Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Bioscience trends


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus is spreading rapidly, and scientists are endeavoring to discover drugs for its efficacious treatment in China. Chloroquine phosphate, an old drug for treatment of malaria, is shown to have apparent efficacy and acceptable safety against COVID-19 associated pneumonia in multicenter clinical trials conducted in China. The drug is recommended to be included in the next version of the Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Pneumonia Caused by COVID-19 issued by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China for treatment of COVID-19 infection in larger populations in the future.


As of January 22, 2020, a total of 571 cases of the 2019-new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been reported in 25 provinces (districts and cities) in China. At present, there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for human and animal coronavirus, so that identifying the drug treatment options as soon as possible is critical for the response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak. Three general methods, which include existing broad-spectrum antiviral drugs using standard assays, screening of a chemical library containing many existing compounds or databases, and the redevelopment of new specific drugs based on the genome and biophysical understanding of individual coronaviruses, are used to discover the potential antiviral treatment of human pathogen coronavirus. Lopinavir /Ritonavir, Nucleoside analogues, Neuraminidase inhibitors, Remdesivir, peptide (EK1), abidol, RNA synthesis inhibitors (such as TDF, 3TC), anti-inflammatory drugs (such as hormones and other molecules), Chinese traditional medicine, such ShuFengJieDu Capsules and Lianhuaqingwen Capsule, could be the drug treatment options for 2019-nCoV. However, the efficacy and safety of these drugs for 2019- nCoV still need to be further confirmed by clinical experiments.


Yellow fever is a vector-borne disease endemic to tropical regions of Africa and South America. A recent outbreak in Angola caused hundreds of deaths. Six cases of yellow fever imported from Angola were reported recently in China. This raised the question of whether it will spread in China and how it can be prevented. This article discusses the possibility of yellow fever transmission in China and the strategies to counter it.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Malaria, Africa, United States, Yellow fever, South America, Portuguese language


Pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is continuously and rapidly circulating at present. No effective antiviral treatment has been verified thus far. We report here the clinical characteristics and therapeutic procedure for four patients with mild or severe 2019-nCoV pneumonia admitted to Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center. All the patients were given antiviral treatment including lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra®), arbidol, and Shufeng Jiedu Capsule (SFJDC, a traditional Chinese medicine) and other necessary support care. After treatment, three patients gained significant improvement in pneumonia associated symptoms, two of whom were confirmed 2019-nCoV negative and discharged, and one of whom was virus negative at the first test. The remaining patient with severe pneumonia had shown signs of improvement by the cutoff date for data collection. Results obtained in the current study may provide clues for treatment of 2019-nCoV pneumonia. The efficacy of antiviral treatment including lopinavir/ritonavir, arbidol, and SFJDC warrants further verification in future study.


Over the past few years, genetically modified organisms (GMO) have gradually become more familiar after numerous reports of problems with GMO safety, such as genetically modified (GM) potatoes disrupting immunity, GM corn inducing tumors, and GM rice being fed to unwitting Chinese children. Every time, these reports cause panic among the population and lead to objections to GMO in various fora. After each incident, the scientific community has delivered its academic appraisal and refuted rumors through slow and cautious investigations and evaluations. Unfortunately, during each event media outlets quickly scare the public about food safety and ignore the ensuing comments from scientists. Although scientists have investigated each GMO crisis and reached scientific and rational conclusions, they have less ability to disseminate information than the media, so the public is not promptly informed of their rational and objective viewpoints as experts. Thus, scientists need greater ability to disseminate information from scientific investigations and evaluations in order to correct the intemperate reporting by attention-seeking media.

Concepts: Gene expression, Horizontal gene transfer, Science, Genetically modified organism, Mass media, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organisms, Ice-minus bacteria


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are common and generally harmless, but persistent infections can bring health problems like cancer and genital warts. For the uninfected group, HPV vaccines provide safe and effective protection, but they’re type-restricted and expensive. For those infected, so far there have been a handful of treatments for HPV-associated benign or malignant diseases, traditional Chinese medicine being one of them. This systematic review focuses on the application of traditional Chinese medicine in HPV infection and related diseases on the basis of clinical findings. Moreover it covers compositions and mechanisms based on in vitro laboratory methods and animal models. Traditional Chinese medicine improves clinical index in the treatment of cervical cancer and genital warts; the mechanisms behind the effectiveness might be the regulation of cell apoptosis, viral gene transcription and translation, cell signal transduction pathways, and immune function.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Signal transduction, Human papillomavirus, Papillomavirus, HPV vaccine, Apoptosis, Genital wart


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive loss of memory and other cognitive functions and presents an increasing clinical challenge in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in neuronal survival and proliferation. In the present study, the mRNA and protein expression level of BDNF was detected in serum, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia of Alzheimer’s type (DAT), and hippocampus in APP/PS1 mice. A significant decrease of BDNF mRNA and protein expression was observed in serum and CSF of patients and hippocampus in APP/PS1 mice compared with the corresponding controls. miR-613, which is predicted to target the 3'-UTR of BDNF, was also detected in patients and the mouse model. Opposite to the alteration of BDNF, miR-613 expression in serum, CSF and hippocampus were obviously increased compared to the controls. In conclusion, these findings showed that miR-613 may function in the development of AD and may provide new insights in diagnosis and treatment of AD.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Neurology, Memory, Dementia, Neurotrophin, Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, Nerve growth factor, Curcumin


Our goal is to develop a switch-controlled approach to enable better control of reactivity and safety of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Lentiviral transduction was performed to generate anti-FITC CAR-T cells and target cells stably expressing either isoform of the folate receptor. Colorimetric-based cytotoxic assay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and multiparametric flow cytometry analysis were used to evaluate the specificity and activity of CAR-T cells in vitro. Human primary T cells stably expressing the fully human anti-FITC CAR were generated. Anti-FITC CAR-T cells displayed antigen-specific and folate-FTIC dependent reactivity against engineered A549-FRα and THP-1-FRβ. The selective activation and proliferation of anti-FITC CAR-T cells in vitro stringently relied on the co-existence of folate-FITC and FR- expressing target cells and was dose-titratable with the folate-FITC switch. The excellent in vitro efficacy and specificity of an adaptor-controlled CAR-T therapy to target both tumor cells and tumor-associated macrophages in NSCLCs were validated.


The fifth outbreak of human infection with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus has struck far and wide in China. The number of cases of infection with the avian influenza A (H7N9) suddenly increased in 2013-2014, but the number of cases reported this winter has exceeded the number reported in all previous seasons. Given this situation, the National Health and Family Planning Commission issued updated Chinese guidelines (2017 version) on diagnosis and treatment of infection with the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus on January 24, 2017. In addition, the Chinese Government closed many live poultry markets in urban and rural areas in a number of provinces and the Government has taken proactive measures to surveil, respond to, and prevent potential pandemics involving the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus.

Concepts: Virus, Influenza, Avian influenza, Influenza pandemic, Transmission and infection of H5N1, Swine influenza, Pandemic, Influenza vaccine


To assess the effectiveness of response strategies of avoiding large gatherings or crowded areas and to predict the spread of COVID-19 infections in Japan, we developed a stochastic transmission model by extending the Susceptible-Infected-Removed (SIR) epidemiological model with an additional modeling of the individual action on whether to stay away from the crowded areas. The population were divided into three compartments: Susceptible, Infected, Removed. Susceptible transitions to Infected every hour with a probability determined by the ratio of Infected and the congestion of area. The total area consists of three zones crowded zone, mid zone and uncrowded zone, with different infection probabilities characterized by the number of people gathered there. The time for each people to spend in the crowded zone is curtailed by 0, 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8 hours, and the time spent in mid zone is extended accordingly. This simulation showed that the number of Infected and Removed will increase rapidly if there is no reduction of the time spent in crowded zone. On the other hand, the stagnant growth of Infected can be observed when the time spent in the crowded zone is reduced to 4 hours, and the growth number of Infected will decrease and the spread of the infection will subside gradually if the time spent in the crowded zone is further cut to 2 hours. In conclusions The infection spread in Japan will be gradually contained by reducing the time spent in the crowded zone to less than 4 hours.