[Arthritis, Rheumatology, and Autoimmune Diseases] An Online Publication of the Arthritis National Research Foundation
Zaher Nahle PhD MPA, CEO, ANRF
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has emerged as a global pandemic that impacts people and populations around the world. Many in our patient community have significant concerns whether immune-compromised, reliant on medications facing shortages, or of an age group considered especially vulnerable to respiratory illnesses. This is a trying time marked by great loss of life and unprecedented social disruption. However, it is also a time in which we are bearing witness to the resilience of humankind in numerous forms: acts of courage and compassion, individual sacrifice for the greater good, and intense scientific collaborations across borders.
In this edition of the ANRF Chronicle, we bring you an important message from Dr. Paul Utz of Stanford University, a physician and ANRF Alumnus at the forefront of battling this epidemic. We share social distancing tips, information on navigating COVID-19 for the immunocompromised, and mitigation strategies recommended by the CDC. We also celebrate the work of healthcare professionals and others who are demonstrating their commitment to the wellbeing of their fellow men and women on a daily basis. During this unprecedented time in our history, ANRF will continue to bring you scientifically sound information. We will continue to foster the development of brilliant scientific minds and innovative research. We, like many of you, will work hard to ensure we do the best we can for others. I am confident that ANRF, like you, will emerge from this time stronger and ever more dedicated to the work we do.
COVID 19 Community Strategies CDC document
COVID-19 has been declared an international pandemic by the WHO. There is no shortage of information available from multiple sources, but not all of this information is accurate or scientifically valid. We would therefore like to share a CDC document on the appropriate community strategies that we should be using to most effectively limit the spread and impact of this virus.
Dr. Utz, an ANRF alumni and SAB member and a laboratory head at Stanford is working tirelessly to combat COVID-19. He has an important message for all of us on how we can best support the fight against this pandemic. Read on for an expert view on what you should and shouldn’t be doing during this pandemic.
No words could express the gratitude we have for the health workers and essential service providers and individuals that are working tirelessly during this pandemic to care for us all. Here we take a moment to say thank you and to acknowledge their efforts.
Many with chronic conditions are in the higher risk group regarding COVID-19 either resulting from treatment or characteristics of their conditions. If you are part of this group, there is little need for alarm as it is likely you are well practiced at taking the recommended precautions in daily life. Read on for some additional points to consider as a high risk patient.
Part of a correctly functioning immune system is the removal of immune cells, such as B cells, that launch a response against our own cells and tissues. Dr. Getahun is seeking to unravel the mechanism by which we silence these auto-reactive immune cells, eliminating the possibility of an improper immune response. It is hoped that these mechanisms offer new therapeutic targets for the treatment of autoimmune conditions.
Practicing social distancing and self isolation, while necessary to lessen the impact of COVID-19, is not necessarily easy. For many ANRF community members, maintaining social isolation is often of importance due to health concerns. For anyone adjusting to this unusual way of life, here are some pointers from those with experience who know how to keep busy and stay positive while limited to life at home.
Dr. Utz had a modest start in life but through a strong belief in education and an ANRF grant early in his career, he has become a leader in his field and has inspired many young students to consider a career in research. Currently, he runs a highly regarded research laboratory at Stanford, where he is also the Associate Dean for Medical Student Research. At the ANRF, we are privileged to not only have Dr. Utz as one of our Alumni and to benefit from his expertise as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).