The welcome news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing its mask guidance for those fully vaccinated is cause for celebration and reflects positively upon the world’s global biomedical community.
Scientists collectively sprang into action at the start of the pandemic, removing much of the privacy that surrounds one’s research. They began pooling resources and knowledge like never before, as they raced to unravel the mysteries of the virus. As a result, the genetic makeup of the virus was sequenced, effective vaccines were developed and practitioners had access to a wealth of information from which to develop treatment protocols.
That spirit of cooperation is taking place in our state as well. The Louisiana Cancer Research Center is a hub for collaborations among scientists at our member institutions LSU Health New Orleans, Tulane University School of Medicine, Ochsner Health and Xavier University of Louisiana, all of whom expanded their research focus to examine COVID-19 and cancer. In 2020, LCRC researchers secured $29 million in federal funding for cancer research, which includes dollars for COVID-related projects.
It is critical to understand that every Louisianian can play an important role in defeating COVID-19. While millions have gotten vaccinated, many more have yet to roll up their sleeves.
Our scientists continue to work hard every day to bring our Louisiana community back to health. Vaccines are safe and effective weapons to defeat the virus. Everyone needs to do their part to bolster herd immunity and contribute to our public health. This crisis has proved what can be achieved by working together.
AUGUSTO OCHOA, MD
director, Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, LSU Health
PRESCOTT DEININGER, Ph.D.
director, Tulane Cancer Center