March 20-29: The Weekly Recap

Posts published by our team from March 20-29:

March 20Scripps Research Institute: SARS CoV2 is NOT Man Made

A research team led by scientists at Scripps Research Institute has found that SARS-CoV2 is “not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.” This conclusion is based on comparative analysis of SARS-CoV2 genomic data with other naturally occurring viruses.

March 21University of Lübeck: Bold Steps towards Anti-Coronavirus drugs

A research team led by scientists from the University of Lübeck, Germany reported the development of a chemical compound that slows down nCoV-19 replication. The researchers highlight that the promising properties of their new compound can act as a foundation for other groups diving into anti-nCoV-19 drug development.

March 22Anhui Medical University: COVID-19 vs Garden Variety Pneumonia

A CDC team in the Anhui province of China conducted a comparative analysis between patients suffering from pneumonia and compared the symptoms, physiology and blood proteins to pick apart the difference between COVID-19 and more traditional pneumonia

March 24Peking Union Medical College: New Treatment Rescues Severe COVID-19 patients

A research team at Jin Yin-tan Hospital found that high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin may prove to be a promising therapy for severe COVID-19 patients. This study was reported based on three patients, so further investigation into the treatment is definitely required but the paper provides a good basis for the consideration of further randomized studies of high-dose IVIg

March 25University of Washington: Understanding the Spike Protein of SARS-CoV-2

A group of researchers lead by scientists from the University of Washington reported in Cell the discovery of several unique factors of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 that alters how the virus infects cells and the way its proteins are biosynthesized. The researchers also found that antibodies against SARS (the virus responsible for the 2003 outbreak) have some impact against SARS-CoV-2 in mouse models (tested in mice).

March 26Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Getting the Big Picture of COVID-19 Infection

A group of researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University have used single-cell RNA sequencing (read the article for more information on the technique) to start looking into the wider effects of COVID-19. They looked into which cells in the body express ACE2, the receptor for the virus. The level of ACE2 expression within an organ may help determine the level of risk for that organ with respect to virus infection.

March 27Westlake University: Spikes and Yikes-How SARS-CoV-2 Binds to Our Cells

A group of scientists lead by researchers from Westlake University report their efforts to visualize ACE2 while bound to the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein. This structural understanding is key to the understanding and development of new treatments and drugs against nCoV-19.

March 28University of Hong Kong: A New and Improved COVID-19 Test

A research team from the University of Hong Kong have invented a new test to determine if people have been infected by SARS-CoV-2. This new test is more sensitive, with a better ability to distinguish between samples positive for the virus and negative samples. The new test can also detect the virus for longer and is able to detect traces of the virus in saliva as long as 18 days after infection.


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