Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity
- Patient Recruitment
- COVID-19 Research Recruitment Flyer
ETSU and VA collecting blood samples for COVID-19 research
**Update (August 10, 2020)**
The Institutional Review Board has approved recruitment among patients who are greater than 14 days from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
JOHNSON CITY (August 3, 2020) – East Tennessee State University and the James H. Quillen
Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home are seeking patients who have recovered
from COVID-19 to donate a sample of their blood to be used for current and future
“We want to recruit as many recovered patients as possible who are willing to donate to our biorepository,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, principal investigator and division chief of infectious, inflammatory and immunologic diseases at ETSU Health. “People who give us their blood are giving us an opportunity to see what a successful immune response to this virus looks like. We need to look at these successes to discover how to treat and prevent the disease in others.”
To qualify for the research study, participants must be at least 18 years old, be in recovery for more than six weeks from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, sign an informed consent form, submit to a blood draw, and answer a few health-related questions. Participants do not need to be a veteran to participate. The typical appointment takes less than 30 minutes, and participants will receive a $25 Walmart gift card. In addition, they will receive the results of a free COVID-19 antibody test.
All of the blood samples will become part of a biorepository, which is a storage bank of cellular material that is frozen and cryopreserved to use at a later time. The biorepository is housed at the VA.
One blood sample can be used for a myriad of current and future research studies. For example, cellular material from the biorepository is currently being used in a study by Dr. Zhi Q. Yao, professor in the ETSU Department of Internal Medicine and director of both the Center of Excellence for HIV/AIDS and the Hepatitis (HCV/HIV) Program, Department of Veterans Affairs.
Yao’s study, which was recently funded by the American Diabetes Association, explores the impact that COVID-19 and diabetes have on each other.
“Dr. Yao’s study is one of the first to utilize the new biorepository, and there will be many more to come,” Moorman said. “Participants who donate are giving a gift that can be vastly multiplied.”
For further details or to set up an appointment to discuss participation in the research study, contact James L. Adkins, clinical research coordinator, at 423-430-2443.
Dr. Michael Kruppa awarded University’s first Candida auris-related grant
The National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has awarded a R21 grant to Dr. Michael Kruppa for his study “Genetic Characterization of phosphomannan biosynthesis in C. auris.” The two-year, $407,000 award is the first grant awarded to a researcher at East Tennessee State University to study Candida auris.
Candida auris is a global emerging fungal infection. The incidence of this newly emergent species has risen worldwide since its first recognition ten years ago; moreover, diagnosis and treatment of these infections can be problematic due to multi-antifungal resistance. Therefore, a rapid diagnostic would be useful for identification of this species. Dr. Kruppa states, “Recent work by our lab has determined that C. auris shares a number of similarities with the C. albicans cell wall including the presence of phosphomannan; however, we noticed all the C. auris strains that we have examined have at least two Mα1-PO4 side-branches that are not found in other fungal mannans or other fungal pathogens. At this point, virtually nothing is known about the genes which control the expression of this unique cell wall phenotype. We hypothesize that the MNT3,MNT5 and MNN4 genes maintain a conserved role in phosphomannan biosynthesis, while one or more of the five MNN4-like genes have diverged to produce proteins that control the unique Mα1-PO4 branching and/or phosphorylation in C. auris.” The data generated will help to serve potential diagnostic and vaccine development in the future.
Michael Kruppa, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and is a member of the Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease, and Immunity.