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New evidence shows SARS-CoV-2 mutations are not more transmissible
In direct contrast to previous research, researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 mutations are not tied to increased transmissibility in humans. The findings, published in Nature Communications on November 25 suggest that mutations such as D614G, while common, are neutral to viral evolution.  Discuss
Superspreader events drive global SARS-CoV-2 transmission
So-called "superspreader events" have been a major contributor to widespread transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a new analysis of outbreaks in Austria. Researchers used deep viral genome sequencing to trace the evolution of the pandemic in the country and how the virus spread beyond its borders, according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine on November 23.  Discuss
CRISPR phage offers precision medicine tool to fight bacterial infections
In an attempt to combat bacterial infections, Locus Biosciences is developing bacteriophage therapies that deliver CRISPR-Cas3 machinery directly to specific, targeted pathogens to obliterate them. Locus CEO Paul Garofolo discusses the company's technology and recent updates with The ScienceBoard.net.  Discuss
Why the most common SARS-CoV-2 strain spreads so easily
A new study confirms that the D614G mutant SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is now the most common form of the virus, is more easily transmitted among hosts but does not cause more severe disease than the original virus. The findings were published in Science on November 12.  Discuss
Improving the safety of gene therapies 2 different ways
Two groups of researchers have developed unique approaches to overcome the limitations of delivery of gene editing therapeutics. In a pair of new papers, researchers describe methods for more efficient and safe delivery of CRISPR components to targeted cells and tissues.  Discuss
Digital microfluidic technique connects cells to their environment
A new digital microfluidic technique allows researchers to connect physical cell properties with the molecular makeup of individual cells. This new approach, published in Nature Communications on November 11, will enable a deeper study of stem cells and other rare cell types for therapeutic development.  Discuss
Can vaccine resistance be predicted with test samples?
The likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 developing resistance to COVID-19 vaccines currently under development can be determined using repurposed blood and nasal test samples that are already being collected as part of clinical trials, according to Pennsylvania State University researchers. The perspective piece was published in PLOS Biology on November 9.  Discuss
RNA interactions may hold key to drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2
Researchers have unearthed how the SARS-CoV-2 virus employs genomic "origami" to infect and replicate inside host cells, a discovery that may hold the key to developing novel antiviral drugs that target specific areas of the virus's genomic structure. The findings were published on November 5 in Molecular Cell.  Discuss
Canadian experts discuss somatic gene therapy approval and use
Gene therapies offer great benefits to patients but could strain healthcare budgets and exacerbate existing treatment inequities in Canada, according to an expert panel that was commissioned to write a report by the Council of Canadian Academies.  Discuss
Proteomic changes in cancer cells provide new drug insights
Large-scale profiling of protein changes in response to drug treatment in cancer cell lines has been demonstrated as a powerful tool to predict drug sensitivity, understand drug resistance, and identify optimal drug combinations. The analysis was published in Cancer Cell on November 5.  Discuss
Conferences
Festival of Genomics & Biodata
January 28-29, 2021
London, Greater London United Kingdom
Lab of the Future USA
May 11-12, 2021
Boston, Massachusetts United States
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