antibodies

Two earlier posts in this series explored what is a virus and what is a vaccine as well as the types of vaccines under development. As with the type of vaccine, the type of virus is as important when developing a vaccine. You might ask: Why do we need a new flu shot every year? Why isn’t there a vaccine for HIV? How do these issues translate to the new COVID-19 vaccine? Excellent questions all, that are answered by understanding the differences between viruses. Influenza, the virus which causes the flu, has a genome made of eight independent segments. The eight segments in one strain of the flu can easily mix with the segments in other strains of the flu, creating what is called a “shift”...
Much like drugs, vaccine candidates that seem promising during laboratory research are assessed and validated based on their performance in clinical trials. In the U.S., making it to this step requires a trial sponsor to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the FDA for review. 6 This application most commonly highlights technical data on immunogenicity — the ability to elicit a targeted immune response —, the mechanism of action from animal testing, and importantly, the resources needed for scaling up production. 6 In a recent vaccine-development-focused installment of the popular American Public Health Association and National Academy of Medicine’s webinar series, COVID-...
What is a Virus? Viruses are tiny parasites that can cause disease. 1 While there are many types of viruses, they all contain genetic material, known as the viral genome, and a surrounding shell made of proteins and lipids. The SARS-CoV2 virus, responsible for COVID-19, is about 125 nm wide, 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. 2 SARS-CoV2 is an RNA virus, meaning that the internal genetic material is single-stranded RNA. This RNA is packaged inside of the virus with the “N” protein while the “S”, “E”, and “M” proteins are components in the outer lipid shell. The “S” protein is the one that sticks out from the virus giving the appearance of a crown. The Latin word for crown...
As scientists work towards a COVID-19 vaccine, they are faced with the decision of which type of vaccine to choose. Here, we review the different types of vaccines, how they work, some examples, and current COVID-19 trials in each category. For additional information on the science behind vaccine approaches for covid-19, take a look at Research!America’s COVID-19: By the Science infographic. Live-attenuated vaccines Live-attenuated vaccines use a weakened form of the germ (bacteria or virus) that causes the disease. Scientists weaken the germ by altering its genetic code to prevent the germ from rapidly replicating in human cells. This weakened form can no longer cause the disease, but the...
COVID-19 serology tests, also known as antibody tests, are currently receiving heightened attention and scrutiny. Why? Validated and correctly performed positive serology tests are a tool to confirm previous SARS-CoV2 (the virus causing COVID-19) infection and may indicate that a patient has built immunity to the virus. However, there are still questions we need to answer about the clinical effectiveness of serology testing to ensure that they yield accurate results. Additionally, scientists do not yet know for sure if a patient with a validated positive serology test is immune to reinfection by the virus. What Must Be Learned Before Serology Tests Can Be Used Effectively In the American...

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient