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University Partners Create Innovative Ideas During Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted on Saturday, May 16, 2020

Oregon Chapter's university partners, Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon State University, and the University of Oregon, have pivoted their research to collaborate with others and they are quickly finding solutions. They are addressing the global shortage of ventilators, launching in-house COVID-19 testing labs, leading a unique effort to identify asymptomatic carriers, and researching the pandemic’s effects on mental health.

Exciting news is surfacing from OHSU! 

Albert Chi, M.D., M.S.E., a trauma surgeon at OHSU is leading the way to develop a low-cost version of a ventilator that can be widely produced with 3D-printing technology. What makes this ventilator so unique is that it doesn’t need electricity, only the type of standard oxygen tank broadly found in hospitals and clinics worldwide. The OHSU team is partnering with the 3D-printing technology firms Stratasys, Sherpa Design Inc., and the University of Central Florida. Nike also helped by 3D-printing the team’s design. Chi and his team have filed for emergency use authorization from the FDA. Read more

Sequencing COVID-19 at OHSU is revealing the State’s virus outbreak!

Brian O’Roak, PhD., associate professor of molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine, (and married to ARCS member Erin O’Roak) is one of the researchers at the Oregon SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing Center who has been sequencing the novel coronavirus since April. According to Brian, the outbreak of the virus in Oregon is very diverse. The MJ Murdock Charitable Trust has provided funding to support the group’s work to sequence COVID-19 positive samples across Oregon. Read more.

OSU leads a ground-breaking study on the virus spread in asymptomatic carriers!

Ben Danziel, an expert in how disease spreads at OSU in the College of Science, is leading this unique door-to-door project to provide an overview of Corvallis’ COVID-19 wellness. This effort is among the first in the nation. TRACE-COVID-19 (Team-based Rapid Assessment of County-Level Coronavirus Epidemics) is a joint effort by OSU’s colleges of Science, Public Health and Human Sciences, Agricultural Sciences and the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, and is in partnership with the Benton County Health Department. Completed tests will be submitted to the Willamette Valley Toxicology lab to be tested for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Consistent with state requirements of all labs providing COVID-19 tests, test results, along with personal identifying information, will be shared with the county health department and the Oregon Health Authority. Read more.

Results from the first week of TRACE-COVID-19 door to door sampling by OSU suggest that two people per 1,000 in the Corvallis community had the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  Read more.

OSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab produces critical COVID-19 test component for Oregon hospitals! 

Samaritan Health Services asked Oregon State University if there was anything the university could do to help with testing. Scientists in the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine realized their diagnostic lab already had all the ingredients and equipment to make the fluid (VTM) needed to transport patient samples to testing facilities. Medical facilities normally purchase pre-made VTM, but with the strain in the medical supply chain, the fluid was not available to continue testing. Irem Tumer, OSU’s Interim Vice President for Research and an ARCS Oregon member agreed: “I am super impressed by the lightning-fast response to the request to produce these supplies and inspired to see what our faculty and staff can do in times of crisis.” Read more.

UO in the race to provide COVID-19 testing!

Access to fast testing is vital to the slowing of the spread of the coronavirus throughout Oregon. Researchers from the UO’s Genomics and Cell characterization Core Facility collaborated with McKenzie-Willamette to help launch a lab so that a rapid, high-volume COVID-19 testing program can be done in Lane County. Read more.

New program at UO College of Education helps with stress from the Coronavirus!

The world is already witnessing how the coronavirus is affecting mental health. Faculty at UO are conducting research to provide advice and solutions. The HEDCO Clinic and Child and Family Center is helping parents and families deal with stress during this time of social distancing. Read more.