3-D protein modeling suggests why COVID-19 infects some animals, but not others

3D protein modeling suggests why COVID-19 infects some animals, but not others
3D structure model of the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 (in blue) interacting with the human ACE2 receptor (in gray). Amino acids important to the interaction, which are present only in COVID-susceptible animal species are highlighted in yellow. Sugars bound to the proteins are shown in pink. Credit: Rodrigues et al. 2020 (CC-BY 2.0)

Some animals are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection than others, and new research suggests this may be due to distinctive structural features of a protein found on the surface of animal cells. João Rodrigues of Stanford University, California, and colleagues present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS Computational Biology.


Previous research suggests that the current pandemic began when the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, jumped from bats or pangolins to humans. Certain other animals, such as cattle and cats, appear to be susceptible to COVID-19, while others, such as pigs and chickens, are not. One

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Research suggests our galaxy’s brightest gamma-ray binary system may be powered by a magnetar star — ScienceDaily

A team of researchers led by members of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) has analyzed previously collected data to infer the true nature of a compact object — found to be a rotating magnetar, a type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field — orbiting within LS 5039, the brightest gamma-ray binary system in the Galaxy.

Including former graduate student Hiroki Yoneda, Senior Scientist Kazuo Makishima and Principal Investigator Tadayuki Takahashi at the Kavli IMPU, the team also suggest that the particle acceleration process known to occur within LS 5039 is caused by interactions between the dense stellar winds of its primary massive star, and ultra-strong magnetic fields of the rotating magnetar.

Gamma-ray binaries are a system of massive stars and compact stars. They were discovered only recently, in 2004, when observations of very-high-energy gamma-rays in the teraelectronvolt (TeV) band

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Glucosamine may reduce overall death rates as effectively as regular exercise, study suggests — ScienceDaily

Glucosamine supplements may reduce overall mortality about as well as regular exercise does, according to a new epidemiological study from West Virginia University.

“Does this mean that if you get off work at five o’clock one day, you should just skip the gym, take a glucosamine pill and go home instead?” said Dana King, professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, who led the study. “That’s not what we suggest. Keep exercising, but the thought that taking a pill would also be beneficial is intriguing.”

He and his research partner, Jun Xiang — a WVU health data analyst — assessed data from 16,686 adults who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010. All of the participants were at least 40 years old. King and Xiang merged these data with 2015 mortality figures.

After controlling for various factors — such as participants’ age, sex,

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Madrid opens new hospital, CDC study suggests COVID was in US earlier than thought

Bipartisan Senate group pitching $900 billion stimulus plan — 10:45 a.m.

A bipartisan group of senators is set to unveil a $908 billion stimulus proposal, according to people familiar with the plan, in an effort to break a monthslong impasse that’s now threatening to tip the economy back into contraction.

Neither Republican nor Democratic leadership has signed on to the plan, however, leaving it facing the same long odds that a failed bipartisan House proposal faced before Election Day. President-elect Joe Biden has so far backed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has pushed a $2.4 trillion bill.

Under the new proposed compromise, businesses would get a roughly $300 billion infusion for a version of the Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable loans, and state and local governments would get $240 billion, including money for schools, according to two people familiar with the proposal.

Without patients or staff, Madrid opens new $119M

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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

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Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Reliable leaker known as “L0vetodream” has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors.

13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with ‌Apple Silicon‌ in the second half of 2021.

L0vetodream simply says that the MacBook redesigns expected in the second half of 2021 will not be only for ‌Apple Silicon‌ models, implying that the redesigns will also come to new Intel-based MacBooks.

Apple just released its first ‌Apple Silicon‌ Macs, which include the MacBook Air and lower-end configurations of the 13-inch ‌MacBook Air‌ and Mac mini. While the new MacBook Pro and ‌Mac mini‌ still have a few shortcomings relative to their more expensive Intel counterparts, they are demonstrating better

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Apple could include Intel in 2021 MacBook redesigns, vague rumor suggests

A leaker known for their accuracy has inferred that redesigned MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models said to launch in 2021 could ship with either Intel or Apple Silicon processors.

The leaker known as @L0vetodream on Twitter has shared an especially vague remark regarding a Ming-Chi Kuo report about future MacBook models published late on Monday. The tweet just suggests that the redesigned models destined for late 2021 would not be limited to Apple Silicon.

This suggests that future models of Apple’s popular MacBooks may still offer Intel variants. This is in direct contrast to what Apple’s SVP Greg Joswiak said in an interview on M1 processors.

“When we said we would support Intel systems for years to come, that was talking about the operating system.” Apple had previously commented that future Intel hardware was coming, but Joswiak said “We still had Intel systems that were in the pipeline” when

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Report Suggests Government, Companies Factor Permanent Remote Work into Future Operations

A report by Forrester indicates more than 53% of the U.S. workforce would like to continue working remotely—at least some—once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

Released Nov. 17, the report found fewer Americans (44%) are eager to return to daily office life and mirrors a recent survey of federal employees who expect at least regular telework to continue into the foreseeable future.

Agencies and companies, Forrester states, would be wise to augment their existing workforce strategies to meet the expectations of their collective workforces.

“Rather than assume that centralized locations are the best way to engage workers and provide those outcomes, the anywhere-work approach recognizes that people—employees, prospective talent, managers, and other stakeholders—all have preferences that, post-pandemic, will break the traditional definition of and boundary between in-office and home-based work,” the report states.

The report makes clear not every employee will be able to work from home. According to Forrester, approximately

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Research suggests that sharp rise in water temperatures led to death and disappearance of some species from the shallow water of Israeli shores — ScienceDaily

Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) embarked on an underwater journey to solve a mystery: Why did sponges of the Agelas oroides species, which used to be common in the shallow waters along the Mediterranean coast of Israel, disappear? Today, the species can be found in Israel mainly in deep habitats that exist at a depth of 100 meters (330 feet).

The researchers believe that the main reason for the disappearance of the sponges was the rise in seawater temperatures during the summer months, which in the past 60 years have risen by about 3°C (37°F).

The study was led by Professor Micha Ilan and PhD student Tal Idan of TAU’s School of Zoology at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and Steinhardt Museum of Natural History. The article was published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science in November 2020.

“Sponges are marine animals of great importance

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Deep Space Might Not Be Completely Dark, New Study Suggests

When we look out at the darkest night skies available on Earth, even the emptiest abyss we can find isn’t completely dark. We can look between the individual stars in the Milky Way, seeing out into the Universe beyond. We can look at the space between the myriad of galaxies populating the Universe, finding many regions without identifiable light sources of any type. But even when we do, the light from our own backyard still gets in

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