SVHC Welcomes New Foundation Board Member

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BENNINGTON, Vt. — Tommy Harmon of Manchester, Vt., has joined the Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) Foundation Board of Directors. 
 
He is the immediate past chair of the SVHC Board of Trustees.
 
"Tommy's service to SVHC over the past several years has been exemplary," said Bob Van Degna, the chair of the SVHC Foundation Board of Directors. "We are pleased that organization will continue to benefit from his dedication and expertise through his new role on the Foundation Board."
 
Harmon served on the SVHC Board of Trustees for 13 years, including 5 years as chair. He retired as president and CEO of Sonnax Industries in Bellows Falls, a firm that provides components for rebuilding automatic transmissions to the worldwide market. He acquired the company in 2005 and sold it to its employees in 2011. With more than 40 years' experience in the financial management of manufacturing firms and their operations, Harmon served as chief financial officer and controller for international manufacturers, including CFO for North America AGIE AG, a Swiss-based machine tool manufacturer.
 
He is an active volunteer in the community and has served on the Vermont Business Roundtable Board of Trustees, the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center Advisory Board, and the Manchester Vermont School Board. Harmon holds a bachelor's degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
 
"As the chair of the SVHC Board of Trustees, I have seen the difference the SVHC Foundation has made for the health system's innovative and important projects," Harmon said. "I am eager to contribute to the continued success of this remarkable organization and all they do for the health of our communities."
 
The SVHC Foundation Board of Directors consists of 20 members. Directors are nominated by members of the board. The SVHC Foundation's mission is to engage in development and fundraising activities exclusively for the support of the Southwestern Vermont Health Care Corporation.

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New Oral Antivirals for COVID-19 on the Horizon

Submitted by SVMC Chief Medical Officer Trey Dobso
Patients with COVID-19 deemed to be at high risk for severe disease are currently eligible for intravenous monoclonal antibody treatments provided at certain health care systems, typically in hospitals. These medications are administered over a period of about an hour in an infusion center staffed by nurses and doctors.
 
When given early in the disease, they reduce the chances by as much as 70 percent that an individual with COVID-19 will require hospitalization. Yet, there are several reasons why this treatment alone is far from ideal and not sustainable in controlling the disease.
 
The monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 are expensive to manufacture; although, the direct cost goes to the federal government rather than the individual. They must be given intravenously or injected under the skin in a medical setting using nurses and resources from an already strained heath care system. Obtaining the medication remains arduous, requiring testing, contacting a doctor to provide an order, scheduling a time at a select center offering the infusion, and arranging transportation, steps that favor the affluent who have contacts and resources to help in the process. The medications also have strict storage criteria and can run short during times of high demand. It is clear we need something better.
 
You likely heard a few weeks ago that pharmaceutical companies Merck and Ridgeback provided data on the use of an oral antiviral called molnupiravir created at Emory University in Atlanta. The medication is named after Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, to imply the drug is a hammer against SARS-CoV-2.
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