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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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Defence News

Boeing deliveries final F/A-18 Block II Super Hornet to U.S. Navy – Defence Blog

Boeing, a world’s largest aerospace company, has announced that it delivered the final F/A-18 Block II fighter jet to the U.S. Navy.

As noted by the company, next year, they will begin integrating Block III Super Hornets into carrier fleets.

“Delivery of this last production Block 2 Super Hornet is […] a stepping stone along the path to continuously evolving our platforms to meet the US Navy’s ever-evolving needs,” said Captain Jason Denney, Program Manager of the F/A-18 and EA-18 Program Office (PMA-265). “Block 3 delivery is just steps behind and the production lines won’t miss a beat, with the first two US Navy Block 3 test jets delivering in the next two months, followed by delivery of 24 E/F aircraft over the next year for our international customer, Kuwait.”

In April 2005, Boeing delivered the first Block II Super Hornet, complete with the world’s first tactical multi-mode AESA radar, and it became fully operational at the end of 2007.

On 8 May, Boeing rolled out the first F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet test jet.

“Two of these test jets will head to the U.S. Navy, where they’ll help pilots familiarize themselves with the updated jets and be used in carrier flight tests,” the company said on Twitter.

The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet is the newest highly capable, affordable and available tactical aircraft in U.S. Navy inventory. The Super Hornet is the backbone of the U.S. Navy carrier air wing now and for decades to come.

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Coindesk News

‘History Has Repeated’: F2Pool Explains Message in Last Block Before Bitcoin Halving

Ushering in bitcoin’s third “halving,” by far the most highly awaited cryptocurrency event of the year, mining pool F2Pool rooted a mysterious message into the blockchain that will now reside there forever.

Preceded by a fish emoji signifying the company’s logo, the mining pool added the text to a headline from The New York Times: “NYTimes 09/Apr/2020 With $2.3T Injection, Fed’s Plan Far Exceeds 2008 Rescue.” To bitcoin OGs, the significance is clear. It’s a reference to a similar newspaper heading that bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto embedded into the first-ever block slyly referencing the 2008’s momentous financial crisis, implying that bitcoin might be able to help combat associated systemic problems. 

By chance, mining pool F2Pool won the last block reward Monday before bitcoin’s much-anticipated “halving” event, which cuts in half bitcoin’s block rewards – how much bitcoin is created every 10 minutes, allowing them to embed the text. 

F2Pool co-founder Wang Chun said in an interview aired on CoinDesk’s Consensus: Distributed conference that it was his idea and they had “carefully” culled through many headlines over a couple months before they found the perfect message. 

“History has repeated. Due to the coronavirus, there has been yet another ongoing wave of bailout[s] just like the one Satoshi had seen in 2008, but bigger in scale, like Bitcoin reinvented,” he said in a follow-up email to CoinDesk.

“With the changes in the global economic environment, central banks of various countries have gradually adopted aggressive [Quantitative Easing (QE)] policies. We have found that Mr. Satoshi Nakamoto’s concerns have been there and are getting more and more serious since the economic crisis of 2008,” F2Pool CMO Qingfei Li added, referencing QE, a policy where central banks buy long-term capital assets to increase the money supply  to stimulate the economy.

The stunt has been a hit with Bitcoiners who are aware of the history and symbolic significance of the genesis block. Cryptocurrency educator Andreas Antonopolous called the act “iconic,” while Scalar Capital co-founder Linda Xie tweeted “Is it weird I’m crying a little?”

Bitcoin’s new age

Back in 2009 when Bitcoin’s code ran for the first time, Satoshi embedded the following text in the block: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”

Though he, she or they never said bitcoin to stop bank bailouts, the community has come to see this secret message as a sign of the goals of bitcoin: To fix some of the issues and corruption inherent in today’s financial system. 

Chun said they selected The New York Times, since it’s like the American version of Britain’s The Times, further echoing the initial message.

They chose the halving in particular to embed this message because it is like a marker for a “new age” for bitcoin, Chun said. “Every time Bitcoin gets halved. We see Bitcoin enters a new age. The boundary is quite clear,” Chun added.

He went so far as to say it marks the beginning of “episode III” of bitcoin, referencing Star Wars. (Chun likes his Star Wars references. In a video mirroring the classic scrolling Star Wars introduction, Chun recounts bitcoin’s beginnings with a Biblical touch: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth and the white paper.”)

You’d think it would be episode IV, but as a loyal programmer, he said he starts counting from zero. 

The halving is also a sign of bitcoin’s maturity, according to Li.

“Because the halving of Bitcoin is a very memorable event for the Bitcoin blockchain and all the participants of [the] crypto market, which means that the currency experiment (bitcoin blockchain) has been successfully carried out for nearly 12 years and will continue to run. It is very commemorative to insert the news at such a time,” Li said.

Chun noted that he’s not an “economic expert,” but summarized a ubiquitous view in the bitcoin community, that bitcoin is because user’s have more control. 

“Bitcoin [gave] people back the control, and their freedom, for the first time since banks took it over some 100 years ago,” he said.

Disclosure Read More

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Defence News

Boeing rolls out first F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet test jet – Defence Blog

U.S. aerospace giant Boeing announced on 8 May that first F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet test jet has rolled out of final assembly.

“Two of these test jets will head to the U.S. Navy, where they’ll help pilots familiarize themselves with the updated jets and be used in carrier flight tests,” the company said on Twitter.

The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet is the newest highly capable, affordable and available tactical aircraft in U.S. Navy inventory. The Super Hornet is the backbone of the U.S. Navy carrier air wing now and for decades to come.

The combat-proven Super Hornet delivers cutting-edge, next-generation multi-role strike fighter capability, outdistancing current and emerging threats well into the future. The Super Hornet has the capability, flexibility and performance necessary to modernize the air or naval aviation forces of any country.

Two versions of the Super Hornet – the single-seat E model and the two-seat F model – are able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions.

Boeing is expected to deliver the Block III test jets to the Navy as early as late spring, where subsequent testing will commence at both NAS Patuxent River and Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake.

This latest version of the Super Hornet includes an advanced cockpit system; advanced network infrastructure; reduced radar cross-section; and a 10,000-flight hour lifespan.

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News RT

German scientists find antibodies that BLOCK coronavirus from spreading further — RT World News

Scientists have detected an antibody that blocks the coronavirus from entering cells, providing a much-needed shield for severely ill patients. While not a cure or vaccine, it is still a significant development.

“This is clearly a breakthrough that shows that we are on the right track for the development of a drug against Covid-19,” said virologist Professor Luka Cicin-Sain. 

“In repeated experiments, we were able to show that this result is sustainable.” 

Cicin-Sain and his team analyzed 6,000 different human antibodies and found more than 750 that dock with the coronavirus and prevent it from spreading further in already infected patients. The antibodies are currently undergoing additional testing on cell cultures to whittle their number down to find the most effective at blocking the infection. 

“I am extremely happy about this great success of the research institutes in Lower Saxony, which gives hope for better healing results with Covid-19,” said Lower Saxony’s Minister of Science Bjorn Thumler. 

To be clear, the researchers are neither producing a vaccine nor a cure, but instead a potentially highly effective treatment for severely ill coronavirus patients which operates on the principle of “so-called passive immunization,” according to Stefan Dübel from the Technical University of Braunschweig, who added that “The effect is immediate: the antibodies take the potential away from the virus.”

The team, who worked in collaboration with biotech company Yumab, is hoping to begin clinical trials in the autumn. 

Also on
Remdesivir approved for emergency use for Covid-19 treatment in US despite lackluster clinical trials

Meanwhile, the broad-spectrum antiviral medication Remdesivir – originally developed to treat the Ebola and Marburg viruses – is being used in trials with coronavirus patients, despite its apparent ineffectiveness in follow-up tests, after one study found the drug shortened coronavirus infection recovery times.

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