In this episode of the Vets First Podcast, hosts Levi Sowers and Brandon Rea interview Dr. Alejandro Pezzulo, a pulmonologist and assistant professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa. This episode was recorded in August 2021 during the height of the pandemic’s Delta wave. We think this is an interesting look into COVID-19 with a critical care provider.

Dr. Pezzulo was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where he grew up and later went to medical school. He became interested in biomedical research, particularly pulmonology, and established connections at the University of Iowa. Dr. Pezzulo wanted to include research with working as a clinicia, so he joined VA during his internal medicine residency. He enjoyed talking and working with Veterans while providing clinical care and continues to do so to this day.

In our discussion, Dr. Pezzulo shares his insight into SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. He breaks down how COVID-19 affects the body, why the body’s response to this virus is so severe, and how current treatments work to combat this disease. Particularly, Dr. Pezzulo illustrates the difference between how the body responds to a new virus never experienced before and how the immune response plays a role. He also comments on why COVID-19 is more harmful to some patients than others and what factors play a role.

Additionally, Dr. Pezzulo comments on how the COVID-19 vaccines are made, why it’s important to get the COVID-19 vaccine even if a person has already contracted the virus, what “long COVID” means, and shares a brief history on vaccination efforts over time, including talking about diseases like polio and measles. Finally, he discusses what it has been like for a critical care pulmonologist during the pandemic.

For the latest science and research on COVID-19, we encourage listeners to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at:

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of VA St. Louis led both studies, which shined light on serious cardiovascular conditions and mental health disorders that could arise in the weeks or months after initial COVID-19 infection.VA research spells out COVID’s down-the-road risks for cardiovascular and mental health
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