Tag COVID-19 resources

DNA Inherited From Neanderthals May Increase Risk of COVID-19

A stretch of DNA linked to Covid-19 was passed down from Neanderthals 60,000 years ago, according to a new study.

Scientists don’t yet know why this particular segment increases the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. But the new findings, which were posted online on Friday and have not yet been published in a scientific journal, show how some clues to modern health stem from ancient history.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/04/health/coronavirus-neanderthals.html

A stretch of DNA linked to Covid-19 was passed down from Neanderthals 60,000 years ago, according to a new study. Scientists don’t yet know why this particular segment increases the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. But the new findings, which were posted online… Continue Reading →

Pangolins are not the intermediate hosts for the novel coronavirus

The outbreak of a novel corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city of Wuhan, China has resulted in more than 1.7 million laboratory confirmed cases all over the world. Recent studies showed that SARS-CoV-2 was likely originated from bats, but its intermediate hosts are still largely unknown. In this study, we assembled the complete genome of a coronavirus identified in 3 sick Malayan pangolins. The molecular and phylogenetic analyses showed that this pangolin coronavirus (pangolin-CoV-2020) is genetically related to the SARS-CoV-2 as well as a group of bat coronaviruses but do not support the SARS-CoV-2 emerged directly from the pangolin-CoV-2020. Our study suggests that pangolins are natural hosts of Betacoronaviruses. Large surveillance of coronaviruses in pangolins could improve our understanding of the spectrum of coronaviruses in pangolins. In addition to conservation of wildlife, minimizing the exposures of humans to wildlife will be important to reduce the spillover risks of coronaviruses from wild animals to humans.

https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1008421

The outbreak of a novel corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city of Wuhan, China has resulted in more than 1.7 million laboratory confirmed cases all over the world. Recent studies showed that SARS-CoV-2 was likely originated from bats,… Continue Reading →

Mutations in the Coronavirus Spike Protein

Antibodies against the Spike protein could range from neutralizing ones that will stop the virus in its tracks all the way to others that would cause antibody-dependent enhancement and make the viral infection even worse (see below), and we don’t know how the mutational landscape might alter the activity of any given monoclonal candidate. A new preprint on spike muations (from researchers at Los Alamos, Duke, and Sheffield) has gotten a great deal of attention in the last couple of days, and I think that a detailed look at it would be useful to help explain these issues.

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/05/07/mutations-in-the-coronavirus-spike-protein

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.29.069054v1.full.pdf

Antibodies against the Spike protein could range from neutralizing ones that will stop the virus in its tracks all the way to others that would cause antibody-dependent enhancement and make the viral infection even worse (see below), and we don’t… Continue Reading →

Some Indian novel coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) isolates form a new sub-group

New genome sequences of the novel coronavirus, combined with fresh analysis, show a new viral sub-type in India, in addition to already existing sub-types.
https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.31.126136v1

New genome sequences of the novel coronavirus, combined with fresh analysis, show a new viral sub-type in India, in addition to already existing sub-types.https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.31.126136v1

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

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/05/finally-virus-got-me-scientist-who-fought-ebola-and-hiv-reflects-facing-death-covid-1

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

https://datascience.nih.gov/covid-19-open-access-resources

Open-access and computational resources https://datascience.nih.gov/covid-19-open-access-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.

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.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01295-8

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