Virologists comment on the tenor of social media postings

Issues surrounding Gain of Function Research concerns and COVID-19 lab leak speculations have brought an inordinate amount of criticism to virologists and virology in general. Andy Pekosz and a group of virologists authored a commentary on the topic that was published in the Journal of Virology recently: read here.

Members of Pekosz Lab Acknowledged by Dr. Anthony Fauci for their role in the COVID-19 pandemic response

Dr. Andrew Pekosz and Dr. Jaiprasath Sachithanandham were part of a group of Johns Hopkins researchers who received a letter this week from the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Dr. Fauci recognized their work in sequencing and isolating emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants alongside collaborators from the School of Medicine, especially Dr. Heba Mostafa.

This group also recently put out a paper in the Lancet’s eBioMedicine, “The Displacement of the SARS-CoV-2 variant Delta with Omicron: An investigation of hospital admissions and upper respiratory viral loads.” You can read it here.

The Pekosz Lab is looking for a postdoc!

Position description below.

[IMAGE TEXT: Postdoctoral Associate Position to Study Respiratory Virus-Epithelial Cell Interactions. A position is available to study SARS-CoV-2 infection of primary differentiated human nasal epithelial cell (hNEC) cultures. SARS-CoV-2 infects the upper and lower respiratory tract and replication can be influenced by physiological ranges in temperature (33C to 37C). This project will study both viral and cellular factors that mediate changes in replication rates and epithelial cell responses to infection. The isolation of variants of concern coupled with an infectious clone system will be utilized to study mutations in SARS-CoV-2 structural and nonstructural proteins and how they affect virus fitness. Candidates with a strong background in virology, molecular biology, and/or biochemistry should send a cover letter, CV, and the names/email addresses of three references to: Andrew Pekosz, Ph.D., W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street room W2116, Baltimore, MD 21205-2103. Email:]

NYT Opinion Guest Essay: Will the Coronavirus Evolve to Be Milder?

Dr. Pekosz’s guest essay was recently featured in the New York Times, discussing the present and future of disease severity caused by SARS-CoV-19 variants.

Covid-19 becoming a milder disease is not a decision the virus will make, it’s a decision that all of us can make if we take advantage of the vaccines that can control spread and reduce disease burden

Read the essay here.