Wolf social group dynamics matter for infectious disease spread, models suggest

By modeling wolves in Yellowstone National Park, researchers have discovered that how a population is organized into social groups affects the spread of infectious diseases within the population. The findings may be applicable to any social species and could be useful in the protection of endangered species that suffer from disease outbreaks.

Elizabeth McGraw named head of Department of Biology

Elizabeth McGraw, professor and Huck Scholar in Entomology and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD) at Penn State, has been named the new head of the Department of Biology.

Study finds short window for donating convalescent plasma to COVID-19 patients

The optimal timeframe for donating convalescent plasma for use in COVID-19 immunotherapy, which was given emergency-use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration in August 2020, is within 60 days of the onset of symptoms, according to a new Penn State-led study.

Mortality rises among public when health workers get sick in an outbreak

When healthcare workers become ill during a disease outbreak, overall case counts and mortality rates may significantly increase, according to a new model created by researchers at Penn State. The findings may help to improve interventions that aim to mitigate the effects of outbreaks such as COVID-19.

Lethal house lures help reduce incidence of malaria in children

A new type of housing modification can reduce malaria incidence among children by around 40-50%, according to an international team of researchers. The intervention uses window screening, together with PVC tubes fitted with insecticide-laced screens and installed under the eaves of homes, as a novel method of killing malaria mosquitoes as they attempt to enter the house.

Researchers discover potential therapeutic targets on SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted considerable investigation into how the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein attaches to a human cell during the infection process, as this knowledge is useful in designing vaccines and therapeutics. Now, a team of scientists has discovered additional locations on the Spike protein that may not only help to explain how certain mutations make emerging variants more infectious but also could be used as additional targets for therapeutic intervention.

COVID vaccine questions to be answered on WPSU’s ‘Conversations Live’ on Feb. 25

Central Pennsylvanians can have their COVID-19 vaccine questions answered live during the next broadcast of WPSU’s “Conversations Live” at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25.

Vector-borne diseases shaped human history and reveal race disparities

Vector-borne diseases (VBDs), such as plague, malaria and yellow fever, have significantly shaped society and culture, according to an international team of researchers. In a study published in Ecology Letters on Jan. 27, the team used historical evidence interpreted through an ecological lens to illustrate how VBDs have influenced human history, with particular attention to how VBDs have reinforced and exacerbated racism.

Vaccines against 10 diseases prevented 37 million deaths in last 20 years

Vaccine programs in low- and middle-income countries have prevented 37 million deaths in the last 20 years – 36 million of which have been in children under age five. These are the findings, published Jan. 28 in The Lancet, of the most comprehensive study of the impact of vaccination programs ever undertaken.

Two members of Eberly College honored for extraordinary efforts during pandemic

Matthew Ferrari, Huck Career Development Professor and Associate Professor of Biology, was one of two people honored with Dean’s Special Awards for their efforts to support the Eberly College of Science and the University in response to COVID-19.