We associated with coviddemystified.com to provide you with clear, easy-to-understand key informations about COVID-19.
The Science You Need to KnowSidebar: How the different kinds of masks workExpert lecture- Dr. Selena Sagan (McGill University) on SARS-CoV-2Sidebar: Meet Your Tiny Internal InfantrySidebar: How Coronaviruses infect cellsSidebar: On MutationSidebar: The Science Behind SoapWhat’s PCR? A Positively Clear Review of a Possibly Confusing Research tool
Treatments, Testing and DiscoveriesA rapid, CRISPR-based test for SARS-CoV-2University of British Columbia: A Potential Drug to Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 InfectionUniversity of Washington: Building nanoparticle vaccines to fight respiratory virusesBold Steps Towards Anti-Coronavirus drugsPAC-MAN vs. COVID-19Increased risk of blood vessel blockages in ICU patients with COVID-19Scripps Research Institute: A SARS Antibody May Also Target SARS-CoV-2 Spike Proteins
What the Research SaysScripps Research Institute: SARS CoV2 is NOT Man MadeNational University of Singapore: How COVID-19 Uses Your Immune Response Against YouChina Center for Disease Control: Fur Friends and SARS-CoV-2This virus is really good at peek-a-booCOVID-19 Transmission: Is the Air Contaminated?Anhui Medical University: COVID-19 vs Garden Variety PneumoniaNHC Key Laboratory of Biosafety: So, where did SARS-CoV-2 Covid-19 come from?The NAbs and DAbs Guide to Understanding How Antibodies Can Enhance Coronavirus Entry Into our Cells
Sidebar: How the different kinds of masks work
Published May 29 by M Manolya Sag
This article talks about facemasks, why you should wear them, and the history behind them.
In particular, it goes through the three main types of masks currently in use: the N95 respirator, surgical masks, and homemade cotton masks. The main difference between these mask types are how tightly they seal to the wearer’s face and the size of particles that they can efficiently filter out.
To find out how masks filter out particles and more about the key differences between these types of masks, read more.
Expert lecture- Dr. Selena Sagan (McGill University) on SARS-CoV-2
Published May 19 by CovidDemystified
This is an incredible video lecture shared with permission from Dr. Selena Sagan of McGill University. Dr. Sagan is a Canada Research Chair in RNA Biology and Viral Infections.
This 31 minutes lecture by Dr. Selena Sagan covers the biology and origins of SARS-CoV-2 and the broader coronavirus family. She also covers preventative measures and how we can prepare to tackle emerging viruses in the future.
Sidebar: Meet Your Tiny Internal Infantry
Published May 11 by Deanna Kim, reviewed by Dr. Brett Finlay
This article explains how vaccines work, the scientific principles behind vaccines, and the different types of vaccines currently beind developed against COVID-19.
The idea of vaccination is to mimic an initial infection by the pathogen, but without the cost of severe disease. When you receive a vaccination, it will train your immune system to fight off future pathogens. There are several different types of vaccines currently in development to fight against COVID-19.
Learn about these different types of vaccines and how exactly they work.
Sidebar: How Coronaviruses infect cells
Published March 24 by Lasya Vankayala
Let’s think of a virus as a highly trained secret agent trying to break into a secure fortress- your cell. This article explains how the virus uses secret agent tactics to get into host cells.
Coronaviruses in particular use a spike protein to attach to a receptor protein on the surface of the cell. This spike protein acts as a universal key skeleton key to get our secret agent virus into the cell.
Learn how a virus is a lot like a secret agent and the arsenal of tools that it uses.
Sidebar: On Mutation
Published March 20 by Lasya Vankayala
This article is a refresher on DNA, RNA and mutation.
DNA is the instruction manual for life and how human cells use DNA as their genetic material. When a human cell makes a copy of itself or is tricked into making a copy of a virus, the genetic material (DNA or RNA) has to be copied. This copying mechanism isn’t perfect and sometimes mistakes can happen. These mistakes are called mutations.
Understand mutations and how coronaviruses can avoid them.
Sidebar: The Science Behind Soap
Published May 4 by M Manolya Sag
Handwashing is one of our most effective ways of making our hands clean of visible dirt. It also removes pathogenic microbes we cannot even see.
In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, soap is one of our most effective weapons against the virus. This is because soap is capable of inactivating the virus and preventing it from infecting cells.
Find out how soap inactivates the virus!
What’s PCR? A Positively Clear Review of a Possibly Confusing Research tool
Published May 25 by Deanna Kim
This sidebar takes you through an experimental technique known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
PCR is one of the main techniques used in COVID19 testing!
We explain how this procedure helps scientists figure out how much DNA is in a sample and what DNA it is.
A rapid, CRISPR-based test for SARS-CoV-2
Published April 24 by Lasya Vankayala, reviewed by Dr. Scott Covey
This paper describes a new way of testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection, and how it can give a clear yes or no answer within 40 minutes.
This testing method does not require expensive machines, and is easy to do even in remote locations. The accuracy of this test is comparable to the methods currently being used. We explain how this novel testing procedure works!
University of British Columbia: A Potential Drug to Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Published April 10 by Lasya Vankayala, reviewed by Dr. Scott Covey
An international team of researchers have found that a drug already tested in phase I and II clinical trials can significantly reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in cells and engineered human tissues.
Click to find out more about this drug, what exactly organoids are, and how 15 years of research came together to give us this critical discovery.
University of Washington: Building nanoparticle vaccines to fight respiratory viruses
Published April 1 by Lasya Vankayala, reviewed by Dr. Scott Covey
This paper describes how the design of a nanoparticle vaccine made of proteins. The techniques and approaches laid down by this research can be used for any manner of viruses- including SARS-CoV-2.
In this paper the researchers found that their nanoparticle vaccine caused a very strong immune response in mouse and primate immune systems- which is very promising.
We explain this nanoparticle vaccine technology, how it works, and how it’s being used to make vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.
Bold Steps Towards Anti-Coronavirus drugs
Published March 21 by Lasya Vankayala, reviewed by Dr. Derek McLachlin
The race for a drug or a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, is on. This paper reported the development of a chemical compound that slows down how quickly the virus can grow and infect lung cells.
The research team hopes that their work might give other groups a useful starting point to develop more chemically-similar drugs that could act against coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. We review how they created this drug, what part of the virus the drug targets, and the chemistry behind how it works.
PAC-MAN vs. COVID-19
Published May 22 by Ryan Chan, reviewed by Dr. Phil Lange
Stanford researchers investigated using PAC-MAN, a technique that destroys virus genes, to attack SARS-CoV-2. PAC-MAN was shown to destroy SARS-CoV-2 fragments and a strain of swine flu.
Database research showed that PAC-MAN could theoretically be used to target a range of coronaviruses.
We learn why its called PAC-MAN, and how it fights the virus. Glowing green bullseyes included!
Increased risk of blood vessel blockages in ICU patients with COVID-19
Published June 5 by Rafi Meher, reviewed by Dr. Zachary Benet
Patients with COVID-19 infections face a variety of risks, many of which are still being studied. COVID-19 may increase the risk of developing blood clots in both veins and arteries.
This prevents regions of the body from getting proper blood flow and this is dangerous if it affects a large area or vital organs such as the heart, lungs or brain.
Read more about the study, the data, and what this means for patients with COVID-19.
Scripps Research Institute: A SARS Antibody May Also Target SARS-CoV-2 Spike Proteins
Published May 15 by Annoj Thavalingam, reviewed by Dr. Zachary Benet
The outside of coronaviruses are studded with spikes that are important for infecting human cells. Antibodies are immune molecules designed to bind a very specific bacterium or virus, targeting it for removal.
An antibody previously found to bind the spikes of the 2003 SARS coronavirus can also bind the spikes of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Further research into cross-reactive antibodies like this one may one day lead to antibody therapies that can target multiple types of coronaviruses.
We explain how the scientists discovered this antibody and what this means for future COVID-19 treatments.
Scripps Research Institute: SARS CoV2 is NOT Man Made
Published March 20 by Lasya Vankayala, reviewed by Dr. Sebastian Lequime
This paper published in Nature Medicine concluded that SARS-CoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus. This conclusion was based on several points of evidence.
One key piece of evidence was the finding that SARS-CoV-2 has no fingerprints of any known reverse-genetic system; this indicates it was not made in a lab.
Learn more about the other pieces of evidence behind this important finding, and the science behind the evidence!
National University of Singapore: How COVID-19 Uses Your Immune Response Against You
Published April 8 by Ryan Chan, reviewed by Dr. Brett Finlay
This paper investigates how SARS-CoV-2 can use our inflammatory response against us. In general, when inflammation goes haywire, it can cause tissue and organ damage.
In the case of COVID-19, this can take the form of inflammation in the lungs.
Find out how COVID19 can use your immune system against you.
China Center for Disease Control: Fur Friends and SARS-CoV-2
Published May 20 by Manolya Sag, reviewed by Dr. Scott Covey
This examines how well SARS-CoV-2 can transmit to and infect lab animal models, our companion pets, and farm animals. This is an important question to look into as it can help us find proper animal models for SARS-CoV-2 research.
The scientists found that ferrets and cats are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and can transmit the virus to each other.
Read more about their findings and the full list of animal species that they studied.
This virus is really good at peek-a-boo
Published May 8 by Yae Eun (Jamie) Lee, reviewed by Dr. Emily Bowman
This paper traces a COVID19 outbreak in a skilled nursing facility in King County.
More than half of the residents who tested positive were asymptomatic at the time of testing, meaning they showed no symptoms for Covid-19.
This study highlights how common asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 is, and underlines just how important regular testing is.
Follow how the outbreak spread through the facility, and what this has taught us about containing similar outbreaks in the future.
COVID-19 Transmission: Is the Air Contaminated?
Published May 27 by Tristan Wild, reviewed by Dr. Carolina Camargo
This case study at two Wuhan Hospitals and public areas nearby detected the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 in the air. Even though the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 is detectable in the air of crowded areas with active cases, it is still unknown whether aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 can cause infection.
The researchers found that negative pressure systems can reduce how much viral genetic material is found in the air.
Read more about what other factors reduced the amount of viral RNA detected in the air.
Anhui Medical University: COVID-19 vs Garden Variety Pneumonia
Published March 22 by Ryan Chan, reviewed by Dr. Jasmin Chahal
This article compares the symptoms of COVID-19 with those of other forms of pneumonia.
The researchers found that from the outside, symptoms of COVID-19 pneumonia and pneumonia caused by other infections are nearly identical. However, CT scans and blood samples show that COVID-19 infection can lead to opacities in the lungs and can cause further organ damage in the rest of the body.
We clearly explain the specific difference between COVID-19 and other forms of pneumonia, including how they manifest in the blood, in the lungs and in other symptoms.
NHC Key Laboratory of Biosafety: So, where did SARS-CoV-2 Covid-19 come from?
Published April 27 by Yae Eun (Jamie) Lee, reviewed by Dr. Brett Finlay
This article aimed to report data from 9 patients who were diagnosed with viral pneumonia of an unidentified cause.
The researchers concluded that although bats are likely a host for coronaviruses, including most probably SARS-CoV-2, it is possible that they are not the source of infection for humans. It’s possible that an intermediate host may exist between bats and humans.
Find out why the researchers believe this and what this means for future research into the sources of this virus.
The NAbs and DAbs Guide to Understanding How Antibodies Can Enhance Coronavirus Entry Into our Cells
Published May 13 by Manolya Sag, reviewed by Dr. Sebastian Lequime
This team of researchers investigated a phenomenon known as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of viral entry.
They looked at ADE for the coronaviruses SARS-CoV (responsible for the 2003 SARS outbreak) and MERS-CoV. They found that neutralizing antibodies that would have stopped SARS-CoV (the virus responsible for the 2003 SARS outbreak) could potentially lead to a worse infection in the case of a close relative virus.
Find out more about what ADE is, and how this information may factor into future antibody treatments for SARS-CoV-2.