Hopkins Med News Update
Researchers say that genomic surveillance to mitigate and contain COVID-19 is equally crucial to detect variants that are phenotypically or antigenically different well before they spread throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world. Genomic surveillance leverages applications of next-generation sequencing and phylogenetic methods to facilitate greater early anticipation as well as initiation of effective strategies to mitigate and contain outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 variants and other novel viruses.
The number of COVID-19 variants is growing rapidly, so much that the scale and scope of mutation may pose a threat to the continuing successful use of the current vaccines and therapies. The findings, by an international team that includes University of California researchers, are being published in the June edition of the peer-reviewed journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. The pace of variation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus strains makes plain the threat that rapidly evolving new strains might give rise to escape variants, capable of limiting the efficacy of vaccines, therapies, and diagnostic tests.
Next-generation gene sequencing (NGS) technologies —in which millions of DNA molecules are simultaneously but individually analyzed— theoretically provides researchers and clinicians the ability to noninvasively identify mutations in the blood stream. Identifying such mutations enables earlier diagnosis of cancer and can inform treatment decisions. Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a new technology to overcome the inefficiencies and high error rates common among next-generation sequencing techniques that have previously limited their clinical application.
Research reveals how mutated SARS-CoV-2 evades immune system defenses
In lab-dish experiments, the mutant virus escaped antibodies from the plasma of
COVID-19 survivors as well as pharmaceutical-grade antibodies
Mutations arose in an immunocompromised patient with chronic SARS-CoV-2 infection
Patient-derived virus harbored structural changes now seen cropping up independently in samples across the globe
Findings underscore the need for better genomic surveillance to keep track of emerging variants
Results highlight importance of therapies aimed at multiple targets on SARS-CoV-2 to minimize risk of resistance
Dan Janies has advised on the animal origins and spread of SARS-CoV-1, MERS, SARS-CoV-2, other coronavirus strains, and variations within strains. Currently, he is working on the new variants of concern of SARS-CoV-2. Variant SARS-CoV-2 contain mutations that change how…
The study documented the earliest known interbreeding event between ancient human populations— a group known as the “super-archaics” in Eurasia interbred with a Neanderthal-Denisovan ancestor about 700,000 years ago. The event was between two populations more distantly related than any other recorded.
A UCLA-led study reveals a new role for a gene that’s associated with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability and language impairment.
A Rutgers-led team has developed a tool to monitor influenza A virus mutations in real time, which could help virologists learn how to stop viruses from replicating. The gold nanoparticle-based probe measures viral RNA in live influenza A cells, according to a study in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. It is the first time in virology that experts have used imaging tools with gold nanoparticles to monitor mutations in influenza, with unparalleled sensitivity.
Heart cells have tiny pores that generate electrical signals to initiate each heart beat. Structural studies of these channels are providing details how they work, how they malfunction due to different inherited mutations, and how they respond to drugs.
Researchers from the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City have identified new mutations in a gene commonly associated with non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (NIDC), a disease that weakens the heart muscle, making it more difficult to adequately circulate blood to meet the body’s needs.
Researchers have used the Drosophila embryo to model human disease mutations that affect myosin motor activity. Through in vivo imaging and biophysical analysis, they demonstrated that engineering human MYH9-related disease mutations into Drosophila myosin II produces motors with altered organization and dynamics that fail to drive rapid cell movements, resulting in defects in epithelial morphogenesis.
Scientists from Rutgers University and around the world have discovered an antibiotic produced by a soil bacterium from a Mexican tropical forest that may help lead to a “plant probiotic,” more robust plants and other antibiotics. Probiotics, which provide friendlier bacteria and health benefits for humans, can also be beneficial to plants, keeping them healthy and more robust. The new antibiotic, known as phazolicin, prevents harmful bacteria from getting into the root systems of bean plants, according to a Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Nature Communications.
A research team including faculty at Binghamton University and University of Colorado Denver are the first to map the molecular structure of an aggressive protein aggregate that causes acceleration of Alzheimer’s disease.