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Tracking Transmission of Distinct SARS‑COV‑2 Variants From China and Europe to West Africa

Danielle

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At the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, fears emerged that it would overwhelm the weak health systems in many African countries. However, it turned out that Europe and America had much higher incidences and fatality rates compared to Africa. Reasons for this may lie in the relatively young populations, previous viral infections and the warm climate. Nevertheless, SARS-CoV-2 affected all African countries and thus initiatives for a global distribution of vaccines were initiated. The genomes of viral isolates are continuously sequenced in most countries. The DNA sequences can be subjected to phylogenetic analysis to identify the origins of viral variants and to monitor the development and distribution of new variants which may be milder or in the worst case more deadly. Researchers from Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf have now unveiled distinct patterns of SARS-CoV-2 variants in a phylogenetic analysis of viral sequences from the West African countries—Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. Prof. Dr. James Adjaye is the senior author of the study, published in Scientific Reports. Bioinformatician Wasco Wruck is the first author of the paper.

Original Post: medicalxpress.com

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Spain, EU Propose to Keep Gibraltar Land Border Open, Spain Says

Danielle

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Spain and the European Commision have sent Britain a proposal to keep the Gibraltar land border open as part of a definitive solution settling the post-Brexit status of the enclave, the Spanish foreign ministry said today.

Spain, Britain and the European Union agreed on Dec. 31, 2020, hours before Britain’s full exit from the bloc, that Gibraltar would remain part of EU agreements such as the Schengen Area and Spain would police the port and the airport, pending a definitive solution. Spain’s Foreign Affairs minister Jose Manuel Albares told Spanish local and regional authorities near Gibraltar today both Spain and the European Commission had sent Britain “a proposal to make the area a zone of shared prosperity”.

The British ambassador in Madrid Hugh Elliott said on Thursday in an interview on Gibraltar TV GBC he was confident a deal can be reached this year.

The Spanish-EU proposal includes removing the fence to ensure free flow of people between Spain and the enclave, the Spanish ministry said in a statement.

“This requires Spain to take control, on behalf of the Schengen area, of Gibraltar’s external borders and, to this end, to be able to exercise certain functions and powers necessary to protect the integrity and security of the Schengen area,” it added.

About 15,000 people commute daily from Spain to Gibraltar, which has a population of about 32,000.

Spain has agreed to put aside the issue of its sovereignty claim over Gibraltar to focus on the opportunity to keep the border open, the Foreign Minister said.

Original Source: majorcadailybulletin.com

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SARS-CoV-2 Detection in 30 Minutes Using Gene Scissors

Danielle

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CRISPR-Cas is versatile: Besides the controversial genetically modified organisms (GMOs), created through gene editing, various new scientific studies use different orthologues of the effector protein Cas to detect nucleic acids such as DNA or RNA.

Original Article: medicalxpress.com

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Unusual Type of Antibody Shows Ultrapotent Activity Against Zika

Danielle

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An unusual type of antibody that even at miniscule levels neutralizes the Zika virus and renders the virus infection undetectable in preclinical models has been identified by a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine, New York-Presbyterian and National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigators.

Source Here: medicalxpress.com

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