Episode 14

Published on:

11th Jan 2021

Antibodies, Mutations, and Sewage... Oh My!

Do declining antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 mean long-lasting immunity is impossible? What do mutations in the virus mean for vaccine effectiveness? Can we use sewage water to monitor the pandemic? On this episode of Beyond the Abstract, Derek and Ellen talk about three recent papers related to these important COVID-19 issues.

Note: Since recording this episode, there have been more documented cases of severe allergic reactions to the vaccine. However, the number of cases relative to the number of vaccinations is still extremely low indicating the vaccine is generally safe. Currently, it is thought that polyethylene glycol (a chemical ingredient in the vaccine) is the culprit behind the reactions, but this has not been confirmed. You can read more about this in Science and on the CDC Website. Please consult your physician if you have concerns about getting the vaccine.

On January 10th, the day prior to publication of this episode, COVID-19 cases in the US crossed 22 million with over 200,000 new cases that day.

Ward et al. Declining prevalence of antibody positive to SARS-CoV-2: a community study of 365,000 adults. medRxiv, October 2020. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.26.20219725v1

Plante et al. Spike mutation D614G alters SARS-CoV-2 fitness. Nature, 2020. PMID: 33106671

Peccia et al. Measurement of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater tracks community infection dynamics. Nature Biotechnology, 2020. PMID: 32948856

The information presented here is not medical advice. Please follow all guidelines from the CDC in regards to social distancing. Consult your physician on any questions regarding your personal health.

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About the Podcast

Beyond the Abstract
Science and research for everyone
Hey science nerds! Welcome to Beyond the Abstract, a science podcast dedicated to discussion of the coolest cutting edge, basic science research papers in a way that just about anyone can understand. We're your hosts, Derek and Ellen, two MD/PhD students at the University of Pennsylvania who are passionate about science communication and bridging the gap between science and medicine.

In each episode, we’ll dive into a paper and talk about the experiments these scientists did, what it means for the future of research, and even potential impacts on human health and medicine. We've invited experts in these fields to help us understand and dissect these complicated but impactful papers.

We can't wait to share all this cool science with you.

Disclaimer: This podcast is for informational purposes only and NOT intended as medical advice. The views and opinions expressed are those of the hosts and guests and do not reflect the University of Pennsylvania.

Business contact: beyondabstractpod@gmail.com

About your hosts

Derek Sung

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Derek is a 4th year MD/PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania interested in developmental and vascular biology with plans to apply into Obstetrics & Gynecology. He is the founder, co-developer, and co-host of Beyond the Abstract.

In his spare time, he likes to listen to All Star by Smash Mouth on repeat, smile too big for photos, pretend to be a sommelier, and throw epic Halloween parties with his roommate.

Ellen White

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Ellen is a 3rd year MD/PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania interested in microbiome research with the hopes of specializing in GI medicine. She is a co-developer and co-host of Beyond the Abstract. You can find her listening to Work by Rihanna (feat. Drake) on repeat, getting too invested in college basketball games, or shamelessly watching Real Housewives.

Dan Weiner

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Dan is a 4th year MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School interested in genomics and neuropsychiatric disease research. He is co-host of Beyond the Abstract.

In his spare time you can find him watching every suggested YouTube video (mostly Colbert and cooking clips) and looking forward to watching the Red Sox at Fenway after the pandemic is over.