Dr. Rebecca Ellis Dutch is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at the University of Kentucky, and currently leads the COVID-19 Unified Research Experts Alliance team focused on biomedical and clinical issues related to the pandemic for the university. Becky received a BS in Biochemistry and a BS in Microbiology from Michigan State University in 1986. As a Churchill Scholar, she then completed a M.Phil. degree in Biochemistry from Cambridge University, focusing on plant biochemistry. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Stanford University in 1994, working with Dr. I. Robert Lehman on recombination in herpes simplex virus. Becky then moved to studies of viral glycoproteins in RNA viruses for her postdoctoral training at Northwestern University/HHMI with Dr. Robert Lamb. She joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky in 2000. Her research, which has resulted in continuous NIH funding since 2001 and numerous other grants, manuscripts, and presentations focuses on emerging RNA viruses, with a particular emphasis on viral entry, assembly, and spread. Dr. Dutch was a 2015-2016 University Research Professor in recognition of her outstanding research efforts. Dr. Dutch teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate level and has twice been named a finalist for the Provost’s Outstanding Teacher award. She is also highly committed to the training and mentoring of young scientists and has served as the primary mentor for 19 Ph.D. students, 4 MD/Ph.D. students, five postdoctoral scholars, and 28 undergraduate researchers. Dr. Dutch is an editor for Journal of Virology (where she also serves as the Spotlight editor), Plos Pathogens, and mSphere. She has been a member of numerous grant review panels, including serving as a standing member of the NIH VIRB and MID study sections. She also served as the elected President of the American Society for Virology from 2016-2017.
It's what we think is a third in a line of emerging coronaviruses. The first was SARS, which came out in 2002. SARS had slightly a less than 10% mortality rate but thankfully did not transmit as well as this virus.
Dutch says the team, which is now meeting multiple times a week via Zoom, is also identifying potential COVID-19 research collaborations among UK experts. Several CURE team members have expertise directly related to COVID-19.
University of Kentucky virologist Rebecca Dutch answers key questions about SARS-CoV-2 and the coronavirus pandemic.
28-Jul-2020 08:25:47 AM EDT
Clinical leaders from the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center, College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy have launched a clinical trial for experimental therapies to treat patients infected with COVID-19.
11-May-2020 09:00:08 AM EDT
Researchers and faculty from multiple disciplines across the University of Kentucky are coming together as part of the global effort to treat, understand and eradicate COVID-19. A new workgroup within UK’s College of Medicine is bringing together experts from across the campus to focus on advising COVID-19 patient care and clinical trials based on emerging research and potential treatment options.
03-Apr-2020 08:55:53 AM EDT
University of Kentucky virologist Rebecca Dutch answers key questions related to the novel coronavirus. Dutch discusses the virus’ origin, transmission rates, mutation, testing, the difference between COVID-19 and SARS/MERS, and more.
02-Apr-2020 04:00:08 AM EDT
“The rapid funding of these project is critical to allowing UK’s researchers to effectively address the COVID-19 crisis,” said Rebecca Dutch, PhD, professor of Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry, who leads the CURE Alliance. “The already funded projects highlight the wealth of research expertise here on campus, and the ability of those experts to rapid deploy their experience to help face this crisis.”
“The PCR test is what’s generally used now to look for active infection, and that’s looking for viral RNA,” says Dr. Dutch. An antibody test uses antigens to see if a patient’s blood contains antibodies that bind to the antigen; antigen tests use antibodies to see if the antigen is present in the patient’s nasal cavity.
“ If someone who seems to have cleared the viruses, had multiple negative tests and then comes back infected nine months, 12 months later, that would suggest - be more suggestive of reinfection than someone who a few months later without being 100% sure has cleared the infection is re-spiking sequences.”
“I would make the assumption that it's possible to get something back even if you had it. So just go ahead and take the precautions. I still think it's likely that we're generating protective response for most people, that the history of respiratory viruses would suggest that's the most likely scenario.”
“Some asymptomatic people may simply not be perceiving that those changes are going on and not be getting ill enough that they notice it. So, you can't rule out the possibility that someone might have some longer-term issues that they're dealing with because they had the virus but weren't aware of it.”