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Stanford Medicine magazine reports on COVID-19

A special report in Stanford Medicine magazine offers a look at Stanford Medicine’s response to the new coronavirus, as well as outside perspectives on the pandemic.

- By Rosanne Spector

The new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine features a special report on the COVID-19 pandemic, including perspectives from national public health leaders and articles about the response at Stanford Medicine, where health care workers, researchers, students and administrative staff have mobilized to subdue the virus in the local community and beyond.  

Among the voices in the issue are Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Sara Cody, MD, who as the health officer for Santa Clara County, California, ordered the first U.S. lockdown in response to the virus.

Articles in the issue take readers back to the beginning of the pandemic, when Stanford Health Care was bracing for a potential surge of terribly ill, highly infectious patients for whom no established treatments were available. The Stanford Medicine community came together — in person and virtually — to research treatment protocols and seek solutions, and became one of the first U.S. academic medical centers to develop a COVID-19 test for active infections.  

It’s hard to feel optimistic during this crisis, but that’s the outlook of Yvonne Maldonado, MD, a doctor at the heart of Stanford Medicine’s response to COVID-19, who is profiled in this issue and featured in a podcast and video. An epidemiologist who began her career battling AIDS in the early years of the epidemic, Maldonado has been a key adviser on clinical operations and research efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, working 14-18 hour days since the U.S. outbreak. Though Maldonado, chief of infection prevention and control at Stanford Children’s Health, spends many of those hours guiding policy and research, she continues to treat patients and is leading many research projects of her own. 

Several months into the crisis, her attitude remained upbeat. “I was always hopeful, and I still have hope,” she said. “We can conquer this disease. We’ve conquered other diseases like this or worse.”

The issue also includes:

-A recounting of Stanford Medicine’s response to the virus, involving a prescient decision to stockpile personal protective equipment such as masks, a modeling group dedicated to charting the pandemic’s trajectory, an early drive-through testing option, the ad hoc creation of a company to design and print face masks, and a compilation of best-practices guidelines, shared online, for treating COVID-19 patients. 

-A sampler of the hundreds of projects being conducted by Stanford researchers to arrest the pandemic, from CRISPR-based therapeutic nasal spray to genetic studies zeroing in on who’s most at risk for the disease.

-A Q&A with Fauci, one of the nation’s most trusted sources of information about the pandemic, in which he talks with the medical school’s dean, Lloyd Minor, MD, about how we can beat COVID-19 and face down future pandemics. A video of the conversation is also available.

-A Q&A with Cody on the heartbreak of fighting COVID-19 in the Bay Area and what keeps her going (online only).

-A primer on viruses, focusing on SARS CoV-2 and ways scientists are trying to thwart it.  

-A hair-raising tale of how renowned virus hunter Peter Piot, MD, PhD, who helped discover the Ebola virus, was nearly taken down by SARS CoV-2.                                 

-A story on Stanford researchers’ sprint to develop tests detecting current and past COVID-19 infections — an effort that led Stanford to become the testing epicenter in Northern California early in the pandemic. 

-A behind-the-scenes look at Stanford Health Care’s intensive care unit as the team moved into uncharted waters caring for COVID-19 patients.

-A report on the psychological impact of living through a pandemic and how to build resilience.

-An article on the rise in popularity of virtual doctor’s appointments, which now account for about 40% of medical appointments at Stanford Health Care — up from less than 2% in 2019. 

-A piece on how medical school at Stanford has changed as a result of the pandemic.

Also in this issue, read the letter that Black pediatric neurosurgeon Samuel Cheshier, MD, PhD, wrote to a former Stanford colleague that challenges white Americans to go beyond words to “look at the knee on a human being’s neck, and please push it off.” And learn how engineer Sarah Heilshorn, PhD, perfects ways to grow cells into miniatures of organs and tissues and collaborates with doctors to put them to work in studies of ovarian cancer and other diseases.

The new issue is online as well as in print. Print copies of the magazine are being sent to subscribers. Others can request a copy by sending an email to medmag@stanford.edu.

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

2021 ISSUE 2

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COVID-19 Updates

Stanford Medicine is closely monitoring the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). A dedicated page provides the latest information and developments related to the pandemic.