In Depth: COVID therapies and transplants

Segment One: Hal is joined by Dr. Anthony Cardillo, the CEO and owner of the Mend Urgent Care Centers.   He and Hal discuss Hal’s bout with COVID-19.   Dr. Cardillo talks about the spike in COVID cases caused by the new Omicron variant.   He says even though there are many people getting sick, they don’t seem to be getting as sick, and hospitalizations and intubations are down.   He says more people are vaccinated and that is making a big difference.  Hal talks about being prescribed Paxlovid and how it felt like a magic pill that made his symptoms disappear.  Cardillo explains how Paxlovid works, by stopping the replication of the virus.   Now pharmacies are allowed to offer Paxlovid to patients if they test positive.

Segment Two: Dr. Cardillo is back with Hal to talk about some of the new vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.  He talks about the upcoming oral preparation of the COVID vaccine, which he thinks will be better for kids, who don’t always do well with shots.  He says it works in a novel manner, by activating mucosal immunity in the small intestine.  He also discussed the new non MRNA vaccine called Novovax, which works differently from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.  Experts think that might entice some who are vaccine averse to get the shot.   He also discusses the research into a chewing gum that contains ACE receptors that would bind to COVID when chewed.   He says the technology works beautifully in the test tube.

Segment Three: Dr. Abbas Ardehali, the Director of the UCLA Heart, Lung Transplant Program joins Hal to talk about the impact the pandemic has had on transplantation.

Dr. Ardehali says that the pandemic has affected the donor pool.  Many victims of COVID are no longer able to be part of the donor pool because their lungs are so damaged by the disease.  He tells us that those donors can still  be acceptable heart, liver or kidney donors.  He says that the donor pool is actually expanding, thanks to the generosity of family members going through terrible tragedy, but there is so much need, that many people die on the donation list while waiting for an organ.

Segment Four: Hal promotes his podcast and we end with visuals from the James Webb Telescope which we’ll be discussing in an upcoming show.