Mayo Clinic doctors share what they have learned one year into the pandemic

We are now one year into the pandemic and leading doctors at the Mayo Clinic have learned a lot about what has worked and what needs to improve.

Dr. Andrew Badley is Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 taskforce chair. He says one of the biggest discoveries they’ve made is that antibody treatments from therapies like convalescent plasma actually work.

He also marveled at the rate at which medical science has been able to control the disease.

"I grew up in the world of HIV," said Badley. "And in the world of HIV, to identify the virus, understand its molecular biology, test our first generation of agents and come up with drugs that work a little bit took a decade or so. That same process has occurred in less than a year for COVID."

Dr. Alyssa Chapital, of the Mayo Clinic Arizona, said she is optimistic about the healthcare system’s ability to treat the virus.

What Mayo has found is that the pandemic is more than just the virus. Because it has upended society, the pandemic has impacted people’s overall health.

"Cardiac outcomes, stroke risk and things like that," said Dr. Dacre Knight, of the Mayo Clinic Florida. "The screening tests that are not getting completed and also the mental health consequences that are so profound. So, in many ways, it is more than just a virus itself. And we have to keep thinking about that as we go into the future."

The biggest lesson they’ve learned, however, is how the virus has amplified societal disparities.

"How profound it is that social inequity kills people," he said. "It’s nothing short of that."

Dr. Badley says, going forward, we are going to continue to see new variants of the virus.

He says it will result in new cases, but he doesn’t see it changing the trajectory of the pandemic.