IU faculty in the fight against COVID-19

March 26, 2020

As people across the United States are stocking up on groceries and staying home from work or school because of the COVID-19 crisis, faculty physicians and researchers from IU School of Medicine are working to treat those infected and learn more about the virus.

“We are working together as best we can,” said W. Graham Carlos, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at IU School of Medicine and chief of internal medicine at Eskenazi Health.

Now more commonly known as the coronavirus or COVID-19, SARS-CoV2 is a type of coronavirus thought to originate in China that is new to humans. The first known COVID-19 patient began feeling ill on December 10, 2019. In only four months, the highly contagious virus has spread to more than 350,000 known patients and resulted in more than 15,000 deaths worldwide—with those numbers climbing dramatically every day.

“The virus can infect the person for a period of days, maybe more, without the person knowing it,” Carlos said. “They can become contagious and spread it to other people, unbeknownst to anyone, before symptoms set in. It can spread rapidly and through communities, which is why we must stay away from each other by closing schools and community events at this time. That property in the virus makes it very dangerous in terms of its contagiousness.”

What makes this particular virus even more concerning is the way it is impacting people in vulnerable populations—most of those who have died were above age 65 or had an underlying condition like diabetes or lung disease.

This Spirit of Medicine blog post offers perspectives about diagnosis, treatment and social distancing, including comments from Chandy John, MD, MS, Ryan White Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Disease and Global Health at IU School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.