June 20th, 2020

Glad midsommar!

Happy midsummer to everyone from Sweden. Today’s digest is heavy on the preprints with a couple of thought-provoking editorials from the journal Nature. You will notice a lot of articles related to COVID-19. There is an interesting study that proposes the use of dogs and their sensory powers to detect CoV infections. More importantly, a preprint discusses the use of a tyrosine kinase as a potential drug and another preprint discusses the results of a massive FDA-approved drug repurposing screen for COVID. Also in the digest is an article where the researchers have shown that the gut microbiome produces neurotransmitters and another article that explains how Streptomyces spores hitchhike. Another article, although not related to our general theme, is super interesting as well. A group of scientists have proposed that the first egg of the dinosaurs was probably soft-shelled and not like the hard eggs we imagined all this time!

I am sorry for doing a lousy job today at providing a proper context and some informative introduction to today’s digest as it is the most awaited Midsommar holiday and the barbecue is calling! I hope everyone is enjoying the summer. Make sure to follow social distancing guidelines!


Preprint: Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib as a potential drug for COVID-19 – Nirmitee Sanjay Mulgaonkar, et al.

Preprint: Variant analysis of SARS-CoV-2 strains in Middle Eastern countries – Khalid M Bindayna and Shane Crinion

Preprint: Polymorphism and selection pressure of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and diagnostic antigens: implications for immune evasion and serologic diagnostic performance – Eric Dumonteil and Claudia Herrera

Preprint: Disruption of Adaptive Immunity Enhances Disease in SARS-CoV-2 Infected Syrian Hamsters – Rebecca Brocato, et al.

Preprint: High-density amplicon sequencing identifies community spread and ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in the Southern United States – Ryan P McNamara, et al.

Preprint: Proteotyping SARS-CoV-2 virus from nasopharyngeal swabs: a proof-of-concept focused on a 3 min mass spectrometry window – Duarte Gouveia, et al.

Preprint: A single dose of recombinant VSV-∆G-spike vaccine provides protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge – Yfat Yahalom-Ronen, et al.

Preprint: Antiviral treatment of SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters reveals a weak effect of favipiravir and a complete lack of effect for hydroxychloroquine – Suzanne JF Kaptein, et al.

Preprint: Drug repurposing screens reveal FDA approved drugs active against SARS-Cov-2 – Mark Dittmar, et al.

Preprint: Dog Savior: Immediate Scent-Detection of SARS-COV-2 by Trained Dogs – Omar Vesga, et al.

Preprint: Evaluation of the performance of SARS-CoV-2 serological tools and their positioning in COVID-19 diagnostic strategies. – Aurélie Velay, et al.

General Microbiome

Preprint: Exploring the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Bacterial Pathobiome – Deborah Iwanowicz, et al.

Preprint: Hi-C deconvolution of a textile-dye degrader microbiome reveals novel taxonomic landscapes and link phenotypic potential to individual genomes – Ayixon Sanchez-Reyes, et al.

A metabolic pathway for bile acid dehydroxylation by the gut microbiome – Masanori Funabashi, et al. – Nature

A neurotransmitter produced by gut bacteria modulates host sensory behaviour – Michael P. O’Donnell, et al. – Nature


Preprint: Novel functional insights from the Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite-specific proteome by probabilistic integration of 26 studies – Lisette Meerstein-Kessel, et al.


Preprint: Conjugal DNA transfer in the maternally inherited symbiont of tsetse flies Sodalis glossinidius – Christopher G Kendra, et al.

Preprint: Systematic analysis of REBASE identifies numerous Type I restriction-modification systems that contain duplicated, variable hsdS specificity genes that randomly switch methyltransferase specificity by recombination. – John M. Atack, et al.

Preprint: The role of LmeA, a mycobacterial periplasmic protein, in stabilizing the mannosyltransferase MptA and its product lipomannan under stress – Kathryn C Rahlwes, et al.

Preprint: Microbial piggy-back: how Streptomyces spores are transported by motile soil bacteria – Alise R. Muok, et al.


Preprint: Herbivore-induced activation of viral phosphatase disarms plant antiviral immunities for pathogen transmission – Pingzhi Zhao, et al.

Preprint: Quantifying the acquisition and retention of lumpy skin disease virus by haematophagus insects and the implications for transmission and control – Beatriz Sanz-Bernardo, et al.

Preprint: Identification of a critical horseshoe-shaped region in the nsp5 (Mpro, 3CLpro) protease interdomain loop (IDL) of coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) – Benjamin C. Nick, et al.

Preprint: A sweep of earth’s virome reveals host-guided viral protein structural mimicry; with implications for human disease – Gorka Lasso, et al.


The first dinosaur egg was soft – Mark A. Norell, et al. – Nature

Junior researchers hit by coronavirus-triggered hiring freezes – Chris Woolston – Nature

Peer review should be an honest, but collegial, conversation Nature

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