The first-ever COVID antiviral pill developed by Merck could be available before the end of the year. The drug, molnupiravir, has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by 50 percent, and on Oct. 11, Merck requested the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency authorization of the pill.
Although 54.7 percent of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Sept. 20, the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant and waning antibodies after vaccination makes vaccine boosters a next step in curbing COVID-19 infections for some.
In the race to develop a safe, effective treatment for COVID-19, biotech companies like Regeneron and Vir Biotechnology, led by Cornell alumni, have turned to antibodies — which are naturally created by the human immune system — as a form of therapeutic treatment.
But what are antibodies, and how can they be repurposed into drugs to help people recover from COVID-19?
Intravenous Immunoglobulin is a biological drug made from the blood of healthy people and delivered into the blood of sick people to help them replace the malfunctioning components of their own immune system. Currently, its supply is at an all-time low.
In the hopes of fostering interdisciplinary cooperation and innovation, the new Cornell Center for Immunology will bring together faculty and researchers to continue the University’s immunological research.
In 2009, the world saw the first influenza pandemic in more than forty years in the form of the H1N1 strain. Although response to this variant was fast and a vaccine quickly developed, the fight against influenza hasn’t ended. Bailey Willett ’20 continues to be a part of this fight as a Cornell undergraduate researcher working to combat the new strains of influenza that appear every year. Willett works alongside graduate student David Buchholz in the Aguilar-Carreno Lab of Microbiology and Immunology doing research concerning antigenic drift, one of influenza’s greatest hidden weapons. According to the Centers for Disease Control, antigenic drift is an abrupt change in the glycoprotein receptor makeup of the virus.
Corrections appended. There are few things that can put a damper on an end of summer evening in upstate New York, but allergies are one of them. The classic watery eyes, incessant sneezing, and insatiable back of throat itch one feels while relaxing on Libe Slope or hiking to Second Dam can be attributed to little molecules called allergens, and our bodies response to them. Yet pollen isn’t the only thing that can send one running for a tissue or bathroom. Many compounds in the environment including plants, food and insect product can cause full scale immunological responses and Melissa Page ’20 has set out to better understand why.