Research Digest: COVID-19 Pathologies Explored by UNMC ID Faculty (Part 1)

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there seemed to be many more questions than answers. How is this virus spreading? What is the best way to protect our communities? Which organ systems are at risk of damage from infection? To answer these questions, the medical community at large turned to research- and UNMC ID was no exception. Read below for synopses of three recent publications authored by UNMC ID faculty which each explore different aspects of COVID-19.

Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, UNMC Infectious Disease Physician and co-author of a recent COVID-19 review article.

One thing was clear from the start, COVID-19 is a complex disease with widely variable clinical symptoms, ranging from asymptomatic or a loss of smell to multiorgan failure. In a recent review article co-authored by Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, current COVID-19 knowledge is synthesized, from the physical characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to infection stages, immune responses, clinical presentations, and postacute sequelae of COVID-19 (long COVID). For a detailed, up-to-date, and digestible brief on all things COVID-19, find the article here.

Dr. Daniel Brailita, UNMC Infectious Disease physician and corresponding author on a recent publication on COVID-19 detection.

Another recent publication co-authored by Dr. Angela Hewlett, Dr. Mark Rupp, and Dr. Daniel Brailita, among various other UNMC researchers, assessed SARS-CoV-2 viral shedding in critically ill patients and how best to determine if a patient is still infectious. The study found that nasopharyngeal swab (one of the standard SARS-CoV-2 detection techniques) does not alway agree with detection of viral shedding in lower respiratory sputum samples. That is, critically ill patients who test negative by nasal swab may still have sufficient viral shedding in their lungs. This is critical information as it could help inform the level of protection medical professionals must take when performing aerosolizing procedures, even on supposedly COVID-negative patients. Read the full study here.

Dr. Nicolas Cortes-Penfield, UNMC Infectious Disease physician and co-author on a recent report on COVID-19 vaccination complications.

Finally, a recent article co-authored by Dr. Nicolas Cortes-Penfield reported outcomes of rare complications from COVID-19 vaccination. Specifically, the paper outlines 4 cases of acute and chronic demyelinating neuropathies following COVID-19 vaccination seen at UNMC in 2021. Among these patients, there was no clear predilection for a specific vaccine brand. While all of these cases presented between 2 and 21 days post-vaccination, there was not enough information to make a clear causative link between vaccination and these cases of demyelinating neuropathies. However, the study notes that continued identification and reporting of these side effects are crucial to making this determination. Find the paper here.

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