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Nevada Front Page

School of Medicine in the News

Survey: One out of three Nevadans are unlikely to take COVID-19 vaccine

• KOLO Channel 8 News

About two out of three Nevadans said in a survey they are likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine reported Wednesday. That compares to about 71 percent of the U.S. population from around the same time.

UNR School of Medicine publishes report on vaccine desirability

• This is Reno

Dr. Mark Riddle, Associate Dean of Clinical Research at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lead investigator joined Dick at the briefing and reported about perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccination across populations and demographics in Nevada.

Your vaccine is on its way | John Packham

• Reno Gazette Journal

In northern Nevada, like most areas of the state and country, we are witnessing the slower-than-everyone-expected distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines — a glacial pace if your “tier” has you next in line or you’re one of the millions of Americans eager to be vaccinated.

Nevada lab looking for UK variant in patients

• KOLO Channel 8 News

By now most of us have seen pictures of the coronavirus, the organism responsible for the COVID pandemic. While science has solved many mysteries concerning this virus. There is one universal fact they already know. “All living things actually make mistakes when they are copied,” says Dr. Mark Pandori, Nevada State Health Lab Director, “Or when they reproduce. We call them mistakes, but it is a mutation, actually,” he says.

State’s COVID testing now screens for new variant

• Pahrump Valley Times

The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory has begun screening people for the B.1.1.7. variant of the novel coronavirus, state COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage and Chief of Tasting Dr. Mark Pandori said at Wednesday’s briefing on the state of the pandemic in Nevada.

Nevada reports 60 deaths from COVID-19 — a record one-day toll

• Las Vegas Review Journal

The state laboratory has been monitoring for the presence of coronavirus variants, specifically a more-contagious variant first detected in the United Kingdom in September, which has since spread to several states. So far, lab director Mark Pandori said during a briefing for reporters, 400 positive samples collected between Dec. 19 and Dec. 30 have not detected the variant. The variant, and a similar strain found in South Africa, spread more easily and quickly but do not appear to be more deadly or cause more severe illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nevada state health experts prepare for spread of new coronavirus strain

• KRNV News 4

Dr. Mark Pandori with the Nevada State Public Health Lab says this strain is more contagious but is not more lethal than the regular COVID-19 strain. It's coping itself which is what we call mutating in virology," says Dr. Pandori. "The more a virus spreads in a community, the more opportunities it has to make mistakes when it copies itself. This leads to what we see here and it's a very natural part of viruses.

New COVID-19 strain not detected in Nevada yet, but surveillance ramps up

• KSNV News 3 Las Vegas

Thus far, the strain hasn’t been detected in Nevada, according to Dr. Mark Pandori, the Chief of Testing with the Nevada State Public Health Lab. “It’s a matter of when, not if. If you see it in Colorado, it’s not a revelation that it exists in many locations in the United States right now,” he said. Pandori says the Nevada State Public Health Lab is ramping up genetic surveillance, as well as testing capabilities. “By close of business next week, we will be able to screen every single positive case in Nevada for the genomics associated with B117 so that we can cast the widest net possible to ascertain whether this strain is in our community or not,” he said. “As we enter 2021, the Nevada State Public Health Lab’s bandwidth for testing should be much larger than it was at the end of 2020.”

COVID-19 test positivity rate still more than 20%

• Pahrump Valley Times

Pandori said Nevada will begin utilizing new equipment, and additional staff have been trained for the new year, allowing for greater testing capacity. Preliminary data suggests that while the B117 variant of the virus might spread and infect more readily, but it appears to not cause more severe illness, Pandori added, noting the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine is not expected to be compromised.

New COVID-19 strain ‘certainly will’ come to Nevada, health official says

• KLAS 8 News Now Las Vegas

Dr. Mark Pandori, director of Nevada State Public Health Lab, said the mutation is more contagious, but does not affect the body any differently than the strain that came from Wuhan, China. This specific mutation allows the virus to spread more rapidly, which health officials find the most concerning. However, the variant is not any more lethal and does not cause a more severe illness, Pandori said.

When will U.K. coronavirus strain come to Nevada?

• Las Vegas Review Journal

When will the new — and more contagious — strain of the coronavirus from the U.K. arrive in Nevada? “We shouldn’t mince words or cloak our scientific hypotheses on this. … It’s already here, most likely,” said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory in Reno. “The only reason that we don’t see many cases of it in the United States is that we’ve not stood up any rational means of surveillance for it,” Pandori said in an interview Wednesday.

The Fauci Effect

• KOLO Channel 8 News

Here at the University of Nevada Reno, School of Medicine applications for admission started increasing about five years ago. While the admissions director says Dr. Fauci is certainly an inspirational figure in medicine, she also points to the pandemic itself as another reason for an interest in medical school.

Could ‘Fauci effect’ lead to more doctors in Southern Nevada?

• Las Vegas Review Journal

UNR Med Director of Admissions Tamara Martinez-Anderson said she agrees that Fauci is an inspiration, but “most of this year’s applicants began preparing for the admissions process long before the pandemic arrived,” she said in a statement.

New COVID-19 mutation found in Nevada

• FOX5 Las Vegas

As the eyes of the world are monitoring a new and more infectious mutation of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, scientists in Nevada are still trying to analyze a mutation found in Northern Nevada. The mutation is only one of several documented throughout the United States. Scientists at UNR Med and the Nevada Genomics Center are studying the DNA sequence of the virus, mutations and how changes affect patients and rates of infections.

Competition fierce for spots in UNR Med classes

• This is Reno

Nationwide, applications are up 18% overall, reports The Association of American Medical Colleges, and some admissions officers say American students may be inspired by Dr. Anthony Fauci and others battling the COVID-19 pandemic. But Tamara Martinez-Anderson, the director of admissions at UNR Med, says the sharp rise in applications began long before anyone had even heard of COVID-19.

Nevada health officials advise waiting 4 to 5 days after exposure to take a COVID-19 test

• FOX5 Las Vegas

The director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratories said that advising employees to wait four to five days to take a COVID-19 test after being exposed to someone who tested positive is "superb" advice. Dr. Mark Pandori said during a meeting of the state's COVID-19 Task Force on Thursday that there is a period after exposure to the virus, during which the virus is more difficult to detect on standard PCR tests used by publicly funded testing sites.

Nevada officials want to know: How do you feel about the COVID-19 vaccine?

• FOX 5 Las Vegas

Nevada officials want to know how the public and healthcare workers feel about the COVID-19 vaccine. Researchers at UNR School of Medicine are partnering with UNR's School of Community Health Sciences, Immunize Nevada and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study about what Nevadans think about the vaccine and whether they'd take the vaccine once made available to the public.

Daunting Challenges: Medical Education in Nevada

• Nevada Business Magazine

“We are still pretty far behind in many specialties,” said Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and vice president of health sciences at UNR.

Nevada Rural Health Conference Explores ‘Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing’

• Wyoming Public Media

“What's keeping a lot of us up at night and that is strains on rural health care capacity right now. [When] I think of capacity in rural areas, I think of hospital beds and workforce,” said John Packham, an associate dean at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.

Dallas woman was reinfected with COVID-19 after 4 months. 'You're absolutely not immune'

• Longview News-Journal

Armed with new antibodies, recovered patients might think they no longer have to take the same precautions or worry about reinfection, but that’s not the case, according to Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, who warns that there’s not enough data to know how effective antibodies are at fighting this novel coronavirus.

John Packham Ph.D., associate dean for the Office of Statewide Initiatives at UNR Med discusses mask mandates with the Mountain West News Bureau.

• Mountain West News Bureau NPR

Researchers saw a significant drop in coronavirus transmission in Kansas counties that adopted a state mask mandate while cases jumped 100% in counties that opted out. Dr. John Packham is with the School of Medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno, and says bottom line is the technology and the evidence base of both protecting yourself and protecting others with masks is growing. My hope is that we can move to de-politicize it and that it becomes normative, regardless of politics.