The Weekly Recap: June 15-June 19, 2020

Posts published by our team from June 15- June 19, 2020:

June 15, 2020: What happened to all the ventilators?

In this post, our author Jamie summarizes a study from scientists at the University of Washington, the Virginia Mason Medical Center, and the Swedish Medical Center (all in Seattle, WA). Researchers followed 24 patients in ICU care in Seattle that were diagnosed with COVID-19. Most patients had symptoms for a week before arriving at the hospital. Once they arrived, most of them had a cough but only half had a fever. 18 patients were put on invasive mechanical ventilators and by the end of the study, only 6 had been taken off their ventilators. Of the 24 patients, 12 died, 5 were discharged from the hospital, 4 were moved from the ICU to another part of the hospital and 3 continued to receive ventilation in the ICU. The earliest a patient was taken off a ventilator was 8 days. These symptoms and numbers are similar to those reported by China.

June 17, 2020: Cleaving the Basic Spike Protein

In this post our author Manolya summarizes some research out of University of Gottingen and the Leibniz Institute for Primate research. This group of researchers from Germany investigated the multibasic amino acid sequence in the S1/S2 cleavage site on the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. They wanted to know how important this sequence is for cleavage and entry. They also found that serine proteases (enzymes that cleave proteins) are involved in the spike protein cleavage. They identified that the human cellular serine protease, furin, cleaves the S1/S2 site and it is necessary for SARS-CoV-2 entry into lung cells. Their work also shows that furin cleaving the S1/S2 site is essential for allowing spike-protein mediated cell-to-cell fusion, which increases how well the virus travels from cell to cell. Primarily, this research suggests that the multibasic amino acid sequence in the S1/S2 site is essential for SARS-CoV-2 to infect human lung cells. With this new knowledge, some new therapeutic options may be investigated to combat COVID-19.

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