Top COVID-19 Research: Timely, Curated and Vetted by Experts

From the Curator-in-Chief's Desk—June 11, 2021

Lynn Enquist
Lynn Enquist, Ph.D., Curator-in-Chief
This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved extending the shelf life of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from 3 months to 4.5 months. This will help increase the supply of available vaccines. Over 42% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. are at their lowest since the start of the pandemic. The CDC reported this week that wide-spread vaccinations have contributed to the decrease of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in older Americans.

For those who have received the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine, Greaney, A., et al. noted that vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies bind a broader range of epitopes of the spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD) as compared to natural infection-induced neutralizing antibodies. The authors suggest this broader breadth may afford vaccinated individuals greater protection against variant lineages carrying single substitutions to the RBD. This supports the findings from Yadav, P., et al. that reported BBV152 vaccinated sera had only slight decreases in neutralization against the Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants as compared to the reference SARS-CoV-2 strain. Wall, E., et al. analyzed sera from individuals fully vaccinated with the Pfizer and BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine and also found reduced neutralization against the Beta and Delta variants, but predicted these individuals would be protected against infection after receiving 2 doses.

Researchers are also learning more about the clinical association between COVID-19 and diabetes. Tang, X., et al. found that SARS-CoV-2 infects insulin-producing pancreatic β cells. Wu, C.-T., et al. demonstrated that the neuropilin 1 (NRP1) receptor is critical for SARS-CoV-2 infection of β cells, and infection leads to reduced insulin secretion and β cell death. These factors may exacerbate diabetes in patients, highlighting the need for widespread vaccination to reduce COVID-19 infections.

This year, ASM Microbe is part of World Microbe Forum, a collaboration between ASM, FEMS, ASLM and ASV, taking place online 20-24 June 2021. This unique, global, online meeting will bring together researchers, industry professionals, students, educators and leaders in the microbial sciences from across the world. The registry will host the session "COVID-19 Research Registry: A Year of Progress" where some of our curators will provide an update on the advancement of SARS-CoV-2 research in the last year. Registration is now open, and we hope you can join us at World Microbe Forum.

Lynn Enquist, Ph.D.
COVID-19 Research Registry Curator-in-Chief


How is the genome of SARS-CoV-2 evolving? What mechanism does the coronavirus use to target human cells? How does the immune system react to SARS-CoV-2?



Will serology provide the ultimate answer? Does the existence of the antibody equal protection due to antibody neutralization? How often should patients be tested?


What are the results of the newest treatment? What drugs are in the pipeline? What are the latest outcomes from clinical trials?



What are the different kinds of vaccines? Do coronaviruses evolve to escape vaccines? What have we learned from work with Ebola virus and SARS vaccines development?


How does a pandemic start? How long will this pandemic last: can data models give us some hints? COVID-19 affects people differently depending on their age, how does this affect transmission? How does social distancing influence transmission rates?



Scientifically speaking, what is a coronavirus? What are the similarities and differences in structure and activities of SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2? What is the PK/PD of Remdesivir?

Biweekly Commentary Letter

June 4, 2021

By Jonathan D. Dinman, Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park, Md. Dr. Dinman is one of the curators of the registry.
SARS-CoV-2 uses a multipronged strategy to impede host protein synthesis” by Finkel, Y., et al., published in Nature on 12 May, 2021.
View the Commentary on ASM Connect View Past Commentaries

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Coronavirus experts and ASM staff working together to bring forward the top COVID-19 research studies to the community.

suggestions for research to be highlighted in the COVID-19 Registry.