Contributor: Rachael Duncan, PharmD
- ED visits nationwide declined by 42% in April 2020 compared to the same time in 2019 largely due to the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest decline was seen in pediatrics less than 14, women and emerging COVID hotspots like the Northeast.
- In recent weeks, this trend has reversed, showing a record-breaking number of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. As hospitals reach capacity, critically ill COVID patients are being held in the ED until an inpatient bed becomes available.
- A new mRNA vaccine has promising preliminary trial results to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.
- While traditional vaccines contain purified proteins or weakened viruses, the mRNA vaccine is genetic material that is coded within the human body to make the viral protein.
- The mRNA vaccine codes for the critical fragment of the viral protein without causing disease and leads to the production of powerful antibodies.
- Although synthetic mRNA is genetic material, it cannot be passed on to further generations.
- mRNA vaccines are much faster to develop and could potentially provide a more efficient process for developing future vaccines
- Cold temperatures are currently needed to maintain the stability of the mRNA which has posed a challenge to the viability of the vaccines. However, developments are underway to overcome this hurdle.
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Summarized by Emily Mack OMSIII | Edited by Mason Tuttle