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US researchers have found how antibodies produced in people who effectively fight off SARS-CoV-2 work to neutralize the part of the virus responsible for causing Covid infection. The team from the University of Texas at Austin analyzed blood plasma samples from four people who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infections. They found that most of the antibodies circulating in the blood — on average, about 84 percent — target areas of the viral spike protein outside the receptor-binding domain (RBD) — the most obvious part of the coronavirus’s spike protein.
Because the RBD is the part of the spike that attaches directly to human cells and enables the virus to infect them, it was previously assumed to be a primary target of the immune system.
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“We found these antibodies are painting the entire spike, both the arc and the stalk of the spike protein, which looks a bit like an umbrella,” said Greg Ippolito, Associate Professor in UT’s Department of Molecular Biosciences. “The immune system sees the entire spike and tries to neutralize it,” Ippolito added.
About 40 percent of the circulating antibodies target the stalk of the spike protein, called the S2 subunit, which is also a part that the virus does not seem able to change easily, the researchers explained in the paper published in the journal Science.
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“That’s an advantage our immune system has. It also means our current vaccines are eliciting antibodies targeting that S2 subunit, which are likely providing another layer of protection against the virus,” Ippolito said.
The finding will also help design vaccine boosters or next-generation vaccines against variants of concern, and even for developing a vaccine that can protect against future pandemics from other strains of the Coronavirus. “It means we have a strong rationale for developing next-generation SARS-CoV-2 vaccines or even a pan-Coronavirus vaccine that targets every strain,” Ippolito said. (IANS/SP)
A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."
Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.
Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Rajasthan, December 9, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, film stars, celebrities, Bollywood, Katrina-Vicky)
The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)
Never-before-seen concerts by renowned performers such as the Berklee Indian Ensemble and Women of the World, a collection of inventive artists from throughout the world, are among the highlights of The Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) Bengaluru's 'Art is Life: SoundFrames', a three-day digital festival in collaboration with Berklee College of Music.
MAP, is one of India's leading private museums dedicated to making art and culture accessible to a wide range of people. Sound of the City, a sonic public engagement in which composers and producers create music influenced by the sounds of cities across India (Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Delhi), is another collaboration between the two institutions. Songwriting, music therapy, and vocals are just a few of the immersive programmes offered as part of the cooperation event between MAP and Berklee.
The festival will take place from December 3-5, 2021, and will also provide a variety of music-related educational and immersive programmes. | Photo by Simon Noh on Unsplash
The festival will take place from December 3-5, 2021, and will also provide a variety of music-related educational and immersive programmes, some of which are co-sponsored by the Indian Music Experience (IME) museum. Art is Life: SoundFrames celebrates music and its power to bring people together as part of MAP's aim to bring art to the heart of the community and develop bridges between varied art forms and audiences. Over 25 events inspired by music will be presented over the course of three days, including concerts, performances, panel discussions, film screenings, educational workshops, and exhibitions.
More than 65 artists from India and around the world will perform at the festival, including SubraMania's Ambi and Bindu Subramaniam, Grammy-winner Ricky Kej, musical talents from IndianRaga, young Hindustani maestro Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar, and the Durbari Qawwals of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah." Register for the online festival at www.artislife.events. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: art and culture, private museums, MAP, Life: SoundFrames, Music, India)