Research

Photo collage of Dr. Yves Dubief, Dr. Emily Bruce, and Dr. Benjamin Lee

COVID-19, Omicron, Masking, & More: We Asked 3 Experts to Weigh-In

It’s been 25+ months since SARS-CoV-2 began its march across the globe and in the time since, multiple variants have arisen that have posed enormous challenges to both medical and public health responses. Most recently, Omicron has once again completely altered the pandemic landscape.

The speed with which Omicron rose to prominence, rapidly overtaking the Delta variant, prompted a series of new questions, like why it is so much more transmissible than previous variants? And how can individuals continue to protect themselves against symptomatic infection, severe  illness, and death?

Recently, we asked a group of experts at the University of Vermont (UVM) to answer some of these questions for us.

In the Eye of the Storm: Researching COVID-19

Two years ago, University of Vermont Cellular, Molecular, & Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. student Hannah Despres was working in the Botten Lab and primary focused on research of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)—a largely understudied tropical virus that causes meningitis/encephalitis. Then, SARS-CoV-2 began its first deadly journey around the globe and, like many researchers, Despres’s research shifted quickly.

Now, Despres works in the lab of Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Emily Bruce, Ph.D. Alpha, Delta, Omicron—Despres’s research in the Bruce Lab has followed the trajectory of the virus, from one variant-of-concern to the next.