Free Webinar | Antibody Testing: COVID-19 Seroprevalence Studies

June 23, 2020 | 1:00-2:00 pm EDT

1:00 Role of Serology in the Next Phase of COVID-19 Investigation and Response

Linfa Wang, PhD, Professor & Director, Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore

With more than 6 million infections and more than 300,000 deaths (as of end of May 2020), the current COVID-19 pandemic has led to large-scale lockdowns around the world to prevent further spread of the disease. From the initial effort of rapid diagnosis and containment, the international community is now facing the challenge of an effective and pragmatic “exit” strategy to balance the public health risk versus the huge economic losses as a result of the travel ban and lockdown measures globally. Among the many challenges of ongoing COVID-19 investigations and responses, the following three stand out as the most pressing: 1) a good understanding of protective immunity and longevity of immunity to better advise/design “exit” strategy and policy; 2) rapid development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine(s) and a reliable testing platform capable of assessing and monitoring vaccine efficacy en masse; and 3) investigation of virus origin and the early animal-to-human transmission events to prevent future outbreaks. Serology will play a key role in all three areas. In this presentation, different serological platforms currently used for COVID-19 testing will be reviewed and compared together with the introduction of a novel platform, the surrogate virus neutralization test (sVNT) that we have developed recently.

1:30 The Santa Clara County and Los Angeles County COVID-19 Seroprevalence Studies

Eran Bendavid, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Stanford University

Seroprevalence studies provide information on the extent of disease spread that is not reliably obtained from testing of acute cases. In early April, we conducted two studies in Santa Clara County and LA County, California, to assess the prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. In this talk we will go through the science, implications, and public reception of antibody testing for COVID-19 in the US and abroad.

Speaker Biographies

Linfa Wang, PhD
Professor & Director, Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore

Professor Wang is the Director of the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore. Having completed his bachelor's degree in 1982 at the East China Normal University, Shanghai, China, Professor Wang went on to obtain his PhD at the University of California, Davis, USA. His early research was at the Monash Centre for Molecular Biology and Medicine. In 1990, he joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) where he played a leading role in identifying bats as the natural host of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus. His research then extended from bat-borne viruses to bettering understanding of virus-bat interactions. He led an international team carrying out comparative genomic analysis of two bat species and discovered an important link between adaptation to flight and bat's ability to counter DNA damage repair as a result of fast metabolism and to co-exist with a large number of viruses without developing clinical diseases. Professor Wang's work has been recognized internationally through various international awards, numerous invited speeches at major international conferences and many top scientific publications including, Science, Nature, Nature Reviews in Microbiology, Lancet Infectious Diseases and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), along with five patents and many invited book chapters. He holds a number of honorary positions and memberships and has received numerous awards such as the 2014 Eureka Prize for Research in Infectious Diseases in 2010, Professor Wang was elected as a Fellow of Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in recognition of his expertise in new and emerging diseases. He is also active internationally by serving on various editorial boards for publication in the areas of virology, microbiology, and infectious diseases. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Virology Journal. In 2018, Professor Wang was nominated to serve on the Global Viral Network (GVN) Leadership Committee leading the GVN’s southeast Asia’s node. Professor Wang currently serves on the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee to discuss and provide his expertise for the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. He is also involved in several international work groups on the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics against COVID-19.

Eran Bendavid, MD
Associate Professor, Medicine, Stanford University

Eran Bendavid is an infectious diseases physician and an Associate Professor of Medicine. He is affiliated with Stanford Health Policy, the Center for Population Health Sciences, the Woods Institute for the Environment, and the division of Infectious Diseases. His research interests involve understanding the relationship between large-scale events such as policy changes or environmental shocks and health outcomes among populations, mostly in less-resourced communities. Major areas of interest include decisions around foreign assistance for health, and how those decisions affect the health of those whom assistance aims to serve; the indirect population health effects of extreme events, including wars and natural disasters; effects of policies on life course for boys and girls such as schooling or parental investments; and the downwind consequences of air pollution, including in highly polluted areas such as Western Africa as well as wildfires in the American West. Dr. Bendavid is also a disease modeler and uses that skill to explore issues of resource allocation in low and middle-income countries for the control of infectious diseases. He received a BA in chemistry and philosophy from Dartmouth College, and an MD from Harvard Medical School. His residency in internal medicine and fellowship in infectious diseases were completed at Stanford.