coronavirus medicine – The Eastern Link https://theeasternlink.com Connecting Regions of Asia. Tue, 07 Jul 2020 04:46:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://theeasternlink.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cropped-external-link-symbol-32x32.png coronavirus medicine – The Eastern Link https://theeasternlink.com 32 32 Bangladesh Scientist Claims Success In Trials https://theeasternlink.com/bangladesh-scientist-claims-success-in-trials/ https://theeasternlink.com/bangladesh-scientist-claims-success-in-trials/#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2020 04:00:00 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=5634

Globe Biotech Limited has claimed to be the first company from Bangladesh to have a Covid-19 vaccine under development.They  achieved positive results after conducting the preliminary trial on 5 rabbits from June 10 to June 28, said Dr Asif Mahmud, assistant manager and in-charge, Research and Development, Globe Biotech Limited  ‘Importing coronavirus vaccines from abroad will  […]

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Globe Biotech Limited has claimed to be the first company from Bangladesh to have a Covid-19 vaccine under development.
They  achieved positive results after conducting the preliminary trial on 5 rabbits from June 10 to June 28, said Dr Asif Mahmud, assistant manager and in-charge, Research and Development, Globe Biotech Limited  
‘Importing coronavirus vaccines from abroad will  be very expensive, whenever that happens. We can’t yet say what the exact price of our solution will be. But our target is to produce something affordable,’ said Harunur Rashid, Chairman of Globe Biotech Limited .
Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) spokesperson Auyub Hossain told Easternlink initiatives like this would  always be praised and supported by DGDA.
Meanwhile, Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy of Bangladesh Prof SM Abdur Rahman said developing a vaccine for a virus  with more than 5,000 reformations throughout the world, and 117  in the country, was a major achievement. “ I hope  this local company has  maintained standard procedureS and its work  would be scientifically accepted by the concerned authorities ,” Rahman added.

Exclusive Interview of Scientist Dr Asif Mahmud

EL -Globe Biotech is a research company in Bangladesh. Is it a branch of any other country of the world?
 Dr. Asif – No, in fact, Globe Biotech Limited is a Biological Drug Discovery Company that  has started operations in Bangladesh since 2015.The project was started by our CEO Kankon Nag and CEO Dr. Nazneen Sultana. We have been recruited here since 2016, and prepared 18 bio similar. We are also working on our own Nobel drug. After completing the animal trials of 6 bio similar, we have applied for Ethical Approval through our PRO at Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC), in the Capital. We have  THE ability and experience to invent a vaccine of this Pandemic. Under the supervision of our CEO and COO, after REPORTING  a Covid-19 affected patient in Bangladesh on March 8.We shifted our focus to Sars Cov 2 and started 3 new projects. Number one – we will do kit development, number two – we will do vaccine development for the country and the last one is the biological molecule development.
EL: The research IS DONE  by Globe Biotech independently? Or your research is under supervision of any other country/Authority  in the world?
 Dr. Asif- Globe Biotech is researching independently, under the supervision of our CEO Kakon Nag and COO Naznin Sultana. Both  supervised the team from Canada. They are experienced in this matter. Dr. Kakon was directly involved in the HIV vaccine project.  That experience he is transmitting here. We are conducting research under their direct supervision. A 12-member scientific group started the research on March 18 led by CEO and COO. Both of them supervised the team from Canada.
Regarding genome sequencing, we have referred some 76 genome sequences under their consideration, where we have found that a sequence (numbered 614) has a mutation point that they have used for amino acid bonding.
EL – Which method you followed for the research you are doing from Biotech? And how do you make sure it will work to protect PEOPLE  from the pandemic Covid-19 ?
 Dr Asif – We went for the SPR method for the tests. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is a phenomenon where the electrons in the metal surface layer are excited by photons of incident light with a certain angle of incidence, and then propagate parallel to the metal surface. It is an optical technique utilized for detecting molecular interactions. Actually, we have set a vaccine target. We have analyzed the sequences from all the databases we have worldwide, including the sequences in Bangladesh. We set the target by our analysis. We have modified that target according to our needs. We have set multiple targets.
We have placed multiple delivery systems in consideration.
By applying the delivery system we have done an animal trial on Rabbit.
By this we have got a very good antibody titer. And those antibodies have shown strong binding affinity with our antigen. We have a total of additional candidates, some of which we have presented to the press. But The Company is yet to apply for a patent or any publications, and before the patent is ensured it would not disclose the data received from the trial. We have said that we need to convert the data of the preliminary animal trial into a regulated animal trial. That we will do within next 6 to 8 weeks. Then we will apply for Ethical Approval.
 EL – This 6 to 8 weeks period, to get proof of animal trial? Or to launch a  trial on the human body?
Dr. Asif- No, we have already got proof of antibody generation in the preliminary animal trial. Now it needs to be converted to a regulated animal trial. Because, for human trial we have to submit it to the regulatory body for ethical approval. Regulated trials will require some further characterization. Then we will apply for human trials.
EL  – Did you report  your findings to the drug administration of the country?
Dr Asif- Not yet. There is no role of regulatory body now. When we do a regulated animal trial, of course we go to the regulatory body.
EL – What are your expectations? When will the vaccine be released?
Dr. Asif- We have already formulated the regulated animal trial guideline and the tests would be concluded within four to six weeks. After which the company will seek ethical approvals from the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) in early September,when the data from the Regulated Animal Trial reaches us within 6 to 7 weeks.
And then we will apply for market authorization to the regulatory authority in December within three months after completing phases 1, 2 and 3. If everything goes smooth and we expect to be able to bring our vaccine to market by December.
EL – If you get government support, do you think your success can come faster ?o
 Dr. Asif- Obviously! This is the first discovery of this vaccine in Bangladesh. Always the  first task comes with more obstacles and hindrances. We will remove the obstacles with the support of the government and will bring the vaccine to the market soonest possible.
Dr Asif said on June 10, the rabbits were isolated and on June 12 they collected serum to analyze if they have already developed the antibody. On June 14 three of them were given the invented dose for the first time.

The second dose was given on June 21 and the third on June 28. Blood serum was collected to see if the antigen and antibody bond was effectively made, raising the resonance to considerable levels. The whole procedure was done following the WHO guideline, he added.

The scientist said at present there WAS  some 7 billion vaccine demand in the world among which only 1.2 billion could be met.  In these circumstances developing a vaccine on our own would make it feasible.

When (and if) they acquire those approvals, the company will be ready to move on to human trials through third parties under the supervision of the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) in order to assess the effectiveness of the drug, said Asif Mahmud

However, after trials are completed, it would take another six months for the vaccine to be marketed, he claimed.

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Covid-19 Vaccine Seems No More A Mirage! https://theeasternlink.com/covid-19-vaccine-seems-no-more-a-mirage/ https://theeasternlink.com/covid-19-vaccine-seems-no-more-a-mirage/#respond Thu, 02 Jul 2020 04:37:00 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=5486

July 1, 2020: In just about two months or so from now, India could become the first country to commercially produce and market its own robust vaccine that will provide immunity against Covid-19, thanks to efforts at the privately-owned Serum Institute of India in the western Indian city of Pune, some 150-kms east of the […]

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July 1, 2020: In just about two months or so from now, India could become the first country to commercially produce and market its own robust vaccine that will provide immunity against Covid-19, thanks to efforts at the privately-owned Serum Institute of India in the western Indian city of Pune, some 150-kms east of the country’s commercial hub Mumbai.

Ever since it emerged late last year from Wuhan, China, Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories and, as of July 1, had infected 10,591,222 people and killed 515,022 victims. It is also ravaging the global economy, and has prompted a race to develop and market a vaccine.

Around the world, 11 companies are busy in this effort but a top source at Serum Institute claims at least two vaccines being produced/developed by it could be available by late September or early October.

“At Serum Institute, we now have about six vaccines (against Covid-19) at various stages of production/development and research,” said this source. Of these, two are noteworthy. One is a vaccine developed by University of Oxford which has, said this source, given the original ‘cell bank’ to Serum for commercial production. He continued: “We have already produced two million doses of this vaccine. We understand third stage trials are ongoing, with some 15,000 volunteers around the world, and results are likely later this month (July).”

Assuming the third stage human trials also yield positive results, Serum says around six million doses will have been contract manufactured by it for University of Oxford by late September or early October.

But Serum is more excited about the two vaccines it has developed in-house. “Unlike the Oxford (University) vaccine, both of our (proposed) vaccines were specifically developed against Covid-19,” he said, adding that one of these indigenous vaccines is also at the third stage of human trials, having successfully cleared the first two stages.

Serum expects success in this third stage trial also but has begun commercial production, at its own risk, assuming it will receive permissions from the (government’s) Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). Meanwhile, this vaccine has been administered also to some of Serum’s own employees and, we are told, “no one has shown any adverse reactions.”

By early October, he continued, about six million doses of this indigenous vaccine will be ready. Plans are to produce between 1 million and 1.5 million doses every month, subsequently. Our Serum source says the retail price of its locally developed vaccine could be Rs4500 (US$64). “We are trying to keep costs as low as possible so that that it can be widely administered in India,” he added. “Ours will be a single dose vaccine that will be effective for a minimum three years.”

Serum plans to market this vaccine in Asian and African countries – all relatively very price sensitive as compared to countries in Europe and North America. “Local companies (in Europe and North America) will market (their) vaccines in those markets.” No single company anywhere has the “formulation and filling” capacity for this vaccine, he pointed out.

In India, he continued, while the vaccine will most likely be administered free of cost through government channels, private healthcare providers will also have a significant role to play as, “the government by itself cannot reach everyone quickly.” Eventually, he presumes, the Covid-19 vaccine could be part of the government of India’s ongoing national immunisation programme.

Most probably, according to him, the government of India’s first priority will be to administer this vaccine to the elderly and very young who make up about 40% of the country’s population (1.3 billion) as well as to those now in (Covid-19) containment zones. Next could be those aged 35 and below, who are 60% of the population.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s offce, he added, is directly monitoring Serum’s work on the Covid-19 vaccines. “We send an update to the PMO at 3AM every day,” he said.

Serum is also at work on a second such vaccine developed by it.  “Preliminary trials are over. We have sent it (the vaccine) to the laboratory and production will start as soon as we get permission.”

Separately, Serum is also developing a pharmaceutical product to treat Covid-19. “We are at the initial stage of R&D for this product,” he said. “Our approach is to isolate the (Covid-19) spike (in patients) and treat it.”

Serum Institute of India was set up in 1966 by horse racing enthusiast and stud farm owner Cyrus Poonawala to manufacture vaccines that were, till then, being imported. Serum’s website says it exports to 170 countries and is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, producing 1.5 billion doses annually against illnesses such as measles, polio, influenza. Forbes magazine estimated 79-year-old Poonawala’s net worth as US$11.5bn as of January 2020 and listed him as India’s 12th richest man in 2019.

Madhu Nainan , a senior Mumbai-based editor , is a regular contributor to Easternlink

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India’s Vaccine Behemoth Bets On Producing Oxford-Researched Covid Vaccine https://theeasternlink.com/indias-vaccine-king-bets-big-on-oxford-university-coronavirus-treatment/ https://theeasternlink.com/indias-vaccine-king-bets-big-on-oxford-university-coronavirus-treatment/#respond Thu, 30 Apr 2020 05:16:05 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=3154

A leading candidate for a Covid-19 vaccine has shown promising results in animal trials, and is expected to see mass production in India within months. The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines by volume, said on Tuesday that it plans this year to produce up to 60 million doses of a […]

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A leading candidate for a Covid-19 vaccine has shown promising results in animal trials, and is expected to see mass production in India within months.

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines by volume, said on Tuesday that it plans this year to produce up to 60 million doses of a potential vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, which is under clinical trial in Britain.

While the vaccine candidate, called “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19”, is yet to be proven to work against Covid-19, Serum decided to start manufacturing it as it had shown success in animal trials and had progressed to tests on humans, Serum Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said.

Six rhesus macaque monkeys were inoculated with the vaccine candidate at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana last month, according to The New York Times.

A leading candidate for a Covid-19 vaccine has shown promising results in animal trials, and is expected to see mass production in India within months.

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines by volume, said on Tuesday that it plans this year to produce up to 60 million doses of a potential vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, which is under clinical trial in Britain.

While the vaccine candidate, called “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19”, is yet to be proven to work against Covid-19, Serum decided to start manufacturing it as it had shown success in animal trials and had progressed to tests on humans, Serum Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said.

Six rhesus macaque monkeys were inoculated with the vaccine candidate at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana last month, according to The New York Times.

Covid-19 vaccine trial starts in Oxford, but remdesivir treatment reportedly flops in China tests

The subjects were exposed afterwards to large quantities of the novel coronavirus, but all six remained healthy after more than 28 days, the newspaper reported, citing researcher Vincent Munster, who conducted the test.

More than 3 million people have been reported to be infected globally and over 210,000 have died from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

“They are a bunch of very qualified, great scientists [at Oxford] … That’s why we said we will go with this and that’s why we are confident,” Poonawalla told Reuters in a phone interview.

“Being a private limited company, not accountable to public investors or bankers, I can take a little risk and sideline some of the other commercial products and projects that I had planned in my existing facility,” Poonawalla said.

As many as 100 potential Covid-19 candidate vaccines are now under development by biotech and research teams around the world, and at least five of these are in preliminary testing in people in what are known as phase one clinical trials.

Poonawalla said he hoped trials of the Oxford vaccine, due to finish in about September, would be successful. Oxford scientists said last week the main focus of initial tests was to ascertain not only whether the vaccine worked but that it induced good immune responses and no unacceptable side effects.

Serum, owned by the Indian billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, plans to make the vaccine at its two manufacturing plants in the western city of Pune, aiming to produce up to 400 million doses next year if all goes well, Poonawalla said.

“A majority of the vaccine, at least initially, would have to go to our countrymen before it goes abroad,” he said, adding that Serum would leave it to the Indian government to decide which countries would get how much of the vaccine and when.

Serum envisages a price of 1,000 rupees (US$14.70) per vaccine, but governments would give it to people without charge, he said.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office was “very closely” involved in the vaccine production and the company is hoping the government will help foot the cost of making it.

Over roughly the next five months, Serum will spend some 300 million to 400 million rupees (US$4.4 million to US$5.9 million) on making around 3-5 million doses per month, he said. “[The government] are very happy to share some risk and fund something with us, but we haven’t really pencilled anything down yet,” Poonawalla said.

Serum has also partnered with the US biotech firm Codagenix and Austria’s Themis on two other Covid-19 vaccine candidates and plans to announce a fourth alliance in a couple of weeks, he said.

Serum’s board last week also agreed to invest roughly 6 billion rupees (US$8.8 billion) on making a new manufacturing unit to solely produce coronavirus vaccines, Poonawalla said.

Courtesy – SCMP

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TRIAL COVID DRUG SUCCESSFUL https://theeasternlink.com/trial-covid-drug-successful/ https://theeasternlink.com/trial-covid-drug-successful/#respond Sat, 11 Apr 2020 19:35:53 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=2256

An international team led by University of British Columbia researcher Dr. Josef Penninger has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts. The findings, published today in Cell, hold promise as a treatment capable of stopping early infection of the novel coronavirus that, as of April 2, has […]

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An international team led by University of British Columbia researcher Dr. Josef Penninger has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts.

The findings, published today in Cell, hold promise as a treatment capable of stopping early infection of the novel coronavirus that, as of April 2, has affected more than 981,000 people and claimed the lives of 50,000 people worldwide.

The study provides new insights into key aspects of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and its interactions on a cellular level, as well as how the virus can infect blood vessels and kidneys.

“We are hopeful our results have implications for the development of a novel drug for the treatment of this unprecedented pandemic,” says Penninger, professor in UBC’s faculty of medicine, director of the Life Sciences Institute and the Canada 150 Research Chair in Functional Genetics at UBC.

“This work stems from an amazing collaboration among academic researchers and companies, including Dr. Ryan Conder’s gastrointestinal group at STEMCELL Technologies in Vancouver, Nuria Montserrat in Spain, Drs. Haibo Zhang and Art Slutsky from Toronto and especially Ali Mirazimi’s infectious biology team in Sweden, who have been working tirelessly day and night for weeks to better understand the pathology of this disease and to provide breakthrough therapeutic options.”

ACE2 — a protein on the surface of the cell membrane — is now at centre-stage in this outbreak as the key receptor for the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. In earlier work, Penninger and colleagues at the University of Toronto and the Institute of Molecular Biology in Vienna first identified ACE2, and found that in living organisms, ACE2 is the key receptor for SARS, the viral respiratory illness recognized as a global threat in 2003. His laboratory also went on to link the protein to both cardiovascular disease and lung failure.

While the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread around the globe, the absence of a clinically proven antiviral therapy or a treatment specifically targeting the critical SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 on a molecular level has meant an empty arsenal for health care providers struggling to treat severe cases of COVID-19.

“Our new study provides very much needed direct evidence that a drug — called APN01 (human recombinant soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 — hrsACE2) — soon to be tested in clinical trials by the European biotech company Apeiron Biologics, is useful as an antiviral therapy for COVID-19,” says Dr. Art Slutsky, a scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science of St. Michael’s Hospital and professor at the University of Toronto who is a collaborator on the study.

In cell cultures analyzed in the current study, hrsACE2 inhibited the coronavirus load by a factor of 1,000-5,000. In engineered replicas of human blood vessel and kidneys — organoids grown from human stem cells — the researchers demonstrated that the virus can directly infect and duplicate itself in these tissues. This provides important information on the development of the disease and the fact that severe cases of COVID-19 present with multi-organ failure and evidence of cardiovascular damage. Clinical grade hrsACE2 also reduced the SARS-CoV-2 infection in these engineered human tissues.

“Using organoids allows us to test in a very agile way treatments that are already being used for other diseases, or that are close to being validated. In these moments in which time is short, human organoids save the time that we would spend to test a new drug in the human setting,” says Núria Montserrat, ICREA professor at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia in Spain.

“The virus causing COVID-19 is a close sibling to the first SARS virus,” adds Penninger. “Our previous work has helped to rapidly identify ACE2 as the entry gate for SARS-CoV-2, which explains a lot about the disease. Now we know that a soluble form of ACE2 that catches the virus away, could be indeed a very rational ther

apy that specifically targets the gate the virus must take to infect us. There is hope for this horrible pandemic.”

This research was supported in part by the Canadian federal government through emergency funding focused on accelerating the development, testing, and implementation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

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South Korean Scientists Map Corona Genome, Vaccine Possible Now https://theeasternlink.com/south-korean-scientists-map-corona-genome-vaccine-possible-now/ https://theeasternlink.com/south-korean-scientists-map-corona-genome-vaccine-possible-now/#respond Sat, 11 Apr 2020 06:50:46 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=2193 coronavirus medicine in korea theeasternlink

South Korean scientists have produced what they describe as a “high-resolution map” of the novel coronavirus’ RNA genome, in which its genetic information is stored, paving the way for a better understanding of its characteristics and life cycle and allowing the development of vaccines and more precise tests. The research team at the Centre for RNA […]

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coronavirus medicine in korea theeasternlink

South Korean scientists have produced what they describe as a “high-resolution map” of the novel coronavirus’ RNA genome, in which its genetic information is stored, paving the way for a better understanding of its characteristics and life cycle and allowing the development of vaccines and more precise tests.

The research team at the Centre for RNA Research in Seoul’s Institute for Basic Science was led by V. Narry Kim and Chang Hyeshi. They worked in collaboration with an arm of the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), which has been leading the country’s aggressive mass testing efforts.

South Koreans don face masks, plastic gloves to vote amid Covid-19 crisis

“Our work provides a high-resolution map of Sars-CoV-2,” Kim said, using the scientific name for the novel coronavirus, in a statement issued by the institute. “This map will help understand how the virus replicates and how it escapes the human defence system.”

Kim is one of South Korea’s most prominent researchers. According to Nature magazine, in 2009, at the age of 39, she became one of the youngest winners of the Ho-Am Prize for Medicine, often considered the country’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

She is also a role model for young scientists, especially to women, who make up just 19 per cent of South Korea’s scientific workforce.

Professor Lee Hoanjong at the Seoul National University Children’s Hospital said the research results made it possible to predict what kinds of proteins were made by the virus, which would help in vaccine development.

Professor Lisa Ng, senior principal investigator of the government-funded Singapore Immunology Network, said the South Korean study “provides the first glimpse to understand pathogenesis [the way a disease develops] of Sars-CoV-2 infection that will allow further studies to be explored to define the mechanisms of infection and host response.”

The team’s findings, published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Cell on Thursday, shed more light on the coronavirus’ mysterious genome.

Viruses do not reproduce themselves, but contain instructions for replication that can happen when they find suitable living cells. The new coronavirus’ genome stores its recipe for reproduction in the form of a very long ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecule, which consists of about 30,000 genetic bases or letters.

When the virus enters host cells, it replicates this RNA in bulk, producing many smaller RNAs called subgenomic RNAs. Some subgenomic RNAs are used to make viral proteins that do a range of things, including suppressing the body’s immune responses to the virus.

The South Korean researchers used two complementary sequencing techniques and were able to confirm which subgenomic RNAs were translated into viral proteins. They also found dozens of previously unknown subgenomic RNAs.

“[Besides] detailing the structure of Sars-CoV-2, we also discovered numerous new RNAs and multiple unknown chemical modifications on the viral RNAs,” Kim said.

“Though it requires further investigation, these molecular events may lead to the relatively rapid evolution of coronavirus … It is unclear yet what these modifications do, but a possibility is that they may assist the virus to avoid the attack from the host.”

An understanding of all the proteins that Sars-CoV-2 makes when it enters a cell is of great importance, according to a piece in The Economist last month, as it makes each protein a “potential target for drug designers”.

“In the grip of a pandemic, though, the emphasis is on the targets that might be hit by drugs already at hand,” the article said.

In its statement, the Institute for Basic Science said the identification of the smaller RNAs made them good targets for any bid to stop the coronavirus from conquering human immune systems.

Kim said the scientists would now focus on exploring the functions of the newly discovered subgenomic RNAs and to see if the modifications they identified played a role in virus replication and immune system responses.

Previous gene-sequencing studies have shown that the coronavirus mutates in the same way as HIV, meaning its ability to bind with human cells could be up to 1,000 times stronger than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) virus, according to research by European and Chinese scientists.

Courtesy- South China Morning Post

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