Wednesday, 15 July, 2020

Drugs that may block coronavirus from jumping to uninfected cells

SARS-CoV-2 Electron Microscope Image Earliest known novel coronavirus detected in Barcelona
Gustavo Carr | 30 June, 2020, 18:41

"The levels of the SARS-CoV-2 (or novel coronavirus) genome coincided with the evolution of COVID-19 cases in the population", Albert Bosch, professor at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona and coordinator of the study, said.

"Our data-driven approach for drug discovery has identified a new set of drugs that have great potential to fight COVID-19, either by themselves or in combination with other drugs, and we are excited to see if they will help end this pandemic", Krogan said.

An worldwide team of researchers has analysed how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, hijacks the proteins in its target cells.

Another criticism is that the study detected two separate genes (IP2 and IP4 targets) but not the nucleotides that other researchers, like those at the KWR Water Research Institute in the Netherlands, searched for in their wastewater surveys. Serology tests for COVID-19 are created to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. One is that SARS-CoV-2 is present in the sewage at a very low level.

However, the researchers said, further study is needed to validate these findings.

Both symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 shed the virus in their feces, making sewage surveillance a powerful tool for monitoring the spread of the disease throughout the community. In particular, the researchers found that a well-studied kinase network known as the p38/MAPK pathway, which is known to trigger the production of inflammation-inducing cytokines, was significantly more active. The researchers also found that the CDK kinases, which control the cell cycle, were significantly less active during infection, which halted the resource-intensive process of cell division in order to funnel more resources toward virus production.

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One of the key findings is that infected cells exhibit long, branched, arm-like extensions, or filopodia.

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Matthew McKay, from the Departments of Electronic and Computer Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Dr. Ahmed Abdul Quadeer, to establish a first-of-its-kind web-based platform for reporting vaccine target recommendations for COVID-19, to help scientists across the globe in the quest for an effective COVID-19 vaccine. Though it remains to be confirmed, the scientists believe that SARS-CoV-2 may also use filopodia as an infective transport system.

The team identified 87 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or ongoing clinical trials that target the kinases of interest. If these drugs could successfully interfere with kinase activity in infected cells, they might be able to stop the virus in its tracks.

"They said seven of these compounds, primarily anticancer and inflammatory disease compounds, demonstrated potent antiviral activity in laboratory experiments".

The collaboration included researchers at EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the Quantitative Biosciences Institute's Coronavirus Research Group in the School of Pharmacy at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Institut Pasteur, and the Excellence Cluster CIBSS of the University of Freiburg. Please refer to the study for a full list of authors, affiliations and funding sources.