July 2020 | View Online
Is the food supply strong enough to weather COVID-19?
The world continues to weather the pandemic while keeping a close watch on supplies and prices. Food remains plentiful so far, but lingering economic disruptions and challenged supply chains will still pose challenges for consumers.

Artificial fibril scaffold technology developed to capture SAR-CoV-2 virus for use in masks and tests
Researchers are adapting technology to make self-assembling protein scaffolds to combat coronavirus. The proteins are based on a natural antifreeze amyloid protein related to the proteins found as plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. They hope the technique could be used in diagnostic tests or for virus-neutralizing masks and other protective equipment.

Evaluation of an intranasal compound for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection
Researchers at UC Davis are evaluating the effectiveness of a variant of the compound chitosan. In-vitro studies have shown chitosan, a compound obtained from shrimp shells, has antiviral activity against coronaviruses, but it has not yet been tested against SARS-CoV-2. In the absence of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the compound may have usefulness in protecting first responders and others in high-risk environments.

Universal need for massive testing — are we deluding ourselves?
Many leaders in government, business and public health are calling for massive SARS-CoV-2 testing as the key to confronting the COVID-19 pandemic and reopening the economy. Testing everyone at frequent-enough intervals to impact the disease’s spread is impractical, expensive, and unlikely to be achieved. Instead, leaders at UC Davis Health recommend focusing efforts on highly accurate, complete and rapid turnaround testing for five key groups.

COVID-19 vaccine with patch delivery technology enters preclinical testing
Verndari Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, began preclinical testing at UC Davis’ Mouse Biology Program to evaluate a potential vaccine and delivery system for COVID-19. Verndari’s VaxiPatch is a single-dose vaccination kit that uses a dermal patch with a metal microneedle array to deliver vaccines.

UC Davis Health conducts first plasma transfusions for COVID-19
Two UC Davis Health patients with COVID-19 have received plasma transfusions from a blood donor who recovered from the virus. The approach boosts the sick patients’ abilities to neutralize the virus and its devastating effects.

Troubling COVID-19 syndrome identified in children
If there’s some good news in the novel coronavirus pandemic, it’s that children have been far less susceptible to it. When children have become infected, the vast majority have mild symptoms. Worldwide, children younger than 10 years make up only one percent of COVID 19 cases. However, a newly identified and severe inflammatory syndrome – similar to Kawasaki disease ̶ has been linked to the coronavirus.

Pandemic interception system proposed by major genomics partnership
Three major initiatives in biodiversity genomics — BIOSCAN, the Earth BioGenome Project and the Global Virome Project — have joined forces to deliver a “pandemic interception system” based upon comprehensive knowledge of pathogens and their hosts.

Making proteins for COVID-19 antibody tests
Three chemical engineering research groups are teaming up to find new ways to produce COVID-19 proteins for serological tests for antibodies. With a new grant from the UC Davis Office of Research COVID-19 Research Accelerator Funding Track (CRAFT), assistant professor Priya Shah and professors Karen McDonald and Roland Faller are combining their expertise to quickly produce high-quality viral proteins using mammalian cells and plants.

COVID-19 contact-tracing tool developed by Vice Chancellor for Research and graduate student
The app, We-Care, allows users to check in at specific locations and notifies them if someone reporting themselves as positive for COVID-19 checks in at the same location within a certain time window.

Drug discovered at UC Davis may control the inflammatory response to COVID-19
A drug discovered in the Bruce Hammock laboratory at UC Davis may control the body's inflammatory response to COVID-19 and could help patients recover, according to a nine-member research team's newly published commentary in the journal Cancer Metastasis and Reviews.

Hundreds of at-risk California Filipinos not tested for COVID-19
A recent survey found that 40 percent of homes have a health care worker living there. And more than 95 percent of the survey respondents said they had not been tested for the coronavirus yet. Nationwide, it has been reported that Filipinos are overrepresented among health care workers, and the California data show similar trends, researchers said.

Engineers and clinician develop low-cost, portable ventilator
Engineers at UC Davis are working with clinicians to create a simple, inexpensive ventilator in an attempt to address a potential shortage. The device, named “AmbuBox,” is based on the ambu-bag, a handheld ventilation device. Squeezing the bag by hand pushes air into a patient’s lungs. The team intends to make the plans freely available online.

As Americans shelter in place, traffic, emissions and fuel-tax revenues decline dramatically
Americans drove drastically less, saved millions of metric tons of greenhouse gases, and, in some states, lost millions in fuel-tax revenue since COVID-19 mitigation efforts took effect in early March. That is according to the latest special report from the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis.

Roadkill declines as COVID-19 continues
Fewer wild animals, including threatened mountain lions, are becoming roadkill during shelter-in-place orders, finds a new UC Davis study using traffic and collision data collected from California, Idaho and Maine. This respite, if it continues, could amount to about 5,700 to 13,000 fewer large mammals killed each year in those states alone, and 50 fewer mountain lion deaths per year in California.

Upcoming Event: COVID-19 Transmission
On the next UC Davis LIVE, we will be talking about transmission. How does the COVID-19 virus spread? What can we do to stop it? And going into a holiday weekend, we’ll be talking about what you can do to reduce the risk to you and your family with researchers from the UC Davis College of Engineering and UC Davis Health .

This event will be streamed live starting at 11:00 a.m. PDT on Thursday, July 2 Thursday, on the main UC Davis Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/UCDavis) and will be uploaded to our YouTube channel ( https://www.youtube.com/user/UCDavis ).
View our list of experts
You can view a list of experts on COVID-19 from various disciplines here .
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Prasant Mohapatra | Office of Research | pmohapatra@ucdavis.edu