Updates from UPMC
As COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise in other parts of the region and across the country, our testing data continues to reassure us that COVID-19 is not as widespread in the communities we serve. Social distancing at an early phase has allowed both our infection control experts at UPMC and our counties to track down cases and contain clusters. Hence, the region’s efforts at social distancing and isolation are paying off. On behalf of all our health care colleagues, we thank you for your continued vigilance. Now, more than ever, we must continue these important mitigation efforts.
 
Late last week, scientists at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine announced a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. A paper on the vaccine appeared April 2 in EBioMedicine. It is the first study on a potential COVID-19 vaccine to be published after peer review from scientific experts. You can learn more about this exciting announcement in the article below. 
 
Finally, we continue to be incredibly proud of the job all our employees are doing in the fight against COVID-19. Each day brings new challenges, and this amazing team remains focused on providing high-quality care to those suffering from COVID-19 disorders and to the many other patients whom we continue to serve across a spectrum of other illnesses.
 
As always, we are here for you, and we thank you for choosing and trusting UPMC.
 
Leslie C. Davis
Senior Vice President, UPMC
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Health Services Division  
Steven D. Shapiro, MD 
Executive Vice President, UPMC
Chief Medical and Scientific Officer
President, Health Services Division
Scientists at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have announced a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
When tested in mice, the vaccine produces antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 at quantities thought to be enough to neutralize the virus. This marks the first study on a potential COVID-19 vaccine to be published after a critique from fellow scientists at outside institutions. 
 
The research team calls this vaccine PittCoVacc, short for Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine. 
 
Scientists also use a new approach to deliver the drug, called a microneedle array, to increase potency. This array is a fingertip-sized patch of 400 tiny needles that deliver spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is the strongest. 
 
The patch goes on like a Band-Aid ®, and the needles, which are made entirely of sugar and protein pieces, simply dissolve into the skin.
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If you believe you were exposed to the coronavirus but aren’t showing symptoms, call your doctor for advice. Practice routine precautions, such as social distancing.
  
If you have symptoms that are flu-like, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, call your primary care doctor. If you do not have a doctor, use UPMC AnywhereCare. A video visit from home limits the spread of infection, and, if needed, UPMC can guide you safely to the next care site. 
  
UPMC Urgent Care and Primary Care walk-in locations cannot collect specimens or test for COVID-19. They are open to treat minor illnesses and injuries.
  
If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, you should visit an emergency department in your community for immediate care.
  
If you can, call ahead of time so staff may prepare for your arrival and prevent the spread of any illness. Do not delay if you have severe breathing problems. Visit our COVID-19 Facts page for more information.
UPMC patients are finding out how convenient video visits can be. MyUPMC Video Visits let you see many of our primary care doctors and specialists from the comfort of your own home. There’s no need to cancel or reschedule an appointment if you have one. And there’s no reason to wait to schedule a new one. All you need is the MyUPMC app and a smartphone or tablet.

To learn more, call your doctor’s office, visit UPMC.com/VideoVisits, or call 1-800-533-UPMC from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Public health experts are learning more about the rapid spread of COVID-19 every day — and now they’re warning people to stay inside even if they feel healthy. The reason: Asymptomatic transmission.
 
John Williams, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, talked to ABC News about asymptomatic transmission in children.
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For the safety of our patients and staff, and to lower their likelihood of exposure to any illness, including COVID-19, UPMC still has visitor restrictions in place at all facilities until further notice. Before visiting a UPMC facility, please refer to our full list of restrictions to see how it applies to you and your family.
Megan Freeman, MD, is a fellow at UPMC specializing in infectious disease. Learn more about her coronavirus research on the That’s Pediatrics podcast.
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You might have heard that older adults are particularly susceptible to the coronavirus. Visit UPMC HealthBeat to understand why.
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Thank you for subscribing to UPMC’s weekly coronavirus email updates. Look for the next email update on Monday, April 13, 2020.
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