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University of Texas institutions playing key role in state’s response to the pandemic

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, the 14 University of Texas institutions have responded with urgency and ingenuity, administering hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 tests, caring for affected patients, and developing promising treatments and vaccines.

UT institutions also are supporting struggling community members and businesses, creating mathematical models to track the pandemic and designing apps and websites to help connect community members with medical resources and monitor store inventories. And more.

On top of these contributions, UT institutions have navigated substantial financial and logistical hurdles and spent the last six months focused on developing plans to safely and effectively educate 240,000 students across the state.

“Leveraging resources and talent to serve their communities and beyond is the mission of public institutions of higher education,” Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “The work our institutions are doing is more important than ever and will be key to helping our state emerge from the pandemic.”

In fact, a UT System website features hundreds of examples of the contributions UT institutions are making, searchable by institution and topic. Among those contributions:

  • UT scientists are leading more than 350 COVID-19 studies, including over 130 projects focused on finding effective treatments for the disease and dozens more seeking a vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
  • Multiple UT institutions are involved in trials involving Remdesivir, a promising potential treatment that recently received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
  • UT and UT-affiliated hospitals and clinics have treated thousands of COVID patients – 17% of all COVID-19 patients in Texas.
  • UT institutions continue to play a critical role in ensuring Texans have access to COVID-19 tests. More than 350,000 COVID-19 tests (more than 11.5% of all tests statewide) have been processed at UT institutions.
  • UT institutions also are providing testing for their campus communities. UT academic institutions collectively are conducting 5,000 COVID-19 tests daily for students, faculty and staff as part of their safety plans. And those tested pay no out-of-pocket costs.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, UT institutions have conducted more than 400,000 telemedicine visits, providing essential medical advice and treatment while limiting the spread of COVID-19.
  • UT researchers developed models to predicting how, when and where the coronavirus may spread, and public health experts provided guidance to local, state and national leaders that have helped flatten the curve and place resources where needed most.
  • John Zerwas, the UT System executive vice chancellor of health affairs, serves as a member of Governor Abbott’s strike force, ensuring Texas’ capacity to test and treat patients.

Each of the 14 UT institutions has contributed to the fight against COVID-19 in unique and meaningful ways that reflect their academic, health care, research and service missions.

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of nearly 240,000 students and an operating budget of $21.7 billion (FY 2021), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 64,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its health professional degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 9.2 million outpatient visits and 1.8 million hospital days last year. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 3 for most U.S. patents granted in 2019, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

News Contact Information

Karen Adler: • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)