Pandemics and the English Language: Concepts Critical for Conversing About COVID-19

Main Article Content

Neil S. Greenspan
Guillermo A. Pereda

Abstract

We consider the multiple senses of several key terms that are used to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and clarify meanings of the corresponding concepts. Topics addressed include: 1) the meaning of immunity to an infectious agent in varying medical and scientific contexts, 2) the scientific factors that influenced the rapid generation and clinical implementation of safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19, 3) the difference between mutational abrogation of reactivity with B- or T-cell antigen receptors (immune escape) versus active interference with host immune mechanisms mediated by gene products encoded within the genome of the infectious agent (immune evasion), 4) the different ways by which the COVID-19 pandemic has “caused” deaths, and 5) briefly, the challenge of precisely defining the term pathogen

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1.
Greenspan NS, Pereda GA. Pandemics and the English Language: Concepts Critical for Conversing About COVID-19. PAI [Internet]. 2022 Nov. 10 [cited 2022 Nov. 30];7(2). Available from: https://www.paijournal.com/index.php/paijournal/article/view/542
Section
Commentaries
Author Biography

Neil S. Greenspan, Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Dr. Neil Greenspan received his A.B., magna cum laude, in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College in 1975. He then earned M.D. and Ph.D. (Immunology) degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1981 until 1986, Dr. Greenspan was a Resident in Laboratory Medicine (Clinical Pathology) at Barnes Hospital, and from 1982-1985 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Immunology at Washington University, both in St. Louis. In 1986, Dr. Greenspan became a faculty member at the Case School of Medicine. He is currently Professor of Pathology at Case and the Director of the Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

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