HBO’s The Last of Us has successfully brought fungal pathogens to the forefront of the pandemic discourse, raising questions as to whether a fungus could really pose a significant threat to humans. While scientists agree that the fungus featured in the show, cordyceps, won’t be making the required inter-species jump any time soon, there is a fungal pathogen that has been taking root in hospitals across the U.S. which gives some cause for concern: Candida auris.Continue reading “Confronting an Emerging Pathogen: Candida auris”
Take a Break, Take A Walk!
For many of us, we’re used to getting our steps in when walking from one meeting room to the next. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted to new communication modes. Meetings transitioned to simply clicking from one zoom to the other, increasing the amount of time we stay sedentary. For those who are still working remotely, this is a reminder to make time for movement! Contrary to how long periods of sitting have negative effects on the body, walking has a long list of benefits. In the spirit of National Walking Day, here are some reasons why you should take a break and take a walk.Continue reading “Take a Break, Take A Walk!”
COVID-19 Antiviral Therapies: What Are the New Drugs, and How Do They Work?
We’re entering the third year of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s far from over. There has been considerable progress with SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development, with most of the focus on mRNA vaccines and adenoviral vector vaccines. Meanwhile, novel vaccine delivery systems are being tested among efforts to develop a “pan-coronavirus” vaccine that is effective against multiple variants. One such example is ferritin nanoparticle technology developed by researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and their collaborators. Encouraging results from nonhuman primate studies, using several SARS-CoV-2 antigens, were published in 2021 (1–3).
The current surge in COVID-19 cases that began last month is largely due to the Omicron variant in the US, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At present, we still don’t know enough about this variant, but it’s clear that its rapid spread is forcing us to re-examine what we know about SARS-CoV-2 (4). As the virus continues to mutate, new variants will continue to emerge and spread. Although current vaccines can provide protection against multiple variants, breakthrough infections are a concern. Vaccination is still the best option to reduce the risk of infection, hospitalization, and death compared to unvaccinated people.
It’s clear that vaccines are only part of an effective response to fighting the pandemic. Along with continued vaccine development efforts, attention must also be given to antiviral drug development for people already infected with COVID-19. Due to the lengthy process for new drug development, early efforts focused on repurposing existing drugs.Continue reading “COVID-19 Antiviral Therapies: What Are the New Drugs, and How Do They Work?”
Streamlining Research: The Merits of Adaptive Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are arguably the backbone of medical advancement. But the trials most worth doing are usually large, costly and time-intensive, demanding extensive resources and personnel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a marked uptick in the number of clinical trials, many of which are woefully flawed with issues ranging from insufficient sample size to bad design. The published research that follows is often redundant or inconclusive.
So how can scientists designing and running clinical trials streamline their efforts to reduce waste and achieve more useful outcomes? The answer could be adaptive clinical trials.Continue reading “Streamlining Research: The Merits of Adaptive Clinical Trials”
Hiring Undergraduates and Recent Graduates in these Unprecedented Times
Today’s guest blog was written in collaboration with Melissa Martin, a former global marketing intern with Promega. She is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is double majoring in zoology and life sciences communication, with a certificate in environmental studies.
Writing to PIs and hiring managers is a new experience for me, and one that is interesting to reflect upon as I will soon be graduating college and pursuing a career myself. I think it is important that PIs and potential employers understand my fellow undergraduates and recent graduates. This is crucial to ensure that they can find a fitting job for themselves, while employers also benefit by hiring an individual that will fit in to the work environment and make positive contributions.Continue reading “Hiring Undergraduates and Recent Graduates in these Unprecedented Times”