Expert Exchange

PAI Senior Editors Neil Greenspan, MD, PhD, and Michael Lederman, MD, Talk With David Baltimore, PhD

David Baltimore, PhD, reflects on his contributions to biomedical science, which have had a major influence on the fields of molecular biology, virology, cancer, and immunology.

>>20-Minute Video plus Transcript.





PAI Senior Editors Robert Bonomo, MD, and Michael Lederman, MD, Talk With Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD

Dr. Arturo Casadevall shares insight into his childhood, what motivated him to go into biomedical research, the impact of the AIDS epidemic, and the lessons learned that he imparts to younger scientists.

>>20 Minute Video plus Transcript.





Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate: Questions and Reflections Concerning MHC Restriction and other Fruits of a Life of Biomedical Erudition

Peter Doherty, PhD, talked with PAI Senior Editor Neil Greenspan, MD, PhD, about the landmark article he and Rolf Zinkernagel published in Nature that described the ability of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-specific cytotoxic T cells to lyse LCMV-infected, 51Cr-labeled target cells if the target cells shared class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules with these T cells.

>>Q&A Article.




Featured Articles

Effectiveness of Ultraviolet-C Light and a High-Level Disinfection Cabinet for Decontamination of N95 Respirators
Jennifer L. Cadnum, Daniel F. Li, Sarah N. Redmond, Amrita R. John, Basya Pearlmutter, Curtis J. Donskey
Background: Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) including N95 respirators are an urgent concern in the setting of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Decontamination of PPE could be useful to maintain adequate supplies, but there is uncertainty regarding the efficacy of decontamination technologies.
Conclusions: UV-C could be useful to reduce contamination on N95 respirators. However, the UV-C technologies studied did not meet pre-established criteria for decontamination under the test conditions used. The high-level disinfection cabinet was more effective and met criteria for disinfection with an extended cycle.


Molecular Diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2: Assessing and Interpreting Nucleic Acid and Antigen Tests
Peter A. Zimmerman, Christopher L. King, Mahmoud Ghannoum, Robert A. Bonomo, and Gary W. Procop
Abstract: In this review, we summarize the current status of nucleic acid and antigen testing required for diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease. Nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) and antigen-detection (Ag) tests occupy a critically important frontline of defense against SARS-CoV-2 in clinical and public health settings. In early stages of this outbreak, we observed that identifying the causative agent of a new illness of unknown origin was greatly accelerated by characterizing the nucleic acid signature of the novel coronavirus. Results from nucleic acid sequencing led to the development of highly sensitive RT-PCR testing for use in clinical settings and to informing best practices for patient care, and in public health settings to the development of strategies for protect-ing populations. As the current COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, we have seen how NAAT per-formance has been used to guide and optimize specimen collection, inform patient triage decisions, reveal unexpected clinical symptoms, clarify risks of transmission within patient care facilities, and guide appropriate treatment strategies. For public health settings during the earliest stages of the pandemic, NAATs served as the only tool available for studying the epidemiology of this new disease by identifying infected individuals, studying transmission patterns, modeling population impacts, and enabling disease control organizations and governments to make challenging disease mitigation recommendations to protect the expanding breadth of populations at risk. With time, the nucleic acid signature has provided the information necessary to understand SARS-CoV-2 protein expression for further development of antigen-based point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests. The ad-vent of massive parallel sequencing (ie, next generation sequencing) has afforded the characteriza-tion of this novel pathogen, informed the sequences best adapted for RT-PCR assays, guided vaccine production, and is currently used for tracking and monitoring SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Antibody Responses to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccines Are Detectable in Saliva
Thomas J. Ketas, Devidas Chaturbhuj, Victor M Cruz Portillo, Erik Francomano, Encouse Golden, Sharanya Chandrasekhar, Gargi Debnath, Randy Díaz-Tapia1, Anila Yasmeen, Kyle D. Kramer, Tarek Munawar, Wilhelm Leconet, Zhen Zhao, Philip J.M. Brouwer, Melissa M. Cushing, Rogier W. Sanders, Albert Cupo, Per Johan Klasse, Silvia C. Formenti, John P. Moore
Abstract: The approved Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are well known to induce serum antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S)-protein. However, their abilities to elicit mucosal im-mune responses have not been reported. Saliva antibodies represent mucosal responses that may be relevant to how mRNA vaccines prevent oral and nasal SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Here, we describe the outcome of a cross-sectional study on a healthcare worker cohort (WEL-COME-NYPH), in which we assessed whether IgM, IgG, and IgA antibodies to the S-protein and its receptor-binding domain (RBD) were present in serum and saliva samples. Anti-S-protein IgG was detected in 14/31 and 66/66 of saliva samples from uninfected participants after vaccine dos-es-1 and -2, respectively. IgA antibodies to the S-protein were present in 40/66 saliva samples after dose 2. Anti-S-protein IgG was present in every serum sample from recipients of 2 vaccine doses. Vaccine-induced antibodies against the RBD were also frequently present in saliva and sera. These findings may help our understanding of whether and how vaccines may impede SARS-CoV-2 transmission, including to oral cavity target cells.


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