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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Rensselaer Team Seeks Alternative Approach to Controlling Viruses

As researchers worldwide scramble to formulate a vaccine to combat COVID-19, a team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is pursuing a potentially powerful solution to pandemic control: a viral trap that is easily adapted to different classes of viruses, enabling a “plug-and-play” approach to virus detection and antiviral activity. 

Jonathan Dordick, an endowed professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer, and Robert Linhardt, an endowed professor of chemistry and chemical biology, said the team is exploring how their work — in the areas of viral detection, therapy, and inhibition — could be used against COVID-19 and other viruses in the future. Their team views such innovative approaches as a vital hedge against the growing threat of global pandemics. 

The viral trap works by mimicking the latch points on a human cell that a virus must bind to before infecting a person by disgorging its genetic instructions into the cell. In research on the Dengue virus with Xing Wang, now a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois, recently published in Nature Chemistry, the team folded a snippet of DNA into a five-pointed star, and attached decoy latch points that align perfectly with the virus’ own molecular grappling hooks. The result was the world’s most sensitive test for Dengue, and a novel means of capturing and ultimately killing the virus. 

In previous research, the team demonstrated the same approach for Influenza A, and it can likely be expanded to other viruses like COVID-19. 

In another approach, Dordick demonstrated how enzymes incorporated into paint, can form a catalytic coating capable of killing the Influenza A Virus. The research, published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, suggests enzyme systems could further be incorporated into swabs, wipes, or coatings, to target and kill various viruses, including COVID-19.



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Released: 21-Jun-2021 3:45 PM EDT
Rare Neurological Disorder Documented Following COVID-19 Vaccination
American Neurological Association (ANA)

In two separate articles in the Annals of Neurology, clinicians in India and England report cases of a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome after individuals were vaccinated against COVID-19.

Newswise: New Analysis reveals link between birthdays and COVID-19 spread during the height of the pandemic
17-Jun-2021 12:10 PM EDT
New Analysis reveals link between birthdays and COVID-19 spread during the height of the pandemic
Harvard Medical School

Risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection increased 30 percent for households with a recent birthday in counties with high rates of COVID-19 Findings suggest informal social gatherings such as birthday parties played role in infection spread at the height of the coronavirus pandemic No birthday-bash infection jumps seen in areas with low rates of COVID-19 Households with children’s birthdays had greater risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection than with adult birthdays

Newswise: COVID-19 dual-antibody therapies effective against variants in animal study
Released: 21-Jun-2021 10:05 AM EDT
COVID-19 dual-antibody therapies effective against variants in animal study
Washington University in St. Louis

A study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that many, but not all, COVID-19 therapies made from combinations of two antibodies are effective against a wide range of virus variants, and that combination therapies appear to prevent the emergence of drug resistance.

13-Jun-2021 12:05 PM EDT
COVID-19 Pandemic Drinking: Increases Among Women, Black Adults, and People with Children
Research Society on Alcoholism

Risky drinking has been a public health concern in the U.S. for decades, but the significant increase in retail alcohol sales following COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders in particular raised red flags for alcohol researchers. New research has assessed changes in alcohol drinking patterns from before to after the enactment of stay-at-home orders. These results and others will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th - 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

13-Jun-2021 1:05 PM EDT
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Alcohol Consumption Is Far From ‘One Size Fits All’
Research Society on Alcoholism

An ongoing analysis of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol and related outcomes shows that COVID-related stressors experienced by study participants – including work-, financial-, and family-related stressors – are having a varied impact on individuals with and without alcohol use disorders (AUDs). These results will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th - 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newswise:Video Embedded newswise-expert-panels-on-covid-19-pandemic-notable-excerpts-quotes-and-videos-available
VIDEO
Released: 18-Jun-2021 2:10 PM EDT
Newswise Expert Panels on COVID-19 Pandemic: Notable excerpts, quotes and videos available
Newswise

Newswise is hosting a series of Expert Panels discussion on unique aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This tip sheet includes some notable quotes from the panelists.

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Embargo will expire: 23-Jun-2021 8:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 18-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT

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Released: 18-Jun-2021 8:55 AM EDT
VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Vaccines and Male Fertility Event for June 17, 2021
Newswise

This upcoming JAMA-published study examined whether the COVID-19 vaccine impacts male fertility.

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Embargo will expire: 22-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 18-Jun-2021 8:30 AM EDT

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Released: 18-Jun-2021 7:05 AM EDT
Teamwork saves lives: COVID-19 hospital network shares key findings to improve care
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Data sharing among 40 Michigan hospitals about the care and outcomes for thousands of inpatients with COVID-19 has led to reduced variation and findings that could inform care anywhere, including approaches for preventing blood clots and reducing overuse of antibiotics, as well as a risk prediction tool.


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