Cell Biology
Neanderthal heritage may be a risk factor for COVID-19
A new study shows that a genetic risk factor inherited from Neanderthal heritage is associated with two times greater risk of serious disease and death from COVID-19. The study was published in Nature on September 30.  Discuss
RNA targeting could prevent replication of SARS-CoV-2 virus
What if you could stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from reproducing itself? Researchers from Florida hope to do just that by creating a compound that targets and binds to RNA regions on the SARS-CoV-2 genome and disrupts its replication. The research was described in a September 30 article published in ACS Central Science.  Discuss
Specialized T cells have unique role in severe COVID-19 cases
An unconventional subset of T cells may be strongly activated in patients with severe cases of COVID-19, according to a new study published in Science Immunology on September 28. This finding may lead to a new understanding of how the immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection.  Discuss
COVID-19 concerns may undermine vaccine rates for seasonal flu
Only a third of parents believe that the flu vaccine will be more important this year, and 1 in 7 parents will not vaccinate their child due to concerns about COVID-19, according to the results of a new poll. The poll results underscore concerns that there could be a double impact of seasonal flu and COVID-19 this winter.  Discuss
SARS-CoV-2 transcriptional patterns provide new insights into infection
New web resources provide insights into cellular genes that are impacted by coronavirus infection in the context of host molecular signaling pathways. These insights have the potential to speed novel drug development efforts in the fight against COVID-19, according to a new paper published in Scientific Data on September 22.  Discuss
New in vitro models reveal importance of lung stem cells in SARS-CoV-2 infection
Researchers have developed a new 2D lung organoid in vitro model as a physiologically relevant platform to aid drug development and explore the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Details were published online in Cell Stem Cell on September 18.  Discuss
Analysis of COVID-19 literature identifies possible knowledge gaps
An analysis of COVID-19 scientific abstracts using natural language processing and machine-learning techniques suggests that the literature currently lacks basic research on the pathogenesis and viral transmission of SARS-CoV-2, according to a September 16 article published in Patterns.  Discuss
Structural changes of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein facilitate infection
The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein can adopt at least 10 sequential structural conformations when in contact with the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Francis Crick Institute and published in Nature on September 17.  Discuss
Are T cells more important than antibodies in COVID-19?
A new study stressed the importance of a multilayered, virus-specific immune response for controlling SARS-CoV-2 during acute COVID-19, with an emphasis on the critical nature of T cells over antibodies during the process. The work was published in Cell on September 16.  Discuss
Could heparin-based therapies be a viable treatment for COVID-19?
Researchers have identified a novel approach to treating SARS-CoV-2 infection, spurred by a new understanding of viral attachment involving a heparan sulfate, a common glycoprotein. The results are presented in a September 14 article published in Cell.  Discuss
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