first_imgThinkND and the Eck Institute for Global Helath presented their second webinar of the series “Consider This! Simplifying the COVID-19 Conversation” Monday. This session was titled “Vaccines and the Immunology of COVID-19,” and covered COVID-19 vaccines, the clinical trial process and immunity. The goal of the series is to fight against common misconceptions about COVID-19.Monday’s webinar hosted two speakers: Brian Baker, Rev. John A. Zahm professor and department chair of chemistry and biochemistry, and Jeffrey Schorey, George B. Craig Jr. professor in the department of biological sciences. To begin, co-hosts Mary Ann McDowell, an associate professor of biological sciences and a member of the Eck Institute for Global Health, and Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, director of the Eck Institute for Global Health and president of the St. Joseph County Board of Health, answered a question emailed to them by a student in regards to last week’s session, and addressed local news concerning the pandemic. Viewers were informed that COVID-19 cases are currently rising in St. Joseph County, and Indiana set a new state record of new COVID-19 cases in a day on Saturday, with 1,945 reported new cases. Schorey and Baker then explained the national news surrounding President Donald Trump’s claim that he will utilize emergency-use authorization (E.U.A.) to speed up the U.S.’s COVID-19 response. To describe the E.U.A., Schorey used the analogy of a fast pass at an amusement park. Usually, companies must wait in line to get their vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the E.U.A. serves as a kind of “fast pass.” Next, on the segment McDowell and Beidinger-Burnett call “Rumor Has It,” Schorey and Baker spoke to the claim that once an individual contracts COVID-19, they are immune for 90 days. Schorey and Baker said it is too early to tell how long immunity will last, as well as to what extent it will protect recovered COVID-19 survivors. With that being said, Baker believes there will be long-lasting immunity from COVID-19. Schorey said similarities between the current COVID-19 virus and the SARS-CoV-1 virus give us hope there will be fairly good immunity developed from COVID-19, just as there was from SARS-CoV-1. In regards to immunity, Schorey and Baker emphasized there are differences in people’s immune responses. Schorey said he would expect a stronger immune response from people who naturally got COVID-19 and recovered, than from those who were vaccinated. The phases of vaccine development were then discussed by the speakers. First, the preclinical phase is conducted, which consists of animal testing. Next are Phases I and II, which test the vaccine with humans with special attention given to safety. Then, in Phase III, the vaccine is given to a large number of people to test for efficacy. Lastly, Phase IV consists of the deliverance of the vaccine to the public. It is important that a high volume of people receive the vaccine in Phase III to account for varying immune responses from different populations of people, the speakers said. Throughout the session, the audience submitted questions, which Schorey and Baker answered. Additionally, all are welcome to email additional questions to consider@nd.edu. “Consider This!” airs live every week on Monday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. Each session addresses a new topic related to COVID-19. Next week’s session is titled “Masks, Distancing and Public Health,” and registration for the webinars can be found under the Eck Institute for Global Health’s website. Tags: Consider This!, COVID-19, Eck Institute for Global Health, emergency-use authorization, Vaccineslast_img read more


first_imgSouth Sudan on Tuesday rejected a United Nations appeal to halt the planned expulsion of the world body’s top humanitarian aid official in the country, saying he had regularly spoken out against the government.The United Nations announced Monday that South Sudan decided to expel Deputy Chief of the UN Mission and coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs Toby Lanzer.“We cannot withdraw our decision to expel Toby Lanzer,” elaborated South Sudan’s Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Tuesday. He clarified that the move “is a sovereign decision taken by the cabinet due to statements made by the UN official which were deemed to be anti-establishment.”U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the move to expel Toby Lanzer, deputy head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, and said the British-born envoy had been “instrumental in addressing the increasing humanitarian needs of conflict-affected communities” in South Sudan.More than 2 million people have fled their homes, with 555,000 departing for neighbouring states. About a third of the nation’s 11 million people rely on food aid and other assistance.“He (Lanzer) has echoed the views of many members of the international community who believe it is time that the leaders of South Sudan pay heed to the suffering of their people,” the European Union delegation in South Sudan said in a statement.Lanzer’s expulsion was “an affront to the international community” that showed “a callous disregard for the suffering of the South Sudanese people,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement on Tuesday.Fighting has pitted soldiers backing President Salva Kiir, the country’s leader since independence from Sudan in 2011, against those loyal to his former deputy Riek Machar, who was sacked from his post in mid-2013.last_img read more