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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

With "herd immunity" unlikely, antivirals will play key role in COVID-19 management

According to The New York Times, the prospects for reaching “herd immunity” in the fight against COVID-19 are increasingly dim. Subsequently, the virus “will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come.”

Therefore, long-term management of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, will be increasingly important. As with influenza, and mosquito-borne viruses, like Zika, developing better antivirals for such perennial threats will have to be a part of the plan.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers Jonathan Dordick, a chemical engineer, and Robert Linhardt, a biochemist are developing one promising antiviral approach that uses a decoy to trap the virus before it can infect a cell.

This decoy strategy has shown promise in combating a number of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, dengue, Zika, and influenza A.

Dordick and Linhardt, who is internationally recognized for his creation of synthetic heparin, focus on viruses that use glycoproteins to latch onto human cells, a trait common to many viruses, including coronaviruses. They study how viruses gain entry into human cells at the molecular level and identify safe, effective compounds to offer as a decoy.

In their most recent test of this viral decoy strategy on mammalian cells, Dordick and Linhardt demonstrated that a compound derived from edible seaweeds substantially outperforms remdesivir, the current standard antiviral used to combat COVID-19. Heparin, a common blood thinner, and a heparin variant stripped of its anticoagulant properties, performed on par with remdesivir in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection in mammalian cells. Both compounds bind tightly to the spike protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the same strategy the team employed in their previous viral work.

Dordick and Linhardt are available to speak on the viral decoy strategy and the need for more effective antivirals in future pandemic control.



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Released: 17-Jun-2021 4:15 PM EDT
UNC Researchers Lead Study of Diabetes Treatment of COVID-19 Patients
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Diabetes is one of the comorbidities most strongly associated with severe COVID-19 in the US, and data from early in the pandemic suggested individuals with type 2 diabetes faced twice the risk of death from COVID-19 and a greater risk of requiring hospitalization and intensive care. A new study shows best treatment options.

Released: 17-Jun-2021 4:10 PM EDT
Vaccination, Previous Infection, Protect Against COVID-19 gamma/P.1 Variant in Animal Model
University of Wisconsin-Madison

In a new study using variant virus recovered from one of the original travelers, researchers in the U.S. and Japan have found that vaccination with an mRNA vaccine induces antibody responses that would protect humans from infection with the gamma/P.1 variant.

Newswise:Video Embedded virtual-event-for-june-17-11am-edt-covid-19-vaccines-and-male-fertility
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Released: 17-Jun-2021 3:20 PM EDT
VIDEO 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.

Released: 17-Jun-2021 1:30 PM EDT
Hackensack Meridian Doctors, Student Help Establish Way to Prioritize Surgeries During COVID-19 lockdown
Hackensack Meridian Health

The MeNTS method of prioritizing surgeries during the height of pandemic, developed by University of Chicago, helped procedures continue during time of need

Released: 17-Jun-2021 12:55 PM EDT
‘Nanodecoy’ Therapy Binds and Neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 Virus
North Carolina State University

Nanodecoys made from human lung spheroid cells (LSCs) can bind to and neutralize SARS-CoV-2, promoting viral clearance and reducing lung injury in a macaque model of COVID-19.

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Embargo will expire: 21-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 17-Jun-2021 12:10 PM EDT

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Newswise: Blood Cancer Patients with COVID-19 Fare Better with Convalescent Plasma
Released: 17-Jun-2021 11:55 AM EDT
Blood Cancer Patients with COVID-19 Fare Better with Convalescent Plasma
Washington University in St. Louis

A large, retrospective, multicenter study involving Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can dramatically improve likelihood of survival among blood cancer patients hospitalized with the virus. The therapy involves transfusing plasma — the pale yellow liquid in blood that is rich in antibodies — from people who have recovered from COVID-19 into patients who have leukemia, lymphoma or other blood cancers and are hospitalized with the viral infection.

Released: 17-Jun-2021 11:05 AM EDT
Stress during pandemic linked to poor sleep
Washington State University

Many people likely lost sleep over COVID-19. A study of twins led by Washington State University researchers found that stress, anxiety and depression during the first few weeks of the pandemic were associated with less and lower quality sleep.

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Released: 17-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT
University of Miami Miller School Study Shows COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Do Not Impact Male Fertility
University of Miami Health System, Miller School of Medicine

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is safe for male reproduction, according to a new study by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers published in JAMA , the most widely circulated general medical journal in the world.

15-Jun-2021 1:20 PM EDT
Higher COVID-19 Mortality Among Black Patients Linked to Unequal Hospital Quality
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

If Black patients were admitted to the same hospitals that serve a majority of White patients, researchers showed their risk of death would drop by 10 percent


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