COVID-19 Response

Print and Electronic Media

CFI is continuing the fight against COVID-19. Below is a collection of written articles that showcase CFI's efforts.


Minnesota Republicans cite natural immunity in debate over COVID vaccine mandates

Star Tribune- 01/23/2022
Dr. Marc Jenkins is interviewed in the Star Tribune story about the debate over natural immunity and vaccine mandates. "Natural immunity can be very potent but it can also be not so potent, and that depends on the level of the initial infection," Jenkins said. "Because of that, and in the absence of a robust antibody testing program, it's best to try and get people to very high levels of protection through vaccination."

Minnesota set to jump ahead on boosters

Star Tribune - 11/18/2021
Dr. Marc Jenkins, director of the Center for Immunology, spoke with  from the Star Tribune about SARS-CoV-2 immunology and the importance of boosters. Dr. Jenkins says that the best strategy, for now, is for everyone to get boosters to increase protection in everyone rather than risk leaving some people vulnerable to infection.

University of Minnesota research backs vaccines after COVID-19 cases

Star Tribune - 10/1/2021
Dr. Marc Jenkins, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, published research that backs vaccines for those who had a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. The study, published in Cell Reports, shows that people with prior infections who received the two-dose mRNA vaccination had five times more memory B cells — a better immune response — compared to those who received the same vaccination but were never previously infected.

Our Best Shot: COVID shots are not 'gene therapy'

Dr. Marc Jenkins describes mRNA as "one of the important worker bees of the body." Learn how new mRNA vaccines utilize naturally occurring processes in our bodies to protect ourselves against COVID 19. Read the Star Tribune article: or view the entire Star Tribune Editorial Board's #OurBestShot series, which enlists Minnesota health and community leaders to deliver timely trustworthy answers. Link here

Why mixing vaccines could help boost immunity

David Masopust highlights the promise and potential issues of mixing vaccines and vaccine types over time in a May 6, 2021 piece by Cassandra Willyard from MIT Technology Review. Read here

Do I have to get the Covid vaccine in my arm?

Marc Jenkins is quoted in an article written by Christina Caron from The New York Times about whether a person has to get the COVID vaccine shot in the arm.

What's Next in COVID Vaccine? Research at the University of Minnesota looks for new ways to fight the virus

The March/April 2021 issue of Minnesota Medicine Magazine interviewed Drs. Susan Kline and Marc Jenkins about the development of vaccines and subsequent distribution and what the future will look like as COVID research carries on.  Dr. Jenkins talks about the current vaccine projects that several labs within CFI  are currently working on to protect against COVID and any future forms of the virus.  Read the entire article written by Linda Picone here

New test by Minnesota biotech firm can read COVID antibody levels

So, what’s your titer?

That question, still strange sounding, may soon become important as vaccines bring about the endgame for COVID-19.  Dr. Marc Jenkins talks with  from the Star Tribune on December 7, 2020 about a newly developed blood test made by Imanis Life Sciences in Rochester, MN.  The test will give consumers a quantitative measurement of their neutralizing antibody titers that will definitively provide the amount of virus-killing antibodies in their systems . Click here to read the full article.

Bold hopes for virus antibody tests still unfulfilled

“Everyone’s impatient and I can see why...But there’s no easy path to this knowledge” about immunity.  Dr. Marc Jenkins talks with Matthew Perrone, AP news and published in The Washington Post on September 7, 2020 about the ongoing studies of vaccine production, antibody testing and the standard nasal swab tests that diagnose active infections. Click here to read the full article.

Immunity studies provide a 'a bit of blue sky' about protection from Covid-19, experts say

Jen Christensen, from interviews several immunologists including CFI's Dave Masopust on the multi-functionality of CoV-2 immunity and also highlights the work coming out from CFI alum, immunologist Marion Pepper's work at the University of Washington which finds that the immune response is not a "one-trick pony." Instead it is like a "Swiss Army knife that has a lot of different tools" for fighting the novel coronavirus. Read the article here.

Covid-19 vaccine: why do we develop permanent immunity with some diseases and not with others? (and the big question mark about the coronavirus)

The question now is what will happen to SARS-CoV-2: will permanent immunity to covid-19, the disease that causes the new coronavirus, be possible? To find the answer, we must observe what happens inside our body. Here's what two immunologists - one in the United States, one in Europe - say about the issue and why the vaccine is key to achieving immunity. Read what Dr. Marc Jenkins tells Lucía Blasco from BBC News Mundo in an article from 8-17-2020.

Why do we develop lifelong immunity to some diseases, but not others?

Will our immunity to COVID-19 be lifelong or short-lived? Some diseases, like the measles, infect us once and usually grant us immunity for life. For others, like the flu, we have to get vaccinated year after year.  So why do we develop lifelong immunity to some diseases but not others? And where does the novel coronavirus fit into all this? Dr. Marc Jenkins addresses these questions and others in an article published on 8-9-2020, by  on

UMN research could help inform future COVID-19 vaccines

The Minnesota Daily's Madeline Deninger writes about how Dr. Marc Jenkins and other members of CFI have been working to understand how the body develops antibodies once it has been infected with COVID-19. Click here

Can I catch coronavirus again if I've had it? At least not right away. Later, who knows?

Dr. Marc Jenkins is quoted in an article by Elizabeth Weise published on May 8, 2020 in USA Today about whether it is possible to catch the coronavirus twice.

The Wall Street Journal answers Facts and Myths About Coronavirus Antibody Tests

Drs. Amy Karger and Marc Jenkins provided factual information to The Wall Street Journal about antibody tests—blood tests designed to detect who was previously infected with the new coronavirus and have developed antibodies to it. Click here

U-developed Antibody Test, Key Component in Reopening Minnesota

Combining a PCR test and an antibody test helps categorize those tested into four categories—information that will equip the state to confidently send Minnesotans back to work. The antibody test, known as an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), developed rapidly from the lab bench to the clinic with the help of a unique group of collaborators—Amy Karger, MD, PhDMarc Jenkins, PhD, and Fang Li, PhD.  Combined with the University’s diagnostic (PCR) test, labs will be able to categorize those tested into four categories—information that will equip the state to confidently send Minnesotans back to work. "Together, they are informative if you do them both in the same person,” said Amy Karger, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. She leads the team at the University’s Advanced Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ARDL) that brought the test from a research setting into clinical use. Click here

University of Minnesota launches COVID-19 antibody test

The lab of Marc Jenkins, Regents and Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the Medical School and director of the Center for Immunology, has developed a COVID-19 antibody test that will be available first to frontline health care workers in M Health Fairview’s Bethesda Hospital. Fang Li, an associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, was among the first to publish a peer-reviewed article in Nature detailing the underlying structure of COVID-19. On March 21, Li provided protein material to the Jenkins Lab, and work began. Click here

Minnesota readies antibody COVID-19 response

The University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic are now offering antibody tests to find out who has recovered from COVID-19. The antibody test which was developed by CFI Investigators under Dr. Marc Jenkins and the Mayo Clinic Clinical Microbiology Laboratory has been successful in identifying antibodies that produce an immune response to the COVID-19 virus. Full Star Tribune article from April 14, 2020 click here

USA Today ponders social distancing in the lab

Dr. Marc Jenkins is quoted in a USA Today story about scientists continuing to work on essential projects while socially distancing in the lab.

UMN and Mayo researchers working on ELISA test to determine COVID-19 immunity

CFI director Dr. Marc Jenkins explains how the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic are close to unveiling antibody tests that can determine if people have already been infected by the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and are no longer threats to get or spread the infection. To read the entire Star Tribune article from March 30, 2020 click here.

COVID-19 Vaccine on fast track

The Star Tribune's Christopher Snowbeck and CFI's Director Marc Jenkins talk about "a whole new approach to vaccines" using viral RNA instead of the way current vaccines are produced using a weakened or killed form of a virus to stimulate an immune system response that produces antibodies.  To read the entire Star Tribune article click here.