Tag: scientists

Scientists unravel secrets from the faults in our genes

Scientists unravel secrets from the faults in our genes

Tokyo (AFP) – Imagine the body’s instruction manual, the genome: here words are genes, letters are DNA, and the equivalent of typos can have disastrous consequences.

In recent years, scientists have grown increasingly fluent in the language of genome, but much remains mysterious, including the function of many of our genes.

Discovering what these genes are for, and how they work, is key to understanding what happens when they malfunction, causing disease and sometimes death.

Now a group of scientists is harnessing a massive database of genetic information from over 140,000 people to better understand which of our genes are important, and how we might better target medicines to treat genetic disease.

The database itself is something of a landmark. Known as the Genome Aggregation Database or gnomAD (pronounced nomad), it contains over 15,000 whole genome sequences — the equivalent of a full-length instruction manual — and over 125,000 whole

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Scientists say a blood test could identify children most at-risk for a rare inflammatory syndrome in reaction to the coronavirus

Scientists say a blood test could identify children most at-risk for a rare inflammatory syndrome in reaction to the coronavirus


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  • UK doctors collected blood from children sick with multisystem inflammatory syndrome and discovered that their blood had high concentrations of certain compounds.

  • A routine blood test could reveal the existence of these compounds, and could let doctors know if the children were at risk for the disease.

  • A European trial is currently collecting blood samples to see how the presence of these compounds affects children.

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Scientists say they have developed a blood test that could identify which children are most at risk of the mysterious new syndrome that has been sending hundreds of children around the world to hospital ICUs. 

This multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which has symptoms similar to Kawasaki’s disease, comes with symptoms of fever, skin rashes, and abdominal pain, may be a result of children’s developing immune systems overreacting to the virus.

Imperial College London researchers took blood

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Trump says he's taking hydroxychloroquine, despite scientists' concerns

Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, despite scientists’ concerns

Initial data from observational studies have shown the drug has limited or no proven benefits for coronavirus patients, and may even be harmful when used in certain combinations.

The president made the stunning announcement during a roundtable with restaurant executives, dismissing those studies and instead invoking anecdotal evidence that he claimed to have heard from doctors and other front-line medical workers.

Trump — who has tested negative for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — told reporters that he’d been taking hydroxychloroquine daily for the past week and a half, along with a daily dose of zinc and an initial dose of the antibiotic azithromycin, a combination that has been linked to increased incidences of cardiac arrest.

The revelation came after weeks of the administration — and conservative media — toning down statements about the promise of the drug, following questions about its safety and efficacy. The White

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Scientists warn Oxford vaccine may only offer ‘partial protection’ after results of monkey trial

Scientists warn Oxford vaccine may only offer ‘partial protection’ after results of monkey trial

Scientists have cast doubts over the coronavirus vaccine being developed by University of Oxford researchers, suggesting “concerning” results of trials in macaque monkeys indicated it may only offer “partial protection”.

The government pledged a further £65.5m for the research on Sunday, announcing it had struck a global licensing deal with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which will see up to 30 million doses produced by September if the vaccine is successful.

Human trials of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine are already underway, after trials on mice and rhesus macaques at the US National Institute of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory, the full results of which were made public last week in a non-peer-reviewed preprint.

The researchers found a single dose of the vaccine prevented all six vaccinated monkeys from developing pneumonia, but did not prevent infection outright.

Some scientists not involved in the study welcomed the results as promising, but others also raised concerns

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Scientists say 17-year-old blood sample yields promising antibodies for COVID-19

The search for COVID-19 therapies has turned to an antibody that was first identified back in 2003, in a blood sample from a patient who recovered from a similar coronavirus-based disease.

  • In a paper published today by the journal Nature, a team including researchers from the University of Washington reports that the antibody, known as S309, can neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19 in lab experiments. “We still need to show that this antibody is protective in living systems, which has not yet been done,” David Veesler, a biochemist at the UW School of Medicine who’s one of the paper’s senior authors, said in a news release.
  • S309 was one of several promising monoclonal antibodies identified in the memory B cells of a patient who survived Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. No cases of SARS have been reported since 2004. Like COVID-19, SARS was caused by a type of coronavirus, which
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Scientists at drug giant GSK tell of tears at major breakthrough on HIV treatment

Scientists at drug giant GSK tell of tears at major breakthrough on HIV treatment

Drug giant GSK today declared a major breakthrough on a new HIV treatment it was trialling in patients that could prevent the spread of the disease.

Scientists behind the new medicine told the Evening Standard of tearful scenes as they learned a trial with 4500 gay men and transgender women around the world had been a resounding success.

GlaxoSmithKline has been trialling a new, long lasting injectable HIV drug against the currently available daily pill to prevent HIV infection in men.

However, the tests have been so positive that the trial has been stopped early by independent scrutineers.

The new treatment, Cabotegravir, is 69% more effective than the daily pill, Truvada, currently available from US drug giant Gilead.

The results of the trial have come as something of a shock to the scientific community. Phase III trials are rarely stopped midway because they are so effective.

It also served as

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A new study has revealed that frequent workouts can reverse muscle damage (Getty Images)

Exercising regularly could have an anti-ageing effect on the body, say scientists

Doing regular workouts could keep you younger for longer, according to a study which found it has an anti-ageing effect on the body.

New research discovered keeping fit helps reverse muscle damage and has the effect of restoring youthfulness.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Metabolism, could one day potentially lead to a pill that works as a substitute for exercise.

Until that happens, scientists believe keeping moving will trigger our internal muscle stem cells to repair muscle damage.

Read more: Joe Wicks calls parents who exercise with their children ‘powerful role models’

Dr Thomas Rando, of Stanford School of Medicine, said: “We found that regular exercise restores youthfulness to tissue repair.

“Their muscle stem cells start to look and behave like those of much younger animals.”

He continued: “Studies conducted by us and others have shown that tissue regeneration decreases with age, and that this is due

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Venezuela scientists face government backlash for research predicting surge in COVID-19 cases

Venezuela scientists face government backlash for research predicting surge in COVID-19 cases

CARACAS (Reuters) – A powerful Venezuelan official is seeking an investigation of the nation’s academy of scientists for publishing research that questioned official figures on coronavirus cases and estimated the pandemic may hit the country hard in the coming months.

Venezuela’s Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences in a report https://acfiman.org/2020/05/08/estado-actual-de-la-epidemia-de-la-covid-19-en-venezuela-y-sus-posibles-trayectorias-bajo-varios-escenarios published this month said official figures of 440 cases and 10 deaths appeared inconsistent with the COVID-19 epidemic, and that the country could register 4,000 cases daily as early as June.

“The numbers that they use are not supported,” Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello said, referring to the report on his weekly show Wednesday night. “It should be investigated.”

On Thursday the academy released a statement in response, reiterating the report’s two main conclusions: that testing should be increased and that it was unlikely the pandemic’s curve would be flattened at this time, underscoring the country should

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Scientists call for caution and transparency over government's ‘game-changer’ coronavirus test

Scientists call for caution and transparency over government’s ‘game-changer’ coronavirus test

Scientists have raised doubts over the scale of the potential benefit from a coronavirus antibody test touted by the government as a “game-changer”, while calling for more transparency.

The test, developed by Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche, was approved last week by workers at Public Health England’s (PHE) Porton Down facility – the first such test to be given the green light by the government agency.

However, scientists still have doubts about how effective it may be and have urged greater transparency to allow for the scientific community to check that it does carry a 100-per-cent success rate in excluding false positives, as PHE has claimed.

“Without seeing the study methods and the data it’s impossible to verify these claims of accuracy,” said Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Meanwhile Professor Richard Tedder, visiting professor in Medical Virology at Imperial College London,

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Remdesivir could help end coronavirus lockdown despite failure of Chinese trials, scientists say

Remdesivir could help end coronavirus lockdown despite failure of Chinese trials, scientists say

Coronavirus Article Bar with counter

A coronavirus drug which initially failed in Chinese trials is now working and could help end lockdown restrictions, scientists have said.

Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral, was developed more than a decade ago to cure an unknown “Disease X” and is currently being trialled on patients in the NHS.

In results published in The Lancet on Wednesday, Chinese scientists said the drug worked no better than placebo. 

But less than 24 hours later, US health officials reported that their own trial, on more than 1,000 severely ill patients in 75 hospitals around the world, had seen recovery times cut from 15 days to 11, and mortality rates fall by nearly 30 per cent. 

British scientists involved in the UK trials said the results were “exciting” and, once rolled out, the drug could help lessen the need for lockdown restrictions by removing the burden on the

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