Posts published by our team between 27 April 2020 to 03 May 2020:
The researchers who published this study before the WHO declared a pandemic wanted to investigate the likely origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) by reviewing samples from 9 patients in Wuhan. The SARS-CoV-2 virus was isolated from each patient’s samples and the genetic material collected. Sequencing tools and analysis mechanisms were done. The researchers show that SARS-CoV-2 ws likely a recent emergence in humans and that the spike glycoprotein, while similar to SARS-CoV is longer in amino acid length. In the end, the research team helped give us the idea where and how SARS-CoV-2 fit within the coronavirus family tree. If you want to understand how the researchers came to their conclusions, give Jamie’s article a read to find out how the researchers compared sequences and how they deduced their findings!
29 April 2020 – Choose Your Fighter: Ranged, Assist, or Melee?
Learn about how B and T cells are developed and what they role they have in our immune system’s response to infection. You will get to learn about B cells and how they make antibodies and T cells and how they can kill infected cells and help the B cells out. This is the second of our immunology sidebar series!
Here the researchers used bioinformatics to identify what cells in our bodies express the ACE2 protein (the receptor that SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter our cells and infect us). They did this by analyzing RNA expression (how much RNA is being made by the cell to make and express the ACE2 protein) for each cell type. They determined which cells typically express ACE2 in high levels and suggested that SARS-CoV-2 could potentially infect these cell types. As a preliminary computer-based study, their findings provide guidance for other scientists to perform experiments in the lab to give us more conclusive answers on what cell types SARS-CoV-2 infects. Give Tristan’s post a read to find out how these researchers used bioinformatics to help fight the fight against COVID-19.