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The genetic architecture of the human cerebral cortex – Science Magazine

The genetic architecture of the human cerebral cortex

By Katrina L. Grasby, Neda Jahanshad, Jodie N. Painter, Luca Colodro-Conde, Janita Bralten, Derrek P. Hibar, Penelope A. Lind, Fabrizio Pizzagalli, Christopher R. K. Ching, Mary Agnes B. McMahon, Natalia Shatokhina, Leo C. P. Zsembik, Sophia I. Thomopoulos, Alyssa H. Zhu, Lachlan T. Strike, Ingrid Agartz, Saud Alhusaini, Marcio A. A. Almeida, Dag Alns, Inge K. Amlien, Micael Andersson, Tyler Ard, Nicola J. Armstrong, Allison Ashley-Koch, Joshua R. Atkins, Manon Bernard, Rachel M. Brouwer, Elizabeth E. L. Buimer, Robin Blow, Christian Brger, Dara M. Cannon, Mallar Chakravarty, Qiang Chen, Joshua W. Cheung, Baptiste Couvy-Duchesne, Anders M. Dale, Shareefa Dalvie, Tnia K. de Araujo, Greig I. de Zubicaray, Sonja M. C. de Zwarte, Anouk den Braber, Nhat Trung Doan, Katharina Dohm, Stefan Ehrlich, Hannah-Ruth Engelbrecht, Susanne Erk, Chun Chieh Fan, Iryna O. Fedko, Sonya F. Foley, Judith M. Ford, Masaki Fukunaga, Melanie E. Garrett, Tian Ge, Sudheer Giddaluru, Aaron L. Goldman, Melissa J. Green, Nynke A. Groenewold, Dominik Grotegerd, Tiril P. Gurholt, Boris A. Gutman, Narelle K. Hansell, Mathew A. Harris, Marc B. Harrison, Courtney C. Haswell, Michael Hauser, Stefan Herms, Dirk J. Heslenfeld, New Fei Ho, David Hoehn, Per Hoffmann, Laurena Holleran, Martine Hoogman, Jouke-Jan Hottenga, Masashi Ikeda, Deborah Janowitz, Iris E. Jansen, Tianye Jia, Christiane Jockwitz, Ryota Kanai, Sherif Karama, Dalia Kasperaviciute, Tobias Kaufmann, Sinead Kelly, Masataka Kikuchi, Marieke Klein, Michael Knapp, Annchen R. Knodt, Bernd Krmer, Max Lam, Thomas M. Lancaster, Phil H. Lee, Tristram A. Lett, Lindsay B. Lewis, Iscia Lopes-Cendes, Michelle Luciano, Fabio Macciardi, Andre F. Marquand, Samuel R. Mathias, Tracy R. Melzer, Yuri Milaneschi, Nazanin Mirza-Schreiber, Jose C. V. Moreira, Thomas W. Mhleisen, Bertram Mller-Myhsok, Pablo Najt, Soichiro Nakahara, Kwangsik Nho, Loes M. Olde Loohuis, Dimitri Papadopoulos Orfanos, John F. Pearson, Toni L. Pitcher, Benno Ptz, Yann Quid, Anjanibhargavi Ragothaman, Faisal M. Rashid, William R. Reay, Ronny Redlich, Cline S. Reinbold, Jonathan Repple, Genevive Richard, Brandalyn C. Riedel, Shannon L. Risacher, Cristiane S. Rocha, Nina Roth Mota, Lauren Salminen, Arvin Saremi, Andrew J. Saykin, Fenja Schlag, Lianne Schmaal, Peter R. Schofield, Rodrigo Secolin, Chin Yang Shapland, Li Shen, Jean Shin, Elena Shumskaya, Ida E. Snderby, Emma Sprooten, Katherine E. Tansey, Alexander Teumer, Anbupalam Thalamuthu, Diana Tordesillas-Gutirrez, Jessica A. Turner, Anne Uhlmann, Costanza Ludovica Vallerga, Dennis van der Meer, Marjolein M. J. van Donkelaar, Liza van Eijk, Theo G. M. van Erp, Neeltje E. M. van Haren, Daan van Rooij, Marie-Jos van Tol, Jan H. Veldink, Ellen Verhoef, Esther Walton, Mingyuan Wang, Yunpeng Wang, Joanna M. Wardlaw, Wei Wen, Lars T. Westlye, Christopher D. Whelan, Stephanie H. Witt, Katharina Wittfeld, Christiane Wolf, Thomas Wolfers, Jing Qin Wu, Clarissa L. Yasuda, Dario Zaremba, Zuo Zhang, Marcel P. Zwiers, Eric Artiges, Amelia A. Assareh, Rosa Ayesa-Arriola, Aysenil Belger, Christine L. Brandt, Gregory G. Brown, Sven Cichon, Joanne E. Curran, Gareth E. Davies, Franziska Degenhardt, Michelle F. Dennis, Bruno Dietsche, Srdjan Djurovic, Colin P. Doherty, Ryan Espiritu, Daniel Garijo, Yolanda Gil, Penny A. Gowland, Robert C. Green, Alexander N. Husler, Walter Heindel, Beng-Choon Ho, Wolfgang U. Hoffmann, Florian Holsboer, Georg Homuth, Norbert Hosten, Clifford R. Jack Jr., MiHyun Jang, Andreas Jansen, Nathan A. Kimbrel, Knut Kolskr, Sanne Koops, Axel Krug, Kelvin O. Lim, Jurjen J. Luykx, Daniel H. Mathalon, Karen A. Mather, Venkata S. Mattay, Sarah Matthews, Jaqueline Mayoral Van Son, Sarah C. McEwen, Ingrid Melle, Derek W. Morris, Bryon A. Mueller, Matthias Nauck, Jan E. Nordvik, Markus M. Nthen, Daniel S. OLeary, Nils Opel, Marie-Laure Paillre Martinot, G. Bruce Pike, Adrian Preda, Erin B. Quinlan, Paul E. Rasser, Varun Ratnakar, Simone Reppermund, Vidar M. Steen, Paul A. Tooney, Fbio R. Torres, Dick J. Veltman, James T. Voyvodic, Robert Whelan, Tonya White, Hidenaga Yamamori, Hieab H. H. Adams, Joshua C. Bis, Stephanie Debette, Charles Decarli, Myriam Fornage, Vilmundur Gudnason, Edith Hofer, M. Arfan Ikram, Lenore Launer, W. T. Longstreth, Oscar L. Lopez, Bernard Mazoyer, Thomas H. Mosley, Gennady V. Roshchupkin, Claudia L. Satizabal, Reinhold Schmidt, Sudha Seshadri, Qiong Yang, Alzheimers Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, CHARGE Consortium, EPIGEN Consortium, IMAGEN Consortium, SYS Consortium, Parkinsons Progression Markers Initiative, Marina K. M. Alvim, David Ames, Tim J. Anderson, Ole A. Andreassen, Alejandro Arias-Vasquez, Mark E. Bastin, Bernhard T. Baune, Jean C. Beckham, John Blangero, Dorret I. Boomsma, Henry Brodaty, Han G. Brunner, Randy L. Buckner, Jan K. Buitelaar, Juan R. Bustillo, Wiepke Cahn, Murray J. Cairns, Vince Calhoun, Vaughan J. Carr, Xavier Caseras, Svenja Caspers, Gianpiero L. Cavalleri, Fernando Cendes, Aiden Corvin, Benedicto Crespo-Facorro, John C. Dalrymple-Alford, Udo Dannlowski, Eco J. C. de Geus, Ian J. Deary, Norman Delanty, Chantal Depondt, Sylvane Desrivires, Gary Donohoe, Thomas Espeseth, Guilln Fernndez, Simon E. Fisher, Herta Flor, Andreas J. Forstner, Clyde Francks, Barbara Franke, David C. Glahn, Randy L. Gollub, Hans J. Grabe, Oliver Gruber, Asta K. Hberg, Ahmad R. Hariri, Catharina A. Hartman, Ryota Hashimoto, Andreas Heinz, Frans A. Henskens, Manon H. J. Hillegers, Pieter J. Hoekstra, Avram J. Holmes, L. Elliot Hong, William D. Hopkins, Hilleke E. Hulshoff Pol, Terry L. Jernigan, Erik G. Jnsson, Ren S. Kahn, Martin A. Kennedy, Tilo T. J. Kircher, Peter Kochunov, John B. J. Kwok, Stephanie Le Hellard, Carmel M. Loughland, Nicholas G. Martin, Jean-Luc Martinot, Colm McDonald, Katie L. McMahon, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Patricia T. Michie, Rajendra A. Morey, Bryan Mowry, Lars Nyberg, Jaap Oosterlaan, Roel A. Ophoff, Christos Pantelis, Tomas Paus, Zdenka Pausova, Brenda W. J. H. Penninx, Tinca J. C. Polderman, Danielle Posthuma, Marcella Rietschel, Joshua L. Roffman, Laura M. Rowland, Perminder S. Sachdev, Philipp G. Smann, Ulrich Schall, Gunter Schumann, Rodney J. Scott, Kang Sim, Sanjay M. Sisodiya, Jordan W. Smoller, Iris E. Sommer, Beate St Pourcain, Dan J. Stein, Arthur W. Toga, Julian N. Trollor, Nic J. A. Van der Wee, Dennis van t Ent, Henry Vlzke, Henrik Walter, Bernd Weber, Daniel R. Weinberger, Margaret J. Wright, Juan Zhou, Jason L. Stein, Paul M. Thompson, Sarah E. Medland, Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis Consortium (ENIGMA)Genetics working group

Science20 Mar 2020

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The genetic architecture of the human cerebral cortex - Science Magazine

Kallyope Inc. Announces $112M Series C Financing to Support First Clinical Trials and Advance Portfolio of Programs Targeting the Gut-Brain Axis – P&T…

NEW YORK, March 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Kallyope Inc., a leading biotechnology company focused on identifying and pursuing therapeutic opportunities involving the gut-brain axis, today announced a $112 million Series C financing. This financing will be used to advance its portfolio of programs and the company's first clinical trials, further establishing its leadership in the gut-brain axis field.

All investors from the Series B financing participated in the Series C round, including The Column Group, Lux Capital, Polaris Partners, Euclidean Capital, Two Sigma Ventures, Illumina Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Bill Gates. New investors include Casdin Capital, Greenspring Associates, and two unnamed leading institutional investors.

"Four years ago, we started our journey to build a preeminent biotech based in New York City as a first-mover in the gut-brain axis space. Now, this Series C financing will enable us to advance multiple programs to clinical development," said Kallyope CEO Nancy Thornberry.

The Series C financing comes after four highly productive years in which Kallyope has built a portfolio of programs directed to novel targets in a wide array of diseases. In support of these programs, the company has established industry-leading capabilities in designing oral small-molecule drugs that selectively target the gut but not the rest of the body.

The company today also announced its lead program targeting satiety circuits for weight loss, with clinical testing expected to begin later this year. A second program targeting gut barrier function with potential relevance for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and several other diseases is anticipated to enter the clinic soon after. In addition, the company continues to advance a broad portfolio of programs for gastrointestinal, CNS, and inflammatory disorders.

"Kallyope pursues programs where the company's platform provides an edge over other approaches and where we have an opportunity to deliver major clinical benefits rather than incremental improvements over current treatments. We are targeting neural and hormonal circuits, including novel vagal circuits, involved in a broad array of physiology and disease," said Thornberry.

"Kallyope has made significant progress since the company's inception in late 2015. Its platform is enabling a mechanistic understanding of the gut-brain axis, which in turn has revealed new, actionable biology that the company is now exploring in several promising programs. I believe that Kallyope's platform and rigorous approach to identifying, characterizing, and targeting gut-brain circuits with gut-restricted small molecules has greatly increased its odds of success in clinical studies," said Kallyope co-founder and board member Tom Maniatis, Ph.D.

About Kallyope Inc.

Kallyope, headquartered at the Alexandria Centerfor Life Science in New York City, is a biotechnology company dedicated to unlocking the therapeutic potential of the gut-brain axis. The company's cross-disciplinary team integrates advanced technologies in sequencing, bioinformatics, neural imaging, cellular and molecular biology, and human genetics to provide an understanding of gut-brain biology that leads to transformational therapeutics to improve human health. The company's founders are Charles Zuker, Ph.D., Lasker Award winner Tom Maniatis, Ph.D., and Nobel laureate Richard Axel, M.D. For more information visitwww.kallyope.com.

Contact

Morgan Warners (202) 337-0808mwarners@gpg.com

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Kallyope Inc. Announces $112M Series C Financing to Support First Clinical Trials and Advance Portfolio of Programs Targeting the Gut-Brain Axis - P&T...

The Coronavirus Pandemic Shows Us The Importance Of Combatting Climate Change – Forbes

The common fruit fly which lives one to two months, suggesting insignificance has changed the world through medical research, leading to eight Nobel prizes in human genetics and disease prevention breakthroughs. Today an even smaller organism, Coronavirus, is changing the world even more significantly.

And confronting it with the same opportunity for breakthroughs as scientists treated fruit flies could hold the key to solving our greatest challenge climate change.

Of course, all of the coronaviruses impacts sickness, deaths, economic crises have been negative. But, like the scientists who saw something unique in the fruit fly instead of just an unwelcome pest, coronavirus offers us a unique opportunity: visceral lessons in how to approach future crises, and the horrible costs of not doing so.

First among those lessons is taking authoritative warnings seriously, even when that may result in tough decisions. We have been warned repeatedly over the last decade that a pandemic was an existential threat to our way of life. At the end of 2019, when the late Chinese doctor Li Wenliang first reported his alarm over a coronavirus outbreak, authorities detained him for spreading rumors. If they had acted on his warning, the spread in China would have been less severe.

But by January 21, 2020 China had 278 confirmed cases, other countries had 282, and the World Health Organization issued its first coronavirus advisory. Instead of preparing for the virus inevitable spread to the United States, President Donald Trump downplayed the risk, comparing it to a bad case of the flu. Two months later, tens of thousands of Americans have tested positive for the virus and millions more are under shelter-in-place rules, threatening to send the global economy into a devastating tailspin.

Unfortunately, weve consistently made these same mistakes of ignoring scientific warnings when dealing with other global crises, especially climate change. Beginning in June 1988, when climate scientist James Hansen warned Congress that global warming had begun, climate scientists predictions have repeatedly and increasingly warned of impending crises, and how climate change is accelerating faster than expected much like the Coronavirus. Sadly, the government response has ranged from non-existent to lacking.

Thirty years after Hansens warning, President Trump dismissed an official U.S. government assessment of climate changes risks in 2018, saying I dont believe it. As temperatures have risen, so too has the cost of inaction. From 1979 to 2017, the cost of global climate change-related disasters has increased 150%, costing $2.25 trillion, with the U.S. bearing the brunt of the financial pain at $945 billion nearly twice Chinas second-highest total of $492 billion.

Fortunately, in the battle against coronavirus, countries like South Korea that embrace science-based health warnings and act decisively are able to flatten the curve of the coronavirus spread to reduce infections and deaths. But when it comes to climate change, despite global accords such as the Paris Agreement, the world is still struggling to act decisively and in unison.

The Trump administration stands out with its rejection of science-based climate change policy, compounding decades of foot dragging by rolling back and undermining Obama administration efforts to rein in and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal, oil, and auto tailpipes. As of the end of 2019, a New York Times analysis identified 95 environmental rules that are being rolled back by the White House.

A key Trump environmental program roll back is expected to be finalized by the end of March. The administration is relaxing the auto greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards that President Obama announced in 2012. The first national program to reduce transportation greenhouse gas emissions, it was based on science, engineering capabilities, business capacities, as well as environmental and health benefits. It would have doubled fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025, eliminated 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide, and saved consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump. It appeared the U.S. was finally listening to climate scientists.

But in early 2017 with Trump at the helm, the auto industry, amidst several years of record sales and profits, found an opportunity to renege on its commitment to the standards and asked the White House to relax the Obama administrations standards. After extensive analysis, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys scientists and auto engineers had recently re-affirmed the program. But facts were no longer in control of the process.

The final rule targets the standards for the 2021-2026 period. It is widely expected to pull back the standards to 37 mpg and reduce the annual fuel economy improvement to 1.5%, down from the current 5%.

Here is the rub. Transportation is now the fastest growing sector driving increased U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Even the Obama administrations standards, which the Trump administration is trying to scale back, were never enough to address this gorilla in the room. A landmark study by the National Academy of Science in 2013 calculated that the worlds entire fleet of vehicles in 2025 would have to average around 180 mpg to limit warming to safe levels. As detailed in my book, Driving the Future, if we achieved the original 2025 target and enacted rules to continue the 5% annual improvement curve through 2050, we would only reach 80% of the target required to meet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC) earlier target of 2C target of safe warming and the gap will be even greater to reach the new IPCC target of 1.5C.

The only pathway to reaching the IPCCs targets is transportation electrification. The administration should abandon the new rules they are developing, leave the current rules in place and begin work on the post 2025 standards. The auto industry has four to five year planning horizons and needs policy certainty. The world needs to avoid the scale of disruptions that climate change will bring even if the slow pace is deceiving.

The current coronavirus crisis has produced one near-miracle: The bitterly partisan U.S. Congress and federal government are quickly negotiating emergency legislation to deal with the public health and economic crises. Hopefully, reliance on science-based health measures will now guide the countrys approach to combatting coronavirus. And, while the world awaits the worst yet to come in coronavirus infections and deaths, the lessons from this pandemic could result in an approach to bi-partisan, scientifically driven commitment to combat climate change.

Like the seemingly insignificant fruit fly, confronting greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards could produce outsized breakthroughs on climate change. Like the coronavirus, listening to scientific warnings about climate change before it is too late could prevent outsized public health and economic tragedies.

And no, this is not a dream. The reality of global disruption is staring us all in the face. Blinking is not an option.

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The Coronavirus Pandemic Shows Us The Importance Of Combatting Climate Change - Forbes

IN CONSERVATION: DR. JEFF STROVEL, CEO of VERALOX THERAPEUTICS – BioBuzz

Veralox Therapeutics is a startup currently headquartered at the Frederick Innovation Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI) in Frederick, Maryland. As a small molecule therapeutics company focused on developing medicines targeting the arachidonic acid pathway, they have two drug products in development for the treatment of a rare blood disorder known as heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis and Type 1 Diabetes.

The BioBuzz team recently caught up with Veraloxs CEO Dr. Jeff Strovel, who spoke about the genesis of Veralox, its advancing pipeline, the companys recent milestones and its outlook for the future.

Tell our audience a bit about the founding of Veralox Therapeutics

Ill never forget the day a trusted colleague, David Maloney, called me when I was driving back to my office. He told me he had been working to develop a clinical candidate that selectively targeted the arachidonic acid (AA) pathway through inhibition of a protein called 12-Lipoxygenase. He believed the program was ready to be brought into a company, and there was potential for broad therapeutic utility of the inhibitor, which was intriguing. I have heard a lot of drug program pitches and usually get a sense of where the holes are pretty quickly. In this case, we talked for 30 minutes and afterward I knew this program was ready for company formation. Our first product in development, VLX-1005, is for treatment of the rare blood disorder heparin-induced thrombocytopenia & thrombosis (HITT) which also happens to be the same blood disorder that nearly killed my father years ago. We started the company in 2017 along with Daves colleague from the NCATS (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences) at the NIH, Matt Boxer, with our rare disease blood disorder drug as our lead candidate. I feel the stars really aligned for us and we have been charging ahead ever since.

Dave, in collaboration with several other partners, led the development of our lead candidate, VLX-1005 while he was a chemistry Group Leader at NCATS.

What is your life science background and what did you do prior to co-founding Veralox?

I hold a Ph.D. in Human Genetics from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. I then went on to be a clinical cytogenetics fellow at the National Cancer Institute Department of Pathology at the NIH. While at NIH I developed a drug target ID platform that got the interest of companies doing cancer drug discovery and I eventually joined a company called Avalon, where I worked in drug discovery and development for about 9 years and served my last two years as Head of Translational Oncology. I learned a great deal about the drug discovery and development process during my time there.

After Avalon I was part of a group of local life science veterans that co-founded the Clinical Research Organization (CRO) Noble Life Sciences. The CRO also served as a kind of incubator for new companies. We incubated several new companies like Neximmune and Convergene Pharmaceuticals, where I served as Chief Scientific Officer and President from 2011 to 2015 before taking on the Chief Executive role from 2015 to 2017. During that time I had met and worked with Dave and I left Convergene to start Veralox with him and our other co-founder Matthew Boxer.

What is Veraloxs lead drug candidate, what disease does it target and where does it sit in the development process?

Our lead drug candidate is for the treatment of patients with HITT, which is a rare, life-threatening disease caused by an immune reaction to Heparin. This drug candidate is a small molecule product that inhibits the 12-lipoxygenase (12-LOX) enzyme which produces 12-HETE. Both 12-LOX and 12-HETE are implicated in numerous diseases. The only FDA-approved drug for HIT/HITT, argatroban, doesnt treat the underlying cause of the disease and has significant potential side effects leaving a significant unmet need.

There are approximately 50,000 people that will be diagnosed with HIT/HITT in the US this year but the number of those treated for this disease is approximately 150,000 annually. HIT takes time to diagnose and doctors cant wait for a definitive diagnosis to make treatment decisions. If patients are suspected of having the disease they must be treated immediately given the risk for deadly thrombosis. The current approved treatment, argatroban, can cause major bleeds which in and of itself can lead to death in these patients. Better drugs are needed that address the pathology of the disease without contributing potentially lethal side effects.

Our HIT treatment inhibits the underlying pathophysiology of HITT to halt the aberrant immune response driving the disease and essentially offering the potential of a curative modality.

Weve been strategically focused on HIT/HITT, but our approach has potential for a number of other indications. For our HIT/HITT drug candidate, weve submitted our Orphan Drug application and our pre-IND (Investigational New Drug) briefing book to the FDA; we expect to have our GMP material soon and to start GLP toxicology studies in the second quarter of this year. Our team expects to submit the IND for our lead candidate by the end of 2020. We are also co-developing a small molecule, orally administered drug product. We plan to advance this candidate for the treatment for Type 1 Diabetes, which is about a year behind our HIT/HITT clinical candidate.

What are some recent Veralox funding milestones and what are the companys next funding steps?

Weve had success raising capital from grants and venture capital groups. Veralox received about 300K from NIHs Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fund, Phase I, and $300K from NIHs Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Fund. We also recently closed a $5.4M seed round that was co-led by Sanofi Ventures and the JDRF T1D Fund and included participation from the VTC Innovation and VTC Seed Fund, the Maryland Momentum Fund, the University of Vermont Health Network and TEDCO.

We are currently raising Series A funding to support clinical development of VLX-1005 for HITT and advance our second drug product for treatment of Type 1 Diabetes into clinical trials. Weve initiated discussions with several large venture capital firms all of which could lead our funding round and have the full support of our current investors in the process.

What can you tell us about your experience at FITCI and as a startup in the Frederick life science ecosystem?

Ive had experiences with other incubators, some of which no longer exist, but theres no comparison to FITCI. They offer great support to emerging companies that desperately need it at the early stages. I have been at other incubators that give you a physical place to do business, but FITCI really keeps an eye on you. The FITCI team helps you solve problems and they offer quarterly meetings for the CEOs to meet with groups of successful business people who can offer advice and provide mentorship for those in need. These mentors might not be in therapeutics but theyve done this before and can really help.

I really love Frederick because, to me, the area is just like a startup. Its really going somewhere. FITCI has two locations, but whenever we meet with people, we use the Market Street location in downtown Frederick. Its a nice face to show off to people from outside of the area. Our time at FITCI is nearing its end because of our funding success, but when we graduate from the incubator, the plan is to stay in Frederick. Weve already been looking at a few places.

What are some near term challenges for Veralox and where do you see the company being in three to five years?

Our biggest challenge is developing a completely novel first-in-class product. Theres no blueprint or recipe one can exactly follow, and it is challenging. This is, however, what the Veralox team is trained to do and we are well prepared and excited by the challenge and promise of developing a new treatment that can drastically improve and perhaps save the lives of people suffering from a terrible disease.

Were also currently looking to hire a Chief Medical Officer soon. Finding the best talent is always a challenge, but I know well be able to find the right person.

In three to five years, our goal is to have several products in the clinic and possibly an approved HIT/HITT drug on the market. Veralox has the potential to become an anchor life science company in the region. But for now, Id like Veralox to be known as the company that did what they said theyd do were community-minded and will continue to work hard to make a difference in the lives of patients with debilitating diseases.

Steve has over 20 years experience in copywriting, developing brand messaging and creating marketing strategies across a wide range of industries, including the biopharmaceutical, senior living, commercial real estate, IT and renewable energy sectors, among others. He is currently the Principal/Owner of StoryCore, a Frederick, Maryland-based content creation and execution consultancy focused on telling the unique stories of Maryland organizations.

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IN CONSERVATION: DR. JEFF STROVEL, CEO of VERALOX THERAPEUTICS - BioBuzz

How healthtech startup Bione aims to use genetic testing in the fight against coronavirus – YourStory

Ever since the Human Genome Project began in the late 1980s, genetics and DNA have become topics of mass interest. The book Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 chapters states that the genome is a book that wrote itself, continually adding, deleting, and amending for over four billion years.

For Dr Surendra Chikara, who has been working in the field for over 20 years now, the idea of founding Bione, a healthcare startup, was a no-brainer.

Monitoring the present coronavirus outbreak scenario in the country, we have included new parameters to our Longevity Plus kit. The new updated kit provides information about the susceptibility of a person to viruses like coronavirus, SARS-like viruses, HIV, Hepatitis C virus, etc. This could be based on an individuals genetic makeup or the patterns of living, Surendra says.

Dr Surendra, Founder of Bione

Surendra says a recent addition to the Bione Genetic test can check an individuals susceptibility to coronavirus. He adds that the platforms microbiome test, combined with its predictive analytics tools and artificial intelligence, can provide tailored recommendations to individuals to strengthen their microbiome and improve their immunity.

A research paper titled 'Evidence of gastrointestinal infection of SARS-CoV-2 revealed that 23.29 percent patients infected with SARS CoV-2 showed positive results in stool after showing negative in respiratory samples. Hence, the gut microbiome test is the only way to know when a virus is no longer in your system, Surendra says.

Surendra started his career with recombinant DNA technology and worked with Dr Gita Sharma, who had created the first r-DNA vaccine for Hepatitis-B in India.

My journey in genomics started under her support and guidance. It was the time when human genome sequencing and next-generation sequencing were starting to gain importance. We were in discussions to bring D2C technology to India, but the Indian healthcare market was not ready for direct-to-consumer genetic testing," Surendra says.

This is a huge problem that all my networks were aware of. We all know that the future of the global pharmaceutical industry lies in developing precision medicines tailored for individuals based on their genes, and clinical risk for developing a disease. Indian genetic data is highly diverse and a number of breakthroughs can happen. At Bione, we are doing our part to be part of this bigger picture of making India disease-free, Surendra says.

The different types of kits depend on the number of tests covered, and include Longevity kit, Longevity Plus Kit, and MyMicrobiome kit. The Longevity Plus kit covers over 415 parameters, including health, personalised medicine, fitness, and wellness.

The team claims that it also covers a parameter that determines specific gene variants that may contribute to enhance resistance to viruses like coronavirus, HIV, Hepatitis C, and many others.

The MyMicrobiome kit identifies and quantifies the microbiome in the gut, based on which a personalised diet is recommended.

Surendra says scientific research has shown that the gut microbiome plays an important role in the function and maintenance of our immune system. In ideal conditions, this microbiome-immune system alliance allows the initiation of protective responses against germs.

The platform also offers sample collection, with samples collected from an individuals homes. A pick-up is arranged as per your convenience by Bione. The DNA sequencing is done in a well-equipped lab by expert scientists, after which a detailed report is prepared.

Bione gXplore is a user-friendly, informative, and interactive app-based platform. On it, you can go through your report and easily understand the results of DNA analysis.

Slots with genetic or food and nutrition counsellors are provided as a free-of-cost service. The expert team of counsellors guides you to proactively plan your and your familys health and lifestyle choices.

The Bione team consists of experts from global institutions and scientists domains of genomics, genetics, bio-IT, genome informatics, quality assurance, sales, marketing, genetic/nutrition/fitness counselling. The startup has a total team size of 39 people.

The startup also runs a lab with scientists, bioinformaticians, and genetic counsellors. The team is applying for ISO 9001:2015, followed by CAP and CLIA accreditation to follow global standards.

Bione is projecting to test 20,000 to 30,000 samples in the first year of operations. Tests are priced between Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000, with the option of paying in EMIs. Customers can choose the package based on their needs.

The startup has raised angel funding from a clutch of undisclosed investors. Gourish Singla, the Founder of blockchain startup Project Shivom has invested in Bione.

Currently, startups like The Gene Box and Hyderabad-based MapMyGenome work on providing preventive solutions based on an individuals genetic makeup.

He says the startup's high tech lab is using advanced technologies, including whole genome sequencing, while the competition is still working with array technology with limited markers.

(Edited by Kanishk Singh)

How has the coronavirus outbreak disrupted your life? and how are you dealing with it? Write to us or send us a video with subject line 'Coronavirus Disruption' to editorial@yourstory.com

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How healthtech startup Bione aims to use genetic testing in the fight against coronavirus - YourStory

Coronavirus: Massive gap in US response revealed after scientists learn colleague tested positive through twee – MEAWW

Clement Chow, an assistant professor of human genetics at The University of Utah, US, tweeted last week that he was in the ICU with coronavirus. And that's when researchers who had attended a meeting with him found out about it. At a time when experts are stressing on testing and contract tracing to check community transmission, this incident reveals serious and massive gaps in America's fight against COVID-19.

"Hi guys. Have you missed me? Ive been in the ICU fighting...wait for it...Coronavirus! I am the first case at the U of U ICU! Breaking the bamboo ceiling!," tweeted Chow on March 16. He further said, "Basically had a low-grade fever for a few days then a bad cough, that turned into respiratory failure. I came in and they had to put me on high flow oxygen (3 times normal)...hence ICU."

According to a March 20 report in Nature, two dozen geneticists who had attended a meeting with him nine days earlier subsequently saw the tweet and came to know that Chow had tested positive for COVID-19. While the researchers were worried for Chow, they were also upset that this was the first they had heard about it, says the report.

The fact that we learned about this from a tweet points to a failure of our department of health. But maybe we can come together with grass-root responses, Nels Elde, also an associate professor of human genetics at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, told Nature. He had reportedly shared a dinner plate with Chow before he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Elde tweeted to Chow on March 16 and said, "Was going through our text messages and your decision to self-quarantine early for cold-like symptoms that you were convinced was not SARS-CoV-2 was a good one and good example for us all. Get well soon @ClementYChow."

Chow further explained that his breathing was so compromised that he could not keep his oxygen levels up even with "10L of oxygen." He said while he was the first COVID19 patient in the ICU on March 19, there are more now. "Important point: we really dont know much about his virus. Im young and not high risk, yet I am in the ICU with a very severe case," said Chow.

Another researcher who had attended the meeting with Chow described how the group from 16 states "scrambled to work out who they had spent time with since returning home from the meeting." "They were upset that four days had passed between when their colleague was hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19 and when they found out, through Twitter, that he had the disease. Another 24 hours would pass before an email from Utahs public-health departments made it their way. Every passing minute, the virus has a chance to move to someone else," reports Nature.

Meanwhile, the researchers who learned of their exposure through Twitter are taking precautionary measures by taking their temperatures and self-quarantining themselves.

Over 33,270 cases have been reported in the US so far, and 417 have died. New York state accounts for 117 deaths currently, passing Washington state, the initial epicenter of the pandemic in the US, in the number of fatal cases.

According to experts, contact tracing is important as people in close contact with someone who is infected with a virus, such as the COVID-19 virus are at higher risk of becoming infected themselves and of potentially further infecting others.

An analysis of Singapores containment measures that were implemented to minimize disease spread, for example, shows that contact tracing contributed to the primary detection of approximately half (53%) of COVID-19 patients. The study, based on a review of the first 100 cases in Singapore, shows that the mean interval from symptom onset to isolation was 5.6 days and declined after approximately 1 month.

Singapore implemented strong surveillance and containment measures, which appear to have slowed the growth of the outbreak. The study estimated that if other countries had similar detection capacities as Singapore, the global number of imported cases detected would be 2.8 times higher than the observed current number, said the report. It added, The surveillance methods in Singapore complemented one another to identify infected persons, with the overlapping components constituting safety nets; none of the methods alone would have detected all patients.

During a media briefing on March 16, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said that while there has been a rapid escalation in social distancing measures across countries, they have not seen an urgent enough escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing which, he said, was the backbone of the COVID-19 response. "We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test, he had emphasized.

Dr Ghebreyesus explained that while social distancing measures can help to reduce transmission and enable health systems to cope, such measures alone would not be enough to "extinguish this pandemic." "Its the combination that makes the difference. As I keep saying, all countries must take a comprehensive approach, he said.

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Coronavirus: Massive gap in US response revealed after scientists learn colleague tested positive through twee - MEAWW

Avera announces ability to test for COVID-19 in South Dakota – The Dickinson Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. Averas laboratory in Sioux Falls has been verified by the South Dakota Department of Health to perform COVID-19 testing, according to a news release.

The additional testing site will allow for the processing of up to 200 tests per day.

The Avera Institute for Human Genetics has worked closely with the governors office as well as the state health department to establish guidelines on how pending tests are processed, the release states.

The most critical and highly suspicious tests will receive priority. Result time will depend on volume, however, most test results will be able to be returned in a few days and inpatient tests that are considered urgent based on the patients condition can be returned more quickly.

So far, testing for COVID-19 has been conducted by the state health departments laboratory and Averas contract laboratory.

All test results will be sent to the state for reporting purposes. Patients with positive test results will be contacted with instructions on how to care for themselves at home, symptom management, and when to contact a health care provider if symptoms worsen.

As a public service, weve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status.

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Avera announces ability to test for COVID-19 in South Dakota - The Dickinson Press

Invitae and Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Expand Access to No-Charge Genetic Testing in the US and Canada – PRNewswire

SAN FRANCISCO, March 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Invitae (NYSE: NVTA), a leading medical genetics company today announced its partnership with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) to offer sponsored, no-charge genetic testing to patients through the Detect Muscular Dystrophy program in MDA's care center network, a network of clinics at more than 150 of the nation's top healthcare institutions.

Research has shown no-charge testing programs help increase utilization of genetic testing, which can shorten the time to diagnosis by as much astwo years in some conditions. Accurate diagnoses enable clinicians to focus on providing disease-specific care sooner, helping reduce costs and improve outcomes.

"Muscular dystrophy consists of many disorders with overlapping symptoms that often make diagnosis more challenging. Genetic testing can help accelerate diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy or Becker Muscular Dystrophy which enables clinicians to begin identifying treatment options sooner," said Lynn O'Connor Vos, President and CEO of Muscular Dystrophy Association. "By bringing this program to our care centers, we can make it easier for patients to get tested, moving them one step closer to the care they need."

Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of disorders characterized by progressive muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissue. Muscular dystrophies affect 1 out of every 4,000 to 5,000 people with varying severity and presentation, often affecting skeletal muscle and ambulation, and in some forms involving cardiac, respiratory, swallowing muscles or other organs and tissues. Genetic testing has been proven to shorten the time to diagnosis and prevent misdiagnosis. Accurate and early identification of affected individuals allows for improved clinical outcomes.

In addition to genetic testing, the Detect Muscular Dystrophy program offers post-test genetic counseling to help patients understand test results and make more informed decisions about their health and follow-up care. Detect Muscular Dystrophy also offers genetic testing to family members of patients with genetic variants associated with disease to better understand their own disease risks.

"Genetic testing can expedite making an accurate diagnosis, facilitate earlier interventions, allow genetic counseling of family members, and support clinical research into muscular dystrophies, including Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies, and also many other forms of muscular dystrophy," said Robert Nussbaum, M.D., chief medical officer of Invitae. "We're proud to work with MDA to increase access to early genetic testing among patients suspected of having muscular dystrophy. Their network of care centers offers patients expert care and easier access to genetic testing to inform that care."

Additional details, terms and conditions of the programs can be found at Detect Muscular Dystrophy (www.invitae.com/DetectMD). For more information on partnering with Invitae, visit http://www.invitae.com/biopharma.

Invitae sponsored testing programs are designed to increase access to genetic testing, particularly in conditions where earlier testing can improve diagnosis and treatment yet testing remains underutilized. Patients enroll in Invitae's sponsored testing programs through their clinician. Learn more atwww.invitae.com/sponsored-testing.

About Muscular Dystrophy Association Since 1950, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has been committed to transforming the lives of people affected by muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases. We do this through innovations in science and innovations in care. As the largest source of funding for neuromuscular disease research outside of the federal government, MDA has committed more than $1 billion since our inception to accelerate the discovery of therapies and cures. Research we have supported is directly linked to life-changing therapies across multiple neuromuscular diseases. MDA's Neuromuscular ObserVational Research (MOVR) data hub gathers longitudinal clinical data for multiple neuromuscular diseases to improve health outcomes and accelerate therapy development. MDA supports the largest network of multidisciplinary clinics providing best in class care at more than 150 of the nation's top medical institutions, and our national resource center serves the community with one-on-one specialized support and we offer educational conferences, events, and materials for families and healthcare providers. Each year thousands of children and young adults learn vital life skills and gain independence at summer camp and through recreational programs, at no cost to families. For more information visit mda.org.

About InvitaeInvitae Corporation(NYSE: NVTA) is a leading medical genetics company, whose mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medicine to improve healthcare for billions of people. Invitae's goal is to aggregate the world's genetic tests into a single service with higher quality, faster turnaround time, and lower prices. For more information, visit the company's website atinvitae.com.

Safe Harbor StatementThis press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements relating to the benefits of genetic testing and information; and the design and benefits of the company's sponsored testing and Detect programs. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the company's history of losses; the company's ability to compete; the company's failure to manage growth effectively; the company's need to scale its infrastructure in advance of demand for its tests and to increase demand for its tests; the company's ability to use rapidly changing genetic data to interpret test results accurately and consistently; security breaches, loss of data and other disruptions; laws and regulations applicable to the company's business; and the other risks set forth in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risks set forth in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and Invitae Corporation disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Contact:Laura D'Angelo[emailprotected](628) 213-3283

SOURCE Invitae Corporation

http://invitae.com

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Invitae and Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Expand Access to No-Charge Genetic Testing in the US and Canada - PRNewswire

University of Utah experts advise caution over drugs hyped as possible coronavirus treatments – Salt Lake Tribune

Editors note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing readers free access to critical local stories about the coronavirus during this time of heightened concern. See more coverage here.

University of Utah experts are expressing concern about the hype surrounding two medications that President Donald Trump and state officials have held up as potential treatments for the coronavirus.

Andy Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious disease at the U., is also urging caution, noting that the nations top infectious disease expert has warned that there is no convincing evidence yet that these drugs work, only stories.

The drugs have been used for years for arthritis, psoriasis and malaria, and are available in Utah pharmacies through prescription by doctors. But Grunwald said casting the unproven medications as a potential treatment for coronavirus could incite panic buying and limit the availability of the drugs for sick patients who depend on them.

The geneticist said hes not asserting that the drugs are necessarily ineffective just that they are wholly unproved.

I am simply saying defying the principles of reviewed science has dangerous consequences, especially seen in a community that is fearful and in an environment that is susceptible to panicked behavior, said Grunwald, who is a scientist, but not a medical doctor.

The drugs have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 although Utah officials said Friday that doctors still may prescribe them for COVID-19 patients here and say evidence shows they should.

On the other hand, Pavia said medical experts dont yet have good data about whether the drugs are effective against the virus.

We need to be very cautious until we have better information. In fact, chloroquine worked in the test tube against other viruses but proved to be potentially harmful when properly studied, he said. "We hope it works, but hope is not the best way to choose safe and effective treatment.

The information that youre referring to specifically is anecdotal, Fauci told reporters. It was not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really cant make any definitive statement about it.

Trump, standing next to Fauci, still said the federal government has ordered millions of doses. He also said the nation has nothing to lose by trying it.

During Fridays news conference, Utah officials and medical representatives were essentially saying the same things as the president.

There are responses that are equivalent to Lazarus literally the biblical Lazarus people almost dead coming back, said physician Kurt Hegmann, director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Utah, about hydroxychloroquine.

Officials said they are surveying Utah pharmacies to see how much of the drugs they now have on hand and are working with other states to develop plans for distributing the drugs to areas in need.

They also cautioned doctors and pharmacists to be judicious in how they dispense the drugs for now.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams said the news conference about the drugs was called to give worried Utahns some hope.

We need some good news. We think this is good news, the Layton Republican said. We believe theres hope in America.

Utahs state epidemiologist, Angela Dunn, said last week that a lot of scientists internationally and in the U.S. are studying medications that could help treat COVID-19. Most have involved extremely small patient groups, she noted.

Current studies about the malaria drugs specifically have been very small sample sizes one in particular was only 40 people so its difficult to extrapolate that to large population," she said. So the next step is to do studies with bigger populations to see if its effective.

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University of Utah experts advise caution over drugs hyped as possible coronavirus treatments - Salt Lake Tribune

Studying the African genome could yield new medical treatments for everyone – Genetic Literacy Project

Dr. Segun Fatumo is a computer scientist with specialization in bioinformatics with keen interest in the genetic impact of non-communicable diseases in Africa and bioinformatics capacity building in Africa. He has been involved in various genetic projects including analysing a large-scale genomic dataset from Ugandan population. During his PhD, he was able to identified twenty-two (22) potential novel drug targets against malaria. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (University of London). Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) interviewed him to shed more light on the importance, challenges and future direction of a recent genetic research that he was a leading author.

As one of the lead authors of your recently published paper, what motivated this research project?

Precision medicine is fundamentally going to change healthcare. Genomic medicines is a key component of precision medicine with enormous potential to inform clinical medicine. One potential limitation to genomic medicine is the underrepresentation of African and other populations in genomics research. Previous studies have warned that a much broader range of populations should be investigated to avoid genomic medicine being of benefit merely to a privileged few. This is especially problematic, as previous studies have shown that Africa studies contribute an outsized number of associations relative to studies of similar sizes in Europeans. To demonstrate the potential of African genomes as a great resource for genomic medicine, we collected and analyzed genome-wide data from 6,407 individuals from Uganda.

What is the value of collecting more genomic data from African populations which are badly underrepresented in genomic databases.

Our findings from even modest side studies highlight the importance and usefulness of examining genetically diverse populations within Africa. Findings from large-scale studies from Africa may foster the development of new treatments that will benefit people living in Africa as well as people of African descent around the world.

What sort of challenges did you face in the study, and how did you overcame them?

So many challenges including community engagement, ethics, recruitment, etc. Globally, genomics research and specifically recruitment of participants regardless of the continent is always challenging. However, 60% of Africans live in rural areas. Prospective participants are more likely to be poor and to have limited access to healthcare and education. This means that the carrying out of research in these settings invariably presents challenges of a different order to those in higher income countries. Researchers should not exploit these challenges.

Is the value of this research project beyond Uganda and why?

Yes. Findings from our study may foster the development of new treatments that will benefit people living in Africa as well as people of African descent around the world.

What were the responses that you have received so far about the findings?

Enormous responses. I find it difficult to attend to all media requests.

What is the future direction of the research?

While there is an urgent need to perform large-scale genomic research in Africa, several ongoing initiatives such as H3Africa and the Nigerian 100K Non-Communicable Diseases Genetic Heritage Study (NCD-GHS) could provide the data to improve the evidence base and make genome medicine useful to diverse populations.

How do you see the future of genetics and bioinformatics in Africa?

I think we are now on the right track. We have established the Nigerian Bioinformatics and Genomics Network (NBGN). There are also other initiatives. We are now focusing on building capacity in Africa.

Olumide Odeyemi is a research scientist with a doctoral degree from the University of Tasmania, Australia. His areas of expertise and interest include food microbiology, microbial food safety and quality, aquaculture microbiology and research communication. Follow him on Twitter @olumide_odeyemi

Dr. Segun Fatumo is an assistant professor of genetic epidemiology and bioinformatics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Follow him on Twitter @SFatumo

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Studying the African genome could yield new medical treatments for everyone - Genetic Literacy Project

Coronavirus is hard on older people and scientists aren’t sure why – NBCNews.com

Older adults appear to be more severely at risk from the new coronavirus, while young children seem to be largely spared and understanding why could be crucial to treating people with the illness it causes, according to scientists.

Much remains unknown about COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that is rapidly spreading around the world, but researchers have seized on a factor that seems to influence the severity of infections: the patient's age.

People over age 60, and particularly those with pre-existing health conditions, appear to be most vulnerable to the virus, which has spread to more than 110,000 people in at least 97 countries.

While that is not particularly surprising, the statistics show that young children have made up very few of the confirmed cases so far, a divergence that isn't true for every illness.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

While the immune systems of older people are typically not as robust as those of younger people, leaving them more vulnerable to a wide variety of illnesses, scientists say they can't definitively say why the coronavirus has been harder on people of advanced ages.

"We're trying to figure out why age is a primary feature of this infection, but from a biological perspective, we don't have that answer," said Dr. Srinivas Murthy, a clinical associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Understanding that question could help researchers figure out how to treat the illness, particularly in the older populations that appear to be more susceptible to it.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams, speaking Monday afternoon at a news conference, confirmed that the virus had been more severe for older people based on the data currently available.

The first death in the U.S. from COVID-19 was that of a Washington state man in his 50s with underlying health conditions. Since then, the state's health officials have also been battling the spread of the respiratory illness at a nursing facility in Kirkland, where 19 people have died.

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In China, where the coronavirus first emerged, early research also suggests that the coronavirus may pose a graver risk to some populations over others. In a report released last month by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an analysis of 1,023 deaths out of 44,672 confirmed cases diagnosed through Feb. 11 found that 21.9 percent of deaths occurred among patients who were over 80 years old.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Most people who have been infected have experienced mild to moderate symptoms, which Murthy said likely means either that the virus is not penetrating beyond the upper respiratory tract or that patients' immune systems are preventing it from reaching deep into the lungs.

It's thought that the virus spreads through close contact, traveling through tiny droplets and secretions when a patient coughs, sneezes or breathes.

Typically, when a virus infects a cell in the human body, the cell's so-called innate immune system kicks in if foreign genetic material is detected. This is considered the body's first line of defense against invading pathogens. The second line of defense is known as the adaptive immune system, which first has to detect foreign invaders before producing antibodies and T cells to counteract the infection.

But as people age, both of those systems can break down.

"We don't truly know why, but as you get older, the functionality of the innate immune system and adaptive immune system wanes," said Timothy Sheahan, an epidemiologist at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina.

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Coronavirus is hard on older people and scientists aren't sure why - NBCNews.com

Researchers study irregular horse heartbeats, hoping to find a cure – Minnesota Daily

University of Minnesota researchers are looking at cardiac conditions in racehorses to point toward a solution for both horses and humans.

Researchers are examining the effects of irregular heartbeats in racehorses, which are more frequently affected than average horses. Many racehorses die suddenly on the racetrack for unexpected reasons that may be due to irregular heartbeats, known broadly as arrhythmias. Researchers said they can examine which arrhythmias cause disease and which ones are specific to horses or humans.

The prevalence in horses is not common, but in racehorses with poor performances, its about 2%, said Sian Durward-Akhurst, lead author of the study and a University graduate student. Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of irregular heartbeat in horses.

The researchers examined the genes of 534 horses and found greater variations of disease in them, she said. Researchers are analyzing the disease-causing variants identified in both horses and humans.

Its something thats really interesting because why is it causing disease in humans, but not in horses? Durward-Akhurst said.

They will test these variants in more horses this summer and aim to produce a research paper by next year. Earlier this month, the researchers presented their recent findings at the Santa Anita racetrack in Los Angeles, California.

Atrial fibrillation is the most abnormal heart rhythm in humans, in cattle, in dogs. Its actually an interesting disease because of its impact on multiple species, including us, said Molly McCue, the principal investigator of the research and the associate dean of research in the Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine.

The irregular heartbeats of atrial fibrillation are sometimes referred to as a quivering heart due to how they affect the heartbeats pace. According to a veterinarian from the Paulick Report, the irregular heartbeat sounds like shoes in a dryer.

Racehorses are bred to have higher functioning cardiovascular systems than other horses, McCue said. Because of this, racehorses are expected to have a higher capacity for exercise.

They have this really frequent occurrence of arrhythmia, she said. The issue now is to figure out why. Then researchers can determine if arrhythmias are contributing to why racehorses are dying on the race track and if they can prevent it.

James Mickelson, a University professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, has studied the genetics of diseases in various animals for more than 20 years.

The condition of atrial fibrillation and heart arrhythmias is very likely responsible for sudden death of horses on race tracks, just like similar conditions in people, in human athletes, are responsible for sudden fatal deaths as well, he said.

If researchers can find a new mutation in horse genetics, they can use that to see if the same gene is responsible for any of the human cases, Mickelson said.

Lynn Hovda, chief commission veterinarian for the Minnesota Racing Commission, said horses dont have heart attacks like humans do because of their different cardiovascular systems.

[Horses] have cardiac rhythm disturbances, most often atrial fibrillation, that may result in sudden death. I say may as we dont really know yet, she said.

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Researchers study irregular horse heartbeats, hoping to find a cure - Minnesota Daily

Human Genetics Market Higher Growth Rate / CAGR over the Forecast Period to 2026 by Key Players like QIAGEN, Agilent Technologies, Illumina – New Day…

The Human Genetics Market report shows a brilliant presentation of regional growth, competition and provides accurate statistics with the price and gross margin and other essential factors to grow in the Human Genetics market. The Human Geneticsmarketreportdigs deep intoessentialaspectsof key subjects which help market players to make appropriate changes in their approach and help you craft better strategies. Thereportis made with amixtureof detailedrecordsrelyingupon the importantinformationresearchedviaour analysts.

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Major Key Players in Human Genetics Market: QIAGEN, Agilent Technologies, Illumina, Promega, Thermo Fisher Scientific, LabCorp, GE.

Our analysts used advanced primary and secondary research techniques and tools to compile this report using top-down and bottom-up approaches. Our research sources and tools are extremely reliable. The report offers effective guidelines and recommendations to players to ensure a strong position in the Human Genetics market. We provide a full competitive analysis that includes the detailed profile of the main players, a study on the nature and characteristics of the supplier landscape and other important studies.

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Segmentation by product type: breakdown data from 2014 to 2019 in Section 2.3; and forecast to 2024 in section 10.7.CytogeneticsPrenatal GeneticsMolecular GeneticsSymptom Genetics

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Human Genetics Market Higher Growth Rate / CAGR over the Forecast Period to 2026 by Key Players like QIAGEN, Agilent Technologies, Illumina - New Day...

Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation seeking to fund community-based organizations with major grant dollars – Miami’s Community Newspapers

The Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation is seeking to fund community-based organizations throughout Miami-Dade County with grants up to $50,000 each. Qualified tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations conducting grass-roots work that improves, preserves, or restores the health and healthcare of local area citizens have until April 15 to apply.

Since 1992, the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation has responded to identified community needs, said Aldo C. Busot, Chairman of the Coral Gables-based nonprofit foundation. Our board is appreciative of the work being done by our grant recipients throughout the community. The Board of Directors remains committed to sustaining its support in meeting the needs of our local community-based organizations. Busot is a senior vice president and financial advisor with Busot Group at Morgan Stanley in Coral Gables, and a graduate of the University of Miami.

From its earliest days, the foundation board wanted the foundation to serve the immediate grassroots needs of both children and adults and has successfully done so by awarding 468 grants to more than 300 community-based organizations over the years.

According to Charles Dunn, M.D., Chairman of the Community Grants Committee, The Community Grants program is the backbone of the foundation. The local organizations that receive funding are providing much-needed services and contribute to the well-being of our community. A graduate of University of Miami School of Medicine, Dr. Dunn is a long-established family medicine practitioner in Coral Gables.

Local organizations that qualified last year for the first-time, during the foundations 2019-20 funding cycle, included Friendship Circle of Miami offering behavioral physical and occupational therapies for children with special needs in Miami-Dade County; and Iam Able, with a county-wide reach for its Able 2 Adapt program that provides mentoring and exercise-based therapy for individuals with paralysis.

Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center also has been funded in past years to support scholarships and new equipment for their equine-assisted program for special needs children all across the county.

Other award recipients include Wounded Veterans Relief Fund, , Fishing With Americas Finest, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Canine Assisted Therapy, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center, the Coral Gables Womens Club Childrens Dental Clinic, and Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, among many others.

In addition to community grants, the foundation also has undertaken three signature initiatives in conjunction with UMs Miller School of Medicines Dept. of Pediatrics with the establishment of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation School Health Initiative, the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Dept. of Human Genetics, and the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute.

According to the Foundations Managing Director John Edward Smith, Since its inception as a grant-making institution, the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation has invested some $48 million into our community. Foundation grants serve as recognition of the admirable work so many community-based organizations are doing across the county to improve the quality of life for citizens.

The Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation is accepting letters of inquiry for the 2020-21 grant cycle now through April 15, 2020. Funding priorities include:

Projects that promote health education and prevention, and early detection of disease;

Health related projects that assist children and the economically disadvantaged; and

Projects that target medical care.

Qualified organizations that propose to conduct projects or programs related to the health needs of the citizens of Miami-Dade County, and are seeking funding support from the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation, should first submit a letter of inquiry. Programs and projects are funded depending upon the budget in the $5,000 $50,000 range. Applications are available online at http://www.JTMacdonaldFDN.org.

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION

With a long legacy of service to the local community, Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables is the genesis of todays Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation. The foundation grew from the sale of the hospital in 1992. Starting as a grant-making institution with an initial fund balance of $12 million, over the course of the past 20 years, the foundations fund balance has appreciably grown. Today, the foundation continues funding and invest in the healthcare and medical needs of the local community.

The Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation is located at 1550 Madruga Ave., Suite 215, Coral Gables, FL 33146. For information, call 305-667-6017 or send an e-mail to info@jtmacdonaldfdn.org.

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Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation seeking to fund community-based organizations with major grant dollars - Miami's Community Newspapers

A book that could save lives: Adam Rutherford’s How to Argue with a Racist reviewed – Spectator.co.uk

How to Argue with a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality

Adam Rutherford

Weidenfeld, pp. 206, 12.99

In the award-winning musical Avenue Q, filthy-minded puppets sang about schadenfreude, internet porn, loud sex, the uselessness of an English literature degree and racism. Or, more specifically, they sang about the ubiquitous human habit of

stereotyping people by race:

Everyones a little bit racist, sometimes.

The puppets were right: everyone makes judgments based on race. Humans are lazy creatures who like mental short cuts. Thinking in shades of grey is more effortful than thinking in black and white. Evaluating a new person afresh, based on their unique characteristics, is slower than falling back on a ready made judgment. If youve spent time with a two-year-old, or if youve used psychedelic drugs, you might have glimpsed what its like to see an individual blade of grass as itself, and not just as an exemplar of the category grass. Its exhausting.

In How to Argue with a Racist, Adam Rutherford uses his expertise in genetics to try to get us to see people the way a person on LSD might see a field of grass. That is, he wants us to see individual humans as themselves, rather than as exemplars of racial categories. Overcoming deeply ingrained patterns of mind, while also providing a crash course in genetic biology, is a tall order for any book, particularly one so brief. To accomplish his goal, Rutherford has densely packed each section of his book with scientific and historical details, all of which converge on a central theme its wickedly complicated.

Part I begins by challenging the apparent simplicity of racial distinctions based on skin colour or other observable physical characteristics. Consider, for instance, that two Africans, who would both be assigned the same race based on their skin colour, might be more different genetically than the Scots are from the Japanese.

Part II then challenges the idea of racial purity, the fiction that there are groups of people (like the Scots or the Japanese) who can trace their blood to just one set of ancestors living in one particular place. No such pure bloodlines exist; there really is no true Scotsman. Because people have had sex wherever and whenever they could, we dont have to go back too far in history to find a time when everyone alive then was the ancestor of everyone alive now. You and your immigrant neighbour are all part of the same family tree.

Next, parts III and IV challenge the idea that some racial groups are naturally more athletic, more musical or more intelligent. Do African-Americans dominate certain track and field events because they have a speed gene? Are the genetic diseases more common in Ashkenazi Jews evidence of selection for high intelligence? One by one, Rutherford picks up an apparently neat story about racial differences and turns it this way and that, exposing its holes and flaws and tattered seams.

Some of the science here has been explained in other books, including Rutherfords own A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, and more recently, David Reichs Who We Are and How We Got Here. What makes the organisation of the scientific material different in this book is right there in the opening sentence: This book is a weapon. Rutherford continues: These pages ... will provide a foundation to contest racism. Yet despite its confident title, How to Argue with a Racist is not entirely sanguine about the power of scientific argument. Arguing with racists, Rutherford says, is a fairly fruitless endeavour, and exhausting and he quotes Jonathan Swift: Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired.

Rutherfords uncertainty regarding how useful science is for combatting racism reflects a deeper uncertainty about what, exactly, is the relationship between sciency-sounding ideas about biological differences between racial groups and the violence and vitriol that he calls avowed or overt or extreme racism. After all, as the puppets of Avenue Q cheerfully protested, the use of racial judgments doesnt mean we go around committing hate crimes.

But ideas about racial difference can, indeed, incite violence. Consider Dylann Roof, who gunned down nine black parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina church after being radicalised on the internet. Before the massacre, Roof penned a racist screed that asked the exact same question about racial differences that How to Argue with a Racist considers at length: How could our faces, skin, hair and body structure all be different, but our brains be exactly the same?

It is tempting to answer that incendiary question by insisting that everyones brains really are exactly the same. As the great evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky observed back in the 1960s, if you maintain that people should be equal, then it is convenient to argue that the differences between them are accidental and trivial. This, for instance, is the argument that Ibram Kendi made in his similarly titled How to Be an Antiracist. An anti-racist is someone who is expressing the idea that races are meaningfully the same in their biology.

Rutherford avoids the temptation of insisting that everyone is the same. Instead, he presents a more difficult but more accurate argument, describing both the reality of human genetic variation and the fiction of racial purity. Yes, genetic differences between people are important, not just for their bodies, but also for their brains and behaviours. But the physical characteristics that we use to lump people together into races are terrible indicators of how genetically similar those people are. And when considering achingly complex domains of human achievement, such as music, sport, art and science, it has proved nearly impossible to separate out genetics from the messiness of human history, from colonialism and culture.

Rereading How to Argue with a Racist a second time, I began to imagine it as a letter, directed to one racist in particular to a younger Dylann Roof, as he was being drawn into the darker corners of the internet, before he picked up a gun to commit mass murder. Could science and history, clearly presented, have cut through the thicket of poisonous ideas that ultimately choked off Roofs capacity for the most basic human empathy? Could arguing with that particular racist about genetics have saved lives? That possibility, slim as it might be, is why How to Argue with a Racist is an important book.

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A book that could save lives: Adam Rutherford's How to Argue with a Racist reviewed - Spectator.co.uk

Validea’s Top Five Healthcare Stocks Based On Motley Fool – 3/15/2020 – Nasdaq

The following are the top rated Healthcare stocks according to Validea's Small-Cap Growth Investor model based on the published strategy of Motley Fool. This strategy looks for small cap growth stocks with solid fundamentals and strong price performance.

ZYNEX INC. (ZYXI) is a small-cap growth stock in the Medical Equipment & Supplies industry. The rating according to our strategy based on Motley Fool is 76% based on the firms underlying fundamentals and the stocks valuation. A score of 80% or above typically indicates that the strategy has some interest in the stock and a score above 90% typically indicates strong interest.

Company Description: Zynex, Inc. operates through the Electrotherapy and Pain Management Products segment. The Company conducts its business through its subsidiaries and the operating subsidiary is Zynex Medical, Inc. (ZMI). Its other subsidiaries include Zynex Monitoring Solutions, Inc. (ZMS) and Zynex Europe, ApS (ZEU). ZMI designs, manufactures and markets medical devices that treat chronic and acute pain, as well as activate and exercise muscles for rehabilitative purposes with electrical stimulation. ZMS is in the process of developing its blood volume monitoring product for non-invasive cardiac monitoring. ZEU intends to focus on sales and marketing its products within the international marketplace, upon receipt of necessary regulatory approvals. It markets and sells Zynex-manufactured products and distributes private labeled products. Its products include NexWave, NeuroMove, InWave, Electrodes and Batteries. ZMI devices are intended for pain management to reduce reliance on drugs and medications.

The following table summarizes whether the stock meets each of this strategy's tests. Not all criteria in the below table receive equal weighting or are independent, but the table provides a brief overview of the strong and weak points of the security in the context of the strategy's criteria.

For a full detailed analysis using NASDAQ's Guru Analysis tool, click here

CHINA BIOLOGIC PRODUCTS HOLDINGS INC (CBPO) is a mid-cap growth stock in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry. The rating according to our strategy based on Motley Fool is 72% based on the firms underlying fundamentals and the stocks valuation. A score of 80% or above typically indicates that the strategy has some interest in the stock and a score above 90% typically indicates strong interest.

Company Description: China Biologic Products Holdings, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company is principally engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and sales of human plasma-based biopharmaceutical products in China. It operates through the manufacture and sales of human plasma products segment. China Biologic has a product portfolio with over 20 various dosage forms of plasma products and other biopharmaceutical products across nine categories.The Company's products include human albumin, human immunoglobulin, immunoglobulin for intravenous injection (IVIG), human hepatitis B immunoglobulin, human rabies immunoglobulin, human tetanus immunoglobulin, placenta polypeptide, Factor VIII and human prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC).

The following table summarizes whether the stock meets each of this strategy's tests. Not all criteria in the below table receive equal weighting or are independent, but the table provides a brief overview of the strong and weak points of the security in the context of the strategy's criteria.

For a full detailed analysis using NASDAQ's Guru Analysis tool, click here

MEDPACE HOLDINGS INC (MEDP) is a mid-cap growth stock in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry. The rating according to our strategy based on Motley Fool is 72% based on the firms underlying fundamentals and the stocks valuation. A score of 80% or above typically indicates that the strategy has some interest in the stock and a score above 90% typically indicates strong interest.

Company Description: Medpace Holdings, Inc. is a clinical contract research organization. The Company provides clinical research-based drug and medical device development services. The Company partners with pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies in the development and execution of clinical trials. The Company's drug development services focus on full service Phase I-IV clinical development services and include development plan design, coordinated central laboratory, project management, regulatory affairs, clinical monitoring, data management and analysis, pharmacovigilance new drug application submissions, and post-marketing clinical support. The Company also provides bio-analytical laboratory services, clinical human pharmacology, imaging services, and electrocardiography reading support for clinical trials. The Company's operations are principally based in North America, Europe, and Asia.

The following table summarizes whether the stock meets each of this strategy's tests. Not all criteria in the below table receive equal weighting or are independent, but the table provides a brief overview of the strong and weak points of the security in the context of the strategy's criteria.

For a full detailed analysis using NASDAQ's Guru Analysis tool, click here

FULGENT GENETICS INC (FLGT) is a small-cap growth stock in the Medical Equipment & Supplies industry. The rating according to our strategy based on Motley Fool is 69% based on the firms underlying fundamentals and the stocks valuation. A score of 80% or above typically indicates that the strategy has some interest in the stock and a score above 90% typically indicates strong interest.

Company Description: Fulgent Genetics, Inc. is a technology company. The Company offers genetic testing to provide physicians with clinically actionable diagnostic information to improve quality of patient care. The Company has developed a technology platform that integrates data comparison and suppression algorithms, adaptive learning software, advanced genetic diagnostics tools and integrated laboratory processes. As of December 31, 2015, the Company's test menu includes approximately 18,000 single-gene tests and over 200 pre-established, multi-gene, disease-specific panels that collectively test for approximately 7,500 genetic conditions, including various cancers, cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders. The Company's gene probes are specifically engineered to generate genetic data that is optimized for its software, which enables to rapidly incorporate new genes into its test menu, develop new panels of disease-specific tests and customize tests for its customers.

The following table summarizes whether the stock meets each of this strategy's tests. Not all criteria in the below table receive equal weighting or are independent, but the table provides a brief overview of the strong and weak points of the security in the context of the strategy's criteria.

For a full detailed analysis using NASDAQ's Guru Analysis tool, click here

MASIMO CORPORATION (MASI) is a large-cap growth stock in the Medical Equipment & Supplies industry. The rating according to our strategy based on Motley Fool is 68% based on the firms underlying fundamentals and the stocks valuation. A score of 80% or above typically indicates that the strategy has some interest in the stock and a score above 90% typically indicates strong interest.

Company Description: Masimo Corporation is a medical technology company that develops, manufactures and markets a range of non-invasive patient monitoring technologies. The Company's business is Measure-through Motion and Low Perfusion pulse oximetry monitoring, known as Masimo Signal Extraction Technology (SET) pulse oximetry. Its product offerings include non-invasive monitoring of blood constituents with an optical signature, optical organ oximetry monitoring, electrical, brain function monitoring, acoustic respiration monitoring and exhaled gas monitoring. In addition, the Company has developed the Root patient monitoring and connectivity platform, the Radical-7 bedside and portable patient monitor, and the Radius-7 wearable wireless patient monitor. It offers Patient SafetyNet remote patient surveillance monitoring system, which allows patients to be monitored through a personal computer-based monitor or by care providers through their pagers, voice-over-Internet Protocol (IP) phones or smartphones.

The following table summarizes whether the stock meets each of this strategy's tests. Not all criteria in the below table receive equal weighting or are independent, but the table provides a brief overview of the strong and weak points of the security in the context of the strategy's criteria.

For a full detailed analysis using NASDAQ's Guru Analysis tool, click here

Since its inception, Validea's strategy based on Motley Fool has returned 413.50% vs. 172.71% for the S&P 500. For more details on this strategy, click here

About Motley Fool: Brothers David and Tom Gardner often wear funny hats in public appearances, but they're hardly fools -- at least not the kind whose advice you should readily dismiss. The Gardners are the founders of the popular Motley Fool web site, which offers frank and often irreverent commentary on investing, the stock market, and personal finance. The Gardners' "Fool" really is a multi-media endeavor, offering not only its web content but also several books written by the brothers, a weekly syndicated newspaper column, and subscription newsletter services.

About Validea: Validea is an investment research service that follows the published strategies of investment legends. Validea offers both stock analysis and model portfolios based on gurus who have outperformed the market over the long-term, including Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham, Peter Lynch and Martin Zweig. For more information about Validea, click here

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Validea's Top Five Healthcare Stocks Based On Motley Fool - 3/15/2020 - Nasdaq

Fighting the coronavirus outbreak with genetic sequencing, CRISPR and synthetic biology – Genetic Literacy Project

The rapid and frightening spread of the coronavirus has sparked a battle thats drawing on a host of emerging technologies. Government, industry and academic researchers are scrambling to improve our ability to diagnose, treat and contain a virus thats threatening to reach pandemic status.

This isnt the first time researchers have faced off against a dangerous member of this family of viruses. But it is the first time theyve done it with a toolbox that includes the gene-editing tool CRISPR and the emerging field of synthetic biology.

Indeed, weve known about coronaviruses for nearly 60 years. But for several decades, they attracted little attention, causing symptoms similar to the common cold.

That changed in 2003, when a deadly member of the coronavirus family, SARS-COV, spread to 29 countries, killing 774 people. Suddenly, a coronavirus found previously in animals had managed to jump to humans, where it killed nearly 10 percent of those infected. The virus sparked fear across the globe, but was brought under control within a year. Only a small number of cases have been reported since 2004.

Then in 2012 came MERS-COV. The virus emerged in Saudi Arabia, jumping from camels to humans. The virus has never caused a sustained outbreak, but with a mortality rate of35 percent, it has killed 858 people so far. Infections have been reported in 27 countries, with most in the Middle East. The virus is considered by the World Health Organization to be a potential epidemic threat.

Interestingly, neither of these previous coronavirus threats were stopped by a cure or a vaccine. MERS still lurks in the background, while SARS was contained by what amounts to old-school practices, according to a 2007 article in Harvard Magazine:

Ironically, in this age of high-tech medicine, the virus was eventually brought under control by public-health measures typically associated with the nineteenth centuryisolation of SARS patients themselves and quarantine of all their known and suspected contactsrather than a vaccine.

There currently is no cure for this new wave of coronavirus infections (the resulting disease is called Covid-19), even though some antiviral therapies are being tested and one experimental vaccine is ready for testing in humans. The virus genome has been sequenced and its genetic code may shed light on how the disease starts and spreads, as well as inform on potential pharmaceutical targets for drug development. The Covid-19 virus similarity to the SARS-COV may mean that cures developed for one strain may prove effective for the other. The Canadian company AbCellera plans to test its antibody technology, already tried against MERS-COV, to neutralize the Covid-19 viral bodies.

What is really encouraging is the level of international collaboration aimed to fight this health emergency. Funding bodies, scientific societies and scientific journals have signed a joint statement, agreeing to openly share research findings with the global research community as soon as they are available. The very quick information dissemination gave scientists around the globe several RNA sequences of the virus genome. And these sequences can be used to better understand the epidemiology and origins of the virus. Moreover, the advancements in DNA technology let research groups in academia and industry synthesize the viral genetic material to use in the two areas of focus: detection of virus and vaccine development.

One of the trickiest things about the coronavirus is its speculated transmission by asymptomatic patients. This increases the number of infections and makes containment measures less effective, spreading fears that the virus may establish a permanent presence in some areas. There are also fears that many incidents lie undetected, spreading the virus under the radar. As of March 9, the virus has infected more than 110,000 people, killing nearly 4,000, in 97 countries.

Several biotech companies have scrambled to provide kits and resources for early and reliable detection of the new coronavirus. Mammoth Bioscience, a San Francisco-based startup, is already working on a detection assay using their CRISPR technology. The DNA technology companies IDT and Genscript already distribute PCR-based kits for detection for research purposes. The Chinese companies BGI and Liferiver Biotech use the same PCR technology for the kits they provide to their countries health authorities.

The French-British biotech Novacyt announced the launch of a diagnostic kit for clinical use in middle February. The kit will also use quantitative-PCR, developed by their sister company Primerdesign. Its high specificity will reduce the analysis time to less than two hours. The companys CEO Graham Mullis told Reuters that each kit will cost around $6.50, and that they have already received more than 33,000 orders.

The only way to effectively control and even eliminate the outbreak is to develop a vaccine. Unfortunately, the new outbreak hasnt attracted the attention of the lead vaccine manufacturers. Non-profit organizations, such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), have jumped in to fill the gap. But despite the emergency, a vaccine may be several years away from being available

The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, announced that theyre working on a coronavirus vaccine which they hope to have ready within the next few months. The molecular clamp approach the Australian researchers have developed is designed to boost the immune system response and work against several viral infections. GlaxoSmithKline has offered its adjuvant technology adjuvants are added to vaccines to boost their efficiency to speed up the process.

The Cambridge, MA-based Moderna uses a different approach to make vaccines. Their mRNA technology is modular and very adaptable to use for a new disease or when the epitope (the vaccines target) mutates. The company says its vaccine is ready for human trials.

The Covid-19 outbreak has rightly gained the attention of health authorities and the media. If the virus were to reach countries with weaker healthcare systems than Chinas, the number of deaths will rise significantly and containment will be even harder. Moreover, the long incubation time of the disease, combined with the asymptomatic spread, make quarantine and isolation measures less effective. The biggest risk is for the new coronavirus to become endemic in certain areas, where the disease is never truly extinct and displays seasonal outbreaks. We dont want the Covid-19 to become a new flu.

The health authorities of 2020, the biotech industry, and the society in general are better prepared for a coronavirus outbreak than a few years ago. The situation is less risky than MERS and SARS, though the new virus is harder to contain. This outbreak offers a chance for everyone to become more aware of viral infections, the appropriate precautions and get vaccinated according to the official recommendations. And keep in mind that the best way to stay informed is through official sources, such as the WHO and the CDC.

As for the biotech industry, are they playing their part? The answer is a partial yes; there are several companies that immediately scrambled to help the situation. But the big players within the field could be doing more.

Kostas Vavitsas, PhD, is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Athens, Greece. He is also a steering committee member of EUSynBioS. Follow him on Twitter @konvavitsas

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Fighting the coronavirus outbreak with genetic sequencing, CRISPR and synthetic biology - Genetic Literacy Project

human genetics | Description, Chromosomes, & Inheritance …

Human genetics, study of the inheritance of characteristics by children from parents. Inheritance in humans does not differ in any fundamental way from that in other organisms.

The study of human heredity occupies a central position in genetics. Much of this interest stems from a basic desire to know who humans are and why they are as they are. At a more practical level, an understanding of human heredity is of critical importance in the prediction, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that have a genetic component. The quest to determine the genetic basis of human health has given rise to the field of medical genetics. In general, medicine has given focus and purpose to human genetics, so the terms medical genetics and human genetics are often considered synonymous.

A new era in cytogenetics, the field of investigation concerned with studies of the chromosomes, began in 1956 with the discovery by Jo Hin Tjio and Albert Levan that human somatic cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes. Since that time the field has advanced with amazing rapidity and has demonstrated that human chromosome aberrations rank as major causes of fetal death and of tragic human diseases, many of which are accompanied by intellectual disability. Since the chromosomes can be delineated only during mitosis, it is necessary to examine material in which there are many dividing cells. This can usually be accomplished by culturing cells from the blood or skin, since only the bone marrow cells (not readily sampled except during serious bone marrow disease such as leukemia) have sufficient mitoses in the absence of artificial culture. After growth, the cells are fixed on slides and then stained with a variety of DNA-specific stains that permit the delineation and identification of the chromosomes. The Denver system of chromosome classification, established in 1959, identified the chromosomes by their length and the position of the centromeres. Since then the method has been improved by the use of special staining techniques that impart unique light and dark bands to each chromosome. These bands permit the identification of chromosomal regions that are duplicated, missing, or transposed to other chromosomes.

Micrographs showing the karyotypes (i.e., the physical appearance of the chromosome) of a male and a female have been produced. In a typical micrograph the 46 human chromosomes (the diploid number) are arranged in homologous pairs, each consisting of one maternally derived and one paternally derived member. The chromosomes are all numbered except for the X and the Y chromosomes, which are the sex chromosomes. In humans, as in all mammals, the normal female has two X chromosomes and the normal male has one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. The female is thus the homogametic sex, as all her gametes normally have one X chromosome. The male is heterogametic, as he produces two types of gametesone type containing an X chromosome and the other containing a Y chromosome. There is good evidence that the Y chromosome in humans, unlike that in Drosophila, is necessary (but not sufficient) for maleness.

A human individual arises through the union of two cells, an egg from the mother and a sperm from the father. Human egg cells are barely visible to the naked eye. They are shed, usually one at a time, from the ovary into the oviducts (fallopian tubes), through which they pass into the uterus. Fertilization, the penetration of an egg by a sperm, occurs in the oviducts. This is the main event of sexual reproduction and determines the genetic constitution of the new individual.

Human sex determination is a genetic process that depends basically on the presence of the Y chromosome in the fertilized egg. This chromosome stimulates a change in the undifferentiated gonad into that of the male (a testicle). The gonadal action of the Y chromosome is mediated by a gene located near the centromere; this gene codes for the production of a cell surface molecule called the H-Y antigen. Further development of the anatomic structures, both internal and external, that are associated with maleness is controlled by hormones produced by the testicle. The sex of an individual can be thought of in three different contexts: chromosomal sex, gonadal sex, and anatomic sex. Discrepancies between these, especially the latter two, result in the development of individuals with ambiguous sex, often called hermaphrodites. Homosexuality is unrelated to the above sex-determining factors. It is of interest that in the absence of a male gonad (testicle) the internal and external sex anatomy is always female, even in the absence of a female ovary. A female without ovaries will, of course, be infertile and will not experience any of the female developmental changes normally associated with puberty. Such a female will often have Turner syndrome.

If X-containing and Y-containing sperm are produced in equal numbers, then according to simple chance one would expect the sex ratio at conception (fertilization) to be half boys and half girls, or 1 : 1. Direct observation of sex ratios among newly fertilized human eggs is not yet feasible, and sex-ratio data are usually collected at the time of birth. In almost all human populations of newborns, there is a slight excess of males; about 106 boys are born for every100 girls. Throughout life, however, there is a slightly greater mortality of males; this slowly alters the sex ratio until, beyond the age of about 50 years, there is an excess of females. Studies indicate that male embryos suffer a relatively greater degree of prenatal mortality, so the sex ratio at conception might be expected to favour males even more than the 106 : 100 ratio observed at birth would suggest. Firm explanations for the apparent excess of male conceptions have not been established; it is possible that Y-containing sperm survive better within the female reproductive tract, or they may be a little more successful in reaching the egg in order to fertilize it. In any case, the sex differences are small, the statistical expectation for a boy (or girl) at any single birth still being close to one out of two.

During gestationthe period of nine months between fertilization and the birth of the infanta remarkable series of developmental changes occur. Through the process of mitosis, the total number of cells changes from 1 (the fertilized egg) to about 2 1011. In addition, these cells differentiate into hundreds of different types with specific functions (liver cells, nerve cells, muscle cells, etc.). A multitude of regulatory processes, both genetically and environmentally controlled, accomplish this differentiation. Elucidation of the exquisite timing of these processes remains one of the great challenges of human biology.

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human genetics | Description, Chromosomes, & Inheritance ...

Human Genetics | Pitt Public Health | University of Pittsburgh

Human genetics is the study of how genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors, as well as their interactions, influence human traits, health, and disease. Public health genetics applies advances in human genetics and genomics to improve public health and prevent disease in diverse populations. Genetic counselors work as members of a health care team, providing information and support to patients with genetic disorders and those at risk for inherited conditions.

The Department of Human Genetics is dedicated to graduate training in human genetics research (including molecular, statistical, and bioinformatics research), public health genetics, and genetic counseling.

The mission of the department is to

Human genetics research has helped answer fundamental questions about human nature and led to the development of effective treatments for many diseases that greatly impact human health. Faculty in the Department of Human Genetics have developed and used genetic methods to investigate the causes and treatment of hereditary and acquired human illness and to understand and explore the impact of genetics on public health, education, and disease prevention.

Pitt Public Health human genetics faculty and students currently are involved in varied research projects, including...

Graduates of Pitt Public Healths human genetics program typically go on to positions in academia or in industry and usually are employed by their graduation dates. Alumni currently are working in academic, government, health care, and commercial sectors, including...

The Department of Human Genetics offers four masters level programs, and two doctoral programs:

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Human Genetics | Pitt Public Health | University of Pittsburgh

Amgen To Present At The Cowen 40th Annual Healthcare Conference – BioSpace

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Feb. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) will present at theCowen 40th Annual Healthcare Conference at11:20a.m.ET onMonday,March2,2020 in Boston. Peter H. Griffith, executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Murdo Gordon, executive vice president of Global Commercial Operations at Amgen will present.Live audio of the presentation can be accessed from the Events Calendar on Amgen's website,www.amgen.com, under Investors.A replay of the webcast will also be available on Amgen's website forat least90 days following the event.

About AmgenAmgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.

Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to beone ofthe world'sleadingindependent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.

For more information, visitwww.amgen.comand follow us onwww.twitter.com/amgen.

CONTACT: Amgen, Thousand OaksMegan Fox, 805-447-1423 (media)Trish Hawkins, 805-447-5631(media)Arvind Sood, 805-447-1060 (investors)

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Amgen To Present At The Cowen 40th Annual Healthcare Conference - BioSpace


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