UCI Infectious Disease Science Initiative Newsletter – Fall 2021

Dear colleagues,

We appreciate your ongoing support of the UCI Infectious Disease Science Initiative (IDSI) and we look forward to collaborating this academic year. Please see below highlights from the past few months from IDSI and affiliated faculty. Wishing you a great fall quarter.

Regards,

Sanghyuk ShinDirector, Infectious Disease Science Initiative

Event Recap Colliding Epidemics: Trends in Major Infectious Diseases in the Time of COVID-19

This virtual symposium included presentations by leading experts on the global trends and dynamics of major infectious diseases during the COVID pandemic, including HIV, HCV, tuberculosis, and influenza.

View a recording of the event.

Speakers included:

Tetyana Vasylyeva

Tetyana Vasylyeva, D.Phil, Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Health, University of California, San Diego

Title: HIV and Hepatitis C Virus in internally-displaced people who inject drugs in the presence of COVID-19 challenges in Ukraine

Finn McQuaid

Finn McQuaid, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Title: Trends in tuberculosis incidence during the COVID-19 pandemic

Shweta Bansal

Shweta Bansal, Ph.D., Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of Biology, Georgetown University

Title: Double trouble? When a pandemic and seasonal respiratory virus collide

IDSI Faculty Advisory Board Publications and Press

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Funds Multi-UC Bacteriophage Research Project

Katrine Whiteson

Katrine Whiteson, IDSI faculty advisory board member

Katrine Whiteson, UCI professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and David Pride, associate professor of pathology at UC San Diego, have been awarded a research grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The two-year grant will help support their work to develop viruses that infect Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, an opportunistic bacterial pathogen that can infect people with cystic fibrosis.

Read more on this project.

RNA Viromics of Southern California Wastewater and Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Single Nucleotide Variants

Wastewater-based epidemiology has garnered substantial interest during the COVID-19 pandemic to track disease burden through analyses of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, tracking SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater has been an important tool for understanding the spread of the virus.

Read more on this research.

Assessment of the Current Threats Posed by COVID-19 Variants and Discussion on the Implementation of Necessary Infrastructures in the Post-COVID Era

Shruti Gohil

Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law, UCI School of Law

Professor Goodwin was a guest on TBS eFM This Morning where she discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, public health, vaccine mandates and vaccine passports.

Listen to the podcast.

Civil Liberties in a Pandemic: The Lessons of History

Throughout American history, whenever there has been a crisis, the response has been a deprivation of rights. Today, the United States is in the midst of the worst health crisis in over a century. As of this writing, over 500,000 people have died from COVID-19. The pandemic reveals underlying institutional and infrastructural problems in society. The authors argue, based on history, there is every reason to fear that the pandemic could be used as justification for a massive deprivation of rights and abuses.

Read the article.

Semi-parametric Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Orange County using Tests, Cases, Deaths and Seroprevalence Data

Vladimir Minin

Vladimir Minin, IDSI Co-Director, Department of Statistics

orange County data

Mechanistic modeling of SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics and frequently estimating model parameters using streaming surveillance data are important components of the pandemic response toolbox. However, transmission model parameter estimation can be imprecise, and sometimes even impossible, because surveillance data are noisy and not informative about all aspects of the mechanistic model.

Read more on this research.

COVID-19 Trends by UCI

UCI Offers Data on Numbers of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Orange County and all of California

This is an effort to provide timely and understandable COVID-19 data visualizations to the public in Orange County, California. The effort is coordinated by the UCI COVID Awareness Group, which consists of students and faculty from the following units: UCI Department of Statistics, UCI Program in Public Health, UCI Center for Virus Research, and UCI Infectious Disease Science Initiative.

See the data.

Why You Should Get The Flu Shot During ‘Unpredictable’ Flu Season

Sanghyuk Shin

Fall is here and that means flu season is right around the corner. It is never a welcome reminder, but this year it is more important to make sure you get a flu shot before the season takes off.

Read more on why the flu shot is so important this year.