Puerto Rican science at the service of the country and humanity

Aware of the importance of collaborative scientific research with an international impact, Puerto Rico is immersed in new efforts to overcome the health challenge that the COVID-19 pandemic still represents.

One of the investigations consists of the production of another booster vaccine that promotes the development of antibodies that neutralize the omicron variant of the virus, while stimulating cellular immunity. This project was conceived in South Korea and the company Clinical Research, based in San Juan, provides support in the first phase.

The research focuses on the candidate vaccine GLS-530, produced with deoxyribonucleic acid, to be used as an inoculation booster. The product is in its testing phase with people who have been vaccinated with drugs against COVID-19, such as those approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and produced by different pharmaceutical companies. The investigative contribution of Puerto Rico includes the monitoring of tests administered to 33 people already vaccinated against the virus.

Meanwhile, a group of researchers from the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus is working in coordination with universities in New York and Virginia to learn more about the effects of the so-called persistent COVID.

The study Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) intends to thoroughly track the health conditions of 17,260 people who were infected with the virus. The objective is to document in detail the conditions developed as a result of infection with the virus and the exacerbated pre-existing conditions. The researchers will test at least 200 patients.

This effort aims to develop treatments for patients whose health has been compromised after being infected with COVID-19. Documented conditions include fatigue, poor concentration, and memory loss. These types of conditions can limit productivity and even cause some state of disability.

It is known that about 30% of people infected with COVID-19 have health problems for months and even for more than a year. Brain lesions and other conditions in vital organs were recently identified in patients who had diagnosed lung or heart conditions before being infected with the virus.

The danger of the pandemic has also motivated the establishment of specialized private clinics. For example, the Salud Integral de la Montaña post-COVID clinic cares for patients with respiratory difficulties or other conditions that have a prolonged effect on their quality of life.

The existence of information exchange networks between health experts and scientific researchers, not only in Puerto Rico, but also between academic groups and private health sectors in the United States and other countries, shows the commitment and desire to produce tools that pay the pandemic control.

In this effort, the comprehensive collaboration of citizens remains key. Embracing essential measures, including mask wearing, frequent handwashing, and physical distancing, is critical to sanitation.

The collaboration of patients in clinical studies or in studies that yield new knowledge is equally decisive in the fight against the pandemic.

Scientific research in Puerto Rico, particularly in the Medical Sciences Campus, has been essential to prevent infections and advance treatments against Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome. One of the most relevant studies focused on preventing the spread of the virus in babies born to mothers who are HIV positive.

These noble and vital commitments of Puerto Rican science persist despite the country’s various challenges. They are a source of pride and hope for the Puerto Rican people.

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