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IGI - Innovative Genomics Institute COVID-19 Response

I think during COVID-19, I struggled to comprehend how everything fell apart so quickly. In the months before the pandemic hit the states, I fell ill with an unspecified upper respiratory infection. I was sick for about 2 months, and had trouble sleeping. No matter what I tried, my condition continued to worsen. The brainfog I experienced during this time makes it difficult to recall much of the second half of my sophmore year.

It wasnt until campus shut down and I returned home, that I was perscribed immunosuppressants. Fortunately, these made me sick enough that my infection could finally be seen on an X-ray.

At no time was I offered a Covid test. After all, there were no cases of COVID-19 in Berkeley back then, which is why the university health services wasnt allocated any tests. And when I returned to La Mesa, I was considered too low risk.

And then one of the treatments finally worked, and I got better just in time to watch the world fall apart over the summer.

Thats about when I realized, I had to to something. When presented with so many circumstances so far beyond my control, I like to pick something I can control and work to make my corner of the universe better. That's when when I found the IGI's job listing in the UC Berkeley work study database. They were halting research operations in order to open a COVID-19 testing lab, and needed undergrads to produce the kits. I began in the summer, and continued my tenure until the end of the academic 2020-2021 academic year. My work was important enough that the IGI cleared me for coveted moderna vaccine, during the time when it was only availible to healthcare workers.

I am vaccinated now, so I will never know for sure why I was sick for so long. But my work at the IGI ensured other members of our community could get their answers. It was an honor to work in support the talented staff at the Innovative Genomics Institute.