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Coronavirus Series – Part 1:
Antiviral Measures Targeting Coronavirus Entry

Thursday, July 30, 2020, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm ET

COVID-19 first began in late 2019 and as of July 2020 approximately 12 million people have been infected with a mortality rate of over 4% globally.  The SARS-CoV-2 virus is differentiated from the many common coronavirus variants, including those associated with the common cold, by its cross-species infectivity, rapid spread, and lethality.  Rapid advances in the identification of this new coronavirus,  and its putative host susceptibility factor, angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as the SARS-CoV-2 cell surface receptor, have led to the proliferation of clinical drug repurposing and preclinical rational drug design efforts to combat this devastating pandemic. 

Dr. Thomas Gallagher is a leading expert on the virology of coronaviruses.  His talk will provide an overview of the virology of coronaviruses, the current understanding of SARS-CoV-2 viral entry and provide critical insights regarding various interventional strategies to limit infectivity.  Given the ongoing societal and economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic world-wide, this seminar will be of great interest to all ASPET members.


Michael F. Jarvis, PhD, FBPhS - AbbVie
Qing Ma, PharmD, PhD – University at Buffalo


Thomas Gallagher, PhD
Loyola University Chicago, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Coronavirus Series – Part 2:
Therapeutic Research for COVID-19:  Challenges and Accomplishments

Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm ET

The clinical evaluation of potential therapeutic options against COVID-19 has largely been conducted within the context of limited bandwidth and an escalating world-wide health-care crisis.  To date, many studies of clinical interventions are anecdotal reports of effects in small numbers of patients or larger observational cohort studies that also contain uncontrolled confounders.

Dr. H. Clifford Lane is the NIAID Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Special Projects.  His talk will provide an overview of several potential antiviral and immunomodulatory COVID-19 interventions that have been studied in large-scale randomized clinical trials including mechanistic rationale, clinical trials designs and endpoints, and emerging benefit/risk profiles.  Given the ongoing societal and economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic world-wide, this seminar will be of great interest to all ASPET members.


H. Clifford Lane, MD
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH


Mid-Atlantic Pharmacology Society Annual Biotech Roundtable

Friday, October 30, 2020

1:00 pm – 2:45 pm ET

The Mid-Atlantic region is a major biotechnology hub with Philadelphia at its center. In 2014 MAPS introduced into its meeting agenda a biotech roundtable as a stage for presenting and promoting local biotech, with the goal of raising awareness among academicians, students, and other public and private scientific interests of the potential opportunities in cutting-edge innovation that exist in our region. By popular demand, the Biotech Roundtable has become a mainstay of the annual meeting ever since. This year’s MAPS meeting will be held virtually and will focus exclusively on the biotech roundtable. Panelists will discuss novel approaches to combating COVID-19 and educational efforts to foster interest in biotechnology.

MAPS, a regional chapter of ASPET, welcomes any ASPET member who has an interest in participating in this event. For non-members, please visit the MAPS chapter page.


R. Kyle Palmer, PhD - Chief Science Officer, Opertech Bio, Inc.


Joseph Rucker, PhD - Integral Molecular
“Supporting the Development of COVID-19 Therapeutics and Vaccines”

Cynthia Otto, DVM, PhD - Penn Vet Working Dog Center
“The Scent of COVID-19, How Dogs May Help in Rapid Screening”

Frank Leu, PhD - Thomas Jefferson University
“Educational Outreach: Opportunities in Biotech”

Coronavirus Series – Part 3: A Superantigenic Region in SARS-CoV-2 Spike and Its Immunotherapeutic Consequences: Lessons Learned from Recent Computations and Experiments

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm ET


Ivet Bahar, PhD - Distinguished Professor & John K. Vries Chair, Department of Computational & Systems Biology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Bahar and her co-authors (listed below) recently discovered1 a superantigenic region on the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, whose sequence and structure characteristics closely resemble those of a bacterial toxin, staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), known to cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS). The similarity between this superantigenic region and SEB led them to hypothesize that (i) multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) observed in children as well as adults with severe Covid-19, which shows same symptoms as TSS, could be caused by this region2 and (ii) anti-SEB monoclonal antibodies could be used for neutralizing this region. Among anti-SEB monoclonal antibodies they identified one, 6D3, that has been experimentally verified to reduce SARS-CoV-2 infectivity3.

  1. Cheng MH, Zhang S, Porritt RA, Rivas MN, Paschold L, Willscher E, Binder M, Arditi M*, Bahar I* (2020) Superantigenic character of an insert unique to SARS-CoV-2 spike supported by skewed TCR repertoire in patients with hyperinflammationProc Natl Acad Sci USA 117: 25254-25262 
  2. Rivas MN, Porritt RA, Cheng MH, Bahar I, Arditi M. (2020) COVID-19 Associated Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C): A Novel Disease that Mimics Toxic Shock Syndrome. The Superantigen HypothesisJ Allergy Clin ImmunolS0091-6749: 31414-7. 
  3. Cheng MH, Porritt RA, Rivas MN, Krieger JM, Ozdemir AB, Garcia G, Arumugaswami V, Fries BC, Arditi M, Bahar I. (2020) A Monoclonal Antibody Against Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B Superantigen Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 entry in vitroBioRxiv doi:


Cheng MH1, Zhang S1, Porritt RA2,3, Rivas MN2,3, Paschold L4, Willscher E4, Binder M4, Krieger JM1, Ozdemir AB2,3, Garcia G5, Arumugaswami V5, Fries BC6,  Arditi M2,3 and Bahar I1 

1 Department of Computational and Systems Biology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
2 Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Biomedical Sciences, Infectious and Immunologic Diseases Research Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
4 Department of Internal Medicine IV, Oncology/Hematology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany.
Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
Department of Medicine, Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook, New York, 11794, USA


COVID-19 Vaccine: Between Myth and Reality

Hosted by the Young Scientists Committee

Thursday, March 25, 2021
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has rapidly spread across the globe leading to the COVID-19 pandemic accountable for more than 2.6 million deaths. Throughout 2020, the outbreak has brought many countries to lockdown, burdened healthcare systems, and placed the world in an unprecedented economic recession. With the recent Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, COVID-19 vaccines are becoming available for public administration. However, some remain hesitant to receive the vaccine, thus putting scientific and public health efforts at stake. This webinar by Dr. Paul Thomas, a faculty member at the Department of Immunology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will highlight the facts about currently available COVID-19 vaccines and therapies in efforts to address such uncertainty, and to increase awareness about vaccination. The audience is encouraged to submit their questions to be answered by the speaker after the talk.


Paul Thomas, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


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