Latest Research on COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)

As the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spreads globally, we keep tracking the latest scientific findings and knowledge on the coronavirus and disease (COVID-19). We update this article regularly by searching contents of relevant journals and websites.

Research advance| May 13

Infection of bat and human intestinal organoids by SARS-CoV-2 

Based on full-genome sequence analysis, SARS-CoV-2 shows high homology to SARS-related coronaviruses identified in horseshoe bats. Here researchers established the first expandable organoid culture system of bat intestinal epithelium and present evidence that SARS-CoV-2 can infect bat intestinal cells. The robust SARS-CoV-2 replication in human intestinal organoids suggests that the human intestinal tract might be a transmission route of SARS-CoV-2. Learn More

A total of 2,618,862 participants reported their potential symptoms of COVID-19 on a smartphone-based app. Among the 18,401 who had undergone a SARS-CoV-2 test, the proportion of participants who reported loss of smell and taste was higher in those with a positive test result (4,668 of 7,178 individuals; 65.03%) than in those with a negative test result (2,436 of 11,223 participants; 21.71%) (odds ratio=6.74; 95% confidence interval=6.317.21). A model combining symptoms to predict probable infection was applied to the data from all app users who reported symptoms (805,753) and predicted that 140,312 (17.42%) participants are likely to have COVID-19. Learn More

Research advance| May 09

Triple combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir, and ribavirin in the treatment of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19: an open-label, randomised, phase 2 trial

Effective antiviral therapy is important for tackling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Researchers assessed the efficacy and safety of combined interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir, and ribavirin for treating patients with COVID-19. This study suggested that early triple antiviral therapy was safe and superior to lopinavir–ritonavir alone in alleviating symptoms and shortening the duration of viral shedding and hospital stay in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Future clinical study of a double antiviral therapy with interferon beta-1b as a backbone is warranted. Learn More

Research advance| May 05

Structural Basis for PotentNeutralization of Betacoronaviruses by Single-Domain Camelid Antibodies

Coronaviruses make use of a large envelope protein called spike (S) to engage host cell receptors and catalyze membrane fusion. Because of the vital role that these S proteins play, they represent a vulnerable target for the development of therapeutics. Here, Researchers described the isolation of single-domain antibodies (VHHs) from a llama immunized with prefusion-stabilized coronavirus spikes. They also showed cross-reactivity between the SARS-CoV-1 S-directed VHH and SARS-CoV-2 S and demonstrate that this cross-reactive VHH neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 S pseudotyped viruses as a bivalent human IgG Fc-fusion.

These data provide a molecular basis for the neutralization of pathogenic betacoronaviruses by VHHs and suggest that these molecules may serve as useful therapeutics during coronavirus outbreaks. Learn More

Vaccines and targeted therapeutics for treatment of this disease are currently lacking. Researchers reported a human monoclonal antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 (and SARS-CoV) in cell culture. This cross-neutralizing antibody targets a communal epitope on these viruses and may offer potential for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Learn More