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Mellors says natural remedies haven’t been shown to help you fight the coronavirus

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DISCOVER - As COVID-19 blasts across the globe, viral wellness videos and posts are springing up in its wake. But so far, says John Mellors, IDM professor and chief of infectious diseases at Pitt, no randomized clinical trials have shown vitamins or natural remedies to be effective in treating or preventing COVID-19.  He adds, if you're already eating a balanced diet, suppliments probably aren’t going to juice your COVID-19 immunity.  

Rinaldo helps with coronavirus test developemnt and launch

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UPMC – A new test for COVID-19 was created by a virology team including Charles Rinaldo, chair and professor of infectious diseases and microbiology and director of the UPMC Clinical Virology Laboratory. The health system plans to increase lab capacity and open testing sites around the state. The test follows U.S. CDC guidelines and was validated under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments program of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid ... 

Did a woman get coronavirus twice? Burke is skeptical.

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WIRED - News reports detailing the case raised the possibility that people may not be developing immunity to the new coronavirus, even after they’ve recovered. But Donald Burke, dean emeritus and international infectious disease specialist, says there’s not enough data to support that conclusion. “The question is really: How good is the proof? And we’re a long way away from anything solid. What we need is the sequence of the virus.”  

Hartman & Mertz serve on global coronavirus panel

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TRIB LIVE –  Experts from multiple disciplines gather to discuss the outbreak of novel coronavirus COVID-19. Panelists include IDM’s Amy Hartman, who studies emerging viruses and diseases transmitted from animals to people and then among people; and ACHD medical epidemiologist Kristen Mertz, who also serves as an adjunct assistant professor at Pitt Public Health. “Information is coming out very quickly and it’s hard to … know the facts,” Hartman... 

Rinaldo remembers unsung heroes: Pittsburgh men, decades-long study impact HIV/AIDS research

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U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT - For more than three decades, Pitt Men’s Study leaders have gathered with Pittsburgh men and women to remember those who have died and give thanks for the 1,743 men who have participated in the nation’s longest-running HIV/AIDS research project. IDM's Charles Rinaldo has led the effort since the virus surfaced here in 1981. “We are still searching for a true vaccine to prevent HIV,” Rinaldo says. “But we are dedicated t... 

Frank on PrEP: A drug proven to prevent HIV is still slow to catch on

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TRIB LIVE - Physicians also need to be included in education around prescribing and using PrEP, said IDM's Linda Frank. That goes beyond making sure their patients take a pill a day. It includes working with communities to make sure people have the support and counseling to make healthy decisions. She said, “It’s important to have treatments and vaccines, but we still have to work on that other side of the equation: How do you get people to chan... 

IDM Research Day expanded with guest speakers and more than 70 student presenters

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The Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology held their biggest-ever research day celebration, featuring three guest speakers: Jonathan Oliver spoke about the emerging tick-borne diseases of the northern United States, Daniel Voth talked about using human-derived systems to investigate bacterial pulmonary infection, and David Lampe lectured on inhibiting the spread of malaria by altering the mosquito microbiome.    

MidAtlantic AIDS Education & Training Center receives $14.2 million to extend efforts into 2024

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INSIDE UPMC - Public health alumnae & RPCVs Marilyn Blasingame (IDM '16) and Ingrid Godfrey (IDM '18), and IDM professor Linda Rose Frank discuss their work on the prevention and treatment  of HIV/AIDS and its co-morbidities through the MidAtlantic AIDS Education & Training Center (MAAETC), which recently was awarded $14.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to continue the center’s work for the next five years  

Zika and travel: Marques tells you what you need to know

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THE NEW YORK TIMES - The virus has been out of the headlines, but that doesn't mean it is gone. The World Health Organization just updated guideines for travelling to the Zika zone. "Summer in the north is winter in the south and vice versa, so you have to consider that," said IDM's Ernesto Marques. The virus is still circulating, but it's less prevalent in colder months than in the summer.   

The Zika virus is still a threat. Here's what Marques, other experts know

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THE NEW YORK TIMES - Remember Zika? With measles and Ebola grabbing headlines, it is easy to forget the health panic of 2016, when Zika was linked to severe birth defects in thousands of Brazilian newborns whose mothers were infected while pregnant, striking fear across the country and much of the Americas. "The next outbreak is not a matter of if, but when," said IDM's Ernesto Marques.   

Pitt Men's Study reflects on past, future of HIV fight

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THE PITT NEWS - When an outbreak of HIV hit the U.S. in the early 1980s, not much was known about the virus or how it spread. Scientists, researchers, and volunteers at Pitt have been working for almost four decades to try and change that. Reflecting on 40 years means celebrating successes, lamenting that the cure hasn't yet been found, and commending those original study participants that came forward in a tumultuous and uncertain time.   

40 Years of HIV Research: Grant Extends Lifetime of Pitt Men's Study

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UPMC NEWS - IDM Chair Charles Rinaldo recently received the news that a major study he directs to confidentially collect information on men living with HIV will be renewed into 2026 at nearly $4 million per year. The funding from the National Institutes of Health ensures that the Pitt Men's Study will survive into its fourth decade. But today, on HIV Long-Term Survivors Day, Rinaldo calls the remarkable milestone bittersweet.  

Mailliard develops 'Swiss Army Knife' immunotherapy that kicks and kills HIV by exploiting a common virus

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - In a first on the quest to cure human immunodeficiency virus, IDM's Robbie Mailliard and colleagues developed an all-in-one immunotherapy approach that not only kicks HIV out of hiding in the immune system, but also kills it. The key lies in immune cells designed to recognize an entirely different virus.   

Marques finds that previous exposure to Dengue Fever protects against Zika

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90.5 WESA - Pitt researchers have found that previous exposure to Dengue Fever lowers the risk of infection from the Zika virus. “If we use currently approved Dengue vaccines or vaccines that are already close to become approved, you could boost Dengue responses... and could provide some degree of protection [against the Zika virus]” said IDM's Ernesto Marques, the study’s senior author.  

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Recent IDM Publications

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Prevalence and correlates of prep awareness and use among black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) in the United States 

Prevalence and correlates of prep awareness and use among black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) in the United States

AIDS AND BEHAVIOR - Friedman, MR, Sang, JM, Bukowski, LA, Chandler, CJ, Egan, JE, Eaton, LA, Matthews, DD, Ho, K, Raymond, HF, & Stall, R. found that PrEP awareness campaigns tailored for black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW), concomitant with STI-to-PrEP interventions, will facilitate g... (10/14/2019)
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Contrasting roles of the PD-1 signaling pathway in dendritic cell-mediated induction and regulation of HIV-1-specific effector T cell functions 

Contrasting roles of the PD-1 signaling pathway in dendritic cell-mediated induction and regulation of HIV-1-specific effector T cell functions

JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY - Using samples from participants in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort study, Garcia-Bates, Palma, Shen, Gambotto, Macatangay, Ferris, Rinaldo, and Mailliard showed that PD-1 activation plays a positive role in initiating the primary T cell response. But later blocking of that pathway... (12/13/2018)

Development of antibody biomarkers of long term and recent dengue virus infections 

Development of antibody biomarkers of long term and recent dengue virus infections

JOURNAL OF VIROLOGICAL METHODS - BURKE, MARQUES, and colleagues discuss anti-dengue NS1-specific IgG and IgG3 as potential biomarkers of long-term and recent (less than 6 months) DENV infections, respectively.  (06/14/2018)

Tradition and innovation in development of a Zika vaccine 

Tradition and innovation in development of a Zika vaccine

THE LANCET - MARQUES and BURKE comment about two Zika vaccines in clinical development and describe the challenges ahead. (06/14/2018)

Zika virus displacement by a chikungunya outbreak in Recife, Brazil 

Zika virus displacement by a chikungunya outbreak in Recife, Brazil

PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE - Magalhaes, Braga, Cordeiro, Oliveira, Castanha, Maciel, Amancio, Gouveia, Peixoto-deSilva Jr., Peixoto, Britto, Lima, Lima, and Marques detected the tail end of a Zika epidemic in 2015-16 which was displaced by a chikungunya epidemic. Few dengue cases were identified des... (06/14/2018)

Rift Valley fever in animals and humans: Current perspectives 

Rift Valley fever in animals and humans: Current perspectives

ANTIVIRAL RESEARCH - McMillen and Hartman discuss the historical role of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) as a biological weapon and conclude with an outline of the important unanswered questions for ongoing research into this important zoonotic disease. (06/11/2018)

Inefficient HIV-1 trans infection of CD4+ T cells by macrophages from HIV-1 nonprogressors is associated with altered membrane cholesterol and DC-SIGN 

Inefficient HIV-1 trans infection of CD4+ T cells by macrophages from HIV-1 nonprogressors is associated with altered membrane cholesterol and DC-SIGN

JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY - Delucia, Rinaldo, Rappocciolo demonstrate that the use of SIMV to decrease macrophage-mediated virus transfer should be considered for future HIV therapeutic development.  (05/18/2018)

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-mediated neuroinflammation dysredulates neurogranin and induces synaptodendritic injury 

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-mediated neuroinflammation dysredulates neurogranin and induces synaptodendritic injury

JOURNAL OF NEUROINFLAMMATION - Guha, Wagner, Ayyavoo conduct first study evaluating the potential role of Ng in the context of HIV-1 neropathogens and conclude that synaptic damage in HAND+ patients could be a result of abrogation of Ng through HIV-1 induced inflammation that dysregulates Ng-CaM in... (05/18/2018)