International Research Review

International Research Review2021-03-08T11:41:45-05:00

Vaccines or boosters tailored to the variant first identified in South Africa may be needed

By Mariana Bego Variant first identified in South Africa not so easily neutralized by non-specific antibodies A multi-centered French group, led by Dr. Olivier Schwartz at the Pasteur Institute of Paris, examined how antibodies from previously infected and vaccinated individuals responded to two of the SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, those first identified in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) and South Africa (B.1.351). Samples from individuals [...]

April 6, 2021|International research review|

If you’re feeling drained, you’re not alone

By Kristin Davis These challenging times have seen scientists attempt to juggle many hats, from directing their own research programs and mentoring students at a distance, to increased demands for peer review and attendance among various committees. Yet, not often recognized, is the immense toll this has taken on the mental health of scientists and other research personnel. This essay is a reminder that [...]

April 6, 2021|International research review|

Nationwide study in Israel demonstrates high vaccine effectiveness

By Mercedes Yanes Lane Israel’s Ministry of Health used routine vaccine and COVID-19 surveillance to calculate the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, seven days after the second injection. The results, in this The Lancet preprint, show that not only were high proportions of the population vaccinated (82.8% of people over 65 received two doses), but that vaccines were highly effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections, [...]

April 6, 2021|International research review|

Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 generates T cell immunity in the absence of detectable infection

By Varun Anipindi In a previous study, Wang et al. demonstrated that COVID-19 disease severity was inversely correlated with T cell-mediated immune responses1. Specifically, recovery from COVID-19 disease was linked to both adequate CD4/CD8 T cell immunity and the level of neutralizing antibodies. This suggests that T cells may play a critical role in resolving COVID-19 infections. Furthermore, data from SARS-CoV-1 infected patients indicate [...]

March 30, 2021|International research review|

People over 65 are more prone to reinfection than young adults

By Mariana Bego Several studies have recently evaluated the protection against reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A recent article in The Lancet studied the situation in Denmark, where 70% of the entire population (or 4 million people) was tested for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR as part of the country’s nationwide free-of-charge testing strategy. The authors from the University of Copenhagen retrieved data [...]

March 30, 2021|International research review|

Interim analysis suggests the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is not effective against the South African variant

By Mercedes Yanes Lane A randomized control trial in South Africa, the results of which have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, although safe, is not effective against the B.1.351 variant, also known as the South African variant. This study reports on a phase 1b-2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (also [...]

March 23, 2021|International research review|

The first 12 months of COVID-19: A timeline of immunological insights

By Varun Anipindi The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it. With over 121 million infections and 2.6 million deaths known worldwide, the novel coronavirus first described as SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019, has brought our lives and economy to a screeching halt. Yet, as we are rounding the corner and adapting to life in this new era, it is important to remember [...]

March 23, 2021|International research review|

Quantifying antibodies made in response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination: comparable outcomes from five commercial assays

By Mariana Bego The evaluation of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 is critical to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. During our current vaccination efforts, assays detecting anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are key to monitoring the success of our vaccination strategy. Early assays measuring SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies were designed to distinguish between naïve and infected individuals. These were usually developed as qualitative rather than quantitative assays and were designed [...]

March 15, 2021|International research review|

Modelling uncertain times: what are the epidemiological and viral variant outcomes of alternative vaccination schemes?

By Mercedes Yanes Lane Due to vaccine shortages, researchers are considering alternative options to the standard recommended vaccination schedules allowing more people to be vaccinated at an earlier date. This UK study modelled different vaccination scenarios, including different dosing schemes, strengths of immunity generated, and the likelihood of developing escape variants. Researchers found that a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (that generates a [...]

March 15, 2021|International research review|
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