Cell Biology
Could a MERS vaccine candidate be the answer for COVID-19?
As researchers urgently work to develop vaccines, many strategies have been considered. Now, a parainfluenza virus 5-based vaccine expressing MERS-CoV spike protein may provide an avenue for a COVID-19 vaccine based on the similarity of the two viruses, according to a study published in mBio on April 7.  Discuss
Are masks effective at preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2?
Contradictory messages over the best methods to limit the spread of SARS‑CoV‑2 have been shared with the public in past months. This has prompted scientists to explore the effectiveness of certain measures like wearing masks and the mechanisms behind transmission of the virus.  Discuss
SARS-CoV-2 vaccine utilizing microneedle arrays appears in the literature
Within four weeks of the SARS-CoV-2 spike sequence becoming available, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine developed immunogens for a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is delivered through a fingertip-sized patch, and it produces antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 at quantities thought to be sufficient for neutralizing the virus, according to the April 2 EBioMedicine publication.  Discuss
How AI is speeding development of COVID-19 therapies
As the world is facing a new challenge in trying to both adapt to and defend itself against the novel coronavirus, artificial intelligence (AI) is offering new hope that a cure might be developed faster than ever before. Ulrik Kristensen, PhD, from Signify Research offers a perspective.  Discuss
Researchers bait viruses with chemically designed structures
A new therapeutic approach for suppressing seasonal influenza that involves synthetic phage shells that interfere with pathogen adhesion is immediately being tested for use on coronaviruses in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The research findings were published in Nature Nanotechnology on March 30.  Discuss
Scientists use bioinformatics to investigate origin of SARS-CoV-2
While many scientists urgently work toward developing successful therapies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, some are looking in the opposite direction: to where SARS-CoV-2 came from. A new report published in the Journal of Proteome Research suggests that while bats are a likely natural reservoir, an intermediate host is probable.  Discuss
Controversy hits Gilead over orphan status for COVID-19 drug
Gilead Sciences has rescinded its request for orphan drug status for an experimental drug for treating COVID-19 just two days after getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company had been hit with criticism that the approval would block other COVID-19 drugs from reaching the market.  Discuss
Scientists alter cell function with genetic engineering, polymer science
A new method called genetically targeted chemical assembly (GTCA) has demonstrated the ability to build artificial structures within the body to carry out unique functions. The research, presented in the latest edition of Science, provides compelling evidence for GTCA's ability to modify cell function with bioengineering tools.  Discuss
Comparative genomics confirms natural development of SARS-CoV-2
The available genetic data on SARS-CoV-2 indicate that it is not derived from any previously known virus, suggesting that it originated from either natural selection in an animal host or humans following zoonotic transfer. This analysis, presented in Nature Medicine on March 17, provides evidence for the natural evolution of this novel coronavirus amid claims of manufactured origins.  Discuss
New coronavirus puts focus on the science of naming new viruses
What's in a name? Possibly a lot, when it comes to determining how to name new virus species based on genetic characteristics. The initial confusion over the naming of the novel coronavirus indicates that the scientific community still has work to do when defining the proper taxonomy of viruses, according to an article published in Nature Microbiology on March 2.  Discuss
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