In response to growing concern surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), pharmacy schools are working to disseminate information to students, as well as the public. In Ohio, Cedarville University School of Pharmacy partnered with Cedar Care Village Pharmacy to present an online town hall meeting March 13, 2020 to address all aspects of the disease, including some tips for pharmacists.1

The meeting was presented by Cedarville associate professors Thad Jenkins, RPh, PharmD, who served as host; and Zach Jenkins, RPh, PharmD, an infectious disease expert, who provided answers.

Jenkins explained in the meeting that COVID-19 is unique in that it is a new human infection for which most individuals have not been exposed and do not have immunity. For every 1 person with COVID-19, 2 to 3.11 other individuals may be infected.2

Although there are no confirmative treatments as of yet, Jenkins mentioned that studies conducted in Wuhan, China—where the human virus is believed to have originated—have suggested that antimalarials and antiretrovirals may be effective as a repurposed treatment for COVID-19. Additionally, health care providers are examining the use of vitamin C and steroids.2

Researchers are currently working to develop a vaccination for COVID-19. However, Jenkins said that it may be months before there is 1 available to the public.2

“There’s a pressure to roll out these [vaccinations] as soon as we can. Not so we can vaccinate individuals at this moment, but more so [because] there is concern that by the fall, this could become a 5th seasonal organism that we deal with on top of the flu. Early estimates suggest in an optimistic scenario, we would have the vaccinations available in the early part of the fall. In a pessimistic scenario, it might be the early to middle of winter,” Jenkins said in the virtual meeting.2

Outside of the vaccination, the best way that frontline health care professionals, including pharmacists, can assist in prevention efforts is suggesting to patients that exhibit symptoms, such as a dry cough and fever, to keep fluids up and see their health care provider.2

He encouraged pharmacists and other health care professionals to empower their communities with credible information, and to develop an emergency plan. “We have to think outside just our 4 walls. We have to try to think about those around us to all come together as a team to deal with this issue,” said Jenkins.
Little things people can do, said Jenkins, include not touching their faces, and washing hands. Instead of shaking hands, Jenkins suggested fist bumps, elbow bumps, or even bowing.

Additionally, Jenkins suggested that individuals stay informed on the latest information, using reputable sources, and avoid reposting information on social media that is outdated or may not have verified.2

Jenkins completed his postgraduate practice residency with Summa Health System in Ohio, where he focused on adult internal medicine and infectious disease. His research interests include subjects related to infectious disease, antimicrobial stewardship, interprofessional education, and student professional development. He maintains clinical practice in infectious disease in Ohio at Atrium Medical Center and Miami Valley Hospital, where he leads the antimicrobial stewardship initiative for the Premier Health Partners system.1

To see the archived footage from the community Town Hall meeting, please see below.



REFERENCES
  1. Weinstein, Mark. Online Town Hall Discussing COVID-19 Questions and Concerns. Cedarville website. Published March 13, 2020. https://www.cedarville.edu/News/2020/Online-Town-Hall-Discussing-COVID-19-Questions-and-Concerns.aspx. Accessed March 13, 2020.
  2. Online Town Hall. Cedarville University website. March 13, 2020. https://blogs.cedarville.edu/coronavirus-updates/online-town-hall/.