The number of COVID-19 cases in Colorado and across the country is again on the rise. As a result, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced on Friday, October 16, that face coverings must be worn when outdoors when social distancing is not possible. Also, the number of people allowed to gather in unregulated settings is reduced from 10 to five. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned against large celebrations for Thanksgiving due to the risk associated with surging cases. He said his own family is canceling its plans. Once again, I remind all members of the Anschutz Medical Campus community to comply with our campus protocols. Guidelines are posted at https://www.cuanschutz.edu/coronavirus. All work that can be done at home should be done at home, keep your distance when around others, wear a mask. Be smart and do your part.
Election Day is approaching and leaders of the campus Vot-ER effort are sending reminders to students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff about exercising your right to vote. The deadline for registering to vote via a mail-in ballot is Monday, October 26. The deadline to register to vote in person is Tuesday, November 3 (Election Day). For those with a Colorado driver’s license or ID card, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office provides online voter registration service. You can also text “Vote Colorado” to 34444 to register today. For more information about voting in Colorado, go to Vot-ER.org/Colorado.
The CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities has launched the latest edition of its Hard Call podcast. The new episodes explore the difficult decisions we face during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first episode of COVID Quandaries poses the question: Should health care workers get priority if a surge of patients with COVID need to be placed on ventilators, and the hospital does not have enough for every patient who needs one? Future episodes will address how systemic racism has contributed to health disparities and whether prisoners should be released early due to COVID outbreak risks.
Mamuka Kvaratskhelia, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, and colleagues are the authors of an article published last week in Science. Mamuka, leading a team of researchers in seven U.S. laboratories, has studied the drug GS-6207 and its potential as a long-acting therapy for HIV. Current HIV treatments require drugs that are taken daily. Patient care would be improved with an effective, long-acting drug. Using methods that include virology, X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, and hydrogen-deuterium exchange, the team provides insights into the antiviral activity of GS-6207 that offer directions for next-generation therapies and for understanding the HIV life cycle further. In sharing the news with colleagues in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Division Head Eric Poeschla, MD, wrote: “This scientific tour de force – with over 50 figures, additional tables, and multiple great movies – reveals the mechanism of action of a remarkable new addition to HIV therapeutics, ultrapotent GS-6207. It is especially pleasing that this HIV discovery is both a remarkable basic science advance and also deeply translational in nature.”
Nominations for the 2020 Steven Fadul Award are being accepted through Monday, November 16. The award honors contributions of outstanding professional research assistants or staff in comparable positions in the School of Medicine. Nominees should show initiative in expanding the scope of their work and by mentoring trainees. Nominations should be sent to Fadul.Award@ucdenver.edu. Additional information is available at the award’s website.
Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Robert Shikes, MD, professor emeritus of pathology who died September 7. Bob joined the CU School of Medicine faculty in 1965 and retired in 2007. With Henry Claman, MD, Bob was co-author of two history books about the School of Medicine: one was the centennial history, published in 1983, and the other an update published in 2000. In 2015, Bob donated a substantial collection of medical artifacts to the Strauss Health Sciences Library that included Colorado prescription bottles and advertisements, 19th century medical instruments, items related to the study of medicine, public health notices, and many other artifacts. Bob is fondly remembered in this tribute to his life: “He was a voracious collector of western history books and medical history artifacts which he donated to libraries and museums in Denver. He loved Chinese food, water coloring, Agatha Christie novels, National Parks, Colorado hiking, persimmons, wildflowers, opera, silly jokes, and holidays with his family. His love, support and sense of humor will be sorely missed.”
Have a good week,
John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine
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