Home > News content

Chinese scientists have launched a tense academic relay in the outbreak

via:CnBeta     time:2020/1/29 13:01:48     readed:518

A battle with the new coronavirus has begun, and the whole country will talk about the "poison" color change, and have "house" at home. In this battle without gunsmoke, many people may be impressed by the medical staff from all over the country rushing to help local hospitals in Wuhan, and the medical materials sent to Wuhan and other areas of Hubei Province from all over the country and even all over the world. On the other hand, scientists are also struggling to fight the epidemic. In the early days of the epidemic, scientists were involved in the study of new coronaviruses.

At present, scholars at home and abroad are carrying out a tense academic relay: from the identification of virus genome sequence to virus source, to the analysis of patients' clinical characteristics and virus transmission law, all fields have research groups involved in it.

Paper | Ye Shui

Chen Xiaoxue

● ● ●

In the early stages of the epidemic,

Domestic scholars have been involved in the study of virus

Jiang Shibo, a virologist at Fudan University, met in May 2015, when the Middle East and South Korea were suffering from mers virus. In the middle of our conversation, Professor Jiang Shibo was interrupted by the ringing telephone. At the other end of the telephone was a relevant expert from the national health department to learn about the characteristics of mers virus and drug development.

Jiang Shibo, director and virologist of Institute of pathogenic microorganism, Fudan University

In mid-january 2020, an unexplained outbreak of pneumonia occurred in wuhan, so we naturally remembered him again. On january 18th when most people in the country didn't know what the new coronavirus (2019-ncov) was, the intellectual contacted jiang shibo about the virus, his first sentence being," sorry, i'm so busy right now that i can only answer it briefly."

In the early stage of the epidemic, Jiang Shibo judged that the whole gene sequence of the virus was different from that of SARS coronavirus, but its S protein HR1 (target region of fusion inhibitor) and HR2 (derivative region of fusion inhibitor) were very similar. After the outbreak, postdoctoral doctors also actively requested to give up their leave and start the research of using polypeptides to inhibit the new coronavirus.

There are many scholars who started the research in the early stage of the epidemic. Where does the new coronavirus come from and why? The domestic academic community has launched a tense academic relay.

On December 8, 2019, unidentified pneumonia patients appeared in Wuhan. On December 26, Shanghai virologists took samples of patients and began to test the virus.

January 1,2020, South China Seafood Wholesale Market closed. On the same day, china's cdc virus institute sent a group of experts to wuhan to participate in the epidemic prevention and control, went to the south china seafood market," for the case-related merchants and related neighborhoods to collect environmental samples," and found that the samples collected contained new coronavirus nucleic acid, and successfully isolated the virus, which provided a valuable clue for the traceability of the virus and the diagnosis of the epidemic.

Although since then, Wuhan Health Committee said, "according to the epidemiological investigation of national and provincial experts, all cases of viral pneumonia of unknown causes in Wuhan will occur between December 8, 2019 and January 2, 2020. Since January 3, 2020, clinical and epidemiological investigation shows that no new infected patients have been found, "but the research on new coronavirus in academia has not stopped.

The team led by Zhang Yongzhen took the lead in completing the genome work of the new coronavirus

On January 10, a collaboration team led by Zhang Yongzhen of Biomedical Research Institute of Fudan University completed the work of Wuhan new coronavirus genome, and published the virus sequence on the website of viral.org. Although Zhang Yongzhen did not publish his paper on this virus sequence, this is a crucial step for the traceability and identification of new coronaviruses.

China shares a new genome-wide sequence of coronavirus with WHO on January 12. At the same time, China submits the sequence to the GISAID platform so that public health institutions, laboratories and researchers can access it.

On January 17, Gao Shan and other scholars from the school of life sciences of Nankai University published an article "bioinformatics analysis of Wuhan 2019 coronavirus genome" in the Journal of bioinformatics, saying that the results of traceability analysis support that Wuhan 2019 coronavirus originated from the Chinese Rhinolophus bat, and infer that the virus may be a new variant of the coronavirus, with fast variation, many hosts and strong host Adaptability.

On January 18, when Jiang Shibo, a scholar at Fudan University, was contacted by "intellectuals", he made a preliminary judgment on the source of the virus, which attracted great attention. "The receptor binding site of this virus is very similar to that of SARS virus. It may be that when it enters a new host (maybe a wild animal), its receptor binding site mutates, so that it can infect human beings like SARS virus."

On January 21, researcher Hao Pei of the Pasteur Institute of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences, researcher Zhong Wu of the Academy of military medicine and researcher Li Xuan of the center of molecular plant excellence of Chinese Academy of Sciences published the latest research progress on the evolutionary source of new coronavirus in the English edition of Chinese Science: life sciences. The researchers found that "the gene sequence of the new coronavirus is similar to that of SARS virus and mers virus by ~ 70% and ~ 40%, respectively, but the key spike gene (encoding s protein) that they act on with host cells is quite different", and the new coronavirus belongs to beta coronavirus.

Shi Zhengli is known as "bat woman"

On January 23, the team of Shi Zhengli from Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, published a research of great concern, pointing the source of new coronavirus to bats. In the academic circle, Shi Zhengli is called "bat woman". This study reported a new type of coronavirus in Wuhan, and found that the sequence similarity between the virus and SARS CoV (SARS) was 79.5%, while the homology with bat coronavirus was 96%, so she speculated that the new type of coronavirus might come from bats.

New coronaviruses share highly similar sequences with SARS-CoV

Although this study was published on the preprint of biorxiv without peer review, it has attracted great attention and laid a foundation for the traceability of new coronaviruses.

Structural characteristics of new coronavirus under electron microscope

On January 24, the first virus isolated from clinical samples was successfully isolated by the Institute of viral disease prevention and control of China Center for Disease Control and prevention. On January 27, the Institute of viral disease prevention and control of China Center for Disease Control and Prevention released the Chinese and English names and numbers (NPRC 2020.00002) of the first new coronavirus isolated from environmental samples.

Writing in the journal Science questions the origin of more than one virus

Of course, the traceability of the new coronavirus is not smooth, there are many disputes. For example, on January 27, science magazine wrote that the South China seafood market in Wuhan is not the only place where the new coronavirus originated.

In addition, new coronaviruses are derived from bats, but there is also controversy over whether there is an intermediate host, and who the intermediate host is. On january 22nd units such as peking university and guangxi university of traditional chinese medicine published in the journal of medical virology said the codon preference for new coronaviruses was similar to that of snakes, so snakes were the most likely animals to carry new coronaviruses. The speculation has been challenged by academia, with British virologists arguing that "there is no evidence that snakes can be infected by this new coronavirus and used as hosts, except for mammals and birds, there is no consistent evidence of Beta coronavirus in other hosts."

In addition, when the paper published in the English edition of Chinese Science: Life Sciences quoted the sequence data of new coronavirus, it was used before the permission of the uploader, which was criticized by the experts in the industry. After that, the relevant scholars had to modify and correct the paper. In addition, Gao Shan's papers were published using shared data without communication with Zhang Yongzhen's team, which led to a verbal battle between Fudan University and Nankai University.

A senior scholar in the field of Virology in China said, "the open sequence on GenBank is open, but the adoption of sequence data on gisaid must be authorized by the uploader's consent. The core principle is that once you register, you will accept the constraints."

Scientists are responding very quickly and studying the new coronavirus in depth, but the mystery of how the new coronavirus infects humans remains to be found. More important now is the publication of epidemiological characteristics of new coronaviruses and clinical data of patients, with a view to controlling the epidemic early and finding a cure.

Determine epidemic situation, publish epidemiological and clinical data

Photo taken by Su Yueming on a train from Guangzhou to Wuhan

Before the expert group led by Zhong Nanshan announced that there was human to human transmission of the new coronavirus, most of the domestic residents were still immersed in the celebration of the Spring Festival and were on their way home. There are more than 5 million people from the Han Dynasty before the second day of the new year. They are scattered all over the country and go home to meet their relatives.

On January 18, a high-level expert group of the National Health and Health Commission headed by Academician Zhong Nanshan went to Wuhan, where they went to Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital and Wuhan CDC for information. On january 20th zhongnanshan's remarks made the nation attach importance to the new coronavirus.

"According to current data, the new coronavirus pneumonia is definitely human to human." Zhong Nanshan said in an interview with CCTV news that day.

Only a few days later, the severity of the new coronavirus epidemic was more severe than many expected. Not only did Wuhan suffer, but cases were found throughout the country affected by the migration of the Spring Festival.

Since then, the epidemiology, clinical data and reviews of the new coronavirus have been published in four major international medical journals, namely, the New England Medical Journal, the lancet, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the British Medical Journal.

On January 24, Tan Wenjie, director of the emergency technical center for viral diseases of the Institute for viral disease prevention and control of the China Center for Disease Control and prevention, Gao Fu, director of the China Center for Disease Control and prevention, and Wu Guizhen, director of the Institute for viral disease prevention and control of the China Center for Disease Control and prevention, jointly published papers in the New England Journal of medicine.

In December 2019, a group of patients with unexplained pneumonia were found to be related to the seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, China, the researchers said. A previously unknown β - coronavirus was found by unbiased sequencing of pneumonia samples. A novel coronavirus named 2019 ncov was isolated from human airway epithelial cells. In addition, the disease characteristics of three adult patients with severe pneumonia were analyzed, and the 2019-ncov virus was isolated from clinical samples.

This new coronavirus epidemic transmission time axis

On the same day, the lancet and its sub journals launched the theme of "new type of coronavirus" at the same time. The epidemic characteristics of this new type of coronavirus were described from the aspects of clinical symptoms, transmission mode (tracking family research), etc.

Early infection cases of new virus exposed in South China Seafood Market

Huang Chaolin, chief physician of thoracic surgery of Jinyintan hospital in Wuhan, analyzed and summarized the clinical symptoms of 41 patients with initial infection. It was found that 27 of 41 patients had contacted the seafood market in South China, and pointed out that the common symptoms of the infected patients were fever, followed by cough and fatigue. According to the analysis of 41 patients, 13 (32%) were sent to ICU and 6 (15%) died. Such a high fatality rate is beyond many people's expectation. Of course, this is only a preliminary clinical result. We need more epidemiological details about the new coronavirus. What's more surprising is that three of the top four infected people have no history of exposure to the seafood market in South China. The South China seafood market in Wuhan is not the only place where the new coronavirus originated.


A case study of an infected family disclosed by Chen Fuhe and other scholars. The picture is from lancet.com, which is made by volunteers in Chinese

Another highly concerned article in the lancet comes from Yuan Guoyong's team of Li Ka Shing Medical College of Hong Kong University. They focused on a family infected with 2019 ncov, and found that the incidence of new coronavirus has family clustering. They used the data to determine the human-to-human transmission pathway of 2019 ncov. "The findings of our study are consistent with previous human to human transmission of the new coronavirus in hospital and family settings, and cases of infected passengers have been reported in other countries." Yuan said.

Several antiviral drugs are in clinical trials

With the increasing number of new coronavirus infections, are there any targeted and effective drugs? Maybe everyone is paying attention to this topic. Several research teams at home and abroad are working intensively on drug development, but so far there is no officially proven effective drug or vaccine.

On January 25, led by academicians Jiang Hualiang and Rao Zihe of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a joint emergency response team was established to fight against 2019 ncov infection. Through the screening of several databases, 30 drugs and active natural products that may have therapeutic effects on 2019 ncov were obtained. The drug research is still very early.

On January 26, Lu Hongzhou, the Shanghai public health clinical center, said in an interview that the AIDS treatment drug lopinavir / ritonavir has been used in the treatment of new confirmed cases of pneumonia in the Shanghai public health clinical center, "clinical observation has effect, but this is only a preliminary conclusion, we need to do more observation." Lu Hongzhou said.

On january 27th the intellectuals connected to jiang shibo, whose team is working to find out if the ek1 polypeptide is effective for patients with a new type of coronavirus, jiang said that "it may be used in patients with a new type of coronavirus ".

As early as in the early 1990s, Jiang Shibo found the first highly effective anti HIV C peptide. Since then, during the SARS epidemic in 2003, he has developed anti SARS peptide. In 2014 and 2017, he has successively developed anti mers peptide and anti Zika virus peptide.

In April 2019, his team announced in science progress that they had successfully developed a broad-spectrum anti coronavirus peptide EK1, "which is effective for all five human coronaviruses (including SARS CoV and mers COV) and three bat like SARS coronaviruses detected by us (the amino acid sequence of s-hr2 region of Wuhan new coronavirus and the amino acid sequence of s-cov and SL cov s-hr2 region of SARS CoV and SL COV) It is believed that EK1 peptide should be equally effective for Wuhan new coronavirus Jiang Shibo said.

At present, they are testing the inhibitory activity of EK1 polypeptide on 2019 ncov pseudovirus and live virus infection and its inhibitory effect on membrane fusion. "Once confirmed, we will make the peptide form a specific nasal cavity / oral spray type of anti coronavirus, which is free to high-risk groups (such as medical staff or family members of patients) to prevent 2019-nCoV infection." Jiang Shibo said.

According to the report of China Center for Disease Control and prevention, the current evidence shows that 2019 new coronavirus began to infect people for more than one month, with the main epidemic area concentrated in Wuhan and its surrounding areas, "the epidemic is still in the early stage of epidemic". It is expected that more scholars will join in the battle against the new coronavirus and the epidemic will subside as soon as possible.

China IT News APP

Download China IT News APP

Please rate this news

The average score will be displayed after you score.

Post comment

Do not see clearly? Click for a new code.

User comments