Virtual TEDxCharleston: MUSC experts discuss the latest on the coronavirus

As COVID-19 cases in South Carolina spike in June, two Medical University of South Carolina researchers urged residents to do their part in fighting the virus. 

“In this pandemic, it’s paramount that we take care of each other. It’s very important to set our own comfort aside sometimes – wearing a mask makes it hard to breathe – but it’s important that we take care of each other so we can all get through this,” said Satish Nadig, M.D., D.Phil., an immunology researcher and transplant surgeon who spends a good amount of his work hours wearing a mask.

“Mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing – those three steps will greatly help contain this pandemic,” said Michael Schmidt, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

The two participated in a virtual TEDxCharleston moderated by The Post and Courier investigative reporter Tony Bartelme. They covered a range of questions about the novel coronavirus, from progress toward a vaccine to doubts about whether there is truly a spike in local cases.

As cases are anticipated to climb through the summer months, they asked people to make wise choices for the greater good when celebrating summer holidays like the fourth of July. While the world waits for a vaccine, some scientists have suggested that giving everyone the polio vaccine – which is plentiful, inexpensive and safe – would jump start an immune response to the novel coronavirus.

There is some evidence that live attenuated vaccines can improve responses even to diseases they don’t specifically target, Nadig explained. In closing, the scientists asked everyone to remember to wear masks, wash hands and keep physical distance between themselves and others outside their households.

Nadig also asked people to consider donating blood, as hospitals continue to need blood for lifesaving procedures.

Edited version of MUSC Catalyst Story written by Leslie Cantu.