Newswise — To combat viruses, one of humankind’s oldest threats, researchers are studying predators with the oldest adaptive immune system in the animal kingdom: sharks.
Fossil evidence suggest sharks first existed 420 million years ago, predating humanity, Mount Everest and even trees. Over the course of time, sharks and other fish with cartilage skeletons developed what is now believed to be the oldest adaptive immune system in the animal kingdom.
According to a recent study published in Nature Communications, these ancient predators and their prehistoric immune systems may also be key to developing effective COVID-19 treatments.
“The shark antibodies neutralized the proteins in ways we weren’t expecting.” — Surajit Banerjee, Cornell University/NE-CAT
Professors Aaron LeBeau of the University of Wisconsin and Hideki Aihara of the University of Minnesota used the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, to look at nurse shark antibodies. With exquisite resolution, the APS’s extremely bright X-ray beams showed that variable new antigen receptors (VNARs), the smallest unit of a shark antibody, can stop SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and its variants.
An antibody, whether human or shark, binds to a virus protein when a region of molecules called amino acids from the antibody encounters a similar region on the virus protein. In humans, these amino acid regions tend to only bind one flat surface to another, just as a sticker would adhere to a bowling ball. In sharks, the VNARs’ amino acids bind not only to flat parts of a target protein, but also bind snugly inside deeper grooves. This means that instead of sticking only to the surface of the bowling ball, shark VNARs could bind tightly and flexibly into the ball’s finger holes as well. This heightened molecular dexterity means shark VNARs can access pockets in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that existing human antibodies cannot.
In their study, the researchers put three shark VNARs to the test against SARS-CoV-2. They used the Northeastern Collaborative Access Team (NE-CAT) beamlines 24-ID-C and 24-ID-E at the APS to observe crystalline structures of the samples.
“Structurally, it was surprising that the two VNARs had such different modes of recognition of the virus spike protein,” said Cornell University’s Surajit Banerjee, a staff scientist at NE-CAT and an author on the paper. “The shark antibodies neutralized the proteins in ways we weren’t expecting.”
Functionally, however, the shark VNARs proved highly stable, as effective as or better than current treatments for COVID-19, and resilient to the changing structures of variants. This may help in the development of new treatments for SARS-CoV-2 variants, such as Delta and Omicron.
The VNARs also showed promise as therapeutics for other known beta coronaviruses and future emergent diseases. They appear able to identify and bind to regions of amino acids that are the same among different coronaviruses.
The small size of the VNARs, their resilience and their cost-effective availability are all reasons why the researchers believe there is more to learn from the study of shark adaptive immune systems. It may even be possible to formulate VNAR “cocktails” to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection in individuals who are already infected or who are at immediate high risk of infection. Such a therapy would not replace vaccination, but it would be a useful tool for critically ill patients.
“The crystallography studies at APS allowed us to make reliable conclusions about the nature of the VNAR-spike interactions,” said LeBeau. “That will pave the way for the next phases in development of VNAR therapy for COVID-19.”
About the Advanced Photon Source
The U. S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the world’s most productive X-ray light source facilities. The APS provides high-brightness X-ray beams to a diverse community of researchers in materials science, chemistry, condensed matter physics, the life and environmental sciences, and applied research. These X-rays are ideally suited for explorations of materials and biological structures; elemental distribution; chemical, magnetic, electronic states; and a wide range of technologically important engineering systems from batteries to fuel injector sprays, all of which are the foundations of our nation’s economic, technological, and physical well-being. Each year, more than 5,000 researchers use the APS to produce over 2,000 publications detailing impactful discoveries, and solve more vital biological protein structures than users of any other X-ray light source research facility. APS scientists and engineers innovate technology that is at the heart of advancing accelerator and light-source operations. This includes the insertion devices that produce extreme-brightness X-rays prized by researchers, lenses that focus the X-rays down to a few nanometers, instrumentation that maximizes the way the X-rays interact with samples being studied, and software that gathers and manages the massive quantity of data resulting from discovery research at the APS.
This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. DOE Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.
Source: Argonne National Laboratory
Salmonella Outbreak: Cantaloupe Recall Investigation
Salmonella outbreak: Cantaloupes recalled. Ongoing investigation. Stay informed for updates on the recall.
In recent weeks, an outbreak of Salmonella linked to cantaloupes has raised concerns across the United States and parts of Canada. The outbreak, which began in early November 2023, has resulted in numerous cases of illness reported from various states. Health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are diligently investigating this outbreak to identify the source of contamination and prevent further illnesses. This blog post aims to provide an overview of the outbreak investigation, affected products and stores, symptoms of Salmonella infection, and recommendations for consumers and businesses.
On November 22, 2023, Crown Jewels Produce, Sofia Produce, and CF Dallas initiated a recall of fresh cantaloupes and related products due to potential Salmonella contamination. As of November 24, CDC reported a total of 99 cases from 32 states, with the latest onset date being November 10, 2023. The investigation is still ongoing, as authorities are working to determine if additional products are linked to the illnesses. The FDA will provide updates on this situation as more information becomes available.
Affected Products and Stores:
The following brands of whole fresh cantaloupes have been recalled:
- Cantaloupes labeled “Malichita” or “Rudy,” with the numbers “4050” and “Product of Mexico/produit du Mexique.”
- These cantaloupes were sold in retail stores located in Arizona, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida, and Canada. It is important to note that this list may not include all states, as the cantaloupes could have reached consumers through further retail distribution.
Recalled cut cantaloupe and products made from the recalled whole cantaloupes include:
- ALDI’s cantaloupe, cut cantaloupe, and pineapple spears in clamshell packaging with Best-by dates between October 27 and October 31.
- Vinyard’s cantaloupe chunks and cubes, fruit mixes, melon medleys, and fruit cups containing cantaloupe. Most of these products have a “Vinyard” label, and some have a red label with “Fresh” sold between October 30 and November 10 in Oklahoma stores.
- Freshness Guaranteed seasonal blend, melon trio, melon mix, fruit blend, fruit bowl, seasonal fruit tray, fruit mix, and cantaloupe chunks. RaceTrac fruit medley sold in clear square or round plastic containers at select retail stores in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Illinois, Texas, and Louisiana.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection:
Salmonella infection typically manifests within 12 to 72 hours after consuming contaminated food and typically lasts for four to seven days. Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. It is important to note that severe infections are more likely to occur in children younger than five, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems.
Status and Recommendations:
The investigation into the cantaloupe-related Salmonella outbreak is still ongoing. Authorities will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. In the meantime, the following recommendations are crucial:
- Consumers, restaurants, retailers, and wholesalers should refrain from consuming, selling, or serving recalled cantaloupes or products containing cantaloupe.
- Those who have frozen cantaloupes for later use should check their freezers and discard any recalled fresh or cut cantaloupes.
- If you are unsure whether your cantaloupe is part of the recall, it is best to err on the side of caution and dispose of it.
- Retailers and wholesalers who received recalled whole melons should identify the boxes labeled “Malachita/Z Farms” or “Malichita” or “Rudy” from Crown Jewels Produce and Sofia Produce (TruFresh) and remove them from their inventory.
- It is crucial to follow FDA’s safe handling and cleaning advice, ensuring that any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with the recalled products are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized to prevent cross-contamination.
- If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of a Salmonella infection after consuming recalled cantaloupes, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly.
The outbreak investigation of Salmonella linked to cantaloupes is a matter of concern, and authorities are actively working to protect public health. By staying informed, following the recommendations, and taking necessary precautions, we can collectively mitigate the risks associated with this outbreak. Stay tuned for updates and adhere to the guidance provided by health authorities to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
Canada’s First Egg Bank Launches, Recruiting Ethnically Diverse Donors for Enhanced Donor Conceived Outcomes
TORONTO (Newswire.com) – Egg Bank Canada (EBC) proudly announces its official launch as Canada’s first egg bank, dedicated to providing immediate access to donor eggs while prioritizing the best outcomes for donor-conceived individuals, their parents, and the donors themselves. With a focus on diversity and a unique known donation option, EBC aims to revolutionize the landscape of assisted reproductive services.
Led by renowned fertility experts Dr. Clifford Librach and Dr. Abdul Munaf Sultan Ahamed, EBC has completed numerous donor cycles, solidifying its commitment to exceptional patient care and fulfilling the urgent need for accessible donor eggs in Canada. One of the cornerstones of EBC’s mission is to recruit ethnically diverse donors, recognizing the importance of offering a wide range of options to prospective parents seeking genetic diversity. By actively seeking donors from various ethnic backgrounds, EBC ensures that more individuals and couples can find a suitable match, increasing the chances of successful outcomes and fulfilling their dreams of parenthood.
EBC distinguishes itself through its commitment to empowered decision-making. The egg bank offers multiple options for donor-recipient relationships, including known, semi-known, and open ID arrangements. This enables donors and recipients to choose the level of contact and involvement they are comfortable with, fostering a sense of choice and control throughout the process.
However, what truly sets EBC apart is its additional legal agreement between all parties involved. By ensuring that patients and their donors fully understand their legal rights and obligations, EBC creates a supportive and transparent environment that safeguards the interests of all individuals involved in the donation process.
Dr. Clifford Librach, a pioneer in the field of fertility, expresses his excitement about the launch, stating, “Egg Bank Canada is dedicated to providing exceptional care and support to our patients while prioritizing the well-being of the donor-conceived individuals and their families. We firmly believe that we can help more individuals and couples achieve their dreams of building a family through our innovative approach and commitment to diversity.”
Dr. Abdul Munaf Sultan Ahamed, the IVF Scientific Director of EBC, adds, “Our team is thrilled to bring Canada’s first egg bank to life. We are committed to advancing the field of assisted reproductive services and ensuring that our patients receive the best possible care. With our emphasis on diversity and known donation options, we are confident that EBC will make a lasting impact on the lives of many.”
Egg Bank Canada invites individuals and couples seeking donor eggs and those interested in becoming donors to connect with them to learn more about their innovative approach to assisted reproductive services.
416-586-1648 ext. #5
Source: Egg Bank Canada
Wine Stain Off Announces Release of New Red Wine Stain Remover
With this release, Wine Stain Off aims to help wine lovers recover from spills quickly and easily
DENVER, COLORADO, UNITED STATES /EINPresswire.com/ — Wine Stain Off, a new Denver Colorado based company, announced today the full nationwide launch of its Red Wine Stain Remover. Wine Stain Off, www.winestainoff.com, allows customers to quickly and easily remove new and old red wine stains from carpets, upholstery, furniture, fabrics and laundry. Wine Stain Off comes in a 24 oz spray bottle and ships nationwide within the United States.
Wine Stain Off is specially formulated to remove red wine stains without any rubbing, scrubbing or blotting. “There are two things I know about wine lovers, they are passionate about their wine, and they spill,” said the Founder of Wine Stain Off. “Spilling is bad enough, but having to get on your hands and knees to clean and scrub is even worse. After continually spilling red wine on a light colored couch with white pillows, the idea for Wine Stain Off was born.” Wine Stain Off is formulated and designed to be easy to use- identify the stain, saturate it with Wine Stain Off, and the powerful formula does the work in removing the stain. Wine Stain Off can be applied to freshly spilled wine, or on old red wine stains.
Wine Stain Off is available for purchase on their website for $29.99, with free shipping nationwide.
About Wine Stain Off
Wine Stain Off is a direct-to-consumer brand focused on making the removal of red wine stains easy and painless. Based in Denver Colorado, Wine Stain Off ships nationwide and helps customers everywhere remove those unwanted red wine stains, without the hard work.
Source: Wine Stain Off
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