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The Update

 Issue no.14, November 2020

The Update is a monthly digest of all that is interesting, exciting and new in the world of medicine and medical science, presented in a curated and convenient package.

1. COVID-19: Who is immune without having an infection?

Antibodies of acquired immunity against COVID-19
  • A group of scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London, have discovered antibodies that react to the new coronavirus in blood samples donated prior to the start of the pandemic. Suggesting that some people may have at least a degree of preexisting immunity to the new virus.
  • In their paper, the researchers describe a scientific theory that exposure to any of the common human coronaviruses, which can cause the common cold, may lead to immunity against the other common human coronaviruses. This is referred to as immune cross-reactivity.
  • The study showed that the spike protein present at surface of the virus was found to be responsible for the immune cross reactivity. The spike protein has two parts; S1 and S2. S1 is different protein compared to other coronaviruses and S2 is more similar among the coronaviruses.
  • The research concluded that the S2 subunit is sufficiently similar between common cold coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2 for some antibodies to work against both.
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2.Common SARS-CoV-2 mutation may make COVID-19 more susceptible to a vaccine

D614G mutation creating a pathway for vaccines 
  • A new study published in Science confirms that SARS-CoV-2 has mutated in a way that's enabled it to spread quickly around the world, but the spike mutation may also make the virus more susceptible to a vaccine.
  • The new strain of coronavirus, called D614G, emerged in Europe and has become the most common in the world.
  • Animal studies have shown that even though the D614G spreads faster, it was not associated with more severe disease, and the strain is slightly more sensitive to neutralization by antibody drugs.
  • The D614G mutation causes a flap on the tip of one spike to pop open, allowing the virus to infect cells more efficiently but also creating a pathway to the virus' vulnerable core. With one flap open, it's easier for antibodies -- like the ones in the vaccines currently being tested -- to infiltrate and disable the virus.
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3. UAE authorizes emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine for frontline healthcare workers

UAE's first line of defense receiving COVID-19 vaccine
  • Last month, UAE had authorised the emergency use of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine as part of the country's measures to protect health workers in close contact with COVID-19 patients and ensure their safety.
  • The vaccine trials, which began in mid-July, is a partnership between Sinopharm's China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 (G42).
  • Results from the final stages of the third phase of its COVID-19 inactivated vaccine reportedly confirmed that the vaccine is “safe and effective", resulting in a strong generation of COVID-19 antibodies.
Read more

Flushing Out the Virus )
Universities, nursing homes, and even entire cities are turning to an unlikely tool to monitor the spread of the coronavirus: sewage waterCNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to infectious disease physician Dr. Amy Mathers about how sewage testing is playing out on the campus of the University of Virginia, and how researchers around the country could use the testing to detect the virus early.
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Recent RAKMHSU Publications
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In this paper, Zehdi Eydou, Bader Naser Jad, Zeyad Elsayed, and Anas Ismail (MBBS Year 4 Students), with the help of Mr. Micheal Magaogao and Dr. Ashfaque Hossain (Microbiology Department), discovered after four experiments the potentially anti-cariogenic effect of vitamin C on S. mutans. This study embodies a paradigm that adds to the pool of literature in an attempt to repurpose vitamin C as a novel anti-cariogenic agent. 
The study was a lab-based research, conducted in the CRL of RAKMHSU. It was published in the BioMed Central (BMC) Microbiology Journal, part of Springer Nature, in July 2020.
Copyright © 2020 RAK Medical & Health Sciences University, All rights reserved.

For comments and corrections, please contact the author:
Mira Osman - 
Science & Technology Officer
Nour Kamal Saba'neh - Member, Committee on Science & Technology
Ruba Hassan - Member, Committee on Science & Technology
Raghad Jehad Almazouni - Member, Committee on Science & Technology
Reem Ismail Nooh - Member, Committee on Science & Technology

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