How COVID-19 Impacted Medical Research

Tuesday, July 13th 2021, 6:27 pm
By: Karl Torp

Doctors at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation are incredibly proud of the global effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s never been a time so many scientists from so many disciplines are focused on one thing,” said Dr. Courtney Montgomery with OMRF.

But COVID breakthroughs have come at the expense of other disease research.

“We were seeing 40% less patients than we were seeing of a regular basis,” said OMRF’s Dr. Gabriel Pardo.

Montgomery is looking for advancements in the autoimmune disorder Sarcoidosis.

Pardo researches and treats patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

“There was a significant impact to patients in their overall health care because of restrictions with the pandemic,” said Pardo.

He said even cancer treatments were paused due to the pandemic.

Montgomery said grant funding for illnesses outside COVID are just now returning.

But not being able to see patients has led to the biggest demise in research and presented the greatest danger for their health.

“We need patients to come in, that's what we study,” said Montgomery.

Trying to quantify that impact is very hard to do, but both doctors said the work has no doubt been delayed.

Montgomery thinks she is about six months behind in grant applications which can compound the delay in research.

She said it could be a year before she's able to complete research with those funds and apply for more grants.