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Medical experts: There are two strains of this coronavirus and they are very different

Along with age and underlying health conditions, panelists said smoking and obesity are also risk factors, and there are 2 strains of the virus.

GALVESTON, Texas — UTMB Galveston is at the center of the fight to find a vaccine for Coronavirus. 

Medical experts held a townhall Friday, initially just for employees and students, but after increasing interest, they opened it to the public.

The auditorium was packed, as experts discussed a wide range of topics, from how businesses should be preparing to what research the university is doing.

Students, doctors and even members of the general public were able to ask the experts about Coronavirus. 

“We’ve known that this was a risk for a long time, and it looks like bats are the most likely reservoir host for this," Director of Galveston National Laboratory Dr. Jim LeDuc said. 

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First, the panel talked about the virus and its most recent developments. 

Along with age and underlying health conditions, panelists said smoking and obesity are also risk factors, and there are 2 strains of the virus.

“A lot of people know recently there is an 'S' form and an 'L' form and they have a very different infectability rate and how serious the illness is," UTMB Vice President and Chief Medical & Clinical Innovation Officer Dr. Gulshan Sharma said. 

They also talked about the research they are doing.

“To establish a diagnostic test, that work is underway right now, and we hope to have that completed very, very soon," LeDuc said. 

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They discussed a new set guidelines for UTMB’s own employees and its students, giving them travel advice and some restrictions.

“We don’t want you coming to any group activities sick," Dr. Charles Mouton, executive vice president, provost and dean of UTMB School of Medicine, said. “We want to protect our student body, our faculty and our staff.”

UTMB said they have plans in place for whatever happens, like how employees should report if they’re sick and what happens if they’re quarantined.

They advise other businesses to do the same.  

The panel discussion went one for about an hour and a half. To see the full panel discussion, watch below:

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