Oral drug blocks SARS-CoV-2 transmission, researchers find — ScienceDaily

Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection with a new antiviral drug, MK-4482/EIDD-2801 or Molnupiravir, completely suppresses virus transmission within 24 hours, researchers in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University have discovered.

The group led by Dr. Richard Plemper, Distinguished University Professor at Georgia State, originally discovered that the drug is potent against influenza viruses.

“This is the first demonstration of an orally available drug to rapidly block SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” said Plemper. “MK-4482/EIDD-2801 could be game-changing.”

Interrupting widespread community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 until mass vaccination is available is paramount to managing COVID-19 and mitigating the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic.

Because the drug can be taken by mouth, treatment can be started early for a potentially three-fold benefit: inhibit patients’ progress to severe disease, shorten the infectious phase to ease the emotional and socioeconomic toll of prolonged patient isolation and rapidly silence local outbreaks.

“We noted early on that MK-4482/EIDD-2801

Read More

Researchers create a filter for masks that can deactivate SARS-CoV-2 and multi-resistant bacteria

Researchers create a filter for masks that can deactivate SARS-CoV-2 and multi-resistant bacteria
Credit: Asociación RUVID

Researchers from the Catholic University of Valencia (UCV), from the Biomaterials and Bioengineering group of the CITSAM (San Alberto Magno Centre for Translational Research), headed by Ángel Serrano, have developed a protective filter with commercial tissues for masks, manufactured with a biofunctional coating of benzalkonium chloride, that can deactivate SARS-CoV-2 a minute after coming into contact with the virus.

“Masks have been globally accepted as a useful tool for preventing the viral and bacterial spreading, but the commercial ones have filters manufactured with materials that are uncapable of deactivating SARS-CoV-2 and bacteria that are multi-resistant to drugs,” explains Serrano

This filter also deactivates bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis, which are resistant to the antibiotic methicillin, which worsen the pneumonia caused by the coronavirus, and which represent a threat for people’s lives. This fact makes the filter created by the UCV scientists the first to deactivate SARS-CoV-2

Read More

How SARS-CoV-2 reaches the brain — ScienceDaily

Using post-mortem tissue samples, a team of researchers from Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin have studied the mechanisms by which the novel coronavirus can reach the brains of patients with COVID-19, and how the immune system responds to the virus once it does. The results, which show that SARS-CoV-2 enters the brain via nerve cells in the olfactory mucosa, have been published in Nature Neuroscience*. For the first time, researchers have been able to produce electron microscope images of intact coronavirus particles inside the olfactory mucosa.

It is now recognized that COVID-19 is not a purely respiratory disease. In addition to affecting the lungs, SARS-CoV-2 can impact the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. More than one in three people with COVID-19 report neurological symptoms such as loss of, or change in, their sense of smell or taste, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. In some patients,

Read More

Chemical compounds in foods can inhibit a key SARS-CoV-2 enzyme, study finds — ScienceDaily

Chemical compounds in foods or beverages like green tea, muscadine grapes and dark chocolate can bind to and block the function of a particular enzyme, or protease, in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a new study by plant biologists at North Carolina State University.

Proteases are important to the health and viability of cells and viruses, says De-Yu Xie, professor of plant and microbial biology at NC State and the corresponding author of the study. If proteases are inhibited, cells cannot perform many important functions — like replication, for example.

“One of our lab’s focuses is to find nutraceuticals in food or medicinal plants that inhibit either how a virus attaches to human cells or the propagation of a virus in human cells,” Xie said.

In the study, the NC State researchers performed both computer simulations and lab studies showing how the so-called “main protease” (Mpro) in the

Read More

Pediatric genomic COVID-19 study suggests potential link between SARS-CoV-2 mutations and disease severity — ScienceDaily

When it comes to children, it is becoming clear that COVID-19 impacts them more than was initially realized. Yet there is relatively little information about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, in pediatric populations. Scientists at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have just published the largest pediatric COVID-19 study to date, suggesting, for the first time, a possible link between specific viral mutations and severity of the disease.

COVID-19 is not a genetic disease, but genetics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus play an important role in its spread. Mutations — mistakes in the virus’ genome as it replicates — can affect how the virus transmits, and may play a role in disease severity. Understanding these links is critical to battling this pandemic.

“SARS-CoV-2 is genetically unstable,” says Xiaowu Gai, PhD, the Director of Bioinformatics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “We tend to refer to ‘the virus,’ but when we think about

Read More

SARS-CoV-2 mutations do not appear to increase transmissibility — ScienceDaily

None of the mutations currently documented in the SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to increase its transmissibility in humans, according to a study led by UCL researchers.

The analysis of virus genomes from over 46,000 people with COVID-19 from 99 countries is published today in Nature Communications.

First and corresponding author Dr Lucy van Dorp (UCL Genetics Institute) said: “The number of SARS-CoV-2 genomes being generated for scientific research is staggering. We realised early on in the pandemic that we needed new approaches to analyse enormous amounts of data in close to real time to flag new mutations in the virus that could affect its transmission or symptom severity.

“Fortunately, we found that none of these mutations are making COVID-19 spread more rapidly, but we need to remain vigilant and continue monitoring new mutations, particularly as vaccines get rolled out.”

Coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 are a type of RNA virus, which can all

Read More

The drug aprotinin inhibits entry of SARS-CoV2 in host cells, study finds — ScienceDaily

In order for the SARS-CoV2 virus to enter host cells, its “spike” protein has to be cleaved by the cell’s own enzymes — proteases. The protease inhibitor aprotinin can prevent cell infection, as scientists at Goethe University, the University of Kent and the Hannover Medical School have now discovered. An aprotinin aerosol is already approved in Russia for the treatment of influenza and could readily be tested for the treatment of COVID-19.

The surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is studded with spike proteins. The virus needs these in order to dock onto proteins (ACE2 receptors) on the surface of the host cell. Before this docking is possible, parts of the spike protein have to be cleaved by the host cell’s enzymes — proteases.

In cell culture experiments with various cell types, the international scientific team led by Professor Jindrich Cinatl, Institute for Medical Virology at the University Hospital Frankfurt, Professor

Read More

New study provides deep insights into transmission and mutation properties of SARS-CoV-2

IMAGE

IMAGE: Austrian study reveals important characteristics of the virus: The analysis of infection clusters and superspreading events in Austria built the foundation to obtain general information on transmission properties between persons…
view more 

Credit: Andreas Bergthaler’s Group / CeMM

In the COVID-19 pandemic, 57 million people have already been infected worldwide. In the search for vaccines and therapies, a precise understanding of the virus, its mutations and transmission mechanisms is crucial. A recent study by the research group of Principal Investigator Andreas Bergthaler at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, in the renowned journal Science Translational Medicine, makes an important contribution to this. The high quality of epidemiological data in Austria, together with state-of-the-art virus genome sequencing, has supported unprecedented insights of the mutation behaviour and transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The project “Mutational dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in Austria” was launched by

Read More

Folding of SARS-CoV2 genome reveals drug targets — and preparation for ‘SARS-CoV3’ — ScienceDaily

For the first time, an international research alliance has observed the RNA folding structures of the SARS-CoV2 genome with which the virus controls the infection process. Since these structures are very similar among various beta corona viruses, the scientists not only laid the foundation for the targeted development of novel drugs for treating COVID-19, but also for future occurrences of infection with new corona viruses that may develop in the future.

The genetic code of the SARS-CoV2 virus is exactly 29,902 characters long, strung through a long RNA molecule. It contains the information for the production of 27 proteins. This is not much compared to the possible 40,000 kinds of protein that a human cell can produce. Viruses, however, use the metabolic processes of their host cells to multiply. Crucial to this strategy is that viruses can precisely control the synthesis of their own proteins.

SARS-CoV2 uses the spatial folding

Read More

New SARS-CoV-2 test is a simple, cost-effective, and efficient alternative for SARS-CoV-2 testing — ScienceDaily

Scientists from Northwell Health Laboratories have developed a new diagnostic multiplex assay that can be used for epidemiological surveillance and clinical management of COVID-19. The Northwell Health Laboratories laboratory-developed test (NWHL LDT) uses a different set of reagents than current assays and can test 91 patients at a time for SARS-CoV-2, versus a maximum of 29 patients using the modified Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assay. The NWHL LDT performs as well as the modified CDC test with comparable analytical specificity and accuracy, report scientists in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, published by Elsevier.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many constraints on testing availability, so we hope that providing another testing option to detect SARS-CoV-2 with a clinically-validated set of reagents will assist in this effort at a time when supply chain has been a major issue,” explained lead investigator Gregory J. Berry, PhD, D(ABMM), Infectious

Read More