aerosolized molecules come out of a pump
aerosolized molecules come out of a pump
Photo by Noah Berger

As the world awaits vaccines to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, UC San Francisco scientists have devised a novel approach to halting the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease.

Led by UCSF graduate student Michael Schoof, a team of researchers engineered a completely synthetic, production-ready molecule that straitjackets the crucial SARS-CoV-2 machinery that allows the virus to infect our cells. As reported in a new paper, now available on the preprint server bioRxiv, experiments using live virus show that the molecule is among the most potent SARS-CoV-2 antivirals yet discovered.

In an aerosol formulation they tested…

As cases of the novel coronavirus infection, COVID-19, increase across the U.S., many people may be feeling anxious.

We spoke to UC San Francisco psychologist Elissa Epel, PhD, who studies stress, about the difference between anxiety and panic, and steps you can take to prevent panic and be prepared.

Some anxiety is normal, but our anxious minds can easily go into panic mode

“The good news about the widespread anxiety is that it is fueling big changes fast-many people in affected areas are being very careful to limit exposure. Anxiety fosters prevention and safeguarding behaviors. Prevention reduces anxiety,” said Epel

A novel coronavirus that first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December continues to sicken tens of thousands of people around the world — and scientists are working round the clock to better understand the virus, contain the outbreak, and treat the disease.

In the weeks since the outbreak, the disease has been named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. (The virus itself has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses).

UC San Francisco infectious disease expert Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, has been following the disease since its outbreak and provided the latest updates on what science…

Researchers and Clinicians Are Trying to Unlock the Mystery of Why the Fungus Makes Some People So Sick and Not Others

The disease that doctors at first thought was lung cancer was likely carried on a speck of dust.

A few years ago, Kevin Pierce, a laconic retired sheriff who has lived his whole life in the Central Valley of California, went to see his family physician about some chest pains. An X-ray showed several nodules in his lungs, suggestive of a spreading cancer — not entirely surprising since Pierce is a smoker. He was referred to UCSF Fresno for treatment.

But when the doctors there investigated further, they realized the nodules in his lungs were not from cancer but from…

a mother sits on the grass, smiling and holding her toddler son
a mother sits on the grass, smiling and holding her toddler son

Lara Stuart and her husband, David Lodge, first noticed the peculiar rash on their son Quincy’s face when he was just shy of 4 months old.

Trips to the pediatrician and a dermatologist didn’t offer up any concrete answers — and within weeks, Quincy’s abdomen started to swell.

Stuart and Lodge drove Quincy to the nearby UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland emergency department, and the infant was admitted to the hospital, where doctors ordered a battery of tests.

Later that day, the family received the news that would change their lives forever: Quincy had a rare and aggressive childhood blood…

Researchers Explain Why Some Lotions Do More Harm Than Good

a woman spreads lotion on her hand
a woman spreads lotion on her hand

Visit any drugstore and you’ll find a dizzying array of choices for skin-care products.

That’s no surprise, says UC San Francisco dermatology professor Peter Elias, MD, since at least half of Americans, maybe more, have sensitive skin or a diagnosed skin condition such as eczema, atopic dermatitis or rosacea.

But moisturizers and other products may be doing as much harm as good, especially for people with sensitive skin, according to Elias’ 45 years of research on the subject, which started with complaints from his patients.

“They were telling me that they’re applying some expensive stuff but it only provided relief…

After a devastating allergy attack, a wearable robot is helping one young patient learn to walk again

By Beth Tagawa

Physical therapist Carolyn Celio (standing), and rehabilitation aide Cassandra Conlin (kneeling) help Dilan Horowitz pilot a robotic exoskeleton. Photo: Elena Zhukova.

The mechanical legs press forward, rhythmic and powerful. Clad in an exoskeleton that looks like mechanical armor, 12-year-old Dilan Horwitz could be mistaken for a superhero — an assessment that wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

A year ago, Dilan was an academically gifted sixth grader and the star catcher on his Little League team — with a seemingly minor nut allergy. Then last July, while on a family vacation in Croatia, he suddenly collapsed after an apparent allergic reaction. Within minutes, he had stopped breathing and had no pulse. …

Master diagnostician Gurpreet Dhaliwal, MD, shares his tips for excellence in medicine and beyond

By Susan Godstone

Illustration: Jing Jing Tsong

Palliative care pioneer Steven Pantilat helps patients live well

By Anne Kavanagh

Steven Pantilat, MD ’89, is chief of UC San Francisco’s new Division of Palliative Medicine, an international expert in the field, and a lover of poetry that speaks to the heart. A line from a Mary Oliver poem inspires his work: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”

What is palliative care?

It’s medical care focused on improving the quality of life for people with serious illnesses. If you’re facing heart failure, cancer, dementia, ALS, or another such disease, we can help you live as well as possible for as long…

Nurses, social workers, chaplains, and doctors work together to help patients live well until the end

By Anne Kavanagh

Photo: Susan Merrell

Palliative care requires resilience, compassion, honesty, and communication. We asked the people who power the field to share their thoughts.

Inspiring the Best Bedside Care

“So much of palliative care happens at the bedside, with nurses,” says Susan Barbour, BS ’79, MS ’86, a clinical nurse specialist. Barbour and her colleagues have trained more than 500 UCSF nurses in how to manage symptoms and communicate effectively with those facing life-threatening illnesses. These nurses have gone on to champion palliative care in their units, and many have instigated projects to improve care. “It’s a grassroots effort,” she says. …

UC San Francisco (UCSF)

UC San Francisco is the leading university exclusively focused on health.

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