COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATE
VACCINE NAME: BNT162b2
DOSE: 2 doses, 3 weeks apart
TYPE: Muscle injection
STORAGE: Freezer storage only at –94°F (–70°C)
TYPE: Genetic Vaccine (mRNA)
APPROVAL: Singapore, USA (has not been approved or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA), Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Bahrain, United Kingdom
RESEARCH: Their clinical trial enrolled 44,392 participants and 42,845 received second vaccination at 150 clinical sites in 6 countries. The participants spanned over a diverse background in terms of race and age.
REFERENCE: On December 10, 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech announced publication of results from this trial in the New England Journal of Medicine.
India is gearing up for the next big challenge at hand: administering covid-19 vaccines to 135+ crore population. While the potential vaccine candidates-COVISHIELD (Oxford-AstraZeneca), COVAXIN (Bharat Biotech) and BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) are under review for emergency use, the centre has released certain guidelines to ensure logistical viability. Some of these
guidelines include vaccinating 100-200 people during each session per day, monitoring recipients for 30 mins after administering the shot, crowd management strategies, a digitalized platform to track beneficiaries for the vaccine, to name a few.
REFERENCE: Times of India
DNAApp for Smartphones
The Android version is available in Google Play Store as ‘DNAApp’, and the iOS version is available in the App Store
This app is a product of the Antibody & Product Development Lab, Translational Research Division, Bioinformatics Institute, Agency for Science, Technology, and Research, Singapore.
CREATORS: Mr NGUYEN Phi Vu, and Dr Samuel KE GAN.
PURPOSE: decoding and visualizing raw DNA sequencing data from Applied Biosystems’ Sequencing Analysis software (ab1 file format)
FEATURES: in built reverse complementation, protein translation and searching for specific sequences, harnessing of online Web tools for a full range of analysis, “Jump to”, fast and end scrolling, chromatogram adjustments, export to fasta.
MISSION: to increase productivity and facilitate high demand for analyzing sequencing data in biomedical research.
Affordable Genetically Modified tomatoes enriched in L-DOPA
John Innes Centre
TARGET CONSUMERS: Developing nations where access to pharma drugs is restricted.
THEORY: L-DOPA is an amino acid precursor of the neuro-chemical dopamine and is used to compensate for the depleted supply of dopamine in Parkinson’s disease patients. The research team inserted the gene encoding tyrosinase (an enzyme that uses tyrosine) to build molecules of the drug.
This led to increased levels of L-DOPA in fruits. (150mg of L-DOPA per kg of tomatoes)
AIM: Professor Cathie Martin, corresponding author of the study explains: “The idea is that you can grow tomatoes with relatively little infrastructure. As GMOs (genetically modified organisms) you could grow them in screen houses, controlled environments with very narrow meshes, so you would
not have pollen escape through insects.