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New discovery could lead to broad-spectrum antivirals
December 18, 2020 -- Scientists have identified a key human gene that is required for cells to consume and destroy viruses. The results of the study were published in Nature on December 16 and could point to new treatments to target viral infections, including COVID-19.  Discuss
FDA committee votes favorably for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine EUA
December 17, 2020 -- Moderna's messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, received a favorable recommendation on December 17 from an advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The committee's OK means that mRNA-1273 will probably receive an emergency use authorization (EUA) within days.  Discuss
New immunotherapy piggybacks off polio vaccine to treat cancer
December 17, 2020 -- As if we needed another reason to get vaccinated, researchers have developed a technology that leverages the polio vaccine to help treat cancer for those who develop the disease later in life. The technology, conceived at Duke University and developed by Istari Oncology, uses antigens produced by the polio vaccine to trigger the immune system to eat away at targeted cancer cells.  Discuss
Moderna's vaccine data support high efficacy, safety prior to FDA meeting
December 16, 2020 -- Moderna has published information supporting a 94.1% efficacy rate for its messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273. The company made the data available ahead of a December 17 committee meeting at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review the vaccine candidate.  Discuss
Genes provide new targets for COVID-19 therapies
December 15, 2020 -- Genes associated with antiviral immunity and lung inflammation have been tied to severe cases of COVID-19 in a new genome-wide analysis conducted in the U.K. The results, published in Nature on December 11, reveal new therapeutic targets for drug repurposing and development efforts.  Discuss
Global health R&D stalls as resources are redirected to COVID-19
December 14, 2020 -- The current coronavirus pandemic has set back progress in research and development (R&D) on neglected diseases and other long-standing global health challenges by disrupting ongoing research and redirecting resources to COVID-19 work, according to a new report released on December 11 by the nonprofit Global Health Technologies Coalition.  Discuss
FDA issues EUA for Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
December 12, 2020 -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The move comes after the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee issued a positive recommendation for the vaccine.
Google's DeepMind makes a quantum leap in solving the protein folding problem
December 11, 2020 -- Artificial intelligence has made something of a breakthrough in the prediction of protein structures. The results came about as part of the 14th Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction, a friendly contest and conference organized by the Protein Structure Prediction Center with sponsorship from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.  Discuss
FDA committee gives nod to move Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine toward EUA
December 10, 2020 -- A COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Pfizer-BioNTech, BNT162b2, passed a major milestone today when a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee determined that the benefits of the candidate in preventing COVID-19 outweigh its risks. The advice of the committee will likely lead to the issuance of an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine by the FDA within days.  Discuss
Analysis confirms 70% efficacy rate for Oxford COVID-19 vaccine
December 9, 2020 -- An interim analysis of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine (AZD1222) reports that it has an acceptable safety profile and vaccine efficacy rate of 70%. The results were published by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca in the Lancet on December 8.  Discuss
New study finds SARS-CoV-2 antibodies disappear quickly
December 8, 2020 -- Antibodies that develop after infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus disappear quickly, according to an analysis published in Science Immunology on December 7. The findings could indicate that SARS-CoV-2 infection might not offer long-term immunity from subsequent reinfection with the virus.  Discuss
New universal flu vaccine targets conserved region of viral surface protein
December 7, 2020 -- A new universal influenza vaccine has been developed that targets the stalk portion of the influenza virus surface protein rather than the head portion. This vaccine, which is capable of neutralizing diverse strains of influenza, was evaluated in a phase I clinical study whose results were published in Nature Medicine on December 7.  Discuss
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