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Llama Antibody Engineered to Block Coronavirus – Veterans Today

Scientists were inspired by antibodies produced by this llama, named Winter, to develop their antibody against SARS-CoV-2. Winter is four years old and still living on a farm in the Belgian countryside operated by Ghent University’s Vlaams Institute for Biotechnology. Photo credit: Tim Coppens.

Llama antibody engineered to block coronavirus

by Sharon Reyonlds/NIH Research Matters

At a Glance

  • Based on antibodies isolated from llamas, researchers engineered an antibody that prevented SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from entering cells in laboratory experiments.
  • Follow-up work is being planned to test the antibody in animal models of the disease.

 

Animals produce antibodies much like those made by the human immune system. But some animals, such as llamas, also produce another type of antibody that’s only about a quarter of the size of a typical human antibody. Such “single-domain” antibodies, or nanobodies, have several features that make them of interest as potential therapeutics.

Nanobodies are very stable, so they could potentially be stored for a long time after production. They can also be delivered by an inhaler directly to the lungs, which makes them particularly promising for respiratory infections such as COVID-19.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 an international pandemic on March 11, 2020. To date, it has infected more than 4 million people worldwide and killed over a quarter million. Researchers are rushing to develop vaccines. In the meantime, effective treatments are urgently needed.

Researchers led by Daniel Wrapp and Dr. Jason McLellan from the University of Texas, in collaboration with a Belgian research team, had developed nanobodies from llamas for research into Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Both these diseases are caused by coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2.

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Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013

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News Veterans Today

New SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Detection Test – Veterans Today

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A serological assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion in humans

With support from the NIAID Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai report a new lab test to identify antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Their findings are published online today in Nature Medicine. The test has been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Abstract

Here, we describe a serological enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the screening and identification of human SARS-CoV-2 seroconverters. This assay does not require the handling of infectious virus, can be adjusted to detect different antibody types in serum and plasma and is amenable to scaling. Serological assays are of critical importance to help define previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in populations, identify highly reactive human donors for convalescent plasma therapy and investigate correlates of protection.

Main

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)—a member of the subgenus Sarbecovirus—has spread globally, causing a pandemic with, so far, 3.6 million infections and 250,000 fatalities (as of 5 May 2020).

Nucleic acid tests that detect the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome are now widely employed to diagnose coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, there remains a great need for assays that measure antibody responses and determine seroconversion. While such serological assays are not well suited to detect acute infections, they support a number of highly relevant applications. First, serological assays allow us to study the immune response(s) to SARS-CoV-2 in a qualitative and quantitative manner. Second, serosurveys are needed to determine the precise rate of infection in an affected area, which is an essential variable to accurately determine the infection fatality rate. ….read more:

Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013

ATTENTION READERS
Due to the nature of independent content, VT cannot guarantee content validity.
We ask you to Read Our Content Policy so a clear comprehension of VT’s independent non-censored media is understood and given its proper place in the world of news, opinion and media.

All content is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

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News RT

Antibody tests show Ohio had first Covid-19 cases as early as JANUARY – state health director — RT USA News

There were at least five coronavirus infections in Ohio as far back as January, the state’s health director said, suggesting the illness began spreading there weeks earlier than previously thought.

The five early cases – believed to have emerged across five Ohio counties between January 7 and 27 – were announced on Monday by Department of Health Director Dr Amy Acton, who said the previously unknown infections were picked up amid ramped up antibody testing.

“We actually have a new date of onset. We have found five cases now when the date of onset of symptoms was in January,” Acton told a statehouse press conference. “We are doing a lot more investigation, our disease detectives are going back to take a look at that and see if they were associated with travel.”

These cases now, we can pick them up because of the antibody testing. We are going to learn more and more about this disease, how long it was here in Ohio, how long it was spreading.




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Ohio announced its first three confirmed cases of Covid-19 on March 10, and previously estimated the earliest onset date – when the infection actually took place – around early February, suggesting the virus had started spreading in the state a full month earlier than was known before. As state health officials continue to expand antibody tests, the date could be pushed back even further.

The five residents are considered “probable” cases due to the presence of antibodies in their systems – which are part of the body’s immune response – however a health department spokesperson said they can never be definitively confirmed as they never received a test while their infections were active. It remains unclear how each may have contracted the virus, but two of the patients say they traveled out of state around the time in question.

Ohio has tallied just shy of 25,000 cases and some 1,357 fatalities throughout the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for a fraction of the US’ total disease toll of 1.3 million and over 80,000 deaths. Though the state continues to see new infections, it is moving ahead on plans to lift sweeping lockdown measures imposed to stem the spread of the illness, with retail stores set to reopen on Tuesday and a number of other sectors following in the coming days.




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Daily Beast News

New York’s Antibody Testing Spree Could Be a Game Changer

New York City remains under seemingly interminable pandemic lockdown. But as researchers around the globe chase the promise of antibody tests—which have faced criticism for their mixed accuracy and dubious reputation as harbingers of COVID-19-immunity—a new wave of such testing in America’s largest city offered a glimmer of hope. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday detailed a plan to ramp up antibody testing locally, and specifically to survey about 140,000 people over two weeks in order to “understand COVID-19 spread and provide New Yorkers with more clarity,” as his office explained. Five testing sites will be set up in each of the five boroughs, according to the mayor, the idea being to provide free tests to 1,000 people per day by appointment through a hotline. Results from the tests will be available within 24 to 48 hours, he said.

So-called serology, or antibody, tests can determine if a person recently had the infection and may—may—have developed enough of the right kind of immune response to offer some protection from illness. De Blasio’s announcement came a few days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo detailed the results of a New York State antibody initiative that tested 150,000 people and concluded roughly one in five NYC residents had been infected. 

While projects like these barely make a dent in the population of America’s number one COVID-19 hotzone, they have the potential to provide serious insight into what percentage of New Yorkers, from what neighborhoods, and in what demographics, have had the novel coronavirus, experts said. That, in turn, represents a key pillar of what epidemiologists tend to describe as a precondition for responsibly reopening hard-hit areas. 

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Chinook

Why US and Russian high Covid-19 case counts are DECEPTIVE — RT World News

You’ve probably seen the headlines about the US having the most cases of coronavirus and Russia moving into the worldwide top seven. Meanwhile, Italy receives a huge focus, but badly stricken Belgium is largely ignored.

When you read that there have been over 67,000 American deaths and over a million reported infections, it seems shocking. It also feels hugely worrying that Russia has over 145,000 diagnosed sufferers. Nevertheless, the fact is the US is a big country, with 328 million people. Russia is even larger, of course, but has a smaller population of 146 million. So although these figures are enormous, they don’t tell the whole story, especially given both nations have done huge amounts of tests: over 7 million in the US and more than 4.3 million across Russia.




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By comparison, Ukraine has only tested 134,592 people, according to its own government’s data, and Brazil’s tally is under 400,000 on the Worldometer aggregator. This information is key to understanding the real spread of coronavirus in any given country – because, like everything, it’s all relative.

Let’s look at total tests per one million people in some selected countries. You can see there is a massive range in the scale of testing. Smaller countries like Ireland and Qatar have cast their nets wide, while Russia, Spain, and Germany have managed the best of the larger states. India, Brazil, and Ukraine are struggling at the bottom, as is France, somewhat surprisingly.

  • Qatar 39,558
  • Ireland 34,302
  • Germany 30,400
  • Russia 29,465
  • Spain 28,747
  • Italy 24,157
  • Belgium 23,522
  • United States 21,994
  • Belarus 19,627
  • United Kingdom 17,771
  • France 5,775
  • Ukraine 3,608
  • Brazil 1,597
  • India 802

Now it’s time to focus on reported cases, also per one million. But bear in mind that even Germany, despite its high testing rate, may have only have caught around ten percent of its infections. That’s according to researchers at the University of Bonn.




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Needless to say, if the Germans are off by such a large margin, the statistics from Ukraine, Brazil, and India need to be taken a serious pinch of salt. It’s noticeable that Qatar tops the list here, as well as with testing. Russia, which has the fourth-highest amount of tests in our sample, is close to last in terms of cases.

  • Qatar 5,620
  • Spain 4,626
  • Ireland 4,409
  • Belgium 4,337
  • United States 3,619
  • Italy 3,505
  • United Kingdom 2,807
  • France 2,584
  • Germany 1,978
  • Belarus 1,851
  • Russia 995
  • Brazil 479
  • Ukraine 282
  • India 31

When it comes to deaths, Russia’s figures are almost the same as neighboring Belarus and Ukraine. This is interesting in the context of various people from US and UK media suggesting Russia’s declared totals may be deliberately inaccurate. They are ballpark for the region and, given political tensions, it’s very unlikely officials in Kiev would be colluding with Moscow to jointly hide casualties.

If deaths are counted per million of the population, Belgium tops the list – but Brussels also counts all cases with a hint of Covid-19 in its tallies. It’s notable that France, with a low testing and case rate, is fifth-highest in this category – suggesting it’s Paris, not Moscow, which may be buckling under the strain of the pandemic.




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The US is well behind both the UK and Italy, an interesting result considering the media narrative which generally keeps focusing on the country having the highest overall number of dead.

  • Belgium 684
  • Spain 544
  • Italy 481
  • United Kingdom 423
  • France 386
  • Ireland 267
  • United States 210
  • Germany 82
  • Brazil 34
  • Belarus 11
  • Russia 9
  • Ukraine 7
  • Qatar 4
  • India 1

Naturally, statistics can be twisted in various ways to suit certain agendas, but there can hardly be any disagreement that per capita figures are the fairest measure in a pandemic. By this metric, Russia – along with its post-Soviet neighbors – is doing a lot better than its counterparts in Western Europe. At the same time, the US is not the outlier the raw headline data make it seem.

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