COVID on campus

COVID-19 research possibly leads to viable HIV vaccine

Timothy Spierings

More stories from Timothy Spierings


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The news column “COVID on campus” posts relevant COVID-19 news every week for UWEC students.

UW-Eau Claire found no new cases of COVID-19 infections among those tested at the McPhee Center yesterday.

As of 3:30 p.m. on April 20, there were no new positive cases of COVID-19 among the weekly 210 on-campus student tests, 165 off-campus student tests and 44 staff and faculty tests. 

According to the UW-Eau Claire COVID-19 dashboard, there have been 42,760 COVID-19 tests given since Jan. 23. A total of 75 tests have come back positive in that time, which is an increase of eight cases since last week.

There are currently no students living in isolation on campus. Additionally, there are two on-campus students in quarantine. 

According to the Barron County data provided, there are no new positive cases of COVID-19 among the 15 student tests and 13 staff and faculty tests given weekly.

The dashboard also has a new statistic to view, regarding vaccination data. According to the dashboard, the data is self-reported through the Blugold Protocol app. 

Up to 75.3% of staff and faculty at UW-Eau Claire are currently vaccinated, which translates to 984 people. Vaccination for staff became available on March 3. Additionally, 31.8% of students are vaccinated, which translates to 3,112 people. Vaccination for students became available on April 5.

In national news, the United States has administered 200 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of today. According to NBC News, this accomplishment has come about within the first 100 days of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Additionally, the leap in research through finding viable COVID-19 vaccines may have also led to a potential vaccine for HIV. 

According to Discover Magazine, an HIV vaccine has not yet been achieved because HIV often tricks the immune system and doesn’t trigger it to react to an infection, like an immune system treated with a vaccine normally would.

The surface proteins on the HIV virus look remarkably similar to those on healthy cells, so any vaccine would have to be fine-tuned in order to correctly train the immune system to recognize a genuine infection. 

New research due to the two-dose, mRNA vaccines like those from Moderna and Pfizer, now may make it possible to create an efficient HIV vaccine. Moderna in particular is looking to start human trials for a HIV vaccine by the end of 2021, according to Insider.

In Eau Claire County, there have been a total of 11,410 positive cases of COVID-19 infections, according to the Eau Claire County Information Hub. There have also been a total of 50,986 negative tests for COVID-19. 

There have been a total of 106 deaths due to COVID-19 in Eau Claire County. Three-hundred-and-ninety-one cases of COVID-19 infections have resulted in necessary hospitalizations, which is 3.4% of all the cases reported. 

There are currently 79 active ongoing cases of COVID-19 infections. Additionally, there have been a total of 11,214 cases that are fully recovered at this time.

The vaccine appointment page on the Information Hub now lists Walgreens, Sam’s Club and Walmart, as well as other Eau Claire City-County Health Department locations, as vaccination sites for those without healthcare providers.

Those who are patients at different clinics, other than the ones offering vaccines in Eau Claire at this time, are also able to get vaccinated at the sites the Information Hub lists.

Additionally, the page lists how to prepare for a vaccination appointment, as well as options and advice to keep in mind, regarding symptoms and exposure to others.

Spierings can be reached at [email protected].