Category ISRC discussions

Since its inception, the ISRC group has been having intense discussions on many topics. We give pointers to a few of the external resources, links, analysis etc that have emerged from these discussions.

Worldwide updates of COVID-19 infections

A personal account by scientist Peter Piot, who worked with HIV and Ebola, and recently contracted COVID-19

Piot, who grew up in Belgium, was one of the discoverers of the Ebola virus in 1976 and spent his career fighting infectious diseases. He headed the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS between 1995 and 2008 and is currently a coronavirus adviser to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. But his personal confrontation with the new coronavirus was a life-changing experience, Piot says.

What do new mutations in the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) mean?

To say that you’ve revealed the emergence of a more transmissible form of SARS-CoV-2 without ever actually testing it isn’t the type of thing that makes me feel comfortable as a scientist.” She and other virologists I’ve spoken with who were not involved in the Los Alamos research agree that the paper’s claims are plausible, but not justified by the evidence it presents. More important, they’re not convinced different strains of the coronavirus exist at all.

The origins of SARS-CoV-2

The first cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, were reported in December, 2019 in the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province of China. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the disease originated in or around Wuhan.
41 cases of COVID-19 were reported to local health authorities in Wuhan, during December 16, 2019 to January, 2020. The clinical features of these patients were reported in this study in the journal Lancet, in February, 2020:

Useful COVID-19 resources and Database

Open-access and computational resources

Open-access and computational resources

Broad-spectrum antiviral agent against novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

Broad-spectrum antivirals are desirable, particularly in the context of emerging zoonotic infections for which specific interventions do not yet exist. Sheahan et al. tested the potential of a ribonucleoside analog previously shown to be active against other RNA viruses such as influenza and Ebola virus to combat coronaviruses. This drug was effective in cell lines and primary human airway epithelial cultures against multiple coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2. Mouse models of SARS and MERS demonstrated that early treatment reduced viral replication and damage to the lungs. Mechanistically, this drug is incorporated into the viral RNA, inducing mutations and eventually leading to error catastrophe in the virus. In this manner, inducing catastrophe could help avoid catastrophe by stemming the next pandemic.

Human antibody against SARS-CoV-2 infection identified

The emergence of the novel human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan, China has caused a worldwide epidemic of respiratory disease (COVID-19). Vaccines and targeted therapeutics for treatment of this disease are currently lacking. Here we report a human monoclonal antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 (and SARS-CoV) in cell culture. This cross-neutralizing antibody targets a communal epitope on these viruses and may offer potential for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

The antiviral Remdesivir reduces recovery time in COVID-19 patients

On 29 April, Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), announced that a clinical trial in more than 1,000 people had showed that those taking remdesivir recovered in 11 days on average, compared with 15 days for those on a placebo. There were also fewer deaths among trial participants who received the drug, he said, but that trend was not statistically significant. The shortened recovery time, however, was significant.

How coronavirus mutates and spreads

Explains the emergence and spread of mutations in coronaviruses, and how this leads to disease, in a simple and clear manner

Explains the emergence and spread of mutations in Coronaviruses, and how this leads to disease, in a simple and clear manner

Multilingual COVID-19 resource

How to deal with different aspects of COVID-19 infection, detailed in different languages. Useful practical resource

How to deal with different aspects of COVID-19 infection, detailed in different languages. Useful practical resource

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