Groundbreaking day in fight against COVID-19, local doctors say

Groundbreaking day in fight against COVID-19, local doctors say

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Some groundbreaking news in the fight against COVID-19 was announced early Wednesday morning.

Doctors from the Pine Belt spoke about how the new milestones will be helpful during this current wave of the coronavirus.

“Today is a big day,” said Dr. Rambod Roubakhsh, with Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest General Hospital. “This is one of those days that we can mark our calendar and say a shift has occurred.”

Roubakhsh says more data is now available regarding the experimental Pfizer vaccine.

“They are now reaching, Pfizer that is, reaching the threshold for two months of safety data which again was positive,” said Roubakhsh. “The safety data looks good, which now means they’re going to apply for safety use authorization probably within days, which means we’ll probably have a vaccine available for at least the first group of people to get vaccinated maybe by the end of December.”

That’s not the only big news on the COVID-19 front, as Roubakhsh talks about the emergency authorization for the first ever at-home COVID-19 test approved by the United States Food and Drugs Association.

“This is a game-changer that we never even had in our minds at the beginning of this pandemic is testing,” Roubakhsh said. “So the FDA is about to give emergency use authorization for the first ever at-home test, which can not only be done at home, but the results be provided at home. Once you do your own swab at home, you can stick it in the testing kit and get the results within minutes at home.”

With just over a week remaining until Thanksgiving Day, Dr. W. Mark Horne, Chief Medical Officer at South Central Regional Medical Center and President of the Mississippi State Medical Association, said you should take steps now to be as safe as possible ahead of the holiday.

“If you’re going to be gathering next week with parents and grandparents and other family members who are vulnerable, who are over 65, they have chronic medical illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, any of those things that put them at greater risk with COVID, they have greater risk. Show them you care about them,” said Horne. “Starting today, do fewer things that will put you at risk of catching COVID, because if you get it and don’t know, then you take it to them next week when you have dinner with them.”

The at-home testing Roubakhsh mentioned will only be available by prescription from a doctor.

Copyright 2020 WDAM. All rights reserved.