Category Archives: News & Archives

Bat ‘super immunity’ may explain how bats carry coronaviruses, study finds

A University of Saskatchewan (USask) research team has uncovered how bats can carry the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus without getting sick -- research that could shed light on how coronaviruses make the jump to humans and other animals. Coronaviruses such as MERS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and more recently the COVID19-causing SARS-CoV-2…
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Mutations in SARS-CoV-2 offer insights into virus evolution

By analysing virus genomes from over 7,500 people infected with Covid-19, a UCL-led research team has characterised patterns of diversity of SARS-CoV-2 virus genome, offering clues to direct drugs and vaccine targets. The study, led by the UCL Genetics Institute, identified close to 200 recurrent genetic mutations in the virus, highlighting how it may be…
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COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin

The novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, last year and has since caused a large scale COVID-19 epidemic and spread to more than 70 other countries is the product of natural evolution, according to findings published today in the journal Nature Medicine. The analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2…
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To predict an epidemic, evolution can’t be ignored

When scientists try to predict the spread of something across populations -- anything from a coronavirus to misinformation -- they use complex mathematical models to do so. Typically, they'll study the first few steps in which the subject spreads, and use that rate to project how far and wide the spread will go. But what…
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Monarch Butterfly Populations Are Plummeting

Both Eastern and Western monarch butterflies are seeing their populations plummet precipitously, worrying scientists that the future of the species is in peril, according to multiple surveys of butterfly populations. The New York Times recently reported on efforts to track the Western monarch butterfly, which spends its winter on California's central coast before heading off to…
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Scientists find ally in fight against brain tumors: Ebola

Glioblastomas are relentless, hard-to-treat, and often lethal brain tumors. Yale scientists have enlisted a most unlikely ally in efforts to treat this form of cancer -- elements of the Ebola virus. "The irony is that one of the world's deadliest viruses may be useful in treating one of the deadliest of brain cancers," said Yale's…
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Artificial intelligence finds disease-related genes

An artificial neural network can reveal patterns in huge amounts of gene expression data, and discover groups of disease-related genes. This has been shown by a new study led by researchers at Linköping University, published in Nature Communications. The scientists hope that the method can eventually be applied within precision medicine and individualised treatment. It's common…
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Molecular ‘switch’ reverses chronic inflammation and aging

Chronic inflammation, which results when old age, stress or environmental toxins keep the body's immune system in overdrive, can contribute to a variety of devastating diseases, from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's to diabetes and cancer. Now, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have identified a molecular "switch" that controls the immune machinery responsible for chronic…
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New ‘universal’ target for antiviral treatment

As the coronavirus outbreak shows, viruses are a constant threat to humanity. Vaccines are regularly developed and deployed against specific viruses, but that process takes a lot of time, doesn't help everyone who needs protection, and still leaves people exposed to new outbreaks and new viruses. Now, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have uncovered…
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