For this week’s discussion, you will select a topic related to the immunology or pathophysiology of COVID19. Your post must be at least 120 words of your own (please make sure to use your own words- do not just copy and paste from other resources). Make sure to post a link to the resources you use. You should also reply to at least 2 other post with 35 words or more and at least one follow up question. You may select one of the topics below or a different topic related to COVID19 immunology of your choice. You do NOT have to answer every question listed for each topic- these are just suggestions for some of the topics to research from an immunological perspective. Initial post is due by Thursday (6 points) and two replies with at least one follow-up question (2 points each) by Sunday.
For one bonus point on this discussion, reply to a classmate’s question with an additional post of at least 35 words or more. Make sure to cite the source for your answer.
1. Briefly discuss treatment of COVID19 with one or more of the following:
- monoclonal antibodies, e.g., Eli Lilly’s bebtelovimab, Astra Zeneca’s Evusheld (tixagevimab and cilgavimab)
- antiviral medications, e.g., Pfizer’s Paxlovid (the drug administered to President Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci when they contracted Covid summer 2022), Gilead’s remdesivir(administered to former President Trump in October 2020), Merck’s molnupiravir
Some of the questions you might consider are: For which patient populations are these treatments indicated? How does each treatment work to reduce the incidence and/or severity of COVID19? At what point in the illness is each specific treatment effective and why? What is Paxlovid Covid rebound? Which monoclonal antibody products are currently recommended for treatment and/or prevention of COVID19? Which antigenic epitopes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus do these monoclonal antibodies target? Why has treatment with some formerly effective monoclonal antibodies been discontinued, e.g., Regeneron’s REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab; administered to former President Trump in October 2020) and Glaxo Smith Kline’s Xevudy (sotrovimab)?
2. Explain how one or more of the currently available COVID19 vaccines work to reduce the incidence and/or severity of COVID19 infections. Some of the questions you might consider are: Which antigenic epitopes do the current vaccines target? Based on current evidence, how long do SARS-CoV-2 antibodies persist after the primary series compared to a booster dose? Are there differences in immune response depending on how much time elapses between vaccinations? Are there differences in immune responses of patients with immune suppressing conditions? Is there any evidence if cell-mediated immunity, i.e., T cells, is also affected by vaccination? How have new variants, e.g., omicron, been able to partially evade the immune response inducted by the vaccines? How do the recently authorized new bivalent boosters by Moderna and Pfizer work to specifically target current omicron strains more effectively?
3. Healthcare workers will likely be taking care of patients with post acute COVID 19 infection AKA “long COVID” for possibly many years to come. What do we know about the incidence, manifestations, and pathophysiology of post acute coronavirus infection? What mechanisms are thought to be responsible for the development of long COVID syndrome? Which risk factors increase a patient’s risk for long COVID? Which organ systems may be affected? What treatment options are being developed for these conditions?
Since the research on COVID19 is always being updated, bear in mind that much of the information you find may change in the next few months, as we continue to learn more about this condition. Make sure to cite high-quality sources based on peer reviewed scientific research. Here is a partial list of suggested sites for info on the vaccines:
Medline Plus COVID vaccine info https://medlineplus.gov/covid19vaccines.html (Links to an external site.)
CDC COVID vaccine info https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/index.html (Links to an external site.)
WHO COVID vaccine info https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines (Links to an external site.)
NIH Treatment Guidelines for COVID https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/ (Links to an external site.)
NIH Therapeutic management of adults with COVID https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/therapeutic-management/