Recent articles in Experimental Biology and Medicine highlight new advances in COVID-19 biology and treatment. In an effort to provide the scientific community with important information on COVID-19, at the rapid pace required to protect our global health care workers and bring useful therapies to end the pandemic, manuscripts are being handled at an accelerated rate.
To accomplish this our EBM Editor-in-Chief is handling all COVID-19 manuscripts to make sure they receive a thorough but accelerated review. The Publisher of EBM, SAGE, is making sure that accepted COVID-19 manuscripts are processed rapidly, immediately available via On-line First, and are open access. EBM will continue to inform the scientific community and the public of these published articles through press releases.
EBM has recently published three research articles and two mini-reviews related to COVID-19. One of the research articles includes an in-depth analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 whole genomes in Africa (Ngoi et al, in press). Another research article reports that dry heat cannot be used to decontaminate PPE (Perkins et al, in press). And a third article reports that N95 respirator performance can be compromised after decontamination (Grillet et al, in press).
We have also recently published important mini-reviews regarding protease-activated receptor 1 as a therapeutic target for treatment and post-translational modifications that allow the virus to circumvent the host immune system.
The Corresponding Authors of these articles had the following comments on the importance of their contribution. Dr. Gordon Awandare in the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens at the University of Ghana (Ghana) discussing his article ‘Genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 reveals local viral evolution in Ghana’ said, “This paper presents the most comprehensive genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in sub-Saharan Africa to date. It contains very interesting information about the circulating viral strains in Ghana and provides a vital reference framework for monitoring the evolution of the virus as the pandemic spreads in Africa.”
Dr. Grillet in Thermal/Fluid Component Sciences at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA) speaking of her article ‘COVID-19 global pandemic planning: Performance and electret charge of N95 respirators after recommended decontamination methods ‘ said, “This pandemic is forcing our medical professionals to make tough choices to conserve supplies of PPE. Our research shows some common decontamination methods can drastically reduce the effectiveness of N95 respirators by altering the electrostatic charge on the filtration layer, but that degradation would not be detectable with a user seal check. Our doctors and nurses need to be careful not to expose their respirators to alcohols or soaps.”
Dr. Bradfute in the Center for Global Health at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA), talking about the article entitled ‘COVID-19 global pandemic planning: Dry heat incubation and ambient temperature fail to consistently inactivate SARS-CoV-2 on N95 respirators ‘ said, “Simple and inexpensive methods for inactivation of SARS-CoV-2-contaminated N95 masks is an important part of providing safe and effective personal protective equipment to medical staff and family members who care for sick individuals. Our studies show that simple dry heat, using standard temperatures and incubation times, does not consistently inactivate live SARS-CoV-2 on N95 masks. Furthermore, we found that five days at room temperature was also not consistently effective. Importantly, we found that small variations in experimental conditions significantly affected the results, highlighting the need to test for virus inactivation using the exact parameters that one would in a real-life setting.”
Dr. Holzhausen in the Department of Dentistry at the University of Taubate in Taubate (Brazil), speaking of his article ‘Protease-activated receptor 1 as a potential therapeutic target for COVID-19, said, “Protease-activated receptor type 1 comprises a therapeutic potential for treating COVID-19 as it plays an essential role in the pathophysiology of the disease.”
Dr. Nyomba in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Manitoba in Manitoba (Canada) discussing his article entitled ‘Inter-proteomic posttranslational modifications of the SARSCoV-2 and the host proteins – A new frontier said, “Among the tricks SARS-CoV-2 uses to invade the organism, this virus solicits modifications of its spike and other component proteins by the host cells and then elicits changes to the structure of cellular proteins and enzymes. In this paper, we review these changes and how they allow the virus to defy the body’s defenses, multiply, spread throughout the body, and trigger a stormy release of cytokines as well as clotting events, thus enhancing COVID-19 severity, and increasing mortality. It remains to be seen if interventions to block these modifications of proteins between the virus and host cells could be used to treat COVID-19.”
Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine, said, “We have experienced the initiation of COVID-19 vaccinations, but global cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still on the rise. Mutated more virulent forms of SARS-CoV-2 have arisen. As long as the Pandemic continues, EBM will be fast-tracking original articles and minireviews that help the scientific and medical community better understand the virus, its interaction with the host cell, COVID-19 pathophysiology and how we can best protect and treat the global population, patients, and health care workers. We take our responsibility as providers of this valuable research information very seriously.”