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Top COVID-19 Research: Timely, Curated and Vetted by Experts
Global COVID-19 Cases Rise
After weeks of declining COVID-19 cases, global cases increased 10% this week. A sharp rise in cases in the Western Pacific, including China, are caused by infections with the Omicron variant. In the U.S., Omicron causes almost all new cases, and the more transmissible Omicron BA.2 lineage makes up about 25% of cases. Because of increased cases and waning immunity, both Moderna and Pfizer & BioNTech applied for Emergency Use Authorization for a fourth vaccine dose by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week. A fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine appears to increase neutralizing antibody titers against Omicron and lower the risk of infection based on data reported in preprints, but the longevity of protection from a fourth dose is unknown. Find the latest science about boosters in the Vaccine Boosters section of the registry.
Vaccines Protect Against Severe COVID-19
While cases increase, COVID-19-related deaths have not seen a corresponding rise, most likely because of natural and vaccine-induced immunity along with the use of effective therapeutics. Current vaccines induce high protection against severe COVID-19. In their preprint, Baum, U., et al. estimated vaccine effectiveness against severe COVID-19 among almost 900,000 elderly individuals. The authors reported an over 95% vaccine efficacy against hospitalization after 3 doses of the Pfizer & BioNTech mRNA vaccine for at least 60 days after the final dose, and efficacy remained high during Omicron’s emergence. And vaccines appear effective against both the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron lineages. Chemaitelly, H., et al. found a third mRNA vaccine dose induced high protection against COVID-19 hospitalization and death from BA.1 and BA.2 infections in a preprint, and Yu, J., et al. demonstrated similar neutralizing antibody titers against both BA.1 and BA.2 in The New England Journal of Medicine. Current vaccines and public health measures can reduce infections and deaths from Omicron.
Resources to Probe Viral Biology
This week, COVID-19 Research Registry Virtual Journal Club presenter Dr. Melanie Ott highlighted a SARS-CoV-2 virus-like particles (VLP) tool that enables rapid analysis of variant mutations and virus neutralization. Research tools and resources such as the VLP system offer the scientific community an easy and accessible approach to screen novel mutations and their impacts on viral fitness and immune escape. Thank you to Ott for her excellent presentation and to panelists Drs. Ilhem Messaoudi and Thomas Gallagher for sharing their ideas and insights as well as Drs. Abdullah Syed and Taha Taha for joining to share more details about the VLP system. For those who missed the March session, a recording will be available in about a week, and all the past sessions are available at the registry virtual journal club archive.Lynn Enquist, Ph.D.
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Read about the Omicron Variant View ASM's COVID-19 Initiatives Explore Sequencing and Surveillance Resources
How is the genome of SARS-CoV-2 evolving? What mechanism does the coronavirus use to target human cells? How does the immune system react to SARS-CoV-2?
Will serology provide the ultimate answer? Does the existence of the antibody equal protection due to antibody neutralization? How often should patients be tested?
What are the results of the newest treatment? What drugs are in the pipeline? What are the latest outcomes from clinical trials?
What are the different kinds of vaccines? Do coronaviruses evolve to escape vaccines? What have we learned from work with Ebola virus and SARS vaccines development?
How does a pandemic start? How long will this pandemic last: can data models give us some hints? COVID-19 affects people differently depending on their age, how does this affect transmission? How does social distancing influence transmission rates?
Scientifically speaking, what is a coronavirus? What are the similarities and differences in structure and activities of SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2? What is the PK/PD of Remdesivir?
Biweekly Commentary Letter
- Audio Interview: "Understanding the Omicron Variant of SARS-CoV-2" Feb. 24, 2022.
- Audio Interview: "Covid-19 Vaccination and the Omicron Variant" Dec. 30, 2021.
- "How booster shots can help protect you from Omicron" Dec. 17, 2021.
- Audio Interview: "The Omicron Variant of SARS-CoV-2" Dec. 2, 2021.
- Coronapod: "Everything we know about the new COVID variant" Nov. 26, 2021.
- "Are COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Needed? The Science behind Boosters" Nov. 24, 2021.
- Dr. Vaughn Cooper: "Evolutionary biology of SARS-CoV-2" March 23, 2021 (YouTube 1:01:46).
- COVID-19 Conversations: "Variants and Vaccines" March 17, 2021 (1:27:06).
- Scientific panel discussion on the new variant, 501Y.V2 Jan. 18, 2021 (1:58:28).
- Dr. Vaughn Cooper: "The ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2" April 1, 2020 (YouTube11:21).
- Dr. Pamela Bjorkman: "Intro to Viruses, Antivirals, and Vaccines" April 10, 2020 (YouTube 52:57).
- Dr. Scott Page: "Understanding Fatality Rate Models" April 3, 2020 (YouTube 10:12).
- Minute Physics: "How to tell if we’re beating Covid-19" March 27, 2020 (YouTube 7:15).
- 3 Blue 1 Brown "Simulating an Epidemic" March 27, 2020 (YouTube 2:07).
- Dr. Britt Glaunsinger: "Coronaviruses 101, Focus on Molecular Virology" March 25, 2020 (YouTube 1:02:18).
- Dr. Vaughn Cooper: "Evolutionary Biology of Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2" March 24, 2020 (YouTube 11:48).
- Pennings and colleagues: "How does SARS-CoV-2 spread?" March 24, 2020 (Vimeo 8:25).
- Dr. Nick Jewell: "The Exponential Power of Now" March 19, 2020 (YouTube 1:06:00).
- Online Marty: "Disease Spread Simulation" March 18, 2020 (YouTube 2:52).
- Pennings and colleagues: "Coronavirus in numbers" March 11, 2020 (Vimeo 10:18).
- Pennings: "SARS-CoV-2 and phylogenetic trees" March 2, 2020 (Vimeo 14:15).
- University of Pennsylvania: "Coronavirus Outbreak Symposium" April 3, 2020 (YouTube).
- Audio Interview: "Vaccine Efficacy and Boosters in Covid-19" Sept. 23, 2021.
- This Week In Virology: "COVID-19 clinical update #79 with Dr. Daniel Griffin" Sept. 11, 2021.
- Audio Interview: "Another New Covid-19 Vaccine" July 1, 2021.
- Coronapod: "CureVac disappoints in COVID vaccine trial" June 18, 2021 (13:29).
- Coronapod: "The variant blamed for India's catastrophic second wave" May 14, 2021 (8:36).
- Audio Interview: "The Real-World Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccination" Feb. 25, 2021.
- Audio Interview: "Covid-19 in South Africa and a New SARS-CoV-2 Variant" Jan. 14, 2021.
- Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (AAC) Podcast: "Therapeutic approaches for COVID-19: Myths and Facts" May 5, 2020.
- DIY Transcriptomics.
- "COVID-360: A Collaborative Effort to Develop a Multidisciplinary Set of Online Resources for Engaging Teaching on the COVID-19 Pandemic" March 2021 (J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ.).
- "Analysis of a COVID-19 Clinical Trial to Emphasize Experimental Design and Quantitative Reasoning in an Introductory Biology Course" March 2021 (J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ.).
- "Genome Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Case Study: An Undergraduate Online Learning Activity To Introduce Bioinformatics, BLAST, and the Power of Genome Databases" March 2021 (J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ.).
- "COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and the Pandemic" (MIT Free Course).
- Coursera: "Fighting COVID-19 with Epidemiology: A Johns Hopkins Teach-Out" (Free Course).
- "COVID vaccine immunity is waning — how much does that matter?" Sept. 17, 2021.
- "Evolution of the COVID-19 vaccine development landscape" Sept. 4, 2021.
- "Not just antibodies: B cells and T cells mediate immunity to COVID-19" Aug. 24, 2021.
- "How the coronavirus infects cells — and why Delta is so dangerous" July 28, 2021.
- "A correlate of protection for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is urgently needed" July 8, 2021.
- "How Immunity Generated from COVID-19 Vaccines Differs from an Infection" June 22, 2021.
- "Antibody (Serology) Tests for COVID-19: a Case Study" May 12, 2021.
- "What scientists know about new, fast-spreading coronavirus variants" May 24, 2021.
- "Pfizer COVID vaccine protects against worrying coronavirus variants" May 6, 2021.
- "One million coronavirus sequences: popular genome site hits mega milestone" April 23, 2021.
- "Pandemic Response Catalyst Conversations: Validating & Sharing Scientific Information" Oct. 13, 2020.
- Atul Gawande: "Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Re-entry" May 13, 2020.
- Dougan and Holt: “How to make a new COVID-19 vaccine starting from scratch” April 9, 2020.