Growing coronavirus concerns, new local vaccine study and kids and COVID-19


2. Dr. SHARON FREY, SLU Care clinical director of Saint Louis University's Center for Vaccine Development and principal investigator of a new COVID-19 vaccine trial at SLU. Dr. Frey tells us about the new COVID-19 vaccine trials getting underway at St. Louis University and Washington University schools of medicine. Dr. Frey says they cannot tell us which vaccines will be on trial...but SLU is looking for a thousand volunteers for its trial. Anyone over 18 can register for the trial -- they especially need people over 65. This is a phase 3 efficacy trial -- where they will test to see if the vaccine candidate can help prevent COVID-19 But volunteers will not be directly exposed to the virus - getting either an actual dose of vaccine or a placebo.

For more information about the vaccine trials at Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development, please visit; call 314-977-6333 or 1-866-410-6333; or email

For more information about the vaccine trials at Washington University School of Medicine, please email or call 314-454-0058.

3. Dr. SETU PATOLIA, SLU Care pulmonologist at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital. New preliminary guidelines would nearly double lung cancer screenings. Dr. Patolia says the new guidelines propose lowering the eligibility age for lung cancer screening to 50 from 55 and lowering the number of years a person smoked an average of a pack a day -- or pack years -- from 30 to 20 to qualify for testing. Dr. Patolia says those changes will increase opportunities for women and African Americans to be tested. The whole goal, he says, is to get lung cancer identified at the earliest stage possible -- which leads to much better outcomes. Dr. Patolia says it is very hard to get people to be screened -- and much better education efforts are needed to change that.   

4. Dr. MARYA STRAND, interim Chief Medical Officer at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital and a neonatologist. What do we know about the risk of coronavirus to school age children? It's a big topic of concern these days as school districts and parents weigh what to do this coming fall. Dr. Strand says kids are less likely to get sick from COVID 19 and when they do, the severity is lower than in the adult population and are less likely to need hospitalization or go to an ICU. As for kids transmitting the virus, Dr. Strand says there's not enough information out there yet to make a firm determination. It appears children under ten spread the virus less than those older than that. Kids over ten can spread the virus just like an adult. She says it will be a challenge for schools to re-open -- but those that do will need to stress mask wearing, hand sanitizing, cleaning desks and public spaces, keeping students at a safe distance from teachers. She says parents need to weigh the risk of coronavirus versus the need for in-school learning.  She says parents need to talk with their kids about coronavirus safety and how to properly wear a mask and socially distance. Dr. Strand says it also would be a great help if parents could model good anti-transmission behavior for their kids to see.

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