Also: researching spike proteins and the antibiotic properties of silver

Most New York Coronavirus Cases Came From Europe, Genomes Show

(Carl Zimmer, The New York Times, 4/8/20)

Two separate studies have concluded that the majority of coronavirus cases in New York City came from Europe, not China. By sequencing viral material and tracing mutated variants, both teams found similar vectors from Europe. The article describes genome research on COVID-19, including earlier conclusions that the virus originated in bats.

Scientists Scan for Weaknesses in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein

(Chris Baraniuk, The Scientist, 4/9/20)

The article describes research on the protein “spikes” that allow SARS-COV2 viruses to enter cells. These spikes are made of three proteins, and without them the virus cannot infect human cells. Furthermore, the virus is covered in a layer of glycans, or sugars, that help camouflage the virus from the immune system.

Research Sheds Light on How Silver Kills Bacteria

(Bob Whitby, The University of Arkansas, 4/9/20)

Using single-particle-tracking photoactivated localization microscopy, researchers were able to observe the effects of silver ions on a protein in E. coli to try and determine the antimicrobial effects of silver. They found that the silver actually sped up the dynamics of the protein, destabilizing the bond between the protein and the bacteria’s DNA. They are hoping to use their research to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria.

—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker