Hydroxychloroquine does not counter SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters, high dose of favipiravir does: study — ScienceDaily

Virologists from the KU Leuven Rega Institute in Belgium have shown that a treatment with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine does not limit SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus replication in hamsters. A high dose of the anti-flu drug favipiravir, by contrast, has an antiviral effect in the hamsters. The team published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Virologists at the KU Leuven Rega Institute have been working on two lines of SARS-CoV-2 research: searching for a vaccine to prevent infection, and testing existing drugs to see which one can reduce the amount of virus in infected people.

To test the efficacy of the vaccine and antivirals preclinically, the researchers use hamsters. The rodents are particularly suitable for SARS-CoV-2 research because the virus replicates itself strongly in hamsters after infection. Moreover, hamsters develop a lung pathology similar to mild COVID-19 in humans. This is not the case with

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Pain relief caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection may help explain COVID-19 spread — ScienceDaily

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can relieve pain, according to a new study by University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers.

The finding may explain why nearly half of people who get COVID-19 experience few or no symptoms, even though they are able to spread the disease, according to the study’s corresponding author Rajesh Khanna, PhD, a professor in the College of Medicine — Tucson’s Department of Pharmacology.

“It made a lot of sense to me that perhaps the reason for the unrelenting spread of COVID-19 is that in the early stages, you’re walking around all fine as if nothing is wrong because your pain has been suppressed,” said Dr. Khanna. “You have the virus, but you don’t feel bad because you pain is gone. If we can prove that this pain relief is what is causing COVID-19 to spread further, that’s of enormous value.”

The paper, “SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein

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Accuracy of commercial antibody kits for SARS-CoV-2 varies widely — ScienceDaily

There is wide variation in the performance of commercial kits for detecting antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), according to a study published September 24 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Jonathan Edgeworth and Blair Merrick of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Suzanne Pickering and Katie Doores of King’s College London, and colleagues. As noted by the authors, the rigorous comparison of antibody testing platforms will inform the deployment of point-of-care technologies in healthcare settings and their use in monitoring SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Throat and nose swab tests for SARS-CoV-2 establish if someone is infected with the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These tests are highly sensitive — capable of detecting very low viral RNA levels — and are optimal for the early detection of the virus. The performance of these tests depends on the time the sample is collected, with viral load

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Variation in genes associated with viral entry of SARS-CoV-2 unlikely to influence COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, study finds — ScienceDaily

A comprehensive search of genetic variation databases has revealed no significant differences across populations and ethnic groups in seven genes associated with viral entry of SARS-CoV-2.

African Americans and Latinos in the United States and ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. They are more likely to develop severe symptoms and also show significantly higher mortality compared with other regional and ethnic groups.

To investigate if this disparity could be caused by genetic variation, a team of three researchers — including Assistant Professor Ji-Won Lee of Hokkaido University’s Graduate School of Dental Medicine — surveyed publicly available databases of genomic variants, including gnomAD, the Korean Reference Genome Database, TogoVar (a Japanese genetic variation database) and the 1000 Genomes Project. They studied variants across multiple regional and ethnic groups in seven genes known to play roles in viral entry into host cells and recognition of viral RNA

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Glycans in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein play active role in infection

Glycans in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein play active role in infection
In this illustration, glycans (dark blue) coat the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (light blue), which is anchored in the viral envelope (colorful bilayer on bottom). Credit: Adapted from ACS Central Science 2020, DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.0c01056

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, researchers are working overtime to develop vaccines and therapies to thwart SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease Many efforts focus on the coronavirus spike protein, which binds the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on human cells to allow viral entry. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Central Science have uncovered an active role for glycans—sugar molecules that can decorate proteins—in this process, suggesting targets for vaccines and therapies.


Before the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein can interact with ACE2 on a human cell, it changes shape to expose its receptor binding domain (RBD), the part of the protein that interacts with ACE2. Like many viral proteins, the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein has a thick coat

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