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Scientific Research News | Research Progress of novel coronavirus Pneumonia (COVID-19) (VII)

1· 2019-nCoV Epidemic Alert

At 2 p.m. on February 4, the Information Office of the People's Government of Guangdong Province held a press conference to report the latest situation of the pneumonia epidemic caused by the new coronavirus in the province. According to reports, Guangdong selected 5 outstanding public health emergency response experts from the Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention to bring mobile P7 laboratories to assist Wuhan and enrich local disease control forces. Also today, the National Emergency Medical Rescue Team of the Second People's Hospital of Guangdong Province also sent 3 members, three emergency rescue vehicles and four rescue materials delivery vehicles to Wuhan. So far, 57 outstanding medical staff and epidemic prevention personnel from Guangdong have come to Wuhan to provide assistance.

News on February 2, the China Meteorological Administration and the National Health Commission further improved the linkage mechanism, and continuously strengthened the national emergency early warning information release system (referred to as the early warning release system) to release the prevention and control information of the pneumonia epidemic infected by the new coronavirus. The early warning issuance system is one of the important infrastructures of the national emergency response system and an important support for the emergency management of governments at all levels. The system is supported by governments at all levels and undertaken by the China Meteorological Administration for construction, operation and maintenance, and has realized the function of releasing early warning information at the national, provincial, prefectural and county levels, and has established a shared and shared release channel with 4 departments such as emergency management and health, and has the ability to release through mobile phone SMS, Weibo, WeChat, Internet media App, telephone, fax, website, as well as rural loudspeakers, display screens, meteorological information officers and other multi-channel, one-click release capabilities, and the public coverage rate reaches 16.87%, especially in rural areas." The last mile" has unique advantages in disseminating information.

On January 1, the top medical journal New England Medicine published a paper online describing the first asymptomatic case of the new coronavirus infection abroad, which attracted widespread attention. But just a few days later, an online report in Science questioned the paper's findings. The report pointed out that the paper may be flawed, and asymptomatic transmission may indeed exist, but the evidence on which the paper is based has certain flaws. It is pointed out that the authors of the original paper did not communicate directly with the female patient from Shanghai, China, and that their knowledge of the woman's condition came from the descriptions of the other four patients. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's public health agency, and the Bavarian Food Safety Authority spoke by phone to a patient in Shanghai, China, who said she did develop symptoms while in Germany. In addition, according to insiders, the patient felt tired, had muscle pain during his stay in Germany, and took paracetamol, a drug to relieve fever. Despite the paper's possible errors, Anthony Fuch, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes that the possibility of asymptomatic transmission cannot be ruled out. Mr. Fodge said he spoke with an infectious disease scholar and health officials in China who was convinced that asymptomatic infections existed and that some asymptomatic people were spreading the virus. The National Health Commission also clarified this point in the epidemiological characteristics in the newly released "Diagnosis and Treatment Plan for Pneumonia Infected by the Novel Coronavirus (Trial Fifth Edition)". As Academician Zhong Nanshan said: "As long as there is a positive nucleic acid test, even if he has no symptoms, it is the so-called 'virus carrier', you must pay more attention, must be isolated, and do a good job of self-isolation." ”

On February 2020, 2, Regeneron announced an expanded collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop therapeutic antibody drugs against the Wuhan novel coronavirus 3-nCoV. Regeneron, Merck, Gilead, etc. are the main forces in the research and development of Ebola virus drugs, Regeneron develops antibody cocktail therapy REGN-EB2019 (3 antibodies), Merck develops live attenuated vaccine V3, and Gilead develops small molecule antiviral drug remdesivir. For the development of treatments for Ebola coronavirus, remdesivir is not ideal. However, as a broad-spectrum antiviral drug, remdesivir can eliminate the process of early development and go directly to the clinic. Regenon first completes the screening of candidate antibodies. In short, both approaches are worth looking forward to, but it should also be noted that whether remdesivir has a specific effect in the treatment of 920-nCoV cannot be expected too much, and the therapeutic antibody of regeneron still needs time and in vitro verification.

2. 2019-nCoV Biology Research Progress

The research team from Fudan University and other institutions published a paper in the biology preprint journal bioRxiv said that the team successfully identified the experimental complex structure as the lowest energy receptor-binding conformation by using the Monte Carlo algorithm to sample a large number of thermodynamically possible binding conformations, so as to establish an experiment-based intensity reference for evaluating the binding affinity of 2019-nCoV to the receptor by comparing it with SARS-CoV. The results showed that this binding affinity was approximately 73% of SARS-CoV, suggesting that 2019-nCoV may lead to human transmission similar to SARS-CoV. This study proposes a rapid assessment of the human transmissibility of emerging CoV and its mutant strains, and elucidates post-genomic analysis of protein-protein interactions, which could provide early scientific guidance for virus prevention and control[1].

3 2019-nCoV epidemiological statistics

2020 Feb 2

According to a paper published in the medical preprint journal medRxiv, a research team from Sun Yat-sen University and other institutions said that the team studied the impact of Wuhan's population exodus on the spread of the novel coronavirus in other provinces and cities in China in 2019, as well as the impact of city closures on Wuhan. The research team observed a significant positive correlation between population movement and the number of cases. Further analysis found that 1420 cases (95% CI: 1059, 1833) could have been prevented if urban closures were implemented two days in advance, and 1462 cases (95% CI: 1090, 1886) were increased if urban closures were implemented two days late, and the findings suggest that population movements may be an important trigger for the spread of 2019-nCoV infection in China, and that urban closures are effective in preventing the epidemic [2].


[1] Huang Q, Herrmann A. Fast assessment of human receptor-binding capability of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). bioRxiv 2020:2020.02.01.930537.
[2] Ai S, Zhu G, Tian F, et al. Population movement, city closure and spatial transmission of the 2019-nCoV infection in China. medRxiv 2020:2020.02.04.20020339.


Feed | Pingshan Biomedical R&D and Transformation Center, Scientific Research Department

Editor | Bao la