Colonel Winslow is how many of his colleagues know him. He retired nearly five years ago from the US Air Force. He's a professor of medicine at Stanford University specialized in infectious diseases and on Monday he will start a new role at the national public health agency.
Luz Pena: "Where you expecting to get tapped by the federal government to work for the CDC?"
Dr Dean Winslow: "Not necessarily, but I felt really honored and flattered to be asked to join this effort."
Dr. Winslow will join the CDC team as a senior adviser for the COVID testing diagnostic working group.
"Develop a strategy to better deploy COVID-19 testing and how to do that in an efficient way so we can use information from testing to hopefully finally get this terrible pandemic under control," said Dr. Winslow.
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We joined him on his deck to have a candid conversation about COVID as he enjoyed the last hours before he leaves to Washington to fight an unpresented war against COVID-19.
Dr. Winslow: "The assignment was pitched as anywhere from six to 24 months."
Luz Pena: "Do you think that is how long COVID is going to last? 24 months from now?"
Dr. Winslow: "Yeah, I think the optimistic projection were that it was going to be gone by now. This time last year. My personal sense though is that we are going to be living with COVID for quite some time. It is not going to be a global pandemic, but there are going to be outbreaks of the disease. Perhaps for the next 2-3 years."
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Dr. Winslow believes COVID testing will continue to be imperative to understand this virus even while the vaccines continue to roll out.
Luz Pena: "Is this team also looking into how long the COVID-19 vaccines will protect us?"
Dr. Winslow: "That would certainly be part of the mission of the testing and diagnostics working group. Even more important is to understand from a scientific stand point why certain vaccine failures may occur or certain other individuals who had natural infection may be infected."
Luz Pena: "Do you project that COVID will continue to mutate and booster shots will become the norm?"
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Dr. Winslow: "Absolutely. One of the good thing about the science of the three vaccines we have available in the U.S. - the two messenger RNA vaccines and the one DNA-based vaccine - is that it is fairly easy to modify these vaccines."
Dr. Winslow remains humble knowing that his work as a colonel in the Air Force, a Stanford professor, infectious disease expert and now CDC senior adviser relies on the work of many as a team. A team that he believes will lead us out of this pandemic.
"I just hope that I can contribute in a positive way," said Dr. Winslow.
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