By early 2020, concern was mounting about a new, deadly coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China.
The World Health Organization had declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency just days before. There had been more than 400 deaths and more than 20,000 cases, most of those in China.
But the virus was spreading around the world. Deaths had occurred in Hong Kong and the Philippines, and the virus had been detected in the U.S. and Canada.
By early January of 2020, scientists in China had already sequenced the virus’s genome and made it public, allowing scientists to begin the research for a vaccine.
Scientists expected that could take years.
But, as a second case was confirmed in B.C. in early February, Thomas Madden, a world-renowned expert in nanotechnology who heads Vancouver-based biotech company Acuitas Therapeutics, flew to Germany.
Acuitas was in the business of creating lipid nanoparticles, microscopic biological vehicles that could deliver drugs — for example, to specifically target cancers in the body.
Just before the emergence of the novel coronavirus, Acuitas had been working with German companies BioNTech and CureVac on developing messenger RNA vaccines, a new frontier of vaccines. Early clinical study results on an mRNA vaccine for rabies that Acuitas was working on with CureVac had shown promising results.
In simple terms, the new mRNA vaccines teach the body’s cells to trigger an immune response using the virus’s genetic code, unlike traditional vaccines that use weakened forms of the virus itself to trigger the immune response.
In Germany, Madden met with the husband-wife team of BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin and chief medical officer Özlem Türeci, as well as German regulatory authorities, about what studies would be needed before starting a clinical testing program for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The idea was to pivot all existing efforts on various vaccines to create a vaccine to fighting the coronavirus with the help of Acuitas’ lipid nanoparticles delivery vehicle.
They did just that…
Image Credit: Jason Payne /PNG
A paper recently published in the journal ACS Applied Energy Materials demonstrated the feasibility of using a covalent organic framework (COF)-based nanofluidic hybrid membranes (NHMs) to attain enhanced interfacial ion transport for the generation of osmotic [...]
The excess fluoroquinolones (FQs) discharged into the aquatic environment due to human activities must be removed cost-effectively. In an article published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, the authors fabricated an environment-friendly dealkaline lignin-grafted Fe3O4 nanoparticles [...]
Controlling strong electromagnetic fields on nanoparticles is the key to triggering targeted molecular reactions on their surfaces. Such control over strong fields is achieved via laser light. Although laser-induced formation and breaking of molecular [...]
A paper recently published in the journal Nature Communications demonstrated an effective method to realize on-chip nanophotonic topological rainbow devices using the concept of synthetic dimensions. Importance of Synthetic Dimensions for the Construction of Topological Nanophotonics [...]
In a study available in the journal Materials Today: Proceedings, silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) were fabricated using a green method using Citrus X sinensis. Methylthioninium Chloride (MB) Dyes Threatening the Environment Dye and sewage drainage into [...]
Public health experts are divided over how many people are getting long COVID-19, a potentially debilitating condition that comes after a patient has recovered from the coronavirus. Ill effects from the condition can include [...]
Well over two years into the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of COVID cases continue to be recorded around the world every day. With the rise of new variants, the symptoms of COVID have also evolved. Initially, [...]
Drug resistance is a common phenomenon, with drugs becoming less and less effective as their usage increases. To address this issue, a novel technique employing conjugated polymer-based nanoparticles is presented in the study published [...]
Microrobots have the potential to revolutionize medicine. Researchers at the Max Planck ETH Centre for Learning Systems have now developed an imaging technique that for the first time recognises cell-sized microrobots individually and at [...]
Scientists have recently developed multifunctional hexagonal NaxWO3 nanocrystals that can serve as microwave sensitizers to kill cancer cells as well as improve the overall chemodynamic therapy (CDT). This study is available as a pre-proof in Chemical Engineering Journal. [...]
Apple’s visionary founder, the late Steve Jobs once said, “the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology”. And that prediction is coming true in the drug [...]
Chemical separation processes are essential in the manufacturing of many products from gasoline to whiskey. Such processes are energetically costly, accounting for approximately 10–15 percent of global energy consumption. In particular, the use of [...]
Scientists have recently developed electrochemical immunosensors based on graphene oxide−gold (GO−Au) nanocomposites. These immunosensors are highly sensitive with dual function, i.e., they can detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antigen and antibody. [...]
Omicron relatives called BA.4 and BA.5 are behind a fresh wave of COVID-19 in South Africa, and could be signs of a more predictable future for SARS-CoV-2. Here we go again. Nearly six months [...]