Researchers Find Therapeutic Targets to Fight SARS-CoV-2
Researchers from HSE University have developed new approaches for regulating the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 enzymes, which play a crucial role in cell infection with SARS-CoV-2. The scholars discovered that small non-coding microRNA (miRNA) molecules are capable of performing a targeted decrease in ACE2 and TMPRSS2. The results of the study have been published in PLOS ONE journal.
Angiotensin-convertingenzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) enzymes act as entrance gates into the cell for the novel coronavirus. After successful penetration, the virus uses the cell’s recourses to replicate and exit the cell to infect new cells. Research teams all over the world are experimenting with medicinal impact on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 aimed at blocking opportunities for SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter human cells.
In addition, the ACE2 enzyme also plays a major role in the development of the acute respiratory distress syndrome, the main cause of death in patients with COVID-19. Apart from the respiratory organs, ACE2 and TMPRSS2 are also present in other parts of the body, such as the digestive system, kidneys and liver. This explains the variety of symptoms in patients, including gastrointestinal issues.
Stepan Nersisyan and Alexander Tonevitsky from the HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, together with their colleagues from Hertsen Moscow Oncology Research Center (Maxim Shkurnikov), Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry RAS (Evgeny Knyazev) and German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg (Andrey Turchinovich), looked at potential approaches for influencing the abovementioned enzymes via miRNA molecules.
They carried out bioinformatic analysis of publicly available datasets on RNA sequencing in tissues of ten key human organs. The main task was to find miRNAs, the expression of which would demonstrate a significant negative correlation with ACE2 and TMPRSS2 gene expression. This means that the more miRNA, the less ACE2/TMPRSS2, and vice versa. As a result, the researchers detected a certain amount of such interactions that are specific for several organs at the same time. In particular, they discovered that lysine-specific demethylase 5B (JARID1B) can indirectly affect ACE2/TMPRSS2 expression by repressing transcription of hsa-let-7e/hsa-mir-125a and hsa-mir-141/hsa-miR-200 miRNA families which are targeting these genes.
Many people in Russia believe that they had COVID-19 as early as December 2019 or January 2020. Is it possible to find out when the epidemic really started in Russia and where it came from? Bioinformatics provides an answer.
A team of chemists from HSE University and the Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry used molecular modelling to find out that two medications that have been known for a long time can be used to fight SARS-CoV-2. One of them is used to treat alcohol addiction, and the other is for cancer.
July marked the end of the first HSE academic term conducted entirely in remote format. Specialists of the eLearning Office and Digital Services told HSE University Life how they prepared for it and which problems they encountered.
In a recent study, HSE University researchers analyzed and ranked the responses of 48 countries to the coronavirus pandemic. National responses were evaluated with regard to three factors: medical care, social support, and economic support. Among the 48 analyzed countries, Russia placed 7th, while Australia ranked the first.
Virus Clears Up the Atmosphere: How the Pandemic Has Affected Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Other Consequences of COVID-19 in Russia and the World
Lockdown and economic crisis have led to a drastic reduction of greenhouse gasses emissions in the world. This is one of the key messages of the HSE’s eighth 'coronavirus' newsletter. In addition, experts have evaluated the consequences of COVID-19 for Russian culture, health worker support measures in various countries during the pandemic, the EU economic recovery programme, and other scenarios.
First-year undergraduate students of the HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology took part in an online seminar at George Mason University (USA). The seminar was part of the Coronavirus Research Update summer course, taught by Professor Ancha Baranova.
State and Civic Efforts Helped Save at Least 80,000 Lives in Russia During the Pandemic, HSE Experts Say
In a study, ‘How Many Deaths from COVID-19 Were Avoided by Russian Society’, experts from HSE University found that the restrictive measures taken by the Russian government and its citizens to combat the spread of the virus saved the lives of tens of thousands of Russians.
Although the Russian economy is gradually recovering from this spring’s blow, it is too soon to talk about the situation evening out. Meanwhile, primary and secondary school students seem to be quite comfortable with uncertainty. Even more so, they appear to have a more positive view of the situation than their parents and teachers do. These are the discussion points of the sixth HSE analytical newsletter on the impact of COVID-19 on Russia and the world.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the whole country ended up in self-isolation, some people have to ask for support, others prepare themselves in readiness to provide it. Have Russians felt more cautious in recent months, or do people who have been forced to stay at home still remember how to trust and help? In order to find the answers to these questions, we can analyse the data from a new all-Russian survey conducted by HSE Centre for Studies of Civil Society and Non-Profit Sector.
In this, the fifth issue of our newsletter, HSE experts comment on the government’s 'Action plan for the business and citizens income recovery and economic growth', elaborate on the May outcomes of the OPEC+ deal and analyze how psychologically challenging it will be for Russian employees to go back to their offices.