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Dr. Linda Saif has long been a trusted partner when the world stumbles into a pandemic

Linda J. Saif, MS, PhD, Honorary Diplomate ACVM, Distinguished University Professor, with the College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, was featured by the Ohio State University Alumni Magazine for the Summer 2020 issue.

Growing up in New Albany, Ohio, Linda Saif ’71 MS, ’76 PhD was fascinated by the livestock, chickens and other animals that inhabited her family’s small farm. That young girl’s curiosity, bolstered by decades of scientific inquiry and research, has taken her around the globe to battle pandemics that have afflicted millions of people.

Saif has spent more than 40 years at Ohio State engaged in the study of coronaviruses, immunity and vaccines as a renowned virologist and immunologist. Her lab was the first in the world to document the interspecies transmission of coronaviruses from wild ruminants to cattle and from cattle to poultry.

That contribution to the understanding of coronaviruses — which include SARS, MERS and now COVID-19 — led the World Health Organization to seek her out for its team combatting the 2003 SARS outbreak. Her laboratory has since served as a WHO reference lab for animal coronaviruses, and in 2013, she battled MERS as an advisor to the Saudi Arabian government’s Ministry of Agriculture.

During the current outbreak, Saif has again been called upon, this time to work with other Ohio State researchers on a test to detect antibodies in those who have had COVID-19. She also is working with Wexner Medical Center physicians on a plasma treatment for those severely affected. Both could be critical in understanding and controlling the pandemic.

The full interview is available online at:

Last updated: 

Friday, July 10, 2020 - 9:51am