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

From the Curator-in-Chief's Desk—May 20, 2022

Lynn Enquist
Lynn Enquist, Ph.D., Curator-in-Chief
Vaccine Boosters for Children 5 to 11 Authorized

This week, global COVID-19 cases increased for the first time in weeks. U.S. cases have steadily increased for the past month among all age groups, including children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer & BioNTech mRNA vaccine for children 5 through 11 years old this week. Primary and booster vaccine doses induce effective protection to variants of concern, which is important as over 99% of new cases in the U.S. are caused by Omicron. Published this week in Nature Microbiology, Yung, M., et al. detected memory T cells that respond to the Omicron spike protein in samples from individuals vaccinated with 2 or 3 doses of the Pfizer & BioNTech mRNA vaccine. Increased vaccine access and equity along with masking and social distancing are all ways to help slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Therapeutics Effective Against Variants

Therapeutics provide additional protection against severe disease caused by new variants. Tested in a hamster model, Rosenke, K., et al. in JCI Insight found the oral antiviral molnupiravir inhibited virus replication of the Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omicron variants. Uraki, R., et al. also observed effective viral inhibition of Omicron BA.2 by molnupiravir, with additional SARS-CoV-2 main protease inhibitors and some monoclonal antibody therapies also retaining activity to Omicron BA.2 in their Nature article. Researchers are also developing broad antivirals and next-generation vaccines specifically targeting variants for current and emerging variants.

Preparing for Emerging Variants

SARS-CoV-2 will continue to evolve, making it critical to prepare and plan for new variants. Thank you to all who participated in the registry’s virtual discussion on emerging variants this week. I especially want to thank Drs. Esther Babady, Florian Krammer and Penny Moore for sharing their insights and highlighting the need for continued surveillance, neutralization assays and constant monitoring of diagnostics and therapeutics’ efficacy as first steps when variants arise. Collaborative networks that allow for rapid and easy sharing of data among academic, commercial, public health and government sources supported by sustained and global funding will help scientists become proactive instead of reactive to new variants. These collaborations can be used to respond to other global pathogens, such as HIV, and emerging outbreaks, such as monkeypox cases recently reported in Europe and the U.S. For our part, the registry will continue to provide timely and high-impact resources for the community. While there have been many good and thorough papers about COVID-19 published, the registry curated only those that are novel, high quality, relevant and fill a vital knowledge gap in our selected categories to provide a one-stop-shop of authoritative information of fundamental research on SARS-CoV-2.

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

May 13, 2022

By Jonathan D. Dinman, Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park, Md. Dinman is a curator of the registry. 

"Imatinib inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection by an off-target-mechanism" by Strobelt et al., published in Scientific Reports on April 6, 2022. 
  View the Commentary on ASM Connect View Past Commentaries

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