VACCINE EXPERT WORKING ON DEVELOPING COVID-19 VACCINE, SEES MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COVID-19 AND SARS
Newswise — When T.C. Wu, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and Chien-Fu Hung, Ph.D., heard earlier this year about a new coronavirus that was spreading in China, their pathology labs immediately started developing a vaccine. That’s because nearly 20 years ago, Wu and Hung worked on a vaccine for another coronavirus that originated in China — severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. So far, Wu and Hung have observed that the new coronavirus is “smarter” and “sneakier” than SARS, and they are concerned it will not go away like SARS did. Wu and Hung can discuss how their lab administered the new coronavirus vaccine to mice, and that preliminary results should be back by the end of the month. Watch this video and read this story about their efforts.
Wu oversees the cervical cancer research lab at Johns Hopkins and is a professor of pathology, oncology, and obstetrics and gynecology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He holds a joint appointment in the Bloomberg School of Public Health Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. Hung is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
COVID-19 VERSUS THE FLU: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOUR LUNGS?
Both influenza and COVID-19 cause fever, body aches and fatigue. The viruses that cause both flu and COVID-19 can be spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Currently, no vaccine is available for the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. But there are vaccines to prevent or mitigate various strains of influenza. When it comes to your lungs, how does COVID-19 differ from the flu? Paul Auwaerter, M.D., M.B.A., clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Enid Neptune, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, are available to provide answers.
YOUR LUNGS AND COVID-19: WHAT EXACTLY IS HAPPENING?
We know that, when the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infects a person’s lungs, respiratory symptoms will follow. But what, exactly, happens? How does the virus take hold? What does it do to infected lungs? Brian Garibaldi, M.D., director of the biocontainment unit at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, is available to answer these and other questions about the pathophysiology of this coronavirus.
IMPROVING BLOOD DONATIONS IN A TIME OF CRISIS
The American Red Cross recently announced that nationally, it is facing a “severe blood shortage” as a result of an “unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak.” To learn more about this urgent need, interviews are available with Lydia Pecker, M.D., and Anne Alfa, who has sickle cell disease and requires regular blood donations.
DESIGNING A CORONAVIRUS VACCINE WITH PREGNANT WOMEN IN MIND
To combat the spread of the new coronavirus, public and global health institutions are fast tracking vaccine development. However, there is a real risk that pregnant women and their babies will not be among those who can benefit from them. New vaccine products are rarely designed with pregnant women in mind. Moreover, widespread failure to include pregnant women in vaccine research means that evidence about safety and efficacy during pregnancy has been limited. As a result, in numerous outbreaks and epidemics, pregnant women have been denied opportunities to receive vaccines that would have protected them from the ravages of these diseases. Johns Hopkins leaders of the PREVENT working group have issued 22 specific recommendations to promote equity for pregnant women and their babies in epidemic vaccine development and response.
Carleigh Krubiner, Ph.D., a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics; Ruth Faden, Ph.D., the Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics and founding director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics; and Ruth Karron, M.D., a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center faculty member with a joint appointment at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, are available for interviews to discuss this topic.
MAINTAINING PATIENT CONNECTIONS WITH LOVED ONES DURING COVID-19
In an effort to further protect patients, staff members and the health of the community, hospitals in Maryland and across the country are no longer allowing visitors, except in certain, limited circumstances. Throughout the Johns Hopkins Health System, caregivers are turning to technology — which has long been blamed for disconnecting us — to help connect patients with the outside world during this unprecedented time. To learn more about the factors hospitals weighed in making the difficult decision to restrict visitors, and how hospitals and families are responding, an interview is available with Lisa Allen, Ph.D., M.A., chief patient experience officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine. We will also work with you to identify a patient and/or family member who can talk about their experience.
For more information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from Johns Hopkins Medicine, visit hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus. For information on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from around the Johns Hopkins enterprise, including from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Johns Hopkins University, visit coronavirus.jhu.edu.