When you’re Joseph Graves, your training and expertise allow you to see the future.
“I knew COVID was going to be a thing, I would say, in early December of 2019,” said Graves, who is a professor with appointments at both North Carolina A&T State University as well as UNC-Greensboro.
The science that will defeat the COVID-19 pandemic is the kind of work they’ve been doing at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering that A&T and UNCG share on Gate City Boulevard in Greensboro.
It’s Graves’ small community of fellow PhDs and researchers who knew how serious COVID could be.
“People in my community of microbiology and microbial evolution, we were sincerely worried from the start,” said Graves. “By the way, people in my field have been predicting an uptick in these kinds of possible pandemic organisms for the last 50 years.”
And as serious as COVID is, Graves says it isn’t quite the Spanish Flu pandemic of a century ago.
“The great pandemic of 1919, that influenza killed young people so I would call that a level 5 pandemic,” on a scale in which 5 is the most severe, he says. “COVID is about a level 3.”
That gives us plenty to worry about.
“It’s an extremely dangerous virus, it’s highly transmissible,” he said. “It begins to replicate in there and it replicates really well. So, as it spreads throughout the cells in your respiratory tract, particularly your lungs, it cuts off oxygen exchange between yourself and the environment. Essentially, what happens in your lungs is a battle between the virus and your defense system.”
See more inside the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in this edition of the Buckley Report.
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