20 April 2020 | Health, Media

CEO: My first-hand experience with coronavirus


For me it started at night with that indescribable and common I-can’t-put-my-finger-on-why feeling that I was soon to get sick. I had been traveling for business in February and at the beginning of March I had just flown back to San Francisco where I live after a long weekend with friends. At this stage, there were still very few cases of community transmission of the disease but I do remember thinking how full the plane was and how little concern there seemed to be to the looming threat. I went to bed with a tingle in my throat and a sense of foreboding about what the next day would bring.

Fast forward one month and a lot has happened. Today I yearn for an hour of work or relaxation that is not punctuated by talk of the coronavirus. I miss looking into the faces of my fellow teammates at Prenuvo as we keep working at the preventative health scan of the future. Most of all I miss meeting face-to-face with patients and introducing them to the insides of their bodies in a way they never thought possible. To solving their individual medical mysteries that had often been unsolved for years and in helping put them on a course to great health.

Ever since hearing about its rapid spread in January, I had always approached coronavirus as something that I would get sooner or later. With a vaccine (if it ever arrives) still 12-18 months away, even if I dodged it this season, I thought, most likely it would get me the next. I came to understand rather quickly that the overwhelming majority of patients who get the disease and who do not overcome it have what is called “co-morbidities”. (An aside, older folks are not really at a higher risk on account of their age, it is mainly because they tend to have more of these co-morbidities.)

The important issue is that many people do not know that they are harboring co-morbidities. Fortunately for me, this is exactly why Prenuvo exists as a business. We are shining a light on undiagnosed issues every day. We have patients who have had persistent diarrhea who we diagnose with chronic bowel inflammation. We have patients who are unaware that their bodies are fighting cancer. We have patients whose lungs are damaged because they worked in the forestry or mining industries. And we have the opposite, for example, patients who have smoked for twenty years, gave up and actually have shown to have reversed most of the damage.

In my case, my own Prenuvo scans didn’t reveal any major underlying illness. I had no cancer, no inflammation, no issue with my lungs, no evidence of cardiovascular disease. So I knew the chance of me having complications from coronavirus was extremely low. And that was my experience with COVID-19. The virus floored me totally for a couple of days, but I recovered relatively quickly. Towards the end I think I was suffering more from anxiety from the “what ifs” that constantly bombarded me from sensationalized news reports than the actual virus.

My positive test came back one week after I had fully recovered (this lag, and the lack of available tests is a horrendous issue when it comes to controlling the outbreak). Now, thankfully, because I am 4 weeks symptom-free I can start helping people. Yesterday I delivered my first batch of antibody rich plasma that is destined to critically-ill patients and helped two companies trial a fingerprint test to detect COVID-19 antibodies in under 15 minutes. It is great to be able to give back.

You might be surprised to know that Prenuvo has remained open for imaging throughout the crisis. In fact we believe we are the only private MRI clinic open in British Columbia. We planned for protective equipment very early and, given we can do so very safely for our patients and our staff, we felt it was important to stay open. While public hospitals focus primarily on treating COVID-19 patients, we wanted to offer a separate, safe location for the elderly, the immunocompromised and those with chronic illness who need important preventative health imaging. And in many cases the scans we do can substitute not only for hospital-provided MRI imaging but also x-ray, CT and PET imaging. Importantly, I was nowhere near the clinic when I was diagnosed, and haven’t visited since.

As you might expect, please be aware that during this period we are operating with much heightened infectious disease protocols.For example:

We take temperatures at the door and we do not image ill patients We ask everyone use hand sanitizer and wear a mask that will be provided to you while in the clinic We allocate additional time between scans to thoroughly disinfect everything a patient comes in contact with We do not overlap patients and we require guests accompanying a patient to stay outside the clinic (unless they are a caregiver) You will only interact with our receptionist and the person operating the MRI, both of whom will be wearing masks and protective gear The goal, as always, is to make sure that your visit is as safe and comfortable as it can be.

If you have any questions about Prenuvo, how our scans can help you, or would like to book a scan, please feel free to give us a call on +1-604-227-3000 or simply download our comprehensive report on preventative screening below.

Andrew Lacy

Posted by Andrew Lacy

Founder & CEO


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