Twitter Account of Embattled #MeTooSTEM Founder Suspended

Twitter has suspended the account of MeTooSTEM founder BethAnn McLaughlin after allegations emerged that the former Vanderbilt University neuroscientist fabricated the Twitter account of an apparently nonexistent female Native American anthropologist at Arizona State University who had claimed to be an anonymous victim of sexual harassment by a Harvard professor.
[ScienceInsider]
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Pfizer and BioNTech Choose Lead mRNA Vaccine Candidate Against COVID-19 and Commence Pivotal Phase II/III Global Study

Pfizer, Inc. and BioNTech SE announced an agreement with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfarein Japan to supply 120 million doses of BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, subject to clinical success and regulatory approval, beginning in 2021.
[Pfizer, Inc. ]
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Structural and Functional Properties of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein: Potential Antivirus Drug Development for COVID-19

The authors highlight recent research advance in the structure, function and development of antivirus drugs targeting the spike protein.
[Acta Pharmacologica Sinica]
Huang, Y., Yang, C., Xu, X., Xu, W., & Liu, S. (2020). Structural and functional properties of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein: potential antivirus drug development for COVID-19. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41401-020-0485-4 Cite
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SARS-CoV-2 Can Infect the Placenta and Is Not Associated with Specific Placental Histopathology: A Series of 19 Placentas from COVID-19-Positive Mothers

Researchers examined 19 COVID-19 exposed placentas for histopathologic findings, and for expression of ACE2, and TMPRSS2 by immunohistochemistry.
[Modern Pathology]
Hecht, J. L., Quade, B., Deshpande, V., Mino-Kenudson, M., Ting, D. T., Desai, N., Dygulska, B., Heyman, T., Salafia, C., Shen, D., Bates, S. V., & Roberts, D. J. (2020). SARS-CoV-2 can infect the placenta and is not associated with specific placental histopathology: a series of 19 placentas from COVID-19-positive mothers. Modern Pathology, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0639-4 Cite
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Treatment of Mice with S4B6 IL-2 Complex Prevents Lethal Toxoplasmosis via IL-12- and IL-18-Dependent Interferon-Gamma Production by Non-CD4 Immune Cells

Scientists investigated the in vivo regulation of IFN-γ production by CD8+ T cells, DN T cells and NK cells in response to acute Toxoplasma gondii infection.
[Scientific Reports]
Kupz, A., Pai, S., Giacomin, P. R., Whan, J. A., Walker, R. A., Hammoudi, P.-M., Smith, N. C., & Miller, C. M. (2020). Treatment of mice with S4B6 IL-2 complex prevents lethal toxoplasmosis via IL-12- and IL-18-dependent interferon-gamma production by non-CD4 immune cells. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 13115. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-70102-1 Cite
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Structure-Guided Covalent Stabilization of Coronavirus Spike Glycoprotein Trimers in the Closed Conformation

Investigators report the design of a construct corresponding to the prefusion SARS-CoV-2 S ectodomain trimer, covalently stabilized by a disulfide bond in the closed conformation. Structural and antigenicity analyses showed they successfully shut S in the closed state without otherwise altering its architecture.
[Nature Structural & Molecular Biology]
McCallum, M., Walls, A. C., Bowen, J. E., Corti, D., & Veesler, D. (2020). Structure-guided covalent stabilization of coronavirus spike glycoprotein trimers in the closed conformation. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41594-020-0483-8 Cite
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Denali Therapeutics Announces Phase Ib Study by Partner Sanofi of RIPK1-Inhibitor DNL758 (SAR443122) in COVID-19 Patients

Denali Therapeutics, Inc. announced that its partner Sanofi has commenced dosing of DNL758, a peripherally-restricted small molecule inhibitor of RIPK1, in a Phase Ib study in hospitalized adult patients with severe COVID-19 lung disease.
[Denali Therapeutics, Inc.]
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Adaptive Biotechnologies Launches National Clinical Trial to Develop Novel T-Cell Based Diagnostic for Lyme Disease

Adaptive Biotechnologies Corp. announced the launch of ImmuneSense Lyme™, a research study to inform the development of an improved test to detect Lyme disease in the early stages of an infection, when the disease is most treatable but often missed or misdiagnosed.
[Adaptive Biotechnologies Corp.]
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China’s Coronavirus Vaccines Are Leaping Ahead – But Face Challenges as Virus Wanes

Chinese companies are at the forefront of global efforts to create a vaccine for the coronavirus, with more than half a dozen candidates in clinical development. Last week, Tianjin-based CanSino Biologics published results from an early-stage clinical trial showing that its vaccine is safe and can trigger an immune response. Yet the companies could face difficulty as they try to push vaccines through Phase III trials, a crucial stage of testing that is needed to prove efficacy and secure approval from regulators.
[Nature News]
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Replication-Competent Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Vaccine Vector Protects against SARS-CoV-2-Mediated Pathogenesis in Mice

Scientists showed that vaccination with VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2 generated neutralizing immune responses and protected mice from SARS-CoV-2.
[Cell Host & Microbe]
Case, J. B., Rothlauf, P. W., Chen, R. E., Kafai, N. M., Fox, J. M., Smith, B., Shrihari, S., McCune, B. T., Harvey, I. B., Keeler, S. P., Bloyet, L.-M., Zhao, H., Ma, M., Adams, L. J., Winkler, E. S., Holtzman, M. J., Fremont, D. H., Whelan, S. P. J., & Diamond, M. S. (2020). Replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus vaccine vector protects against SARS-CoV-2-mediated pathogenesis in mice. Cell Host & Microbe, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2020.07.018 Cite
AbstractFull ArticleGraphical Abstract

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Distinct Early Serological Signatures Track with SARS-CoV-2 Survival

Scientists profiled SARS-CoV-2–specific humoral responses on a cohort of 22 hospitalized individuals. Despite inter-individual heterogeneity, distinct antibody signatures resolved individuals with different outcomes.
[Immunity]
Atyeo, C., Fischinger, S., Zohar, T., Slein, M. D., Burke, J., Loos, C., McCulloch, D. J., Newman, K. L., Wolf, C., Yu, J., Shuey, K., Feldman, J., Hauser, B. M., Caradonna, T., Schmidt, A., Suscovich, T. J., Linde, C., Cai, Y., Barouch, D., … Alter, G. (2020). Distinct early serological signatures track with SARS-CoV-2 survival. Immunity, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2020.07.020 Cite
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China’s Coronavirus Vaccines Are Leaping Ahead – but Face Challenges as Virus Wanes

Chinese companies are at the forefront of global efforts to create a vaccine for the coronavirus, with more than half a dozen candidates in clinical development. Yet the companies could face difficulty as they try to push vaccines through phase III trials, a crucial stage of testing that is needed to prove efficacy and secure approval from regulators.
[Nature News]
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