T-cells can play a crucial role in combating COVID-19

The only thing that is keeping researchers across the globe on their toes is the present pandemic situation. The scientists are working hard to find out a potential solution that can help fight the menace. Looking at this, they are exploring the known immune warriors in the human system, one of them is T- cell. Though known for fighting various viruses, the understanding of how T cells interact and fight against Sars-CoV2 is yet not clear. Recently, two studies suggest that patients infected with COVID harbor T-cells to target viruses that might have helped them in recovery. The study reveals that some of the people already have these cellular defense mechanisms mostly because they have a history of infection with any of the coronaviruses.

“This is encouraging data,” says virologist Angela Rasmussen of Columbia University. Although the studies don’t clarify whether people who clear a SARS-CoV-2 infection can ward off the virus in the future, both identified strong T cell responses to it, which “bodes well for the development of long-term protective immunity,” Rasmussen says. The findings of the research study can help scientists come up with a potential vaccine candidate.

“One reason that a large chunk of the population may be able to deal with the virus is that we may have some small residual immunity from our exposure to common cold viruses,” says viral immunologist Steven Varga of the University of Iowa.

Presently, most of the vaccine candidates are developed by targeting the other component of the immune system. For example, many biotech companies are coming up with antibodies based vaccines which are mainly made by B-cells when they interact with the virus. Whereas the T-cell based mechanism differs a little. There are two different mechanisms that define the working of T-cells. One way is where helper T-cells interact with other biological components like B-cells, interleukins, and more to put them into action against the virus. The second way is where killer T-cells directly recognize and target the virus to destroy them from the site. This is the reason that the severity of disease among different patients varies depending upon how strong their Tcell response is.

The scientist team used some bioinformatics tools to assess the interaction between the viral protein and Tcell. For this, they exposed immune cells of few patients to the viral spikes, who have recovered fro the COVID infection. The results showed that all patients harbored helper T cells that helped in the recognition of viral spike protein. This spike protein plays a crucial role while invading a cell. The team also identified killer T0cells in almost 70% of patients, as reported in the ‘Cell’. “The immune system sees this virus and mounts an effective immune response,” says the researcher.

“It is encouraging that we are seeing good helper T cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 cases,” says a researcher involved in the study.

The present study highlights the importance of looking at other potential immune mechanisms to target COVID-19. Moreover, understanding the detailed role of T-cell in the fight against the virus can have significant implications in the development of potential vaccine candidates. The study has come on time to help researchers find ways to implement it and develop a therapy that can help in turning down the pandemic.



Coronavirus can spread through sewage systems, say experts

While the phrase may start to sound cliche, it still rings true! These are truly unparalleled times. The past few weeks have been nothing short of an immense change for all of us, leading us to adapt and change our lives and businesses to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. 

With the lockdown being lifted in several countries, health officials all over the world are broadening the search for the people infected and focusing on slowing the spread. This includes finding all possible sources through which the virus can spread. When the response to the pandemic has been focused mostly on preventing community spread, Professor Quilliam and colleagues at the University of Stirling, recently released a paper warning that sewage system can play as a potential COVID-19 transmission risk and that it must not be neglected in this battle to protect human health. 

Can COVID-19 really survive in human feces or sewer systems?  POSSIBLY.

With years of studying the transport of bacteria in various marine environments, Professor Quilliam stated that “We know that COVID-19 is spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes, or via objects or materials that carry infection. However, it has recently been confirmed that the virus can also be found in human feces – up to 33 days after the patient has tested negative for the respiratory symptoms of COVID-19″. 

The authors explained that given the structure of COVID-19, specifically its lipid envelope covering, makes its behavior unpredictable in different aqueous situations. Though the information on COVID-19 environmental persistence is limited, from previous research it should be noted that other coronaviruses have known to survive in viable sewage for around 14 days. 

Should wastewater treatment plant operators take extra precautions? YES, BE SAFE!

The authors further added that there is a good possibility for the virus to aerosolize, particularly during the pumping and transfer of wastewater through different sewer systems. This could lead to atmospheric loading of the virus in the form of water droplets, giving it direct access to the respiratory tract of the people exposed. It must be acknowledged that people working at the sewage pumping stations or wastewater treatments are more at risk and need to be provided protective equipment. They must also be educated to seek medical care when showing any signs or symptoms. 

Areas with open sewage systems, especially in developing countries and places where safely managed sanitation systems are limited are high at risk. The authors further added that “Such settings are commonly accompanied by poorly resourced and fragile healthcare systems, thus amplifying both exposure risk and potential mortality,” 

Is this finding a possible breakthrough? MAYBE, MAYBE NOT.

The authors stated that “It is not yet known whether the virus can be transmitted via the fecal-oral route, however, we know that viral shedding from the digestive system can last longer than shedding from the respiratory tract. Therefore, this could be important – but as yet unquantified – a pathway for increased exposure.”

As the limited number of adequate testing in many places has made it difficult to keep pace with the quick-spreading virus, scientists believe that monitoring sewage for the virus will provide a cheap and reliable alternative. The experts further added that this removes the guesswork about when to impose local lockdowns — or when to lift them.

Though an interesting way to keep track of the virus, monitoring wastewater for the said virus is hardly an easy task. The approach poses many challenges, including deploying it on a large scale and winning the government’s approval. 

The authors concluded the paper by stating that In the immediate future, there needs to be an investment of resources to improve our understanding of the risks associated with the fecal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and whether this respiratory virus can be disseminated by enteric transmission.


Making a Career in Scientific Writing

Making a Career in Scientific Writing

Scientific writing nowadays a very lucrative career for many people across the wide variety of niches. This may include writing for newspapers, magazines, publications, press releases, broadcast media, blogs, newsletters, and the list goes on. It doesn’t matter which area you would like to explore to showcase your writing skill, the most important thing is to choose as per your strength. Most of the writers end up working in the above-listed venues, which often offer them a great path to learn new things about writing and exploring skills beyond the limit. One of the best ways to learn about scientific writing is to hear out the people in the field. Whether it is writers, editors or those who hire, knowing their experience can fuel yours.

To understand deeply what key steps can help the budding science writers, we queried many existing writers and editors in our team as well as in our connection. The major aim was to understand the basic challenges every writer faces at the initial stage when they are getting started. Moreover, other key considerations such as what kind of training is important, how much time a writer should spend learning, how to fetch the first assignments, and dealing with other stuff like accounting, taxes, etc., were discussed to gain better insights. In this article, we will try to highlight and share their vision and thoughts on some of these issues to help budding writers know how to go ahead.

To start off let’s understand how someone thinking of making a career in scientific writing should take a step ahead. For people with serious intention in becoming a writer, their efforts, talent and focus during the transition can be of great benefit. However, this is not the limit. The foremost important consideration when trying to be a writer is to showcase your skills to others. This will help you gain quality projects over a period. But is it so easy to gain projects just by showcasing the talent? Well, no. You need to work on other management skills such as networking. More the network better will be the exposure.

Many budding writers often ask if advanced scientific training will be boon or bane for them. The answer to this is both yes and no. The training may work if you are writing for a publishing house focused on too many technical details. However, it may be of no use if you are writing for a normal audience. Use of jargon and difficult to understand technical terms for common people may not be the right choice. So you need to decide upon the audience you will be majorly focused on. If you are considering making the transition as a freelance writer initially then you must learn some hacks. This often includes making an effective business contract with your client. This assures you receive the stipulated amount of work and payment on time.

Making a career in scientific writing is a very lucrative field but it doesn’t mean you can excel in it without any talent. Constant learning and acquiring new forms of writing are very important to meet the needs of the changing market. It helps you thrive better and fuel your career positively. At Sciwrite Global, we do hire talented scientific writers. If you have a knack to perform the best and bring value to the organization then feel free to connect.