In the news / Cardiovascular

NEWS
With the rise of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, stories surrounding breakthrough cases of vaccinated people continue to surface. Researchers remind us that vaccines reinforce the defenses we already have, so that we can encounter the virus safely and potentially build further upon that protection.
 
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Despite slowdowns in research suffered by universities around the world due to the pandemic, the University of Arizona has experienced solid growth in the commercialization of university inventions. In the last fiscal year alone UArizona received 274 invention disclosures and launched 17 startups.
 
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The AZ HEROES study of COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and immunity among frontline workers has received a $15 million award from the CDC to continue the current research for another year and expand to include children and focus on underserved populations.
 
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Scientists continue to investigate how COVID-19 affects our senses and changes the way we interact with society. Dr. Katalin Gothard says the isolation that comes with COVID-19 especially impacts our sense of touch. She is also studying how COVID-19 is changing our brain chemistry.
 
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Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya says the original COVID-19 Delta variant is more transmissible than anything we’ve seen before. Now, it mutated to delta plus, which seems to make it harder for antibodies to block it from entering a cell. Dr. Bhattacharya says the vaccines we have should provide protection from delta plus.
 
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In a time when the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is rapidly gaining traction, full vaccination offers a much better firewall against infection than partial vaccination. Dr. Michael Worobey agrees the virus has not run out of moves. Experiments found that fully vaccinated people — with the recommended regimen of two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccine — should retain significant protection against the delta variant.
 
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Reaching the elusive herd immunity in Pima County has proven difficult as vaccine administration steadily decreased beginning in April. While some people remain hesitant to get a shot or simply are refusing to do so, health officials attribute the struggle to vaccinate to a lack of access.
 
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The partnership between a basic scientist and a clinical researcher is a setup that permeates the center’s culture and its success, breaking down walls that can stand between disciplines. The center celebrates 35 years of research, teaching, collaboration and discovery. At the heart of its success is a culture of open collaboration that begins at the top.
 
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A just-published report that included data from the University of Arizona AZ Heroes study found that those who contract COVID-19 after vaccination are likely to have a lower viral load, have a shorter infection time and experience milder symptoms than those who didn't receive a vaccine.
 
NEWS
Results of the AZ HEROES study show those who contract COVID-19 after vaccination have lower viral load, shorter infection, and milder symptoms compared to the unvaccinated. The study followed Arizona first responders, health care workers, and other essential frontliners.
 
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Real-world data from the AZ HEROES study show COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections, and when breakthrough infections do occur, the level of infection and impact of the disease are significantly reduced. Dr. Jeff Burgess says that in addition to continuing research into COVID-19 immunity and vaccine efficacy, AZ HEROES researchers are beginning to examine the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 variants.
 
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UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson admitted its first class to the new 7-year medical degree early-admission Accelerated Pathway to Medical Education (APME) Program. Acceptance guarantees entry to the UArizona Honors College, and after three years, admission to UArizona COM-T.
 
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A team of University of Arizona researchers are changing the way we prevent and treat heart disease. Dr. Chris Glembotski discovered a compound shown to be effective in reducing severity and recurrence of heart attack, even limiting the damage to the brain during stroke.
 
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University of Arizona students are taking part in a nationwide study involving more than 20 college campuses that aims to understand whether people vaccinated against COVID-19 can still transmit the disease as asymptomatic carriers. The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Elizabeth Connick, BIO5 member and UArizona chief of the Infectious Diseases Division explained how the study is being conducted and how the findings can serve the ultimate goal of ending the pandemic.
 
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If you had the coronavirus and recovered, your body launched an immune response, but how does your body’s reaction to the virus compare with your body’s reaction to the vaccine? Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, immunobiologist at the University of Arizona and BIO5 member says it depends. Because natural immunity varies, Bhattacharya says the recommendation is you should get the vaccine even if you were exposed to COVID-19.
 
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If you got the Pfizer vaccine, will you really need to get a third shot within a year? The CEO of Pfizer said that’s likely the case, however, a local expert says not so fast. Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, BIO5 member and expert immunologist with the UArizona College of Medicine says that Pfizer and Moderna each released data showing no drop-off in efficacy. The wildcard then becomes whether or not there’s a new variant that appears, that more substantially evades the immune response than the ones that we know about right now.
 
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According to the Centers For Disease Control, common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. Dr. Elizabeth Connick, UArizona Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and BIO5 member, weighs in on factors such as genetics, age, and sex as contributing factors behind a person’s response to receiving a vaccine. Dr. Connick explains the double-edged sword that women have more robust antibody responses than men, are more likely to have reactions to the vaccine, but are also less likely to get hospitalized and succumb to COVID than men.
 
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The National Academy of Inventors has named 61 academic inventors to the 2021 class of NAI Senior Members. Among them are University of Arizona Health Sciences professors Drs. May Khanna and Meredith Hay. NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI Member Institutions who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society.