coronavirus

Tracking SARS-CoV-2 Variants

SARS-CoV-2 variants may seem like a scary new chapter in the pandemic, but coronavirus experts expected their arrival. Scientists in the UNC School of Medicine and Gillings School of Global Public Health are tracking the variants to learn how they differ and affect the world’s chance of ending this pandemic.

A Public Health Prognosis

Graduate student Rachel Woodul spent two years researching what might happen to hospital capacity when the next pandemic strikes. When it arrived, she compared what her model — and others’ — got wrong to improve how we react to public health crises in the future.

In It for the Long Haul

For some COVID-19 patients, the initial infection is just the start of the battle. Post-COVID syndrome occurs when a person's symptoms continue long after their infection ends. A new clinic at UNC hopes to not only help these patients, but also provide researchers with valuable data about this strange syndrome.

Rachel Woodul

Rachel Woodul is a PhD student in the Department of Geography within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences and a research assistant at the Carolina Population Center. She uses geographic information systems to model infectious disease spread, with a specific focus on epidemics and pandemics.

READDI, Not Reactive

For decades, scientists warned of the potential for a global coronavirus outbreak. But when SARS-CoV-2 emerged, no therapeutics, drugs, or vaccines were readily available. The Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative (READDI) — founded by researchers at UNC and the Structural Genomics Consortium — is not only finding solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also drugs and therapeutics for future viral outbreaks.

Addressing Pandemic Problems

While COVID-19 has shaken the world, it has also pushed society to be more innovative and creative — two attributes that have been essential to the success of researchers at UNC. Carolina students, faculty, and staff are engaged in an abundance of projects, making UNC the most cited university in the nation for coronavirus research.

Doing COVID-19 Dirty Work

Employing wastewater epidemiology — proven useful in outbreaks of polio and opioid use — UNC microbiologist Rachel Noble is leading a state-wide collaboration tracking novel coronavirus outbreaks across North Carolina, gaining insight that testing individuals does not offer. Preliminary results have shown that by using wastewater, researchers can identify COVID-19 hot spots five to seven days before they are reflected by clinical testing results.