Ph.D. Candidate Amanda Rae Mannino was recently invited to speak about the COVID-19 vaccine to students at her former high school, Ore City High School in Ore City, Texas by Biology/Physics teacher Mrs. Sally Cariker.
Mannino is a student in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program at UT Health San Antonio. She is a member of the Giavedoni Laboratory at Texas Biomedical Research Institute, where she is investigating the baboon as a non-human primate animal models for HIV/AIDS research. Recently, the lab switched its to focus to meet the immediate needs of the public and scientific communities due to the outbreak of SARS‑CoV‑2 and the COVID‑19 pandemic.
She explained that there was not a well-characterized animal model for COVID‑19. There had been some studies in mice, rhesus macaques and other animals with various strains of coronaviruses, but none of them could recapitulate the pathogenesis of SARS‑CoV‑2 observed in humans. Mannino and her colleagues at Texas Biomed recently published an article in Nature Microbiology (Singh et al., 2021) pertaining to their investigation of various non-human primates as a validated animal models for consistent infection with SARS‑CoV‑2 and resulting COVID‑19.
She also briefly spoke on the molecular biology behind the COVID-19 vaccine. Mannino worked with Cariker to present the information at a level appropriate for her sophomore science classes, including the translation of the mRNA in the vaccines into viral proteins, prompting a humoral immune response.
Mannino is passionate about trying to help her family and friends who are not in the scientific community dig through the misinformation and nonsense that is rampant.
“I am trying to give them solid and stern advice, while not allowing their anxieties to take over their lives. This event has revealed both our strengths and weakness as a society,” she said. “I feel very humbled to be able to be a small part of these studies and hope I can make a difference in this pandemic and the research that is sure to follow.”
Watch her YouTube Video below: