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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Antibodies from a SARS Patient Could Help Fight Coronaviruses Now and in the Future

Antibodies from a SARS Patient Could Help Fight Coronaviruses Now and in the Future

Scientists from UT Austin and elsewhere found many human antibodies that bind to the spike protein of SARS-like viruses. On the left, two copies of an antibody dubbed ADI-55689 (orange) bind two different sites on the spike protein (white). On the right, a different antibody dubbed ADI-56046 (purple) binds another site on the spike protein. These antibody binding sites are close to sites where the spike protein binds to receptors on the surface of human cells (red) and to another monoclonal antibody dubbed CR3022 (light blue).

As terrifying as the current pandemic is, scientists believe some of the hundreds of other known coronaviruses in bats might also have the potential to make the cross-species leap into humans, as this one probably did. Scientists are already thinking about ways to prevent another coronavirus from spiraling out of control. Basic research published in the journal Science provides evidence that an antibody therapy that's effective against all SARS-like coronaviruses is possible.

Lulu Cambronne Named 2020 Pew Biomedical Scholar

Lulu Cambronne Named 2020 Pew Biomedical Scholar

University of Texas at Austin molecular biosciences assistant professor Xiaolu 'Lulu' Cambronne was one of 22 early career scientists selected to join the 2020 class of Pew Biomedical Scholars.

Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Prestigious NSF CAREER Awards

Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Prestigious NSF CAREER Awards

Two faculty members from the College of Natural Sciences have received distinguished Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards totaling $1,075,000 over 5 years from the National Science Foundation.

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Therapy is Safe, With 76% of Patients Improving

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Therapy is Safe, With 76% of Patients Improving

The country’s first peer-reviewed study of convalescent plasma transfusion therapy, which uses blood plasma donated by recovered patients to treat currently ill patients, shows 19 out of 25 patients with COVID-19 improving with the treatment. Photo: iStock.

The country's first peer-reviewed study of a COVID-19 treatment that transfuses blood plasma from recovered patients into critically ill patients shows 19 out of 25 patients improving, including 11 discharged from the hospital.

Texas Science Students Serve the Community During the Pandemic

Texas Science Students Serve the Community During the Pandemic

Undergraduates in public health, neuroscience and computer science found ways to help out their communities and fellow classmates, amid and in spite of COVID-19.

Students at UT Austin already had plenty on their plates. When COVID-19 hit, the usual return from spring break and settling back into campus life turned instead into a mass migration—students scattering to shelter in place wherever they call home, in many cases moving back in with their families. Some became ill or began caring for sick family members. Classes moved online. Jobs ended. Everything was topsy turvy (it still is). But that hasn't stopped College of Natural Sciences undergraduates in public health, neuroscience and computer science from finding ways to help out their communities and fellow classmates.

Graduating Seniors Help Identify Scientific Solutions in Coronavirus Fight

Graduating Seniors Help Identify Scientific Solutions in Coronavirus Fight

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 began to appear in the U.S., graduating seniors at the University of Texas at Austin looked for ways to apply their scientific expertise toward slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. In the midst of their own academic careers and personal lives being turned upside down by a pandemic, their work yielded potential solutions to the shortage of coronavirus tests and medical-grade facemasks.

Updated: Model Forecasts When States, Cities Likely to See Peak in COVID-19 Deaths

Updated: Model Forecasts When States, Cities Likely to See Peak in COVID-19 Deaths

A computer model from the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium forecasts daily deaths from COVID-19 as of May 5, 2020. The likelihood that an area has passed its peak in daily deaths is indicated by colors ranging from burnt orange (very low) to dark purple (very high). Credit: University of Texas at Austin.

A University of Texas at Austin model that projects COVID-19 deaths for all 50 U.S. states and dozens of metro areas using geolocation data from cellphones to determine the impact of social distancing within each place finds, in many communities, deaths have likely not yet peaked. The model, originally launched with state data, was updated on April 24 to be the first publicly available model to show projections of deaths also by metro area.

Antibodies from Llamas Could Help in Fight Against COVID-19

Antibodies from Llamas Could Help in Fight Against COVID-19

The hunt for an effective treatment for COVID-19 has led one team of researchers to find an improbable ally for their work: a llama named Winter. The team — from The University of Texas at Austin, the National Institutes of Health and Ghent University in Belgium — reports their findings about a potential avenue for a coronavirus treatment involving llamas on May 5 in the journal Cell.

Pandemic Model Shows Importance of Social Distancing in 22 Texas Cities

Pandemic Model Shows Importance of Social Distancing in 22 Texas Cities

Researchers have examined how COVID-19 would impact 22 metro areas in Texas under scenarios where levels of social distancing differ.

A new pandemic model of COVID-19 shows the positive role social distancing can play in preventing the spread of the illness in areas across the state. The report by researchers in The University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences projects significantly higher numbers of cases of infection, hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and deaths in 22 Texas communities under scenarios in which social distancing measures are moderate.

A New Texas COVID-19 Pandemic Toolkit Shows the Importance of Social Distancing

A New Texas COVID-19 Pandemic Toolkit Shows the Importance of Social Distancing

UPDATE: Revised model projections were released on April 6. Read the full report.

Since 2012 a pandemic-planning tool developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin has helped public health officials plan for the consequences of a deadly and virulent virus. Now the pandemic modeler who developed the toolkit is studying COVID-19 and has built a new model to project the spread of COVID-19 across the U.S. She has teamed up with Dell Medical School to assess the potential impact of the pandemic in the Austin-Round Rock area.