When a new virus emerges that infects and sickens humans, the wheels of innovation start turning quickly in the world of health care and biomedical research. Teams versed in different aspects of laboratory medicine work together to better understand the virus and develop tests to identify those who are infected or have been exposed to the virus in the past.
"Everyone wants to have a vaccine ready right now," says Dr. Rizza. "Researchers around the globe and at Mayo Clinic are working as fast as they can to make it happen. But before we have a vaccine for general use, we have to make sure it is properly developed and tested."
This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious diseases expert, shared sobering estimates that COVID-19 could kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans. Top government scientists warn that the death toll could be even higher if Americans don't follow the strict guidelines put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
A supply shortage of critical materials, such as ventilators, face shields and masks, is possible in the U.S. In response, several Mayo Clinic teams have reached out to colleagues to assess their current and expected needs. These teams also are determining how they could print critical medical supplies as part of the organization's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social distancing, hand-washing not touching your face and disinfecting surfaces are some ways to avoid contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But what about the food you eat? Can you get sick with COVID-19 by eating contaminated fruits, vegetables or other foods?