The TWiVsters explain how the shape of pleomorphic virus particles – spherical or filamentous – determines the probability of virus attachment and fusion, and resistance to selective pressure such as antibodies that block cell entry.
TWiV reviews a drug screen for inhibitors of syncytium formation, the fusing of cells caused by SARS-CoV-2, which reveals that the process is regulated by a calcium-activated ion channel and scramblase that is inhibited by the anti-parasite drug Niclosamide.
In COVID-19 clinical update #57, Daniel Griffin covers children and MIS-C, school opening plans, transmission event with masks, fomite transmission, diagnostic test performance, AZ vaccine and blood clots, and long COVID and the effect of vaccines.
Arturo Casadevall joins TWiV to discuss the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19, including a history of the process, how plasma is prepared and tested, why it is difficult to conduct randomized clinical trials, how this treatment has fared and his hopes for the future.
In COVID-19 clinical update #56, Daniel Griffin notes increasing hospitalization in children and young adults, Pfizer vaccine efficacy results in 12-15 year olds, rapid self administered nucleic acid and antigen tests, mRNA vaccine efficacy in real world conditions, and improvement of long COVID after vaccination.
John, Monica, and Davida join TWiV to discuss development of a method to detect SARS-CoV-2 in raw sewage from all 14 of New York City’s treatment plants, and its use to determine the presence of the genome throughout the pandemic and detection of genome mutations from variants of concern.
Alessandro Sette joins TWiV to discuss the role of T cells in COVID-19, the finding that amino acid changes in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern have a negligible impact on T cell reactivity in convalescent patients and vaccinees, and whether a next generation vaccine should include more viral proteins than spike.
In COVID-19 clinical update #55, Daniel Griffin reviews recommendations for keeping transmission low in school settings, optimal testing strategies for schools and businesses, impact of vaccines on asymptomatic infections, vaccine safety in PASC patients, and early use of aspirin associated with decreased mortality.
Susan Weiss returns to TWiV to discuss coronavirus entry into cells and the role of spike protein cleavage by proteases, why lab escaped hypotheses for SARS-CoV-2 are unlikely, and modulation of innate immune responses during infection.
In COVID-19 clinical update #54, Daniel Griffin covers effectiveness of 3 vs 6 ft physical distancing, effectiveness of masks, physical distancing, and eye shields, second vaccine dose completion, alleviation of COVID-19 symptoms after vaccination, vaccine trials in children, and IDSA approval of a mAb cocktail.