• A call to action: Documenting and sharing solutions and adaptations in sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health care provision during the COVID-19 pandemic

      Benova, Lenka; Sarkar, Nandini D. P.; Fasehun, Luther-King; Semaan, Aline; Affun-Adegbulu, Clara; 0000-0002-8798-5433 (2020-10-19)
    • Cellular mechanisms underlying neurological/neuropsychiatric manifestations of COVID‐19

      Center for Metabolic Disease Research (Temple University) (2020-12-10)
      Patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus‐2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) infection manifest mainly respiratory symptoms. However, clinical observations frequently identified neurological symptoms and neuropsychiatric disorders related to COVID‐19 (Neuro‐SARS2). Accumulated robust evidence indicates that Neuro‐SARS2 may play an important role in aggravating the disease severity and mortality. Understanding the neuropathogenesis and cellular mechanisms underlying Neuro‐SARS2 is crucial for both basic research and clinical practice to establish effective strategies for early detection/diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. In this review, we comprehensively examine current evidence of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection in various neural cells including neurons, microglia/macrophages, astrocytes, pericytes/endothelial cells, ependymocytes/choroid epithelial cells, and neural stem/progenitor cells. Although significant progress has been made in studying Neuro‐SARS2, much remains to be learned about the neuroinvasive routes (transneuronal and hematogenous) of the virus and the cellular/molecular mechanisms underlying the development/progression of this disease. Future and ongoing studies require the establishment of more clinically relevant and suitable neural cell models using human induced pluripotent stem cells, brain organoids, and postmortem specimens.
    • Duolingo English Test, Revised Version July 2019

      Wagner, Elvis; 0000-0003-2332-3323 (2020-06-28)
      The Duolingo English Test (DET) is a computer adaptive test of English proficiency that is increasingly used for English-medium university admissions purposes. During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, test centers were shut down in many countries, and major tests including the TOEFL iBT and IELTS could not be administered. The DET is an “at home” test, and thus many universities began accepting DET scores as ameasure of applicants’ English proficiency. Because a revised version of the DET was launched in July, 2019, and because of the large increase in universities accepting DET scores, a critical review of the DET is warranted. The current review lauds the accessibility of the test (e.g., it is an inexpensive “at home” test that can be taken anywhere, in less than an hour, with scores returned in 48 hours). However, the test has multiple shortcomings: the test tasks have little in common with the types of language tasks university students engage in; the test does not assess test takers’ academic language ability, discourse level competence, or interactional competence; it is susceptible to cheating and test preparation; and it has a potential for negative washback on learners and learning systems. In addition, there is a lack of independent research validating the use of DET scores for admissions. Given these shortcomings, the use of DET scores cannot be recommended for university admissions purposes.
    • Mobilization and Preparation of a Large Urban Academic Center During the COVID-19 Pandemic

      Chowdhury, Junad M.; Patel, Maulin; Zheng, Matthew; Abramian, Osheen; Criner, Gerard J. (2020-04-21)
    • Preliminary predictive criteria for COVID-19 cytokine storm

      COVID-19 Research Group (Temple University) (2020-09-25)
      Objectives: To develop predictive criteria for COVID-19-associated cytokine storm (CS), a severe hyperimmune response that results in organ damage in some patients infected with COVID-19. We hypothesised that criteria for inflammation and cell death would predict this type of CS. Methods: We analysed 513 hospitalised patients who were positive for COVID-19 reverse transcriptase PCR and for ground-glass opacity by chest high-resolution CT. To achieve an early diagnosis, we analysed the laboratory results of the first 7 days of hospitalisation. We implemented logistic regression and principal component analysis to determine the redictive criteria. We used a ’genetic algorithm’ to derive the cut-offs for each laboratory result. We validated the criteria with a second cohort of 258 patients. Results: We found that the criteria for macrophage activation syndrome, haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis and the HScore did not identify the COVID-19 cytokine storm (COVID-CS). We developed new predictive criteria, with sensitivity and specificity of 0.85 and 0.80, respectively, comprising three clusters of laboratory results that involve (1) inflammation, (2) cell death and tissue damage, and (3) prerenal electrolyte imbalance. The criteria identified patients with longer hospitalisation and increased mortality. These results highlight the relevance of hyperinflammation and tissue damage in the COVID-CS. Conclusions: We propose new early predictive criteria to identify the CS occurring in patients with COVID-19. The criteria can be readily used in clinical practice to determine the need for an early therapeutic regimen,block the hyperimmune response and possibly decrease mortality.
    • Temple University’s ITA Placement Test in Times of COVID-19

      Center for American Language and Culture (Temple University) (2020-12-24)
      When the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to do in-person, on campus testing, we were forced to create a new system to screen International Teaching Assistants (ITA) for Temple university. We used this opportunity to address many of the concerns and problems that we had identified with the previous test, and created a new test that could be administered virtually. The new test (the TU ITA Test) makes it possible to test potential ITAs at any time, allowing departments to make instructor placement decisions far in advance. The TU ITA Test also seems to better assess ITAs’ interactional competence than the previous test, suggesting it might be a more valid ITA screening measure.
    • To be or not to be: negotiating leisure constraints with technology and data analytics amid the COVID-19 pandemic

      Du, James; Floyd, Carter; Kim, Amy C. H.; Baker, Bradley J.; Sato, Mikihiro; James, Jeffrey D.; Funk, Daniel C. (2020-12-24)
      The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the leisure industry. Mandatory directives such as social distancing and stay-at-home/shelter-in-place orders reduce disease transmission and protect the health and well-being of the public. However, such strategies might impair active leisure participation. We identify challenges and constraints of engaging in active leisure activities during the pandemic and explore how the general public can use technology and big data analytics to negotiate constraints during this uncertain time. Creative applications of big data analytics demonstrate that negotiating active leisure constraints and battling the pandemic are not contradictory goals. We recommend society to harness the power of these data-driven tools to effectively navigate interpersonal, structural, and intrapersonal constraints to active leisure while improving the efficiency with which we combat the spread of COVID-19.
    • Viral CpG deficiency provides no evidence that dogs were intermediate hosts for SARS-CoV-2

      Institute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine (Temple University) (2020-07-13)
      Due to the scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic there exists a strong desire to understand where the SARS-CoV-2 virus came from and how it jumped species boundaries to humans. Molecular evolutionary analyses can trace viral origins by establishing relatedness and divergence times of viruses and identifying past selective pressures. However, we must uphold rigorous standards of inference and interpretation on this topic because of the ramifications of being wrong. Here, we dispute the conclusions of Xia (2020) that dogs are a likely intermediate host of a SARS-CoV-2 ancestor. We highlight major flaws in Xia’s inference process and his analysis of CpG deficiencies, and conclude that there is no direct evidence for the role of dogs as intermediate hosts. Bats and pangolins currently have the greatest support as ancestral hosts of SARS-CoV-2, with the strong caveat that sampling of wildlife species for coronaviruses has been limited.