Hadassah

Bonus Episode: Where Are We Now? COVID-19 Update with Hadassah's Dr. Ran Nir-Paz


Ran Nir-Paz MD is currently a senior Infectious Diseases physician in the department of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Hadassah Medical Organization. A worldwide expert on human Mycoplasma infections, he is the Chair of the ESGMAC — the ESCMID Mycoplasma and Chlamydia Infections Study Group, as well as the chair of the organizing committee of the 23rd International Organization for Mycoplasmology this July (if the COVID19 will not stop international conferences). Dr. Nir-Paz is one of the pioneers of clinical use of phages (bacterial viruses) to treat hard to eradicate bacterial infections.

Dr. Nir-Paz is also involved in the Israeli Diseases Society for infectious diseases, where he was treasurer for 4 years and currently is responsible for the Infectious Diseases national guidelines. He graduated from the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine in 1995 where he specialized in Internal medicine and served as the chief resident. Additionally, he also performed a research fellowship at the Portnoy lab at the University of California, Berkeley.


About the Episode

Dr. Ran Nir-Paz, a highly-respected infectious disease expert at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, is at the forefront of the medical organization’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. The global pandemic has forced the usually mild-mannered 54-year-old father of three to set aside his routine work to focus exclusively on the coronavirus.

“This is for sure a once-in-a-century disease,” he says. “This situation, it's like an amoeba. It moves in certain ways that we are not anticipating.”

Despite there being so many unknowns about this novel coronavirus, Dr. Nir-Paz is pushing ahead the only way he knows how. Together with his colleagues at the Hadassah Medical Organization, he is working 12-hour shifts treating dozens of coronavirus patients each day.

As well, Dr. Nir-Paz quickly launched research projects with the hopes of combatting the virus. He’s collaborating with a physicist and an epidemiologist on figuring out the best ways for cities to emerge from lockdown situations. He’s studying a Japanese drug called Avigan, which has reportedly been effective in shortening the duration of sickness when taken in the early stages. He’s collaborating with the World Health Organization on a study involving a drug that may have the ability to block the virus from replicating.

Another doctor at Hadassah is working with a drug called Camostat Mesylate, a medicine for pancreatitis which has also been shown to inhibit the coronavirus from infecting healthy cells. Elsewhere in Israel, doctors are training dogs to be able to smell people who have the disease as a screening method to find sick people.

"So there's plenty of projects going on," Dr. Nir-Paz points out. "I'd say that in regular times you wouldn't get too much of those together. But these are special times, so you try to do whatever you can."

In this special episode of "Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine," we catch up with Dr. Nir-Paz on the latest developments coming out of Israel, his thoughts on sheltering in place and how he thinks public life will begin to reanimate.

Further reading:

Read about Dr. Nir-Paz’s trip to Japan
Video: Dr. Nir-Paz thanks his medical colleagues at a Japanese hospital
Hadassah to Initiate Trials of Japanese Drug to Fight COVID-19
Virtual Community Gathering: Israel's Response to the Coronavirus

Working closely with Israel's Ministry of Health, Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem is taking extraordinary measures during this unprecedented crisis. Our staff and volunteers continue our important work virtually. To view updates on how we're continuing to save lives, check out Hadassah's Covid-19 Update Page.

Additionally, please visit the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which has a special section devoted to the outbreak. #cdc #coronavirus #flu #health

Read a transcript of this episode.

"Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine" is a production of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah enhances the health of people around the world through medical education, care and research innovations at the Hadassah Medical Organization. For more information on the latest advances in medicine please head over hadassah.org.

Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or your favorite podcast app. If you haven't already, please leave us a review on the iTunes store. It only takes a minute and when you do it helps others discover "Hadassah on Call."

The show is hosted by Benyamin Cohen and edited by Skyler Inman and the team at the Hadassah offices in both New York and Israel.

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