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Our Immune Systems Blanket the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein with Antibodies

Our Immune Systems Blanket the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein with Antibodies

An analysis of blood plasma samples from people who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infections shows that most of the antibodies circulating in the blood -- on average, about 84% -- target areas of the viral spike protein outside the receptor binding domain (RBD, green), including the N-terminal Domain (NTD, blue) and the S2 subunit (red, yellow). Illustration credit: University of Texas at Austin.

The most complete picture yet is coming into focus of how antibodies produced in people who effectively fight off SARS-CoV-2 work to neutralize the part of the virus responsible for causing infection. In the journal Science, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin describe the finding, which represents good news for designing the next generation of vaccines to protect against variants of the virus or future emerging coronaviruses.

Graduating Researcher and Student Leader Grateful for Mentorship and Support

Graduating Researcher and Student Leader Grateful for Mentorship and Support

In high school, Brett Dolotina looked forward to a diverse, lively campus culture at UT Austin. Austin seemed like a place where people could live freely. Dolotina, who uses they/them pronouns, looked forward to developing their own identity. Dolotina graduates this month as a Public Health and Biochemistry double major and a passionate student leader, with hopes of building a career in research.

Hepatitis C Drugs Boost Remdesivir’s Antiviral Activity Against COVID-19

Hepatitis C Drugs Boost Remdesivir’s Antiviral Activity Against COVID-19

Drugs used to treat hepatitis C render remdesivir 10 times better at inhibiting the coronavirus in cell cultures, according to new study. Illustration credit: Jenna Luecke/University of Texas at Austin.

Remdesivir is currently the only antiviral drug approved in the U.S. for treating COVID-19 patients. In a paper published this week in Cell Reports, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai showed that four drugs used to treat hepatitis C render remdesivir 10 times better at inhibiting the coronavirus in cell cultures.

Human Trials Begin for a Low-Cost COVID-19 Vaccine to Extend Global Access

Human Trials Begin for a Low-Cost COVID-19 Vaccine to Extend Global Access

Clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate NDV-HXP-S, which includes a key protein developed at the University of Texas at Austin, began in Thailand in March 2021. Photo courtesy of Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO).

In a major boost to efforts to combat COVID-19 globally, a vaccine that recently entered human trials in Vietnam and Thailand, and is slated for a clinical study in Brazil, holds promise for affordable vaccine manufacturing in countries currently dependent on imported vaccines. The vaccine is the result of a partnership between The University of Texas at Austin, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and global partners interested in advancing the supply of affordable vaccines to address the pandemic.

Undetected Coronavirus Variant Was in at Least 15 Countries Before its Discovery

Undetected Coronavirus Variant Was in at Least 15 Countries Before its Discovery

Illustration: Jenna Luecke

A highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 variant was unknowingly spreading for months in the United States by October 2020, according to a new study from researchers with The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. Scientists first discovered it in early December in the United Kingdom, where the highly contagious and more lethal variant is thought to have originated. The journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, which has published an early-release version of the study, provides evidence that the coronavirus variant B117 (501Y) had spread across the globe undetected for months when scientists discovered it.

New Study Shows How Deep-learning Technology Can Improve Brain Imaging

New Study Shows How Deep-learning Technology Can Improve Brain Imaging

Compare these two images of a slice of brain tissue from a rat. The PSSR method applies deep learning to a low resolution image from a scanning electron microscope (left) to yield a higher resolution image (right).

Neuroscience researchers often face challenges when using high-powered microscopes to capture clear images of brain tissue. Microscopes suffer from what researchers call the "eternal triangle of compromise" — image resolution, the intensity of the illumination the sample is subjected to, and speed compete with each other. For example, taking an image of the sample very quickly can result in a dark image, but subjecting a biological sample to more intense light can damage it.

New Model Can Help Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

New Model Can Help Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Illustration by Jenna Luecke.

Richard Taylor, clinical assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology, co-authored a study published in Frontiers in Public Health which estimated that 1.7 million vaccine doses are needed to reach herd immunity for COVID-19 in Travis County. A new model could help public health officials in Central Texas better manage what amounts to a much larger vaccination campaign than was carried out during the last pandemic.

Scientists Discover How Remdesivir Works to Inhibit Coronavirus

Scientists Discover How Remdesivir Works to Inhibit Coronavirus

Remdesivir is the only antiviral drug approved for use in the U.S. against COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Gilead.

More effective antiviral treatments could be on the way after research from The University of Texas at Austin sheds new light on the COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir, the only treatment of its kind currently approved in the U.S. for the coronavirus.

Natural Sciences Council President Leads by Serving Others

Natural Sciences Council President Leads by Serving Others

Photograph by Matt Wright-Steele.

Shilpa Rajagopal is a biology and marketing senior who wants to work in health care, but you won't find her glued to a textbook.

Texas Coronavirus Scientists Win Award for Research with ‘Great Societal Benefit’

Texas Coronavirus Scientists Win Award for Research with ‘Great Societal Benefit’

Jason McLellan (left) and Daniel Wrapp have been awarded the Golden Goose Award. Credit: Vivian Abagiu.

The world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society has announced that Jason McLellan, a University of Texas at Austin associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, and Daniel Wrapp, a graduate student fellow, were among seven winners of this year's Golden Goose Award. Supported by members of Congress from both parties and a coalition of businesses, universities and scientific societies since 2012, the prize this year went to scientists "whose federally funded research has had a significant impact for the response and treatment of COVID-19."