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Nevada Front Page

School of Medicine in the News

2 deaths, 29 hospitalizations from 'breakthrough' COVID-19 cases in Clark County

• FOX 5 News Las Vegas

Dr. Mark Riddle, Associate Dean for Clinical Research, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, weighed in on possible causes of the breakthrough cases. He said some people may not have strong immune responses, so they don't develop the necessary protection. Some may have waning immunity, saying the health community doesn't fully understand how long vaccine protection lasts but studies are underway. And Dr. Riddle said some people may have been exposed to one of the variants of concern where the vaccine may not have worked as well. The doctor also said the state expected breakthrough cases because vaccines are not 100% effective in fighting COVID-19.


Innovative Communities Expand and Redefine the Dementia Experience

• Next Avenue

Dementia Friendly Nevada: Jennifer Carson, a dementia researcher at University of Nevada, Reno, hoped to expand programs for people living with dementia beyond the usual orbit of aging services professionals. "We want to transform the broader community, so how do we find those pathways to change?" she says. "We set as a standard to have diverse representation" across many sectors and to include people with dementia in leadership.

7 cases of India’s ‘double mutant’ coronavirus identified in Nevada

• Las Vegas Review Journal

Seven cases have been detected in Nevada of a coronavirus strain thought to be contributing to the catastrophic surge of COVID-19 in India. Six cases occurred in Washoe County and a seventh in Churchill County of this strain, which was first detected in India, said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine. The B.1.617 strain, or variant, is sometimes referred to as a “double mutant” because it possesses two key mutations as well as others considered less significant.


UNR Med Clinic this weekend

• KTVN Channel 2 News

Northern Nevadans who are uninsured, underinsured or without a social security number can receive free medical care at upcoming University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) Student Outreach Clinics and Rural Outreach Clinics, in Lovelock and Yerington, Nevada.


Nevada wages war on coronavirus mutants

• Las Vegas Review Journal

Mark Pandori is an associate professor with the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, located on campus in a low-slung beige building that looks a bit like a bunker. It is there that Nevada’s war on coronavirus mutants is staged each day, using advanced technology to combat the spread of potentially more deadly strains of the disease.


Could enhanced COVID tests help U.S. track virus variants?

• PBS Reno

Pandori said Nevada is currently considering developing and deploying PCR screening for the two other strains of concern — B.1.351 and P.1 — that are, for now, much less widespread. “Those are scary variants and they exist in relatively low frequency,” he said. “You still have an opportunity there to cast a wide net. We see the value in it. I get the sense others might not recognize that.”




Could a souped-up version of existing Covid-19 tests be our shortcut to tracking variants?

• STAT Health

In December, for example, Nevada’s sequencing wasn’t as fast as Mark Pandori, director of the state’s public health laboratory, would have liked. So he and his colleagues developed a PCR assay “as a screening test” that was specific to B.1.1.7 in order to keep a more timely eye on the variant. “If you just wanted to do a sweep,” Pandori said, “you could test a lot of specimens very quickly.”


University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine hosts rural outreach clinic this weekend

• KOLO Channel 8 News

Northern Nevadans who are uninsured, underinsured or without a social security number can receive free medical care at an upcoming UNR Med Rural Outreach Clinic in Yerington, Nevada this weekend. UNR Med offers the free clinics in a continuing effort to assist the region's medically uninsured with needed health care services.


Nevada COVID-19 task force encouraged by trends

• KSNV News 3 Las Vegas

Task Force member Dr. Mark Pandori, who serves as the director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, said vaccination rates appear to be heading off a significant spread of variant versions of the coronavirus. “That’s happening in the face of what is a transition, genetically, where we're seeing almost, not exclusively, but an extremely large increase in variants of concern, so these are viruses that have the biology to even spread more quickly,” Pandori said.


COVID-19 after the vaccine: 96 'breakthrough' cases in Nevada

• KVVU FOX 5 Las Vegas

"The vaccines are 95% effective. But that means for every 100 people, there are going to be five people that are going to have breakthrough disease. And so it's not unexpected," said Dr. Mark Riddle of UNR School of Medicine.


New COVID-19 cases, deaths in Nevada remain above recent averages

• Las Vegas Review Journal

The U.K. variant, which according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spreads more rapidly and carries an increased risk of death compared to other variants. It is now the dominant strain of coronavirus circulating in the U.S. and Nevada, according to Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at the School of Medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Who advocates for kids to reach their fullest, healthiest potential?

• Galena Times

We often hear about the importance of child health, the wellbeing of what so many people refer to as our most preciousresource. But what do we mean by child health? Max J. Coppes M.D., professor & Nell J. Redfield chair of pediatrics; physician-in-chief, Renown Children’s Hospital, explains. (See. p. 9 for full article.)


Health Experts Encourage Vaccinations, Say They Are Very Safe

• KTVN Channel 2 News

"This is one of the safest things ever created in pharmacology or in medical science," Dr. Mark Pandori, Director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory said. "You're probably at hundreds of times more risk to drive the car to the mall than you are to get harmed by a vaccine."



Nevada reports no new COVID-19 deaths for 2nd straight day

• KVVU Fox 5 Las Vegas

Nevada response chief Caleb Cage and medical researcher Dr. Mark Riddle of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine said all three vaccines being offered in Nevada are safe and effective.



Doctor: Growing evidence COVID vaccines reduce transmission, infections

• Nevada Appeal

Dr. Mark Riddle of the UNR School of Medicine said Monday there is growing evidence that not only do vaccines reduce infections and serious illness from the virus, but that they reduce transmission of the illness. He said that evidence is coming through studies in the U.S., the U.K., Israel and Denmark.


Moms who breastfeed face challenges as offices reopen amid COVID-19

• USA Today

When Bailey Cannon Dean started a new job two months ago, she was still nursing her baby boy, River. “My work is super supportive,’’ says Cannon Dean, 39, who is an OB-GYN in Reno Nevada. She’s able to pump milk in her office, and her employer has given her a refrigerator where she can store it and offered her an exam room where she can have some privacy. “But it’s still hard, just logistically.’’


Brazil coronavirus variant found in Nevada

• Las Vegas Review Journal

The first case in the state of the variant known as P.1 was detected in Clark County late last month, said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Lab at University of Nevada, Reno. Two more cases were identified on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in positive COVID-19 tests performed by private labs. Additional details on the other cases were not immediately available.



Rare COVID ‘breakthrough cases’ being tracked in Nevada

• Las Vegas Review Journal

While they aren’t perfect, the vaccines offer the best protection we have against COVID-19, said Dr. Mark Riddle, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno. They should also be paired with other preventative measures, like washing your hands and wearing a face mask, while COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities. “We can’t predict that you’re going to have a bad outcome or a not-bad outcome,” Riddle said. “Given that unpredictability right now, you need to err on the side of caution.”


New RNA-Sequencing Method Opens a Pandora’s Box of Opportunity

• Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

“PANDORA-seq has opened Pandora’s box of small RNAs,” said Tong Zhou, PhD, a bioinformatician at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and a co-corresponding author of the study. “We can now dance with these once invisible partners in the RNA ballroom.”


Unsure about the COVID vaccine? A new ad campaign might convince you.

• Las Vegas Review Journal

Nevada State Public Health Laboratory director Mark Pandori said he was concerned that the state’s campaign did not address the public’s concerns about the vaccines’ efficacy and safety.“A large part of the issue here is there’s a lot of people who don’t believe it will work, that it will harm them, or that the variants are rendering it useless,” he said. “If that’s the root problem, then I’m concerned the rest of this doesn’t function well as a solution.”