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1.
Front Immunol ; 12: 785349, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911033

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infections present a tremendous threat to public health. Safe and efficacious vaccines are the most effective means in preventing the infections. A variety of vaccines have demonstrated excellent efficacy and safety around the globe. Yet, development of alternative forms of vaccines remains beneficial, particularly those with simpler production processes, less stringent storage conditions, and the capability of being used in heterologous prime/boost regimens which have shown improved efficacy against many diseases. Here we reported a novel DNA vaccine comprised of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein fused with CD40 ligand (CD40L) serving as both a targeting ligand and molecular adjuvant. A single intramuscular injection in Syrian hamsters induced significant neutralizing antibodies 3-weeks after vaccination, with a boost substantially improving immune responses. Moreover, the vaccine also reduced weight loss and suppressed viral replication in the lungs and nasal turbinates of challenged animals. Finally, the incorporation of CD40L into the DNA vaccine was shown to reduce lung pathology more effectively than the DNA vaccine devoid of CD40L. These results collectively indicate that this DNA vaccine candidate could be further explored because of its efficacy and known safety profile.


Subject(s)
CD40 Ligand/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Mesocricetus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/immunology , Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Mesocricetus/virology , Models, Animal , Vaccination/methods , Vaccines, Inactivated/immunology
2.
Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice ; 22(1):66-82, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1716459

ABSTRACT

Using open-ended questions, this study surveyed over 450 undergraduate students to gain insights into their perceptions of the virtual learning environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results reveal the rapid transition of most courses to online teaching because of COVID-19 was very challenging for students. A conceptual model was developed on the challenges of virtual learning. The findings reveal three major challenges for virtual learning: learning environment, motivation, and learning effectiveness. Environment and personal characteristics contributed to the lack of motivation to learn. Furthermore, students’ learning behavior and professors’ unpreparedness, and subject matter caused decreased learning effectiveness. The findings of the study can help decision makers at colleges and universities make informed decisions when adopting and/or modifying different teaching/learning environments, as well as professors in developing effective teaching strategies and pedagogy. © 2022, North American Business Press. All rights reserved.

3.
Frontiers in immunology ; 12, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1652330

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infections present a tremendous threat to public health. Safe and efficacious vaccines are the most effective means in preventing the infections. A variety of vaccines have demonstrated excellent efficacy and safety around the globe. Yet, development of alternative forms of vaccines remains beneficial, particularly those with simpler production processes, less stringent storage conditions, and the capability of being used in heterologous prime/boost regimens which have shown improved efficacy against many diseases. Here we reported a novel DNA vaccine comprised of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein fused with CD40 ligand (CD40L) serving as both a targeting ligand and molecular adjuvant. A single intramuscular injection in Syrian hamsters induced significant neutralizing antibodies 3-weeks after vaccination, with a boost substantially improving immune responses. Moreover, the vaccine also reduced weight loss and suppressed viral replication in the lungs and nasal turbinates of challenged animals. Finally, the incorporation of CD40L into the DNA vaccine was shown to reduce lung pathology more effectively than the DNA vaccine devoid of CD40L. These results collectively indicate that this DNA vaccine candidate could be further explored because of its efficacy and known safety profile.

5.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine ; 203(9), 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1277046

ABSTRACT

RATIONALE: Currently, there are over 20,000 COVID-19 positive patients requiring intensive care unit (ICU) care in the United States (US). Even prior to the pandemic, up to 30% of family members of ICU patients experience post-traumatic stress disorder and up to 50% sustain potentially prolonged anxiety and/or depression. Although family bedside engagement improves both short-and long-term outcomes for patients and their families, nationwide social distancing recommendations have curtailed hospital visitation, potentially heightening the risk of stress-related disorders in these family members. The goal of this analysis is to explore the experiences of physically distanced family members of COVID-19 ICU patients in order to inform future best practices. Methods: This qualitative analysis is part of a multisite, observational, mixed-methods study of 12 US hospitals. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 75 participants from five sites;14 interviews were analyzed in this preliminary analysis. Adult family members of COVID-19 positive patients admitted to the ICU from March-June 2020 were interviewed three months post-discharge. After sequential screening by site coordinators, participants were contacted by the qualitative team until all interviews (10-15 per site) were completed. Qualitative interviews explored the illness stories, communication perceptions, and explored stressors. Thematic analysis was applied to the verbatim transcripts of the phone interviews. Four coders utilized an iteratively-developed codebook to analyze transcripts using a round-robin method with two analysts per transcript. Discrepant codes were adjudicated by a third analyst to attend to inter-rater reliability. Results: Five preliminary themes and seven subthemes emerged (Table 1). Positive communication experiences were more common than negative ones. Communication themes were: 1) Participants were reassured by proactive and frequent communication, leaving them feeling informed and included in care;and 2) Mixed feelings were expressed about the value of video-conferencing technology. Themes from the emotional and stress experiences were: 3) Profound sadness and distress resulted from isolation from patients, clinicians, and supportive family;4) Stress was amplified by external factors;and 5) Positive experiences centered upon appreciation for healthcare workers and gratitude for compassionate care. Conclusion: Incorporating the voices of family members during the COVID-19 pandemic establishes a foundation to inform family-centered, best practice guidelines to support the unique needs of family members who are physically distant from their critically ill and dying loved ones.

6.
Respir Med Res ; 80: 100844, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1260852

ABSTRACT

Recent data show an interaction between COVID-19 and nicotine and indicate the need for an assessment of transdermal nicotine use in non-smokers. Assessments have been conducted into the short-term cognitive effects of nicotine and into diseases such as Parkinson's, Tourette syndrome, ADHD or ulcerative colitis. METHODS: Analyses of nicotine administration protocols and safety were conducted after reviewing Medline and Science Direct databases performing a search using the words [transdermal nicotine] AND [non-smoker] AND selected diseases. RESULTS: Among 298 articles identified, there were 35 reviewed publications reporting on 33 studies of non-smokers receiving transdermal nicotine for >48hours. In the 16 randomized trials, 7 crossover, 1 case/control and 9 open studies patients received an initial nicotine dose of between 2.5mg and 15mg/day. In 22 studies, daily doses increased by 2 to 7 steps in 3 to 96 days until the dose was between 5mg and 105mg/day. The target nicotine dose was 19.06±20.89mg/day. The 987 non-smokers (534 never-smokers, 326 ex-smokers and 127 classified as "non-smokers") received or did not receive nicotine. The most common side-effects were nausea and skin itching. Forty-three (7.1%) non-smokers stopped treatment because of an adverse event of nicotine. No hospitalization related to nicotine side-effects were reported. CONCLUSION: Despite a relatively safe tolerance profile, transdermal nicotine therapy in non-smokers can only be used in clinical trials. There is a lack of formal assessment of the potential risk of developing a tobacco addiction. This review offers baseline data to set a transdermal nicotine protocol for non-smokers with a new purpose.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Colitis, Ulcerative , Humans , Nicotine/adverse effects , Non-Smokers , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Rev Neurol (Paris) ; 177(3): 275-282, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1078105

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Neurological disorders associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection represent a clinical challenge because they encompass a broad neurological spectrum and may occur before the diagnosis of COVID-19. METHODS: In this monocentric retrospective case series, medical records from patients with acute neurological disorders associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection from medicine departments of an academic center in Paris area were collected between March 15th and May 15th 2020. Diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 was ascertained through specific RT-PCR in nasopharyngeal swabs or based on circulating serum IgG antibodies. RESULTS: Twenty-six patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection presented with neurological disorders: encephalitis (N=8), encephalopathy (N=6), cerebrovascular events (ischemic strokes N=4 and vein thromboses N=2), other central nervous system (CNS) disorders (N=4), and Guillain-Barré syndrome (N=2). The diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 was delayed on average 1.6 days after the onset of neurological disorder, especially in case of encephalitis 3.9 days, encephalopathy 1.0 day, and cerebrovascular event 2.7 days. CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirms that COVID-19 can yield a broad spectrum of neurological disorders. Because neurological presentations of COVID-19 often occur a few days before the diagnosis of SARS-COV-2 infection, clinicians should take preventive measures such as patient isolation and masks for any new admission to avoid nosocomial infections. Anti-SARS-CoV2 antibody detection in RT-PCR SARS CoV-2 negative suspected cases is useful to confirm a posteriori the diagnosis of atypical COVID-19 presentations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , Nervous System Diseases/epidemiology , Nervous System Diseases/etiology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/psychology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nervous System Diseases/virology , Paris/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Young Adult
8.
Journal of Chemical Education ; 97(9):2788-2792, 2020.
Article | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-804360

ABSTRACT

The College of New Jerseys Chemistry Department and School of Science have been strategically transforming our teaching, learning, and mentoring environments for over a decade through programs that are targeted toward new majority students: low-income, first generation, and historically marginalized races and ethnicities. Recently, we shifted from programs that target a small number of students to focus on systemic and structural changes to create inclusive excellence. We formalized our work in a Theory of Change (ToC) that emphasizes mechanisms for our faculty to depart from traditional pedagogy to become experimentalist teachers who use evidence-based practices and data to support our student success. The ToC is built on three pillars: (1) gaining empathy and understanding of our students, (2) a changing toolkit of acceptable pedagogical practices, and (3) a process to create shared language and values and an understanding of our responsibilities to our students. By focusing on mechanism, we do not prescribe a single pedagogy but instead are flexible for different course contexts. Department work on the ToC allowed our faculty to pivot instead of panic during the shift to online instruction. The students noted smooth transitions to remote learning, and more importantly, departmental discussions regarding pedagogy helped faculty to support each other with suggestions and sharing of best practices. As a department, we learned a great deal during the pandemic that furthers our collective work toward inclusive excellence and believe our ToC is transferable to other institutions.

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