Faster, Better Testing For COVID; Physician Researchers At Renown Health And UNR Med Seek Convalescent Plasma Study Participants
Physician researchers seek to understand how the immune system responds to COVID-19 and create a healthier Nevada. During the early stages of the pandemic, convalescent plasma was considered the only viable treatment option available for patients with COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is the component of the blood from recovered patients that may contain COVID-19 antibodies that help fight the infection. The National Institutes of Health has since developed treatment guidelines for COVID-19 based on clinical trial data and many studies are still underway worldwide assessing various additional treatment options. Convalescent plasma was in high demand but difficult to locate for COVID-19 patients in the northern Nevada area. A 24-year-old nursing assistant, Austin Meegan, was hospitalized and spent weeks staving off kidney and lung failure before learning he was eligible for an experimental blood transfusion that showed promise in treating COVID-19. Doctors estimated Meegan had only about a 3% chance of tracking down a donor to match his rare blood type. A COVID-19 survivor, Thomas Gibson, a Texas resident with the same blood type, traveled to Reno to donate his viral antibodies and a convalescent plasma donation credited with helping to save Meegan’s life. Physician clinical researchers and scientists at Renown and the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) knew they needed to create better options for patients and physicians. Clinical researchers developed a study to help other patients like Austin, and pleaded for donations from recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their convalescent plasma. The researcher teams looked to understand how the body’s immune system responds to the virus over time, to aid them in developing new treatments for COVID-19. “The world’s capacity to get through the COVID crisis will depend on four things — science, technology, innovation and partnerships, says Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President and CEO of Renown Health. “Taking lab bench discoveries to the bedside of patients in an efficacious and timely manner is not easy, but with UNR Med and our partners, we are making great strides in advancing clinical research which has the power to save lives and to create a healthier Nevada.” “It’s tremendously promising to partner on clinical research that will not only help us better understand the disease, but help inform treatment for those combatting COVID-19 that has had such a devastating impact on Nevadans, our nation and the world,” says UNR Med Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, MD. Renown, UNR Med and other area health care partners collaborated with Vitalant to collect plasma from recovered donors for a study on the treatment's efficacy. Eligible donors are at least 18 years old, weigh more than 110 pounds and are healthy. Donors had fully recovered from a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. Project coordinators at the Renown Research Office were overwhelmed by the community’s support and plasma blood donations. Additional partnerships with the Washoe County Health District, the State of Nevada and the Governor’s office, Saint Mary’s Medical Center, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Carson Tahoe Health and the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System, along with many area health care providers helped the team meet their goals of enrolling 120 eligible participants in the study. “Our success in this study rests heavily on the support of our great community, as well as the innovation and collaboration demonstrated by Renown and UNR Med,” said Sara Healy, MD, MPH, principal investigator of the study and a pediatric infectious disease physician at Renown Children’s Hospital and UNR Med. “We are proud to be at the forefront of conducting essential research during such a pivotal time in history, and look forward to our continued partnership as we continue this important work.” “The control of COVID-19 in our communities relies on testing. The study that is being launched to develop a sensitive, specific and easier way to collect specimens (blood) is advancing the field and brings promise towards getting to our common goal of having the right diagnostic test for the right clinical situation at the right time,” says Mark Riddle, MD, DrPH, FISTM, associate investigator of the study and associate dean for clinical research and professor at UNR Med's Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Research. The research team is now asking area residents to participate in a study to analyze the efficacy of two COVID-19 tests. Participants will undergo two blood tests: one being a finger stick to provide results for a rapid test, and the other is a traditional venipuncture draw confirming the presence or absence of COVID-19 antibodies. This study is a collaboration with InBios International, Inc., a leading biotechnology company based in Seattle. Researchers are seeking: Individuals who have confirmed positive for COVID-19 and who have recently recovered from the virus. Study participants must be within 7-28 days from the onset of their symptoms. Individuals who have recently tested negative for COVID-19 and have never tested positive. Those who are interested in participating in the study may contact project coordinators at the Renown Research Office at (775) 982-3646, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, 7:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. Individuals aged 18-75 in general good health are encouraged to consider participating in this ongoing study. There is no cost to participate in this study and participation is voluntary. An individual’s decision to participate will not affect their current or future relations with their health care provider(s), health district, or the community. Those who decide to participate are free to withdraw at any time. “Time is of the essence with COVID. If we can get test results to people and their clinicians in a more timely way, we can make a faster diagnosis of a patient's condition, says Christopher M. Kozlowski, MD, MHA, Renown's institutional research officer and Medical Director/VP of Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health. “As we refine the accuracy of our testing; we are applying sensitivity and specificity testing for true negative and true positive results. This provides people with more timely and accurate results and better quality care.” About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to improve the care and the health of our community. About the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), Nevada’s first medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion. For more information, visit med.unr.edu.
Renown Health is excited to announce a hopeful moment to start the new year with the first baby of 2021. Jessa Mae Estrada, 26, of Reno gave birth to baby Oli Amelia Estrada at 3:59 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021. Baby Oli weighed 5 pounds, 14.4 ounces and was the first 2021 birth at any of the region’s hospitals. “Baby Oli’s birth serves as a beautiful symbol of hope for all of us as we look forward to brighter days ahead full of joy, promise and new beginnings,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, Renown’s President and CEO. “As we take time to reflect on the many challenges and uncertainties brought on in 2020, I will never forget the steadfast determination and resilience demonstrated by our entire community. For it is our collective ability to overcome adversity that makes celebratory moments like these even more meaningful.” Baby Oli is welcomed to the world by her father, Oliver Estrada, siblings Nate, 2, and Naz, 1, and grandparents Charito and Eduardo Estrada. “I am excited to welcome our first baby of 2021 and celebrate this joyful moment,” said Larry Duncan, Vice President of Pediatrics and Surgery and Administrator, Renown Children's Hospital. “I want to wish all of the new parents the best and make sure they know Renown is here to provide the quality care the families in our community deserve.” More than 4,000 babies are delivered each year at Renown Regional Medical Center. Renown Children’s Hospital has a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and the region’s only Children’s ER and Pediatric ICU, and is the only hospital affiliated with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) in the region. Please see the above photo for you to share showing the healthy and happy, mom and baby. About Renown Health Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health a1nd includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Health, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information visit, renown.org.
Gilead Sciences And Renown Institute For Health Innovation Announce Strategic Collaboration To Advance Understanding Of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) and the Renown Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) today announced a strategic collaboration to collect and analyze genetic and electronic health data that can enhance the understanding of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and potentially inform development of treatment options for the disease. Under the terms of the collaboration and license agreement, Gilead will provide funding to Renown IHI to sequence and analyze the DNA of 15,000 individuals living with NASH or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as well as a control cohort of 40,000 individuals in Nevada. “Combining the sequencing of protein coding DNA, with extensive electronic health record data will enable a deep analysis of the roles of genetics and environment in NASH incidence and progression,” said John McHutchison, AO, MD, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Research and Development, Gilead Sciences. “The analysis of these large datasets in collaboration with Renown IHI could help identify genetic variants that impact the risk of developing NASH and thereby advance the discovery and development of new treatments for this disease.” Renown Health is Nevada’s most comprehensive and integrated healthcare network and maintains electronic health records for 1.02 million registered patients. In 2016, Renown Health and the Desert Research Institute established the Healthy Nevada Project (HNP), the nation’s first community-based population health study. In 2017 HNP began a partnership with Helix to leverage its population health services, Exome+™ sequencing, and consumer engagement tools. The HNP is now an ongoing collaboration between Renown IHI, the Desert Research Institute, a global leader in environmental data and applied research, and Helix, a personal genomics company. HNP combines genetic, environmental, social and clinical data to address individual and community health needs with the goal of improving health across the state and the nation. The HNP currently has 40,000 participants. “Combining genetic sequencing with large sets of data can play a critical role in understanding and identifying serious health risks, including diseases like NASH. We are excited to collaborate with Gilead to better understand the condition and its complexities,” said Anthony Slonim, MD., DrPH. “Any genetic variants identified in participants through the collaboration may be shared with the participants for patient care purposes.” About NASH Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a chronic form of liver disease characterized by excess fat in the liver, inflammation, and liver cell damage. Inflammation and liver cell damage can cause scarring of the liver, or fibrosis, and ultimately lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. NASH is more common in people with certain conditions, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. There are currently limited approved treatments for patients living with NASH. About Gilead Sciences Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need. The company strives to transform and simplify care for people with life-threatening illnesses around the world. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California. For more information on Gilead Sciences, please visit the company’s website at www.gilead.com. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown Health’s commitment has extended beyond traditional health care to include community health and well-being. Renown Health works to improve health care through science, research and genetics; forge community partnerships that improve lives and develop innovative models that are improving health care in Nevada. For more information, visit renown.org and follow Dr. Tony Slonim on Twitter @RenownCEOTonyMD. About Helix Helix’s mission is to empower every person to improve their life through DNA. Helix is accelerating the integration of genomic data into clinical care and broadening the impact of large-scale population health programs by providing comprehensive expertise in DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, and individual engagement. Powered by their proprietary Exome+™ assay—a panel-grade exome enhanced by more than 300,000 informative non-coding regions—Helix offers health systems a scalable solution which enables the discovery of medically relevant, potentially life-saving, genetic information. Additionally, Helix offers a suite of DNA-powered products for continued individual engagement and discovery. Helix is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area and has one of the world’s largest CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited Next Generation Sequencing labs, located in San Diego, California. Learn more at www.helix.com. Helix, the Helix logo, and Exome+ are trademarks of Helix Opco, LLC Gilead Forward-Looking Statement This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including the risk that the parties may not realize the potential benefits of this collaboration, and Gilead may fail to discover, develop and commercialize any product candidates for the treatment of NASH. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These and other risks are described in detail in Gilead’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Gilead, and Gilead assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. For more information on Gilead Sciences, please visit the company’s website at www.gilead.com, follow Gilead on Twitter (@GileadSciences) or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000.Additional Media Contact:Sung Lee, Investors 650-524-7792Arran Attridge, Media 650-425-8975