID-19). 

Grant launches research into COVID-19 symptoms among cancer patients

A new research study investigating symptoms of COVID-19 experienced in patients with and without cancer is being launched by an interprofessional team of researchers and clinicians at UTHealth and UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Leading the study is Meagan Whisenant, PhD, APRN, assistant professor at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, in collaboration with Loretta A. Williams, PhD, APRN, an associate professor in the Department of Symptom Research at MD Anderson.

Study shows frequently used serology test may not detect antibodies that could confirm protection against reinfection of COVID-19

Two different types of detectable antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) tell very different stories and may indicate ways to enhance public health efforts against the disease, according to researchers at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (S-RBD) are speculated to neutralize virus infection, while the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N-protein) antibody may often only indicate exposure to the virus, not protections against reinfection.

Cancer care and screenings must remain a priority during COVID-19

In light of emerging research showing many people are delaying cancer screenings and other health care needs, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center is reminding both cancer patients and the healthy public that it is safe to keep scheduled appointments for active treatment or routine care. MD Anderson outlines the importance of cancer screenings and preventive care, as well as the precautions in place as it continues to safely serve patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Implementation of social distancing policies correlates with significant reduction in SARS-CoV-2 transmission

According to researchers from UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, the implementation of social distancing policies corresponded with significant reductions in transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and reduced community mobility, both in the U.S. and globally, providing evidence that social distancing is a useful tool in preventing further spread of COVID-19.

Now is not the time to let our guard down against COVID-19

Dr. Peter Pisters, president of UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, asks Texans to not become complacent this summer during the pandemic, as our choices can have a significant impact on the health of the entire community. Pister shares recommendations and protective measures to help us work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. 

Working to end cancer in the time of COVID-19

President Peter Pisters shares UT MD Anderson Cancer Center’s efforts to protect patients and employees during the pandemic while maintaining clinical trials and research as part of the fight to end cancer.

Texas A&M, MD Anderson, Baylor part of clinical trial testing tuberculosis vaccine for coronavirus treatment

A group of five institutions, including UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, is testing a long-used tuberculosis vaccine in the fight against coronavirus.

Healthcare workers lift their voices in song with a tribute to colleagues battling COVID-19

No one knows the struggles and challenges facing healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic better than their colleagues, so perhaps there is no one better suited to pay tribute to them. That’s what employees at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center did for their colleagues by “gathering” online from 30 different locations to sing a cover of the Bruno Mars song “Count on Me.”

COVID-19: How to separate fact from fiction

UT MD Anderson Cancer Center offers six suggestions for how to separate fact from fiction during the overwhelming amounts of information of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

MD Anderson president: How I’m practicing self-care during the COVID-19 response

President Peter Pisters shares how he’s coping with stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the uncertainties of today make it more important than ever for us all to look after ourselves so we can come out stronger and better.

MD Anderson implements proactive measures due to 2019 novel coronavirus disease

Houston hospitals are banding together, and they need you to maintain strict social distancing

MD Anderson President Peter Pisters co-authored this Houston Chronicle column with Marc Boom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist. The COVID-19 pandemic is an all-hands-on-deck moment, and these collaborators and competitors are working together to promote social distancing and protect the community.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) glossary: 21 terms to know

How to cope with COVID-19 stress and anxiety

Diana Nichols, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at MD Anderson, gives guidance on how to manage your COVID-19 anxiety and stress.

COVID-19 symptoms, screening and testing: Insight for cancer patients and caregivers

But what COVID-19 symptoms should cancer patients and their caregivers be on the lookout for? When do cancer patients need to be screened for COVID-19, and what does that screening process look like? And, in what cases do cancer patients need to be tested for the 2019 novel coronavirus? Learn the answers from MD Anderson infectious diseases and infection control specialist Roy Chemaly, M.D. 

Coronavirus video messages and updates from President Peter Pisters

Protecting cancer patients from the coronavirus (COVID-19): 4 things caregivers should know

What can you do to help protect you and your loved ones from COVID-19 and other contagious diseases? Get the answers from Roy Chemaly, M.D., infectious diseases and infection control specialist at MD Anderson.
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UT Health Science Center at Tyler

UT Health East Texas administers COVID-19 vaccines

In December, UT Health Science Center at Tyler began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to frontline healthcare workers at UT Health East Texas and second doses three weeks after the first round. UT Health East Texas has expanded to providing COVID-19 vaccines to high-risk members of the public by appointment only, subject to availability.

COVID-19 vaccine arrives at UT Health Science Center at Tyler

Dr. Kirk Calhoun, president of UT Health Science Center at Tyler, discusses how it feels to watch his staff members receive their first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine shortly after its arrival.

Coping with holiday depression and isolation

Amber Quaranta-Leech, a licensed professional counselor at UT Health Science Center in Tyler, says the ongoing pandemic coupled with the lack of family interaction, could be detrimental to our mental health, and provides tips to avoid stress and depression in isolation.

Professors to receive more than $2 million from NIH grant for convalescent plasma research to combat COVID-19

UT Health Science Center at Tyler will receive more than $2 million in a grant allotment from the National Institutes of Health for convalescent plasma research to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers will study whether convalescent plasma-- plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients who have developed antibodies in their blood—helps prevent worsening lung symptoms or death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Going back to school safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Dalia Nessim, assistant professor of occupational and environmental health sciences at UT Health Science Center at Tyler discusses the upcoming return to campus and offers advice to go back to school safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

East Texas' COVID-19 response featured in Harvard analysis

East Texas officials are being recognized for their coordinated response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. A recent analysis by Harvard University called, "Pandemic Resilience: Getting It Done" notes that UT Health Science Center at Tyler has been instrumental in helping track suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the area, as well as providing testing analysis and reporting through its Public Health Laboratory of East Texas.

Occupational medicine residents collaborate with St. Paul Children's Services to develop health and safety best practices

UT Health Science Center at Tyler has furthered its collaboration with St. Paul Children's Services to help the clinical staff continue providing dental care for underserved populations despite COVID-19 challenges. Occupational medicine faculty and residents provided trainings and fit testing to help them safely use retrofitted N95 masks, identified potential hazards and demonstrated best practices for worker/patient safety.

Protecting the protectors: mental health resources for medical personnel

The UT Health Science Center at Tyler has hotlines for medical workers and assigns psychiatrists to doctors and patients in COVID-19 cases. 

Research: Convalescent plasma COVID-19 treatment

Physicians and professors of medicine with UT Health Science Center at Tyler and UT Health East Texas are researching a potential treatment to help severely afflicted COVID-19 patients recover. Leading this research effort is Julie Philley, MD, pulmonologist and associate professor of medicine, and Megan Devine, MD, pulmonologist and assistant professor of medicine. With this research, the duo hopes to provide a recovery pathway for patients across the globe.

UT Health Science Center researching possible COVID-19 treatment

Important research at the UT Health Science Center at Tyler may provide doctors with another weapon to add to their COVID-19 arsenal. The research involves using BTK inhibitors as a treatment for acute lung injury, which is a symptom in severe COVID-19 cases.

UTHSCT research serves as basis for international COVID-19 treatment studies

Research conducted, published and patented at UT Health Science Center at Tyler has garnered attention from researchers across the globe for its potential to treat COVID-19. Though developed for treatment of other types of lung injury, including that due to influenza, the research provides a strong foundation for a possible treatment to protect against pulmonary injury caused by the novel coronavirus.

Mental health and COVID-19: Dealing with business stress

Positivity may seem to be in short supply, especially for business owners struggling from the economic impact of COVID-19. Dr. Ushimbra Buford, an assistant professor of medicine at UT Health Science Center at Tyler, says business owners should stay proactive despite the circumstances. 

Could tiny blood clots make COVID-19 more lethal?

The COVID-19 coronavirus appears to promote blood clotting, which might explain why it is more deadly than other members of its viral family. A recent study led by Dr. Hong-Long Ji, a professor of cellular and molecular biology at UT Health Science Center at Tyler, found that people with already high levels of plasmin, a key enzyme that breaks down blood clots, tend to have more severe COVID-19 infections. 

Takeout tips

With traditional dine-in meals no longer an option amid COVID-19, delivery, to go and takeout has become the new norm for many. UT Health Science Center at Tyler shares some useful tips for proper handling of these foods and any leftovers is essential to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

Expired N95 respirators refurbished at UT Health Science Center at Tyler

Dr. Ashiq Zaman, chief resident of occupational and environmental medicine at UT Health Science Center at Tyler, is leading efforts to refurbish expired N95 respirators for use by medical workers amid the coronavirus. With the goal to refurbish 60,000 expired stock N95 respirators, the number of refurbished masks has passed 30,000 so far.

UTHSCT COVID-19 research: Patient treatment

Two researchers at UT Science Center Tyler are currently working to help patients recover from severe lung injury associated with COVID-19 infection. With research surrounding the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and diagnostic testing underway at UT Health Science Center Tyler, this project differs by exploring the potential application of a drug previously developed by the two investigators. If successful, their work could provide essential treatment and a restorative pathway to good health.

Finding a cure: UT Health Science Center at Tyler researchers focusing on COVID-19

Three researchers at UT Health Science Center Tyler are working to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic through three separate projects: trying to create a better test to detect the virus; working on a treatment focused on the lungs; and finding a vaccine.

Spread facts, not fear: COVID-19 basics

UT Health Tyler infectious disease specialist Richard Wallace, MD explains COVID-19 basics, helping spread facts, not fear.

Focusing on mental health amidst COVID-19 concerns

Dr. Ushimbra Buford, psychiatrist, psychiatry residency program director and assistant professor of medicine at UT Health Science Center Tyler provides tips to focus on mental health during the coronavirus crisis.

UT Health East Texas creates Supply Task Force to coordinate the safe collection of medical supplies

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