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A new study finds that remdesivir, the first new medicine approved for treatment of COVID-19, is not associated with improved survival but is associated with longer hospital stays for patients.
The research, led by Michael Ohl, MD, MSPH, associate professor of internal medicine, raises concerns that remdesivir treatment may have increased utilization of hospital beds when they were scarce during the COVID-19 pandemic—without clear improvements in survival.
The observational study, published in JAMA Network Open, tracked outcomes for 2,344 hospitalized adults with COVID-19 in 123 Veterans Affairs hospitals. The analysis showed that remdesivir therapy was not associated with improved 30-day survival, but was associated with a three-day increase in median time to hospital discharge—a significant difference.
Remdesivir is still widely used for COVID-19 at hospitals nationwide, including at UI Hospitals & Clinics. However, Ohl notes that since the initial approval of remdesivir in 2020, UI Health Care physicians have been careful to assure that patients with COVID-19 are not kept in the hospital solely to complete treatment if they are otherwise stable for discharge.
The Center for Advanced Reproductive Care at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics reached a major milestone in July 2021, completing its 10,000th in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure.
Established in 1987, it was the first IVF program in Iowa and has had a role in more than 6,000 births. Recognized as a national leader for single-embryo transfers, the center has achieved pregnancy rates consistently above the national average.
“It’s so rewarding to help patients achieve their dreams of family-building,” says Amy Sparks, PhD, director of the andrology and embryology labs.
Expanding patient access, with additional locations in Davenport and West Des Moines, has helped increase the clinic’s volume, and Brad Van Voorhis (84MD) reproductive endocrinologist and director of the IVF program, anticipates the demand for infertility services to only grow.
“There’s more of a societal trend toward delayed child-bearing, which will lead to more difficulties in conceiving a pregnancy for some,” he says. “More and more patients will turn to IVF as a solution to their infertility problems, because it’s the most effective treatment we have.”
Alexander G. Bassuk, MD, PhD, has been named chair and departmental executive officer of the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics in the Carver College of Medicine. Bassuk also will serve as physician-in-chief of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Board-certified in pediatrics and neurology with a special qualification in child neurology, Bassuk joined the UI faculty in 2007.
He and his research colleagues study genetic and molecular mechanisms of epilepsy, autism, inflammation, retinal diseases, and traumatic brain injury.
Bassuk has also helped advance the careers of trainees from diverse backgrounds, and he has been involved in recruiting faculty from underrepresented minority communities to the Carver College of Medicine and the broader university.
Kalpaj Parekh, MBBS (06F), has been appointed interim chair and departmental executive officer of the recently established Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
Parekh, whose new role began Sept. 1, has been a University of Iowa faculty member since 2006. He has led the Department of Surgery’s cardiothoracic surgery division since 2016, and he serves as the surgical director of the lung transplant program.
In June, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa approved the university’s request for the cardiothoracic surgery division to become its own academic department.
Separate cardiothoracic surgery departments are increasingly common at U.S. medical schools. At UI Hospitals & Clinics, cardiothoracic surgery has its own anesthesiology practices and operating rooms, and it is practiced under a service line structure that combines cardiology care with cardiac surgery.
In the news
Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD, a coronavirus expert and UI professor of microbiology and immunology, tells Business Insider in a story about managing expectations for what’s ahead in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alejandro Pezzulo, MD, a member of the UI Post-COVID-19 Clinic, tells Iowa Public Radio about resources for COVID-19 “long haulers,” or those who are experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID-19 such as fatigue and brain fog. The UI clinic has seen hundreds of patients from across the state since opening in summer 2020.
Ashutosh Mangalam, PhD, UI associate professor of pathology, describes to Inverse magazine his study showing a diet rich in isoflavone protects against multiple sclerosis (MS)-like symptoms in a mouse model. But for those who are worried about MS, he says there is no reason to start eating a bean-rich diet just yet and that everything is good in moderation.
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