Mayo Clinic doctor answers key COVID-19 questions |

Mayo Clinic doctor answers key COVID-19 questions

Alice Keefe
Created: April 30, 2020 05:52 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Although research into COVID-19 is turning up new discoveries and answers each day, Dr. Elie Berbari, chair of infectious diseases at Mayo Clinic said, there’s still so much that’s unknown.

“We’re acquiring knowledge by the day,” Dr. Berbari said.

In several months, researchers and doctors around the globe have learned a lot.

“We didn’t know that this virus existed until January or late December, and we didn’t know how to detect it, we didn’t know how to diagnose it, we didn’t know the impact of the disease on the human body,” Dr. Berbari said.

While strides are being made every day, there are still big questions to answer, like if you get COVID-19 and recover, can you get it again?

“It could be that if you do get the disease it’s not as bad, or you might be at risk, but not a lot of risk for it, so it’s just not this or that. There’s a lot of gray zones in-between that may occur in that immunity that you could be partially or a little bit susceptible to it, but not fully susceptible to it,” Dr. Berbari said.

Another question researchers are trying to answer: can you contract COVID-19 through the air?

“I think the overwhelming data at this moment is gearing more towards droplets, meaning close contact within three to six feet,” Dr. Berbari said.

There is also new research showing promise in treating patients with a drug called remdesivir, which was originally developed to treat Ebola. 

Mayo Clinic has been a part of some of the clinical trials, spearheaded by the National Institutes of Health.

“The NIH released the preliminary results on that seems to be promising in this randomized clinical trials that show that the duration of hospitalization is shorter when the patient is treated with remdesivir. The impact on mortality is still something that was not significant or that significant in that study,” Dr. Berbari said.

While each day brings more discoveries, Dr. Berbari said the biggest challenge is learning how to live in a world with this virus.

“You know, life doesn’t stop with COVID, but it’s affected by COVID,” Dr. Berbari said.

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