Structural basis of RNA cap modification by SARS-CoV-2

A new treatment idea for COVID-19 is possible after the discovery of the reason why the virus is so dangerous.  The pathogen camouflages itself after infecting cells to prevent a swift response from the immune system. An enzyme the virus produces that tricks cells into believing the viral RNA belongs there has been identified. This mechanism delays the immune response and allows the virus to replicate inside cells. Therapies targeting the enzyme could prevent the pathogen from hiding in plain sight.

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Face masks including home-made ones contribute to reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission

The Royal Society’s Face mask report says if correctly used face masks, including homemade cloth masks, can contribute to reducing viral transmission. Masks can offer an important tool for contributing to the management of community transmission of Covid19 within the general population.  The report says evidence supporting their potential effectiveness comes from analysis of (1) the incidence of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission; (2) the role of respiratory droplets in transmission, which can travel as far as 1-2 meters; and (3) studies of the use of homemade and surgical masks to reduce droplet spread.

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Peer review shows promising results of new vaccine against SARS CoV-2 virus

A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine reports on a trial of 45 healthy adults aged 18-55, each vaccinated twice, 28 days apart, with the mRNA-1273 vaccine developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and pharmaceutical company Moderna. All participants subsequently produced antibodies against the SARS CoV-2 virus, and their blood serum showed neutralizing activity against the virus, preventing it from entering cells. Moreover, the vaccine appears to provide stronger protection against new infections than an average bout of actually catching the disease.

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Longitudinal evaluation and decline of antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 infection

Researchers say that antibodies in patients who have become infected by the virus may decline, or even disappear, within months, suggesting immunity from an eventual vaccine could fade as well over. Only 17% of the 60% of patients who had had a particularly strong antibody response when they were fighting the virus still had those antibodies at the same levels three months later. In some cases, the antibodies disappeared entirely, the researchers found. The study, if backed up by further evidence, would further undermine the concept of herd immunity.

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It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19

Converging lines of evidence indicate that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can pass from person to person in tiny droplets called aerosols that waft through the air and accumulate over time.  An international group of 237 clinicians, infectious-disease physicians, epidemiologists, engineers, and aerosol scientists have published a commentary in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases that urges the medical community and public health authorities to acknowledge the potential for airborne transmission. They also call for preventive measures to reduce this type of risk.

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