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article imageLatest epidemiology, immunology and COVID-19 research

By Tim Sandle     Jul 10, 2020 in Science
From finding ways to stop the coronavirus in its tracks (by blocking spike proteins) to a new therapeutic intervention to address symptoms, new COVID-19 research shows how the science community are responding to the challenges that the virus poses.
Each week new research into the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, appears. Periodically Digital Journal assesses the most interesting findings. Below is our most recent selection of cutting-edge COVID-19 research.
Targeting spike proteins
New research suggests targeting the spike proteins could provide an effective treatment for SARS-CoV-2 and provide valuable structural data for teams working to develop vaccines. Scientists have demonstrated that the previously identified SARS antibody CR3022 also neutralises SARS-CoV-2. This is by destroying the prominent spike proteins. According to Scientist Live, the research suggests that this antibody may have therapeutic potential alone or in combination with other antibodies. Their high-resolution data will also provide valuable structural data for teams working to develop vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.
Therapeutic intervention
In the journal Human Biology / Computational and Systems Biology (" A mechanistic model and therapeutic interventions for COVID-19 involving a RAS-mediated bradykinin storm"), researchers have conducted gene expression analysis. This process has revealed a novel, integrated molecular mechanism for much of the pathogenesis of COVID-19 that provides therapeutic intervention points that can be addressed with existing approved pharmaceuticals.
Improving health records
By applying deep learning technology for the large-scale curation of symptoms from unstructured electronic health record clinical notes, researchers have been able to accurately predict the differential signals of COVID-19 diagnosis ahead of additional testing. This measure will improve COVID-19 detection, and it is set out in the journal Human Biology and Medicine / Microbiology and Infectious Disease in the paper titled "Augmented curation of clinical notes from a massive EHR system reveals symptoms of impending COVID-19 diagnosis".
Avoiding false negative test results
Correctly identifying whether or not a person has COVID-19 is an important part of epidemiology. With this, false-negative results are particularly problematic in containing the spread of COVID-19. This is because infected individuals can unwittingly transmit the virus while being completely asymptomatic. Why do false negatives happen? A recent study by Johns Hopkins researchers reported that timing may be an important factor. Furthermore, oropharyngeal swabs are far more accurate than nasal swabs when it comes to detecting the virus.
This is based on a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, titled "Variation in False-Negative Rate of Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction–Based SARS-CoV-2 Tests by Time Since Exposure."
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