As we move past the midpoint of May, we bring positive and proactive news from around the industry. First up we highlight the potential gene therapy for cystic fibrosis, scientists have developed a tool to sequence circular DNA and we also highlight two COVID-19 studies which brings to light the influence of Vitamin K and Glucose on the outcomes of patients with COVID-19.
Gene Therapy, KB407, Seen to Restore CFTR Protein in Cell Studies
CF is caused by mutations in the gene cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), which affect the protein encoded by the gene (also named CFTR)
A potential gene therapy for cystic fibrosis, KB407, is able to induce the expression of normal CFTR protein in cell models of CF, its developer.
Scientists develop tool to sequence circular DNA
A new tool invented by University of Alberta biologists to sequence circular DNA will provide scientists with richer, more accurate data that could help advance research on viruses, agriculture and perhaps even cancer. The tool—called CIDER-Seq, which uses DNA sequencing technology called PacBio—was made available online by the U of A researchers for other scientists to use, along with step-by-step lab and computer protocols for analyzing the DNA sequences.
Dyno Therapeutics to use machine learning for gene therapy
Dyno will use machine learning to design custom adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) for the two drug companies to use in their experimental gene therapies. AAVs are the linchpin of modern gene therapies. Biotech companies use them as molecular delivery vehicles to shuttle therapeutic DNA into our cells. More than 100 clinical trials of AAV gene therapies are underway, and far more preclinical AAV gene therapies are in development.
Largest Study to Date Links Glucose Control to COVID-19 Outcomes
The strong link between glucose control and COVID-19 outcomes has been re-affirmed in the largest study thus far of hospitalized patients with pre-existing type 2 diabetes. The study finds that, while the presence of type 2 diabetes per se is a risk factor for worse COVID-19 outcomes, better glycemic control among those with pre-existing type 2 diabetes appears to be associated with significant reductions in adverse outcomes and death.
Scientists bring together world’s coronavirus research in 'intelligent' online database
Scientists have created a dynamic database driven by artificial intelligence which is collecting together the world’s research on coronavirus in a single online space.
The new ‘knowledgebase’, called Coronavirus-CanSAR, draws in data published across the world on viral proteins, interactions of viral proteins with human proteins, drugs and drug mechanisms, and clinical trials.
Vitamin D levels appear to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates
COVID-19 patients from countries with higher mortality rates for the infection had lower levels of vitamin D compared to those from countries with lower mortality rates. Findings suggest a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of both more severe coronavirus infection and mortality as a result of contracting the virus.
Triple Antiviral Combo May Speed COVID-19 Recovery
A triple-antiviral therapy regimen of interferon-beta1, lopinavir/ritonavir, and ribavirin shortened median time to COVID-19 viral negativity by 5 days in a small trial from Hong Kong.