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Round-up: COVID-19 November 2020 (Part One)

With the rising numbers in COVID-19 cases and deaths, the UK has fallen back into a national lockdown – with many questioning what this will mean for Christmas. At Front Line Genomics, we’ve got you covered for another update on the latest research and news centred around COVID-19 and the ongoing battle to defeat it.


At the time of writing, there have been:

  • 49,241,124 cases
  • 1,242,604 deaths
  • 35,103,502 recoveries


  • SARS-CoV-2 can only infect mice if they have been genetically modified to express human ACE2. Researchers have explored the potential unique opportunity genetically engineered mouse models could have for COVID-19 research. (Ohtsuka et al, 2020)
  • The REACT study, led by Imperial College London, has shown that coronavirus antibody prevalence in England is falling – causing mass media meltdown! (Elliott et al, 2020)
  • A recent study has revealed that T cell response lasts for at least six months after infection (even after mild or asymptomatic infection). (Moss et al, 2020)
  • Researchers have found that ACE2 receptor localises within cilia of airway epithelial cells. They also discovered that angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) do not increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. (Jackson et al, 2020)
  • Scientists have shown that a potent antibody from a COVID-19 survivor interferes with a key feature on the surface of coronavirus’s spike proteins. (Pancera et al, 2020)
  • Spike protein mutation D614G, which became dominant during the pandemic, is found to alter SARS-CoV-2 fitness. (Shi et al, 2020)
  • A team of researchers have developed a lung organoid model to study the effect of SARS-CoV-2. They performed a high throughput screen of FDA-approved drugs and identified potential entry inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2. (Chen et al, 2020)
  • Researchers utilised age-specific COVID-19 death data from 45 countries to map age distribution of death. They find that age distribution of deaths in younger age groups is consistent across different settings. This framework could help countries assess progression. (Salje et al, 2020)
  • Using genome-wide CRISPR knockout screens, researchers have identified host factors essential for SARS-CoV-2 infection. (Sanjana et al, 2020)
  • Results have revealed that a nanoparticle vaccine candidate can produce virus-neutralising antibodies in mice at levels ten-times greater than seen in people who have recovered from infection. (King et al, 2020)
  • A group of researchers have isolated and characterised nanobodies from a synthetic library – sybodies – that target and neutralise the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. (Löw et al, 2020)

Other news

  • A new study, led by The University of Bergen, will collect sperm from COVID-19 patients to determine how the infection affects the development of the immune system. Follow-up studies will also reveal how COVID-19 will impact the immune system of individuals’ future children. (UIB, 2020)
  • Wastewater-based epidemiology is being implemented to help public health officials detect COVID-19 by quantifying levels of viral RNA present in wastewater. (PHE, 2020)

Image credit: By starline –

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covid-19 / Immune System / Round-up