In the news / Immune System

NEWS
Experts were asked about why women are left out of research populations and what is being done to address the issue. “There are sex differences in immune responses, drug metabolism and disease states. Some differences are mediated by hormonal differences and others by other biological factors,” explained Dr. Elizabeth Connick, BIO5 member, professor, and chief of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. “It is essential to include women in research studies so that they can benefit from the results of research in the same way as men,” Dr. Connick said in an interview.
 
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One of the most significant questions about the novel coronavirus is whether people who are infected are immune from reinfection and, if so, for how long. Drs. Deepta Bhattacharya and Janko Nikolich-Žugich, University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers and members of BIO5 Institute, determined the answer by studying the production of antibodies from a sample of nearly 6,000 people. Finding showed that immunity persists for at least several months after being infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
 
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A new study by the University of Arizona is looking into COVID-19 immunity, which includes how long it will last and if you can get it more than once. Dr. Jeff Burgess, UArizona Associate Dean of Research and BIO5 member, along with other researchers said just because you've had COVID-19, doesn't mean you're in the clear. According to the CDC, there are no confirmed to date of a person being reinfected with COVID-19 within three months of initial infection. The CDC also said, if a person has recovered and has new symptoms the person may need an evaluation for re-infection.
 
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Menopause is a “state of accelerated aging” that can significantly affect health in many ways, says BIO5 member and UArizona professor in the Department of Physiology, Dr. Heddwen Brooks. It’s known that prior to menopause, women generally have lower blood pressure than men. They also have greater protection against cardiovascular disease—the leading cause of death worldwide—as well as kidney disease and diabetic complications. The opposite is true after menopause and Dr. Brooks' research seeks to understand why.
 
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On campus at the University of Arizona, researchers are trying to crack the cancer code. With the help of a grant from the American Cancer Society Dr. Jacob Schwartz, BIO5 member and assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is taking a closer look at the the behavior of the childhood cancer, Ewing Sarcoma. Dr. Schwartz also says it is helping them understand other cancers along the way.
 
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SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can relieve pain, according to a new study by University of Arizona researchers. The finding may explain why nearly half of all people who get COVID-19 experience few or no symptoms, even though they are able to spread the disease, according to the study's corresponding author Dr. Rajesh Khanna, UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson's Department of Pharmacology professor and member of the BIO5 Institute.
 
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Study demonstrates that menopause-induced changes to protective immune cells might contribute to the sharp increase in high blood pressure among postmenopausal women. These findings may also have implications for sex differences in COVID-19 responses.
 
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Cellular and molecular medicine master’s student Mallory Thompson interacts with COVID-19 patients daily, strengthening her desire to pursue a medical degree following graduation.
 
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After she and nine family members were infected with SARS-CoV-2 during a family vacation, Jennifer Uhrlaub now advocates for the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing not only in public, but also around those close to us.
 
NEWS
Since the University of Arizona opened its doors, more than 9,000 students, faculty and staff had been tested for COVID-19 and everyone on campus was wearing a mask. The school had even begun sampling its wastewater to quickly detect a potential hot spot. But the centerpiece in the school's preemptive battle against COVID-19 was the "Covid Watch" smartphone app, which uses Bluetooth technology to send an alert to someone's phone if they are exposed to the virus.
 
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The BIO5 Postdoctoral Fellowship provided Jennifer Lising Roxas with a steppingstone to attain a two-year USDA fellowship award that funds her salary, research and travel to professional development opportunities.
 
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COVID-19 has presented many challenges for universities as they assess the risks of reopening for the health of older faculty and staff. Dr. Zhao Chen, UArizona Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics chair and BIO5 member, will lead an internal study to assess risk perception, risk mitigation strategies, and overall wellness for UArizona employees aged 50+ during the reopening process.
 
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Felicia Goodrum has been nominated for a National Institutes of Health MERIT Award to continue studying mechanisms of human cytomegalovirus persistence and their implications on human health.
 
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The BIO5 Institute solicited COVID-19 research proposals for seed grants supplied by the Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF).

 
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As of April 28, more than 6,500 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state of Arizona.

 
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The University of Arizona will soon begin analyzing blood samples from hundreds of thousands of Arizonans to determine who has been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 and developed antibodies against it. The first phase of testing will begin April 30 in Pima County and will include 3,000 health care workers and first responders.
 
NEWS
With $3.5 million in funding from the state, the University of Arizona is moving forward with plans to start producing blood tests to detect COVID-19 antibodies for the Arizona’s front-line workforce. The antibody tests build upon the work of UArizona Health Sciences researchers and BIO5 Institute members Dr. Janko Nikolich-Žugich, professor and head of the Department of Immunobiology, and Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, associate professor of immunobiology. The tests will help determine how many people have been exposed to the novel coronavirus and have successfully built an immunity against it. Experts say as many as 50% of people who have been exposed to COVID-19 have experienced few to no symptoms of the disease.
 
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UArizona Center for Integrative Medicine Research Director and BIO5 member Dr. Esther Sternberg writes about her tips for coping with the stresses and anxieties that come with living through a global pandemic. Chronic stress, which worsens the severity and frequency of viral infections, can be lowered by using various integrative and mind-body techniques; cultivate social support, eat healthy, move, get some sleep, keep a routine.