Last week, the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 200,000. Underlying or “modern” diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and malfunctions of the immune system, are a leading cause of the severe illness and death outcomes with COVID-19. So, what caused the surge of these diseases and, consequently, the susceptibility to severe outcomes with COVID-19? According to professor of food science and microbiology Hua Helen Wang, the answer lies in our gut.
As former President of Sino-Micro, The Overseas Chinese Society for Microbiology, FST Professor Hua Wang was thinking about coronavirus long before it arrived in the United States. “In January, they already had a shortage of PPE in Wuhan. While masks have been essential for protection, the disposable medical mask production capacity would not meet the demand for global mask-wearing. And I started thinking, ‘how could I help?’” Wang said. But what is a scientist locked out of her lab to do?