top of page
アンカー 1

Vol.51  「Scientist have developed a self-sterilising plastic that kills viruses like SARS-CoV-2 」

Last Updated 14 October 2022. Cellspect Co., Ltd.

Scientists have recently developed a plastic film that can kill viruses. The film is thin, flexible, and strong, while making it harder for viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, to spread in hospitals and nursing centers.

 

In this study, published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, by a research team from Queen's University Belfast, they developed a plastic film that can be made into protective gear such as aprons, etc. and release chemicals that destroy viruses by photoreacting.

 

The research team's initial idea was to make a flexible material that can fight against viruses. At present, metallic copper has been shown to kill microorganisms on contact, but it is metal and has poor ductility, so its application is very limited. In this study, the researchers used plastic films containing titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2). They react with UV light, releasing molecules called reactive oxygen species. They react with the genetic material of the virus, the proteins that invade cells, and the fat globules that hold them together. Eventually the virus dies and becomes ineffective.

 

Research data suggests this film can kill millions of various viruses, even tough species that linger on clothes and surfaces. The Covid virus is known to survive on certain surfaces for up to 72 hours, but there are many more stubborn species, such as norovirus, which can survive outside the body for two weeks. The material was tested in the lab against four viruses — two influenza, Covid and one picornavirus, which have properties that make them highly stable in vitro. And this plastic can reduce a million viruses to zero in an hour, which is far more than the number of viruses needed to start an infection.

 

The biggest disadvantage of this film is the need for a UV activation step. The research team said that it will continue to find other visible light-absorbing, photoreacting, low-cost alternatives, so this shortcoming will be easily overcome. The material still needs proper trials in the real world to determine how much impact self-sterilizing protective gear can have. If widely used, the film could replace many single-use plastic films used in the healthcare industry because of the added value of self-sterilizing at no additional cost. Such as tablecloths and curtains in hospitals, and many food processing industries are very convenient.

 References:​​

  1. Ri Han et al., Aug 25, 2022 “Flexible, disposable photocatalytic plastic films for the destruction of viruses” J Photochem Photobiol B .

  2. James Gallagher, Sep 10, 2022 “Self-sterilising plastic kills viruses like Covid” BBCNEWS

アンカー 2

Vol.52  「COVID-19 Increases Risk of Developing Alzheimer's Disease 」

Last Updated 28 October 2022. Cellspect Co., Ltd.

In a study recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers investigated whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection could trigger new-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) and found that older adults aged 65 and infected with COVID-19 may have a 50% to 80% higher risk of developing new-onset Alzheimer's disease within a year than controls.


It was unclear whether SARS-CoV-2 infection increases the risk of developing AD, although it has been suggested that COVID infection may be involved in the development of AD. For this study, researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from de-identified electronic health records of more than 6 million older adults who attended medical care for non-COVID-19 reasons between February 2020 and May 2021, and follow-up research is still in progress.

 

In their study, the COVID-19 group included 410,478 people with a mean age of 73.7 years (53.6% women), the majority (75.3%) of whom were white. Comorbidities included hypertension (59.4%), overweight and obesity (23%), and type 2 diabetes (30.4%). After matching, the COVID-19 group had a significantly higher risk of Alzheimer's disease (hazard ratio, HR = 1.69, 95% CI 1.53 – 1.72). When stratified by age, this risk was elevated in all groups, although the highest risk occurred in those 85 years and older (HR = 1.89, 95% CI 1.73 – 2.07). The increased risk was similar for black and white races (HR = 1.62 and 1.61 for black and white races, respectively).

 

This study shows that AD patients are at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the long-term neurological sequelae of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which in part represent the inflammation-related changes that are seen in AD critical in neuropathophysiology, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 infection is thought to have a bidirectional relationship with AD.

 

The researchers noted that it is uncertain whether COVID-19 triggers new development of AD or accelerates its emergence. They just concluded that confirmation from other data resources, longer-term follow-up, understanding underlying mechanisms, and investigating other types of dementia is warranted. COVID may bring ongoing medical hardship, and Alzheimer's disease already has caused a very large care burden and cost burden. If this is another burden that's increased by COVID, this is something we're really going to have to prepare for.

 References:​​

  1. Lindsey Wang et al., Jul 29, 2022 “Association of COVID-19 with New-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

  2. Deidre McPhillips, Sep 19, 2022 “New Alzheimer’s diagnoses more common among seniors who have had Covid-19, study finds” CNNNEWS

  3. Pooja Toshniwal Paharia, Sep 19, 2022 “COVID-19 increases risk of developing Alzheimer's by 50-80% in older adults” News Medical Life Sciences

  4. Rod Tucker, Sep 28, 2022 “Alzheimer’s disease risk increased among patients with COVID-19” Hospital Healthcare Europe

アンカー 3

Vol.53  「A Green Revolution under the COVID-19 Pandemic: FDA Grants First EUA for Plant-Based Face Mask」

Last Updated 11 November 2022. Cellspect Co., Ltd.

During these three years, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in the volume of medical waste worldwide, and has also created an urgent need to develop reusable or non-plastic alternatives to current personal protective equipment. In addition to the significant increase in the use of single-use PPE and test kits, the amount of plastic waste sent to landfills has also reached new heights. A 2021 study estimates that 3.4 billion single-use masks and shields are thrown away every day around the world.

 

In order to solve the problem of carbon emissions from waste disposal, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has paid more and more attention to the issue of product sustainability in recent years. Canadian biotechnology company PADM Medical is a global leader in the design and development of sustainable medical consumables and environmentally sustainable medical products. They recently announced that their plant-based decomposable mask "PRECISION ECO™" was granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA, becoming the world's first medical-grade decomposable mask to receive EUA.

 

The mask is made from renewable plant material (ECOFUSE™) produced by Roswell Textiles. It can be directly decomposed by the environment and can also be used as compost, and therefore it can reduce carbon emissions by 55% compared with traditional petroleum-based plastic masks, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of consumers. These plant-based products look like the simple surgical masks that have been popular throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and have passed the same international standards for breathability, filtration, splash resistance and flammability. In addition, the bio-based content of the mask is 82%, which is also certified by the USDA as a bio-based product.

 

Martin Petrak, CEO of PADM Group, said that obtaining EUA for this product is an important milestone, in addition to showing the great potential of this mask, it also supports everyone's commitment to developing and producing ecologically conscious products.

 

Sustainability appears to be one of the FDA's top concerns in recent months. In April of this year, SHOWA Group's biodegradable nitrile rubber medical gloves M7005PF also just obtained a complete 510(k) medical material license. According to laboratory test data, the gloves can be decomposed by 82% in only 386 days. Compared with the 10 years that the general nitrile gloves take to decompose, this glove can be completely decomposed in only 1 to 5 years. We believe that there will be more and more similar products coming out. After all, the green revolution is not a one-time thing, and it is even more important to minimize the environmental impact of our products under the pandemic and continue to innovate for a greener and more sustainable world.

 References:​​

  1. Oct 13, 2022 “World's first plant-based medical grade face mask authorized under EUA by U.S. FDA” PADM Medical.

  2. Andrea Park, Oct 14, 2022 “A green revolution: FDA hands down emergency OK to plant-based surgical face mask” FIERCE Biotech

アンカー 4

Vol.54  「Japanese study: mouthwash containing low concentration of CPC can suppress SARS-CoV-2 」

Last Updated 25 November 2022. Cellspect Co., Ltd.

Recently, a research team from Hokkaido University in Japan pointed out that some components in mouthwash, cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), have antiviral effects on the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) at low concentrations. The research results were published in Scientific Reports in August this year.

 

COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus is an airborne disease that can be transmitted through aerosols. In addition to replicating and spreading in respiratory cells, it has also been found to infect cells in the lining of the mouth and salivary glands. These virus-carrying aerosols are dispersed from the mouth and nose.

 

Commercially available mouthwashes contain a variety of antibiotic and antiviral ingredients that fight microbes in the mouth. One of the common components, CPC, is a quaternary ammonium compound that has previously been shown to disrupt the viral lipid membrane. While there are other chemicals with similar effects, CPC is tasteless, odorless and suitable for oral care.

 

The team of Prof. Hida in Hokkaido University further studied the antiviral effect of CPC on the novel coronavirus at low concentrations. The study found that a low concentration of CPC of 30~50pg/mL significantly inhibited the infectivity of the novel coronavirus and the ability to enter cells within 10 minutes of application, and its effect covered the original Wuhan strain, and Alpha, Beta and Gamma mutants., showed that the role of CPC was similar in all virus variants.

 

Interestingly, the study found that commercially available mouthwashes containing CPC were more effective than CPC solution alone at the same concentration. The research team also confirmed that saliva does not alter the antiviral effect of CPC.

 

However, through sucrose density analysis and transmission electron microscopy analysis, the study found that low concentrations of CPC did not destroy the viral lipid membrane. The researchers proposed that the antiviral effect may be achieved through the denaturation of the novel coronavirus protein. This study shows that low concentrations of CPC in commercial mouthwashes can inhibit the infectivity of four novel coronavirus strains, which can avoid the risk of possible cytotoxicity of high concentrations of CPC.

 

The researchers said that clinical studies are currently underway to evaluate the effect of CPC-containing mouthwash on the viral load in the saliva of patients with COVID-19. Since lower concentrations of CPC do not destroy viral lipid stocks, future research work will further explore the mechanism of CPC's antiviral activity.

 References:​​

  1. Ryo Takeda, et al., Aug 18, 2022 “Antiviral effect of cetylpyridinium chloride in mouthwash on SARS-CoV-2” Scientific Reports.

  2. Oct 6, 2022 “Mouthwashes may suppress SARS-CoV-2” Research Press Release from Hokkaido Univ.

  3. Emily Henderson, Oct 6, 2022 “Mouthwashes inhibit the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 variants” News Medical LifeScience

アンカー 5

Vol.55  「Scientists discovered a drug that treats both cancer and COVID-19 」

Last Updated 9 December 2022. Cellspect Co., Ltd.

In a study published in Nature Communications on November 14, a research team from the University of California (USC) discovered a drug (HA15) that inhibits the glucose-regulating protein GRP78. HA15 has promising preclinical results against treatment-resistant cancers, and is also effective in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 replication in mouse lungs and reducing the expression of the oncoprotein KRAS in a mouse model of lethal cancer.

 

The lead researcher Dr. Lee believes that cancers and COVID act in similar ways in cells. When a cell is under stress -- such as exposure to toxins, extreme temperatures, physical damage or viral infection -- it needs more GRP78 to function properly. The transition from healthy to cancerous cells is also a form of cellular stress. Cancer cells exploit enhanced GRP78 expression for growth and survival.

 

Dr. Lee has been studying the role of GRP78 in cancer for long time. In fact, she was the first person to clone human GRP78. Besides cancer, in 2021 they demonstrated that the novel coronavirus does indeed hijack GRP78 to infiltrate cells and multiply. But it was unclear at the time whether GRP78 was actually critical for the replication of the new coronavirus.

 

In this study, they infected human lung cells with SARS-CoV-2 and found that GRP78 protein levels increased as the infection progressed. Cells without GRP78 had less of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and lower yields of infectious virus, suggesting that the protein is critical for their replication. At the same time, they added HA15, a small molecule inhibitor of GRP78, to SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, making it unable to regulate protein assembly. The drug reduced the size and number of SARS-CoV-2 plaques that formed, and the reduction was greater with increasing doses. Finally, the scientists turned to live-action models. They injected mice infected with SARS-CoV-2 for three days starting from the day of infection. At the end of this period, the viral load in their lungs was ten times lower than that of the control group.

 

Dr. Lee believes that combining HA15 with anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapy could further suppress SARS-CoV-2 infection, because GRP78 inhibition can deprive the necessary chaperones for viral entry and viral protein production. While the mechanism by which GRP78 promotes viral replication is simple, exactly how it regulates KRAS is far less so. Lee's other research on HA15 suggests that it also holds promise for treating KRAS-mutated cancers, a disease once considered an " untreatable " disease.

 

Lee's group is now elucidating the many different roles of GRP78 in different parts of cancer cells. As for COVID-19, they are figuring out whether the lower lung disease burden seen in mice treated with HA15 translates into higher survival rates. They already have some indications that this may be the case -- for example, infected mice that received the drug did not lose weight, suggesting that it protects them from severe disease -- but further research is needed. They also plan to study how GRP78 might play a role in long-term COVID, a syndrome characterized by severe fatigue, heart problems, breathing problems and more that has been shown to develop in some patients after infection with SARS-CoV-2. become the next important research field. The research results of HA15 in the future will be very exciting.

 References:​​

  1. Woo-Jin Shin, Dat P. Ha, Keigo Machida & Amy S. Lee, Nov 14, 2022 “The stress-inducible ER chaperone GRP78/BiP is upregulated during SARS-CoV-2 infection and acts as a pro-viral protein” Nature Communications

  2. Helen Floersh, Nov 17, 2022 “2 diseases, one drug: How a drug for deadly cancer could treat COVID-19” Fierce Biotech.

アンカー 6

Vol.56  「Nearly 40 million children vulnerable to measles due to COVID-19」

Last Updated 23 December 2022. Cellspect Co., Ltd.

The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a joint report released in late November that the Covid-19 pandemic caused 25 million children to miss their first dose of the measles vaccine last year and another 14.7 million missed their second dose, which equates to nearly 40 million children worldwide at risk of contracting measles. This is due to impacts such as the COVID-19 pandemic that have collapsed the healthcare system, leading to reduced access to vaccinations and the cancellation of annual vaccination campaigns. For example, at least 19 measles vaccination campaigns scheduled to be implemented globally in April 2022 have been postponed.

 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, " The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine vaccination programs were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles. "

 

Declines in measles vaccine coverage, weakened measles case surveillance, and continued interruptions and delays in immunization due to COVID-19 make measles an urgent threat in every region of the world, the report states. The situation is pretty dire at the moment, as measles is one of the most contagious human viruses, even though the disease is almost entirely preventable through vaccination.

 

Coverage with two doses of the vaccine needs to be above 95% to generate herd immunity to protect communities. However, global coverage is at its lowest level since 2008. Currently, only 81 percent of children have received their first dose of measles vaccine and 71 percent have received their second dose.

 

Measles is a threat anywhere because the virus can spread rapidly within communities and across borders. As record numbers of underimmunized and measles-prone children expose weaknesses in immunization programs, public health officials can use the outbreak response to identify at-risk communities, understand the causes of undervaccination, and help develop locally appropriate solutions to ensure access to vaccinations for all.

 

The report urges public health officials to speed up and intensify the deployment of vaccinations now. Coordinated action by all partners at global, regional, national and local levels is now required to prioritize finding and vaccinating all unprotected children. In addition, investments in robust surveillance systems are needed to mitigate the risk of outbreaks.
 

More than two years have passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and international travel is gradually resuming. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is not completely over, and the war in Ukraine has also made it difficult for countries around the world to fully implement public health services such as vaccination. Although the number of measles cases in Japan has remained below 10 per year since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, as the number of measles cases in the world has increased, so has the possibility that the measles virus has been introduced into Japan from overseas. Efforts to maintain and improve measles-free status, such as maintaining and increasing vaccination rates and establishing and sustaining systems for early detection and early treatment of measles cases through surveillance based on accurate laboratory diagnosis, will therefore be important.

 References:​​

  1. Nov 23, 2022 “Nearly 40 million children susceptible to measles due to COVID-19 disruptions” UN News

  2. May, 2022 “Global Measles and Rubella Monthly Update” WHO

  3. Sep, 2022 “新型コロナウイルス感染症流行下における世界の麻疹発生状況” 国立感染症研究所 IASR Vol. 43 p209-210: 2022年9月号

Vol.57  「Nature’s 10: Ten people who helped shape science in 2022」

アンカー 7

Last Updated 13 January 2023. Cellspect Co., Ltd.

Every year, Nature’s editors select 10 people who make amazing discoveries and brought attention to crucial issues. This year, the achievements of several people are still related to the Covid-19. Let's see who are they and what they have done.

1. Jane Rigby: Sky hunter

Astronomer Jane Rigby at NASA played a pivotal part in launching the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). JWST has since not only delivered spectacular photos of planets, galaxies, nebulae and distant stars, but also detected elusive dark matter, black holes and atmospheres on planets that could make them habitable, providing vast new capabilities for studying the Universe.

 

2. Yunlong Cao: COVID predictor

Genomics researcher Yunlong Cao at Peking University has helped track the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. His team was able to use the screening data to predict many of the mutations that eventually emerged in COVID variants and they could then assess the ability of these variants to become immune, shortly after they had been identified.

 

3. Saleemul Huq: Climate revolutionary

Saleemul Huq is the director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh. He helped persuaded rich countries to pay for climate change damage during international negotiations. He is now leading climate negotiations internationally and advises climate-vulnerable countries to draw attention to their needs.

 

4. Svitlana Krakovska: Voice for Ukraine

Svitlana Krakovska is the head of Ukraine’s delegation to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She has forcefully represented her country on the international stage and linked Russia's invasion of her country to climate change, as it highlights humanity's dependence on fossil fuels.

 

5. Dimie Ogoina: Monkeypox watchman

Dimie Ogoina, an infectious-disease physician at Niger Delta University provided the first and key information about monkeypox outbreak. The current outbreak of monkeypox may be waning globally, but the disease is still prevalent in Nigeria. This is because drugs and other resources have not been distributed as widely in West and Central Africa as in wealthier countries.

6. Lisa McCorkell: Long-COVID advocate

Lisa McCorkell is an expert in public health and policy, but also suffers from long-COVID. She has helped raise awareness and research funding for the condition as a founding member of the Patient-Led Research Collaborative. The group conduct studies into the disease that they use to advocate for policies 'that enable patients to access care and live with dignity'.

7. Diana Greene Foster: Abortion fact-finder

Diana Greene Foster is a demographer at the University of California who evaluates the effectiveness of family planning policies. She provided crucial data about the expected impact of the decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn the nation’s legal ruling about access to abortion.

8. António Guterres: Crisis diplomat

António Guterres is the current secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) and has offered powerful words regarding the climate crisis throughout this year. He advocates for nations to confront crises such as the invasion of Ukraine and climate change. He also helped set up a corridor for grain shipments from Ukraine when Russian hostilities started blocking routes, preventing a global food crisis.

9. Muhammad Mohiuddin: Transplant trailblazer

Surgeon Muhammad Mohiuddin at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore made history by leading his team of surgeons completing transplantation of the first genetically modified pig heart into a human.

10. Alondra Nelson: Policy principal

Alondra Nelson is a policy adviser at the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and helped President Joe Biden’s administration to develop key pieces of its science agenda, including its scientific-integrity policy and new guidance on open science. She worked on the AI Bill of Rights, which details which human rights should be protected when building and deploying artificial intelligence technologies, including privacy and racial and social equity.

 References:​​

  1. Ewen Callaway et al., Dec 14, 2022, “Nature’s 10 Ten people who helped shape science in 2022” Nature

  2. Dec 15, 2022, “Nature’s 10 Ten people who helped shape science in 2022” Nature Asia

Regarding the information on this website (disclaimer):

The information on this website represents the best information currently available to us and is given in good faith but without warranty. We are not responsible for any loss caused by using this website. Please note that we may make changes to the information posted on this website without notice. In addition, the operation of the website may be suspended or stopped. 

bottom of page