• COVID-19 Law and Policy Briefings, Series Two: The Role of the Courts: Religious Exemptions and the legacy of Jacobson v. Massachusetts

      George Consortium; Center for Health Policy and Law (Northeastern University School of Law); Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law); APHA Law Section (2021-02-23)
      From the onset of the pandemic almost one year ago, the question of the government’s power to mandate public health protections has loomed large in the national conversation. Now, with the prospect of widespread vaccinations becoming a reality, the power (or lack thereof) of lawmakers to require their citizens be vaccinated in the name of public health has become more pressing than ever. We turn to Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the 1905 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the states’ ability to mandate vaccinations. How does Jacobson’s precedent and legacy affect today’s COVID response? What role will it play in the upcoming Supreme Court spring 2021 session? Find out more on this week’s COVID Policy Playbook briefing.
    • COVID-19 Law and Policy Briefings, Series Two: Vaccine Distribution

      George Consortium; Center for Health Policy and Law (Northeastern University School of Law); Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law); APHA Law Section (2021-01-21)
      Though COVID vaccine production is ramping up, the U.S. is lagging well behind schedule in distributing and administering available vaccines. Efforts at the state level are being further hampered by slapdash attempts at coordination and a growing resistance to receiving the vaccine among certain populations. What can employers, schools and governments legally do to encourage uptake? In the first COVID Law Briefing of 2021, we will analyze best practices and sound strategies to get vaccine distribution back on track.
    • COVID-19 Law and Policy Briefings, Series Two: Vaccines, Equity, & Ethics

      George Consortium; Center for Health Policy and Law (Northeastern University School of Law); Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law); APHA Law Section (2020-11-19)
      Recently, both Pfizer and Moderna have announced potential candidates for a COVID-19 vaccine. Patricia Zettler, Jewel Mullen, and Sarah de Guia discuss how the FDA issues emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for pharmaceutical products, related safety concerns, and how to equitably distribute a future COVID-19 vaccine.
    • COVID-19 Law and Policy Briefings, Series Two: What Will Winter Bring?

      George Consortium; Center for Health Policy and Law (Northeastern University School of Law); Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University Beasley School of Law); APHA Law Section (2020-12-01)
      Health experts anticipate major spikes in COVID-19 infections over the course of this winter. Looking forward, Ruqaiijah Yearby, Michael Sinha, and Evan Anderson discuss how to increase accessibility to PPE and other crucial resources, the importance of mental health services for patients, their families, and health care providers, and measures for avoiding a flu/COVID "double pandemic."
    • COVID-19 Policy Playbook II: Legal Recommendations for a Safer, More Equitable Future

      Burris, Scott; de Guia, Sarah; Gable, Lance; Levin, Donna E.; Parmet, Wendy E.; Terry, Nicolas P.; Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University); ChangeLab Solutions; Wayne State University; The Network for Public Health Law; et al. (2021-03)
      The United States continues to address and recover from the year-old COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in more than 500,000 deaths so far and a historic economic recession. Fifty top legal experts convene to offer a new assessment of the U.S. policy response to the crisis, COVID-19 Policy Playbook: Legal Recommendations for a Safer, More Equitable Future, and recommend policy solutions at all levels of government, as the nation works to quell the current crisis and carry out plans to rebuild.
    • COVID-19 Q&A for Philadelphia Workers

      The Sheller Center for Social Justice (Temple University) (2020-04-10)
    • COVID-19 Related Chemosensory Changes in Individuals with Self-Reported Obesity

      Monell Chemical Senses Center (Temple University) (2021-03-03)
      Background/objectives: Individuals with obesity show alterations in smell and taste abilities. Smell and taste loss are also the most prominent neurological symptoms of COVID-19, yet how chemosensory ability present in individuals with obesity with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis is unknown. Subjects/Methods: In this secondary analysis of a cross-sectional global dataset, we compared self-reported chemosensory ability in participants with a respiratory illness reporting a positive (C19+; n = 5156) or a negative (C19−; n = 659) COVID-19 laboratory test outcome, who also self-reported to be obese (C19+; n = 433, C19−; n = 86) or non-obese. Results: Compared to the C19− group, C19+ exhibited a greater decline in smell, taste, and chemesthesis during illness, though these symptoms did not differ between participants with obesity and without obesity. In 68% of participants who reported recovery from respiratory illness symptoms (n=3431 C19+ and n= 539 C19−), post-recovery chemosensory perception did not differ in C19+ and C19− diagnosis, and by self-reported obesity. Finally, we found that all chemosensory and other symptoms combined predicted the C19+ diagnosis in participants with obesity with a moderately good estimate (63% accuracy). However, in C19+ participants with obesity, we observed a greater relative prevalence of non-chemosensory symptoms, including respiratory as respiratory and GI symptoms. Conclusions: We conclude that despite a presumed lower sensitivity to chemosensory stimuli, COVID-19 respondents with obesity experience a similar self-reported chemosensory loss as those without obesity, and in both groups self-reported chemosensory symptoms are similarly predictive of COVID-19.
    • COVID-19 Sparks an Overdue Discussion on Education Reform: An Optimistic Vision

      Public Policy Lab (Temple University) (Temple University. Public Policy Lab, 2021-05-25)
    • COVID-19, Mental Health, and Socioeconomic Status

      Public Policy Lab (Temple University) (Temple University. Public Policy Lab, 2021-06-17)
    • COVID-19, Social Media, and the Role of the Public Physician

      Topf, Joel M.; Williams, Paul N. (2021-01-14)
      The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an avalanche of information, much of it false or misleading. Social media posts with misleading or dangerous opinions and analyses are often amplified by celebrities and social media influencers; these posts have contributed substantially to this avalanche of information. An emerging force in this information infodemic is public physicians, doctors who view a public presence as a large segment of their mission. These physicians bring authority and real-world experience to the COVID-19 discussion. To investigate the role of public physicians, we interviewed a convenience cohort of physicians who have played a role in the infodemic. We asked the physicians about how their roles have changed, how their audience has changed, what role politics plays, and how they address misinformation. The physicians noted increased audience size with an increased focus on the pandemic. Most avoided confronting politics, but others found it unavoidable or that even if they tried to avoide it, it would be brought up by their audience. The physicians felt that confronting and correcting misinformation was a core part of their mission. Public physicians on social media are a new occurrence and are an important part of fighting online misinformation.
    • COVID-19: Challenges for Higher Education

      Public Policy Lab (Temple University) (Temple University. Public Policy Lab, 2020-08-18)
    • COVID-19: implications for NCDs and the continuity of care in Sub-Saharan Africa

      Owopetu, Oluwatomi; Fasehun, Luther-King; Abakporo, Uzoma (2021-02-12)
      There has been a rise in non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), driven by westernization, urbanization and unhealthy lifestyles. The prevalence of NCDs and their risk factors vary considerably in SSA between countries and the various sub-populations. A study documented the prevalence of stroke ranging from 0.07 to 0.3%, diabetes mellitus from 0 to 16%, hypertension from 6 to 48%, obesity from 0.4 to 43%, and current smoking from 0.4 to 71%. The numbers of these NCD cases are predicted to rise over the next decade. However, in the context of a global pandemic such as COVID-19, with the rising cases, lockdowns and deaths recorded worldwide, many people living with NCDs may find accessing care more difficult. The majority of the available resources on the subcontinent have been diverted to focus on the ongoing pandemic. This has caused interruptions in care, complication management, drug pick-up alongside the almost neglected silent NCD epidemic, with major consequences for the health system post the COVID-19 era. We explore the issues surrounding the continuity of care and offer some solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa.
    • CpG-adjuvanted stable prefusion SARS-CoV-2 spike protein protected hamsters from SARS-CoV-2 challenge

      Lien, Chia-En; Lin, Yi-Jiun; Chen, Charles; Lian, Wei-Cheng; Kuo, Tsun-Yung; Campbell, John D.; Traquina, Paula; Lin, Meei-Yun; Liu, Luke Tzu-Chi; Chuang, Ya-Shan; Ko, Hui-Ying; Liao, Chun-Che; Chen, Yen-Hui; Jan, Jia-Tsrong; Ma, Hsiu-Hua; Sun, Cheng-Pu; Lin, Yin-Shiou; Wu, Ping-Yi; Wang, Yu-Chiuan; Tao, Mi-Hua; Lin, Yi-Ling (2021-04-22)
      The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to global public health. Rapid development and deployment of safe and effective vaccines are imperative to control the pandemic. In the current study, we applied our adjuvanted stable prefusion SARS-CoV-2 spike (S-2P)-based vaccine, MVC-COV1901, to hamster models to demonstrate immunogenicity and protection from virus challenge. Golden Syrian hamsters immunized intramuscularly with two injections of 1 µg or 5 µg of S-2P adjuvanted with CpG 1018 and aluminum hydroxide (alum) were challenged intranasally with SARS-CoV-2. Prior to virus challenge, the vaccine induced high levels of neutralizing antibodies with 10,000-fold higher IgG level and an average of 50-fold higher pseudovirus neutralizing titers in either dose groups than vehicle or adjuvant control groups. Six days after infection, vaccinated hamsters did not display any weight loss associated with infection and had significantly reduced lung pathology and most importantly, lung viral load levels were reduced to lower than detection limit compared to unvaccinated animals. Vaccination with either 1 μg or 5 μg of adjuvanted S-2P produced comparable immunogenicity and protection from infection. This study builds upon our previous results to support the clinical development of MVC-COV1901 as a safe, highly immunogenic, and protective COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Crucial Role of miR-433 in Regulating Cardiac Fibrosis: Erratum

      Cardiovascular Research Center (Temple University) (2021-06-08)
    • Cultivating Normative Authority: The Biden Administration, Migration, and the International Legal Order

      Ramji-Nogales, Jaya (2021-01-22)
      President Biden faces many hurdles to constructing an effective international legal order on migration, not least of which is the absence of any such structure even prior to the dual challenges of the nationalist fallout of the Trump administration's rhetoric and policies and the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the excesses of cruelty under Trump and the social instability resulting from the pandemic may have created political space for the Biden administration to lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive international structure that governs migration of all kinds. To that end, President Biden should cultivate normative authority in the migration arena by shifting the national discourse, shoring up international agreements and institutions, and building regional cooperation.
    • Deferring Nail Mycological Sampling during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Recommendations from a Multidisciplinary Panel of Nail Specialists

      Lipner, Shari R.; Ghannoum, Mahmoud; Hinshaw, Molly A.; Rich, Phoebe; Ruben, Beth S.; Vlahovic, Tracey; Scher, Richard K.; Vlahovic|0000-0002-5310-4706 (2021-12-08)
      Onychomycosis is the most common nail condition seen in clinical practice, with significant impact on quality of life. Clinical examination alone is insufficient for accurate diagnosis, but mycological confirmation can be challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this letter, a multidisciplinary panel of dermatologists, a podiatrist, dermatopathologists, and a mycologist, discuss considerations for mycological sampling during the pandemic.
    • DescribePROT: database of amino acid-level protein structure and function predictions

      Zhao, Bi; Katuwawala, Akila; Oldfield, Christopher J.; Dunker, A. Keith; Faraggi, Eshel; Gsponer, Jörg; Kloczkowski, Andrzej; Malhis, Nawar; Mirdita, Milot; Obradovic, Zoran; Söding, Johannes; Steinegger, Martin; Zhou, Yaoqi; Kurgan, Lukasz (2020-10-29)
      We present DescribePROT, the database of predicted amino acid-level descriptors of structure and function of proteins. DescribePROT delivers a comprehensive collection of 13 complementary descriptors predicted using 10 popular and accurate algorithms for 83 complete proteomes that cover key model organisms. The current version includes 7.8 billion predictions for close to 600 million amino acids in 1.4 million proteins. The descriptors encompass sequence conservation, position specific scoring matrix, secondary structure, solvent accessibility, intrinsic disorder, disordered linkers, signal peptides, MoRFs and interactions with proteins, DNA and RNAs. Users can search DescribePROT by the amino acid sequence and the UniProt accession number and entry name. The pre-computed results are made available instantaneously. The predictions can be accesses via an interactive graphical interface that allows simultaneous analysis of multiple descriptors and can be also downloaded in structured formats at the protein, proteome and whole database scale. The putative annotations included by DescriPROT are useful for a broad range of studies, including: investigations of protein function, applied projects focusing on therapeutics and diseases, and in the development of predictors for other protein sequence descriptors. Future releases will expand the coverage of DescribePROT. DescribePROT can be accessed at http://biomine.cs.vcu.edu/servers/DESCRIBEPROT/.
    • Detection of SARS-COV-2 Proteins Using an ELISA Test

      Di Domenico, Marina; De Rosa, Alfredo; Boccellino, Mariarosaria; Di Domenico|0000-0002-6201-4200 (2021-04-14)
      The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic created an unprecedented public health emergency. Early recognition of an infected person and disruption of the transmission pathway are the keys to controlling this major public health threat around the world. The scientifically reliable screening method is an RT-PCR test that is performed on an ororhinopharyngeal swab in the laboratory. In the current severe SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, it is necessary to identify devices for rapid diagnosis to reduce the spread of the disease. The aim of this study was to provide a qualitative, rapid, sensitive, and specific method for a diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection based on the recognition of specific antigens of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The device was built by assembling commercially available and custom-made semi-finished products. The method was performed in environments outside the laboratory, i.e., “patient side,” with an immediate chemocolorimetric response or with a digital reader using an ELISA method.
    • Development of an instrument to measure perceived gentrification for health research: Perceptions about changes in environments and residents (PACER)

      Institute for Survey Research (Temple University) (2021-08-23)
      Despite a myriad of potential pathways linking neighborhood change and gentrification to health, existing quantitative measures failed to capture individual-level, self-reported perceptions of these processes. We developed the Perceptions About Change in Environment and Residents (PACER) survey to measure the gentrification-related neighborhood change experienced by individuals relevant to health. We employed a multi-stage process to develop PACER including a scoping review, question refinement, content validity, and cognitive interviews. Content validity and cognitive interviews were assessed within the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) and for residents of different tenure in both gentrifying and non-gentrifying neighborhoods to ensure PACER considers the complex nature of neighborhood change for different people within different urban contexts. We piloted the instrument to a sample from the resident panel BeHeardPhilly to assess acceptability and data quality. Finally, we assessed internal consistency, dimensionality, and criterion-related validity using Principal Components Analysis (PCA), descriptive statistics, and correlation coefficients. Testing showed good internal consistency for PACER questions, as well as for each of four resulting factors (Feelings, Built Environment, Social Environment, and Affordability). Correlations between factors and other context measures demonstrated strong criterion-related validity. PACER offers an unprecedented tool for measuring and understanding resident perceptions about gentrification-related neighborhood change relevant to health. Rigorously tested and tailored for health, PACER holds utility for application across different settings to examine changes from events that may impact and shift neighborhoods.
    • Development of CpG-adjuvanted stable prefusion SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen as a subunit vaccine against COVID-19

      Kuo, Tsun-Yung; Lin, Meei-Yun; Coffman, Robert L.; Campbell, John D.; Traquina, Paula; Lin, Yi-Jiun; Liu, Luke Tzu-Chi; Cheng, Jinyi; Wu, Yu-Chi; Wu, Chung-Chin; Tang, Wei-Hsuan; Huang, Chung-Guei; Tsao, Kuo-Chien; Chen, Charles (2020-11-18)
      The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide health emergency which calls for an unprecedented race for vaccines and treatment. In developing a COVID-19 vaccine, we applied technology previously used for MERS-CoV to produce a prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, S-2P. To enhance immunogenicity and mitigate the potential vaccine-induced immunopathology, CpG 1018, a Th1-biasing synthetic toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist was selected as an adjuvant candidate. S-2P in combination with CpG 1018 and aluminum hydroxide (alum) was found to be the most potent immunogen and induced high titer of neutralizing antibodies in sera of immunized mice against pseudotyped lentivirus reporter or live wild-type SARS-CoV-2. In addition, the antibodies elicited were able to cross-neutralize pseudovirus containing the spike protein of the D614G variant, indicating the potential for broad spectrum protection. A marked Th1 dominant response was noted from cytokines secreted by splenocytes of mice immunized with CpG 1018 and alum. No vaccine-related serious adverse effects were found in the dose-ranging study in rats administered single- or two-dose regimens of S-2P combined with CpG 1018 alone or CpG 1018 with alum. These data support continued development of CHO-derived S-2P formulated with CpG 1018 and alum as a candidate vaccine to prevent COVID-19 disease.