In the news / Immune System

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.
 
NEWS
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.
 
NEWS
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.
 
NEWS
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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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.
 
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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.
 
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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Working to prevent Type 2 diabetes, researchers at the University of Arizona are collaborating with scientists universities around the nation to study the connection between fatty liver, the brain, and metabolic disease.
 
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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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Dr. John Galgiani, a professor of medicine in infectious diseases at the College of Medicine – Tucson and director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence, is hopeful that a Valley fever vaccine for dogs may lay the groundwork for another human candidate.
 
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Dr. John Galgiani, a professor and director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the College of Medicine – Tucson, and a group of researchers are working on a new valley fever vaccine formula for dogs that uses a live version of the fungus.

 
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A cross-border investigation of children's susceptibility to asthma and other childhood illnesses in the United States and Mexico is the focus of a new study led by researchers in the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center at the University of Arizona Health Sciences.
 
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Emily Merritt, who is pursuing a doctorate in immunobiology, was one of the first students to participate in the Infection and Inflammation as Drivers of Aging, a program funded by a National Institutes of Health T32 training grant, which supports four graduate or post-doctoral students annually. She and four other students presented their research virtually at the inaugural Infection and Inflammation as Drivers of Aging symposium in January. The research topics ranged from chronic inflammatory response to ischemic stroke and tracking antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in aging individuals. Merritt presented on Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled parasite she studies under the guidance of Dr. Anita Koshy, professor of neurology and BIO5 member.
 
NEWS
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.