In collaboration with the Health Care Council of Chicago (HC3), 1871, and mHUB, MATTER and P33 held a webinar based on a literature review of COVID-19 transmission data. MATTER and P33 have made the data available to the public in an effort to assist the public in the COVID-19 era. Steven Collins, founder and CEO of MATTER, facilitated the conversation with Michelle Hoffman, P33 Senior Vice President of Healthcare and Life Sciences. With a PhD in Molecular Neuroscience and a background in pharma, biotech, and medical technology, Michelle brought a sophisticated knowledge base to the COVID-19 conversation.
Michelle presented an analysis curated from 30+ scientific, peer-reviewed studies; over a dozen articles from well-respect media outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal; and data and analysis from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covering four key areas:
1. how COVID-19 is spreading,
2. who COVID-19 is affecting,
3. when treatments and vaccines will be ready, and
4. what actions can prevent spread and infection
Recently, researchers have reached a general consensus that COVID-19 is much more transmissible in the air as opposed to surfaces. The agreement provides the public with more concrete recommendations about what activities and behaviors may spread the virus – such as close contact with others – versus others that seem less likely to be an issue – like transmitting the virus via one’s groceries.
There have been cases in which a person who contracted COVID-19 did not have any symptoms. Scholars and researchers have yet to reach a consensus on what exactly defines an asymptomatic case, which remains a major concern for numerous reasons. One issue is the capabilities of spreading the virus while asymptomatic or not. Another issue is that most cases of COVID-19 (88.6 percent) may present mild or non-existent symptoms. These issues will likely impede data collection and analysis, and slowing the spread of COVID-19 since the source is not always identified.
Michelle also addressed the “million-dollar” question: When will there be a scalable vaccine? Although nobody can possibly predict when exactly the vaccine will become available, she said, “the rule of thumb is to take whatever people say and add six months.” She was also hopeful in saying that there could be a vaccine “by the middle of 2021.”
Michelle concluded that the rapid spread of the virus is preventable without a vaccine. As long as everyone continues to follow the guidelines to stay at home when possible, remain six feet apart in public, wear a mask when indoors, and ensure there is good ventilation, then the virus is curtail-able.
Watch the Recap | Link to Video