The University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed in partnership with the biotech AstraZeneca, is the third vaccine this week to publicize promising data from its clinical trials. And, in a surprising twist, it appears that a lower dose of the vaccine does a better job at protecting participants from COVID than a higher dose.
In what could prove to be a turning point in the fight against COVID-19, U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech announced yesterday that one of their coronavirus vaccines is more than 90% effective at preventing the viral disease, according to new data from its Phase III trial. They are predicting that they will have the requisite safety data for an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA before the end of the month.
Mounting evidence suggests that good sleep is critical to many aspects of our health. Circadian rhythms regulate the sleep-wake cycle in everything from mammals to fruit flies to plants, and keeps them synced up to the 24-hour cycle of the Earth’s rotation. In humans, circadian rhythms can be disrupted by chronic jet lag and shift work. New research indicates that disrupting these rhythms has negative consequences for both tumor size and microenvironment in mice.
In the world of monoclonal antibodies, being small is a big deal. Smaller antibodies and antibody fragments can penetrate solid tumors that would be inaccessible to larger antibodies, and some can even make it across the blood-brain barrier. That’s why it’s exciting that researchers at the University of Bath and UCB (a Belgian biotech company) have designed extra-small antibody fragments from cows.
Researchers led by UCLA’s Helen E. Vuong have determined that the presence of specific bacteria in the gut of pregnant mice can lead to long-term behavioral changes in the mice’s offspring. The group’s work contributes to the growing understanding of the relationship between gut bacteria and brain development.
People with type I diabetes are unable to make the insulin needed to regulate their blood sugar, which is why they must take exogenous insulin every day. Another treatment option is pancreatic islet transplantation, wherein healthy donor islets (tiny structures which contain insulin-producing beta cells) are transplanted into the diabetic patient.