The Consortium’s NIH-funded grant on the law of genomics, led collaboratively with Vanderbilt University, has just published a major symposium in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics on "LawSeq: Building a Sound Legal Foundation for Translating Genomics into Clinical Application." The symposium features three open-access articles offering recommendations on legal changes to address liability threats, quality challenges in genomics, and confusion between different domains of genomics (research, clinical care, public health, and direct-to-consumer). Additional articles address further legal and policy challenges including privacy and research participant protections, stakeholder perceptions, and sound regulatory approaches. The full symposium is available online and on the Consortium website.
In a New York Times op-ed on April 28, Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker analyze the challenges of diagnostic testing for COVID-19, including the potential for false negatives, the fact that individuals would need to be screened repeatedly, and accuracy issues. They also warn of problems with antibody testing. They recommend testing improvements, including greater FDA oversight, increased production of testing reagents and equipment, and intensified “syndromic surveillance.” Prof. Osterholm is Director of CIDRAP, a Consortium member center. Read the full article here.
The University of Minnesota Genomics Center, a Consortium member center, worked with the University of Minnesota Medical School, the Molecular Diagnostics Lab, and M Health Fairview to develop a procedure that increases COVID-19 testing volume. Findings were recently published in bioRxiv so other institutions can utilize the new procedure and mitigate the current testing shortage. More information on how the testing procedure was refined and improved is available on the Medical School Website.
As COVID-19 can cause severe issues for people with compromised immune systems, the Masonic Cancer Center, a Consortium member, and their clinical partner, M Health Fairview, are making changes in order to minimize risk and ensure cancer patients are not unnecessarily exposed. Adjustments include utilizing video-supported visits with oncologists and changes to scheduling that ensure patients interact with as few people as possible. Read more on the Masonic Cancer Center website here.
In a recent article published by Thrive Global, Dr. K. “Vish” Viswanath, Professor of Health Communication at Harvard School of Public Health, and Dr. Michelle A. Wiliams, Dean of the Faculty at Harvard School of Public Health, offer five steps to help people and organizations communicate responsibly about COVID-19. Dr. Viswanath will join the Consortium to present a webcast on “Communicating Science to Reduce Health Disparities in a World of Communication Inequalities,” on Thursday, April 16. Prof. Sarah Gollust of the U of M’s School of Public Health will present the faculty commentary.
Profs. Debra DeBruin and Susan M. Wolf will co-lead the statewide Minnesota COVID Ethics Collaborative (MCEC), which supports sound ethical policy related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The collaborative is a joint venture of the Minnesota Department of Health, the State Health Care Coordination Center, Minnesota Hospital Association, and the University of Minnesota. DeBruin is Interim Director of the Center for Bioethics, a Consortium member center, and Wolf is Chair of the Consortium. Read more.