When California shut down in March 2020 and many San Franciscans stayed at home, obsessively ordering hand sanitizer, a group of local scientists pivoted from the projects they were working on and poured all their energy into COVID-19. Jennifer Doudna, PhD, and Melanie Ott, MD, PhD, developed a new testing device, using the gene-editing tool CRISPR, that’s as accurate as a PCR test but can provide rapid results at home (it should hit the market next year). And Leor Weinberger, PhD, developed a nasal spray that people can use after they’ve been exposed to COVID, to disrupt the virus’s ability to spread in the body (clinical trials could begin next year).
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Ott Lab news stories
Here’s What You Should Know about Monkeypox
While the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, MPXV has emerged as another global public health emergency. Commonly referred to as monkeypox, this viral disease has now spread to dozens of countries where it is not typically found.
As of August 29, 2022, over 18,000 cases have been reported in the US—the biggest outbreak of MPXV ever seen in the country. More than 700 cases have now occurred in San Francisco. Still, the general risk of MPXV remains very low.
Scientists find new evidence against using BET inhibitors to treat COVID-19
A while ago, some researchers had suggested that blocking a set of proteins, known as bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) proteins, might be a way to fight COVID-19. However, in a surprising study, scientists at Gladstone Institutes and UC San Francisco (UCSF) discovered that BET proteins are actually crucial for the body to fight infection. In fact, the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself blocks the proteins to try to gain an advantage and continue to spread.
What Makes Omicron More Infectious Than Other COVID-19 Variants
As the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly around the globe earlier this year, researchers at Gladstone Institutes, UC Berkeley, and the Innovative Genomics Institute used virus-like particles to identify which parts of the virus are responsible for its increased infectivity and spread.
BETing on COVID-19: Study Probes Role of BET Proteins in Coronavirus Infection
A while ago, some researchers had suggested that blocking a set of proteins, known as bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) proteins, might be a way to fight COVID-19. However, in a surprising study, scientists at Gladstone Institutes and UC San Francisco (UCSF) discovered that BET proteins are actually crucial for the body to fight the infection. In fact, the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself blocks the proteins to try to gain an advantage and continue to spread.
Scientists explain why getting infected with omicron doesn’t protect you from other COVID variants
Researchers in San Francisco discovered new characteristics of the highly transmissible omicron variant.
ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena went inside the Gladstone Institutes lab where scientists say their discovery is shedding light on why vaccinated and boosted are getting infected.
Omicron Infections, Without Vaccinations, Provide Little Immunity
This past winter, the Omicron variant surged through the country, causing a wave of COVID-19 cases. Now, several months later, those affected are left with a nagging question: how protected am I from future variants? This question is particularly germane as another variant, BA.2.12.1, is causing a recent spike in cases. Now, a team of researchers may have an answer.
It’s happening again: COVID-19 cases are back on the rise. There are 3 main reasons why.
COVID-19 infections continue to rise, driven by new and more infectious omicron subvariants, waning immunity from both vaccines and previous infections and fewer people masking up, health officials said at a White House briefing Wednesday.
About a third of Americans now live in an area with medium or high COVID-19 rates, with reported cases up 26% from last week, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control an Prevention.
‘Natural immunity’ from omicron is weak and limited, study finds
In unvaccinated people, infection with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 provides little long-term immunity against other variants, according to a new study by researchers at Gladstone Institutes and UC San Francisco (UCSF), published today in the journal Nature.
What the current spike in Covid-19 cases could say about the coronavirus’ future
As the Omicron wave subsided in the United States earlier this year, many experts anticipated a sort of reprieve. We certainly weren’t done with Covid, but perhaps we would get a well-deserved rest.
That break seems to be over.
An increase in infections that began in places including the Northeast and Puerto Rico is now being seen in other parts of the country. Cases will rise and fall going forward, but more worryingly, hospitalizations have started to increase as well — up 20% over two weeks. The decline in deaths has bottomed out at some 350 a day.