COVID-19: MUSC Presidential Update - May 22

Dear MUSC family,

As you know, our communities and businesses are continuing to move forward. To do this well will require all of us to continue to make safe, smart decisions. As a state, our COVID-19 strategy has been moving from “isolate and quarantine” to “monitor and respond.” MUSC’s part of this strategy is in full swing.

From the recent state legislature appropriation of funds to MUSC, which allows us to partner with DHEC and regional health systems to create a greater impact on testing access in rural and underserved communities across South Carolina, to our ongoing planning to restart the university and the myriad collaborations taking place at all levels of the organization, there is a tremendous amount of work happening to support a safe, strategic and more normal way of life.

A significant indicator of our collective, continued success in doing our part to help our communities continue to recover relates to improving access to reliable and valid antibody tests.

I’m excited to share with you this brief conversation I had with Satish Nadig, M.D., D.Phil., director of the MUSC Center for Cellular Therapy, about the huge team effort that has produced a best-in-class, validated COVID-19 antibody test. As this test becomes more widely available for use, it will supplement our diagnostic PCR testing capability and help us to understand more about the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community. It’s important to note that this test also sets the stage for us now to understand much more about the effectiveness and durability of immunity after COVID-19 exposure for our families, co-workers, friends, businesses and statewide community. We continue to work with our state partners to develop the next generation of antibody tests, which we hope will result in a simple at-home, saliva-based test.

Thank you for taking the time to hear more about this antibody test “build” project at MUSC, and I hope what you heard helped to clarify some of the seemingly conflicting or nuanced information around this general topic on the internet, in the news and on social media.

There’s a simple and important takeaway here: MUSC has a valid and reliable test that is having a positive impact on the ability of our communities to monitor and respond successfully to the COVID-19 threat, and we’re working very quickly to increase access to this test.

As always, thank you for your commitment, dedication and sacrifice in the interest of keeping our communities and each other safe and well. With all that has been going on during these past weeks, it’s hard to believe that Memorial Day is already here. I would like to end this message by asking each of you to take a pause from everything COVID-19 and join me in honoring the great sacrifice and service of our U.S. armed forces as we recognize Memorial Day on Monday.

Yours in service,

David J. Cole
MUSC president