Brain activity pattern may be early sign of schizophrenia

| November 8, 2018

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Neuroscientists have now identified a pattern of brain activity correlated with the development of schizophrenia, which they say could be used as a marker to diagnose the disease earlier. “You can consider this pattern to be a risk factor. If we use these types of brain measurements, then maybe we can predict a little bit better who will end up developing psychosis, and that may also help tailor interventions,” says Guusje Collin, a visiting scientist at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the lead author of the paper.



Pfizer, BioNTech Plan Clinical Trial for COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Candidate

Article | April 9, 2020

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to begin human clinical trials on their lead COVID-19 therapeutic candidate, an mRNA vaccine, by the end of this month, the companies said today, through a collaboration that could generate up to $748 million for the German biotech. The companies announced plans last month to partner on BNT162, the first treatment to emerge from BioNTech’s accelerated COVID-19-focused development program, “Project Lightspeed.” BioNTech and Pfizer established collaboration intended to draw upon BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA vaccine platforms, and Pfizer’s expertise in vaccine research and development, regulatory capabilities, and global manufacturing and distribution network.

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Defense biotech research looks to eliminate bacteria causing traveler’s diarrhea, reduce jet lag duration

Article | April 9, 2020

World traveler‘s will rejoice at the idea of a seemingly magical device that would guarantee they never suffer from the all-too-familiar stomach issues that come from traveling internationally while reducing jet lag at the same time. But it’s not just privileged globetrotters that would benefit from a device that eliminates the bacteria associated with the so-called Montezuma’s Revenge. In 2016, more than 230,000 children around the world died from some of the same types of bacteria as those that cause traveler’s diarrhea, and the bacteria mainly come from unsafe “drinking water, poor sanitation and malnutrition,” according to Oxford University’s Our World In Data portal. On Monday, DARPA announced it was researching an “implantable or ingestible bioelectronic carrier” that would eliminate the five major bacteria associated with traveler’s diarrhea.

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Closing bacterial genomes from the human gut microbiome using long-read sequencing

Article | February 12, 2020

In our lab, we focus on the impact of the gut microbiome on human health and disease. To evaluate this relationship, it’s important to understand the particular functions that different bacteria have. As bacteria are able to exchange, duplicate, and rearrange their genes in ways that directly affect their phenotypes, complete bacterial genomes assembled directly from human samples are essential to understand the strain variation and potential functions of the bacteria we host. Advances in the microbiome space have allowed for the de novo assembly of microbial genomes directly from metagenomes via short-read sequencing, assembly of reads into contigs, and binning of contigs into putative genome drafts. This is advantageous because it allows us to discover microbes without culturing them, directly from human samples and without reference databases. In the past year, there have been a number of tour de force efforts to broadly characterize the human gut microbiota through the creation of such metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs)[1–4]. These works have produced hundreds of thousands of microbial genomes that vastly increase our understanding of the human gut. However, challenges in the assembly of short reads has limited our ability to correctly assemble repeated genomic elements and place them into genomic context. Thus, existing MAGs are often fragmented and do not include mobile genetic elements, 16S rRNA sequences, and other elements that are repeated or have high identity within and across bacterial genomes.

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5 Biotech Stocks Winning the Coronavirus Race

Article | April 13, 2020

There are quite a few companies that have found ways to grow their business during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true for a number of biotechs now working on developing a potential treatment for, or vaccine against, the virus; shares of such companies have largely surged over the past couple of months. Although many of these treatments and vaccines are still have quite a way to go before they're widely available, it's still worth taking some time to look through what's going on in the COVID-19 space right now. Here are five biotech stocks that are leading the way when it comes to addressing COVID-19. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) wasn't among the initial wave of companies to announce a potential COVID-19 drug. However, investor excitement quickly sent shares surging when the company announced that its rheumatoid arthritis drug, Kevzara, could help treat COVID-19 patients.

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