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Tentacles on cells may help virus spread to other cells; risk not significantly higher in people with HIV

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Tentacles on cells may help virus spread to other cells; risk not significantly higher in people with HIV

(Reuters) – The following is a brief roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

“Tentacles” on hijacked cells might help coronavirus spread

When a virus infects a cell, it hijacks enzymes called kinases that control the cell’s functions. A new study identified 49 kinases hijacked by the new coronavirus, including one called CK2 that generates hair-like tentacles, called filopodia, that protrude from the cell with virus particles inside them. Researchers who led the study published in Cell on Sunday believe this may help the coronavirus to infect other cells. Kinases "are one of the most druggable group of proteins in our cells," coauthor Nevan Krogan from the University of California, San Francisco told Reuters. The team identified five potentially promising drugs already being used or tested against malfunctioning kinases in other diseases, one of which – silmitasertib – targets CK2. "We think that this drug works by stopping formation of the filopodia, and we are testing this now in the lab," Krogan said. Coauthor Marco Vignuzzi of Institute Pasteur in Paris told Reuters that because CK2 seems to be involved in the tentacles, using a kinase inhibitor that targets CK2 might reduce or inhibit their formation. "If the virus uses this to transmit from cell to cell, then virus spread will be reduced," he said. ( bit.ly/2ZfScii )

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COVID-19 outcomes do not appear worse in people with HIV

People living with HIV infections may not face higher-than-average risks of bad outcomes from COVID-19, a study from New York City suggests. Doctors at one […]

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