Story Tips from Johns Hopkins Experts on COVID-19

NEWS STORIES IN THIS ISSUE:

-Physician and Musician: Johns Hopkins Doctor Brings Passion for Music to Medicine During Pandemic
-Rapid, At-Home Blood Test Could Confirm COVID-19 Vaccination in Minutes
-What to Expect and Prepare for As You Return to Regular Health Care Appointments
-Study Suggests Sudden Hearing Loss Not Associated with COVID-19 Vaccination
-Vaccination May Not Rid COVID-19 Risk for Those with Rheumatic, Musculoskeletal Diseases

Preclinical research reveals that new IgM antibodies administered intranasally to fight COVID-19 more potent than commonly used ones

A nasal therapy, built upon on the application of a new engineered IgM antibody therapy for COVID-19, was more effective than commonly used IgG antibodies at neutralizing the COVID-19 virus in animal models, according to research recently published by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB Health), the University of Houston, and IGM Biosciences, Inc.

Low on Antibodies, Blood Cancer Patients Can Fight off COVID-19 with T Cells

Antibodies aren’t the only immune cells needed to fight off COVID-19 — T cells are equally important and can step up to do the job when antibodies are depleted, suggests a new Penn Medicine study of blood cancer patients with COVID-19 published in Nature Medicine.

MAJORITY OF CANCER PATIENTS WITH COVID-19 HAVE SIMILAR IMMUNE RESPONSE TO PEOPLE WITHOUT CANCER

Most people with cancer who are infected by the novel coronavirus produce antibodies at a rate comparable to the rest of the population—but their ability to do so depends on their type of cancer and the treatments they’ve received, according to a new study by researchers at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The findings, published online today in Nature Cancer, may lead to better care for cancer patients, who face a heightened risk of dying from COVID-19, and suggests that cancer patients should respond well to COVID-19 vaccines.

New Study Shows How Mutations in SARS-CoV-2 Allow the Virus to Evade Immune System Defenses

Research reveals how mutated SARS-CoV-2 evades immune system defenses

In lab-dish experiments, the mutant virus escaped antibodies from the plasma of

COVID-19 survivors as well as pharmaceutical-grade antibodies

Mutations arose in an immunocompromised patient with chronic SARS-CoV-2 infection

Patient-derived virus harbored structural changes now seen cropping up independently in samples across the globe

Findings underscore the need for better genomic surveillance to keep track of emerging variants

Results highlight importance of therapies aimed at multiple targets on SARS-CoV-2 to minimize risk of resistance

New evidence COVID-19 antibodies, vaccines less effective against variants

New research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 can evade antibodies that work against the original form of the virus that sparked the pandemic, potentially undermining the effectiveness of vaccines and antibody-based drugs now being used to prevent or treat COVID-19.

More than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Protein 3D Structures Available

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 3, 2021) – The 3D structures of more than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus proteins are freely available from the RCSB Protein Data Bank headquartered at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. The data bank reached the milestone this week, with 1,018 proteins as…

Federal COVID-19 response taps UCI Health as a model for delivering monoclonal antibody therapy

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 9, 2021 — Monoclonal antibodies are showing promise for improving outcomes for COVID-19 patients, but when a hospital is already beyond capacity, administering them can be a challenge. As hospitalizations soared across California, clinicians with UCI Health created a system for delivering monoclonal antibodies that is keeping hospital beds available for patients with the greatest need.

Retrained generic antibodies can recognize SARS-CoV-2

An alternative approach to train the immunity response is offered by researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago and California State University at Sacramento who have developed a novel strategy that redirects antibodies for other diseases existing in humans to the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2.

Recruiting Starts at University of Miami Health System for NIH Study of COVID-19 Immunity

The University of Miami Health System is one of five sites nationally and the only one in the Southeast U.S. chosen to participate in a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) study looking at people who have had COVID-19 or have had a COVID-19 vaccine to examine the durability and robustness of participants’ antibody and T-cell responses to the virus.

NAU-TGen study results show COVID-19 virus triggers antibodies from previous coronavirus infections

A collaborative study shows COVID-19 virus triggers antibodies from previous coronavirus infections, such as the common cold. It may also explain how previous exposure could partially account for differences in severity between old vs. young patients

Antibody cocktails at low doses could be more effective at treating COVID-19, according to new study

Pairs of antibodies may be more effective than single antibodies at preventing and treating COVID-19, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The Rockefeller University in New York. The study, published November 19 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), also suggests that in addition to blocking SARS-CoV-2’s entry into cells, the antibodies may combat the virus by enlisting various types of white blood cells to fight the infection.

‘Pinprick’ biomarker blood test offers diagnostic potential for HPV-related cancers – clinical study shows rising antibody levels predict the course of cancer

A potential breakthrough in the early detection of the neck, head and anal cancers linked to human papilloma viruses (HPV) has emerged. It is based on a highly specific diagnostic test that appears to indicate cancer, and predict its course, from just a pinprick of blood.

Team assessing if dual-antibody injection prevents COVID-19 illness

A combination antibody treatment for preventing COVID-19 illness in individuals who have had sustained exposure to someone with the virus is being studied by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The clinical trial is enrolling patients at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.

Study takes us a step closer to a universal antibody test for COVID-19

A study released by Houston Methodist Sept. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation takes researchers closer to developing a uniform, universal COVID-19 antibody test. The multicenter collaboration tested alternative ways to measure COVID-19 antibody levels that’s faster, easier and can inexpensively be used on a larger scale to accurately identify potential donors for plasma therapy with the best chance of helping patients infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Johns Hopkins Receives $35 Million in Funding from Department of Defense for Covid-19 Blood Plasma Trials

Johns Hopkins researchers have received $35 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND), on behalf of the Defense Health Agency, for two nationwide clinical trials to test the effectiveness of a convalescent blood plasma outpatient treatment. The treatment is a transfusion of a blood product from COVID-19 survivors that contains antibodies that may help the patient’s immune system fight the virus.

Coronavirus antibodies fall dramatically in first 3 months after mild cases of COVID-19

A study by UCLA researchers shows that in people with mild cases of COVID-19, antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes the disease — drop sharply over the first three months after infection, decreasing by roughly half every 73 days. If sustained at that rate, the antibodies would disappear within about a year.

LLNL’s new machine learning platform generates novel COVID-19 antibody sequences for experimental testing

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have identified an initial set of therapeutic antibody sequences, designed in a few weeks using machine learning and supercomputing, aimed at binding and neutralizing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The research team is performing experimental testing on the chosen antibody designs.

UC San Diego Health Launches Novel Coronavirus Blood Testing to Identify Past Exposure

Physicians and scientists at UC San Diego Health have launched a pair of serological tests that will look for novel coronavirus antibodies—evidence in persons tested that they have previously been infected by the viral cause of COVID-19, even if they never experienced tell-tale symptoms.

INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERTS RECOMMEND USING ANTIBODIES FROM COVID-19 SURVIVORS AS STOPGAP MEASURE TO TREAT PATIENTS AND PROTECT HEALTH CARE WORKERS

Countries fighting outbreaks of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 should consider using the antibodies of people who have recovered from infection to treat cases and provide short-term immunity—lasting weeks to months—to critical health care workers, argue two infectious disease experts.

Designer Probiotic Treatment for Cancer Immunotherapy

Columbia Engineers have engineered probiotics to safely deliver immunotherapies within tumors, including nanobodies against two proven therapeutic targets—PD-L1 and CTLA-4. Continuously released by bacteria, the drugs continue to attack the tumor after just one dose, facilitating an immune response resulting in tumor regression. The versatile probiotic platform can also be used to deliver multiple immunotherapies simultaneously, enabling the release of effective therapeutic combinations within the tumor for more difficult-to-treat cancers like colorectal cancer.

High-Tech Printing May Help Eliminate Painful Shots

Painful hypodermic needles may not be needed in the future to give shots, inject drugs and get blood samples. With 4D printing, Rutgers engineers have created tiny needles that mimic parasites that attach to skin and could replace hypodermic needles, according to a study in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.