Family resemblance: How T cells could fight many coronaviruses at once

Scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology show that T cells can recognize several different viral targets, called “antigens,” shared between most coronaviruses, including common cold coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2. They also looked more in-depth at what fragments of these antigens, called “epitopes,” are recognized and how conserved they are across different coronaviruses.

UC Irvine, UCLA researchers identify new therapeutic approach to prevent ARDS

A novel peptide designed by University of California, Irvine researchers has been found to suppress the damaging lung inflammation seen in acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. Their study, which appears in iScience, describes the first specific treatment designed to prevent the deadly disease, which can appear in patients with severe lung injury from infections with bacteria and viruses, like pneumonia, flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19.

Severe COVID-19 caused by “senile” interferon response in older patients, researchers suggest

Researchers in Germany have discovered that age-dependent impairments in antiviral interferon proteins underlie the increased susceptibility of older patients to severe COVID-19. The study, published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), shows that aged mice infected with SARS-CoV-2 are protected from severe disease by treatment with one of these interferons, IFN-γ.

Study: Long COVID continues to take a toll on state economy

Like a case of long COVID-19 itself, the effects of the coronavirus continue to linger in pockets of the state and its economy. They affect Oregonians to a wide range of degrees, ranging from the toll of missed work and lost wages due to long COVID to disruptions with child care and an uneven recovery in the workforce, among others. Those are among the findings in the latest report by University of Oregon researchers.

Most older adults ready to roll up sleeves this fall for updated COVID-19 boosters, U-M poll shows

A new poll shows that 61% of people over 50 who have already gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine are very likely to roll up their sleeves this fall to get an updated booster shot once they become available.
That percentage might increase if health care providers specifically recommend the updated vaccine to their patients, the poll suggests.

Newer COVID-19 Subvariants Are Less Vulnerable to Immunity Induced by Vaccination and Previous Infection, Researchers Find

In a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, physician-scientists report that the three Omicron subvariants currently dominant in the United States – officially known as subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 – substantially escape neutralizing antibodies induced by both vaccination and previous infection.

UNH Research Finds Repurposed Drug Inhibits Enzyme Related to COVID-19

With the end of the pandemic seemingly nowhere in sight, scientists are still very focused on finding new or alternative drugs to treat and stop the spread of COVID-19. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found that using an already existing drug compound in a new way, known as drug repurposing, could be successful in blocking the activity of a key enzyme of the coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

Study in Chinese City Finds Children Spread COVID-19 Easier and Lockdowns Worked

Using high quality COVID-19 data from a northern Chinese city, two UAlbany researchers concluded that young people were most responsible for an increase in direct and secondary infections, and also determined that county-wide lockdowns proved effective in stemming the spread of the virus.

Massive dataset reveals which governments have best responded to COVID-19 pandemic

How well did our political institutions manage the COVID-19 pandemic and are they prepared to handle future threats to the public? A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York hopes to answer these questions and more after compiling an extensive dataset tracking public health government responses to COVID-19 at all levels of government throughout the world.

New Oral Antiviral Drug Reduces Death in Early COVID-19

Researchers note that health care providers are now able to add to their armamentarium against COVID-19 their prescription of this new antiviral drug for high-risk, newly-infected patients as soon as possible following diagnosis or within five days of the onset of symptoms.

Face Shape Influences Mask Fit, Suggests Problems with Double Masking Against COVID-19

In Physics of Fluids, researchers use principal component analysis along with fluid dynamics simulation models to show the crucial importance of proper fit for all types of masks and how face shape influences the most ideal fit. They modeled a moderate cough jet from a mouth of an adult male wearing a cloth mask over the nose and mouth with elastic bands wrapped around the ears and calculated the maximum volume flow rates through the front of mask and peripheral gaps at different material porosity levels.

UCI professor wins prestigious Robert Koch Prize for groundbreaking research

Irvine, Calif., April 27, 2022 – Philip Felgner, Ph.D., professor in residence of physiology & biophysics at the University of California, Irvine, is one of two scholars to win the prestigious 2022 Robert Koch Prize for fundamental contributions to the transfer of nucleic acids into cells. This pioneering technology for treating infectious diseases played a crucial role in developing the messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Rural Bangladeshis turn to faith, family for fact-checking

On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, people worldwide have dealt with an infodemic – a flood of ever-evolving information and misinformation about the virus, causing confusion and mistrust. New Cornell research finds that in remote parts of Bangladesh with little internet access, people have relied on local experts, spiritual views and their sense of social justice to evaluate new coronavirus information.

Yale researchers develop RNA-based therapy that clears SARS-CoV-2 from mice

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have discovered that an RNA molecule that stimulates the body’s early antiviral defense system can protect mice from a range of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. The study, published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), could lead to new treatments for COVID-19 in immunocompromised patients, as well as providing an inexpensive therapeutic option for developing countries that currently lack access to vaccines.