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    When someone becomes infected with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen proliferates rapidly in the cells of the infected person. To do so, the virus has to multiply its genetic material, which consists of a single long RNA strand. This task is performed by the viral 'copy machine', the so-called polymerase. Scientists led by Patrick Cramer at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, have now determined the 3D structure of the corona polymerase. This makes it possible to investigate how antiviral drugs such as remdesivir – which blocks the polymerase – work, and to search for new inhibitory substances.

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    The novel coronavirus tends to affect men more severely than it does women. Though nobody can yet explain the oddity, researchers are hot on the case. It's possible that the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone play a role, according to previous research on respiratory illnesses. Or perhaps it's because the X chromosome (which women have two of, but men have only one) has a larger number of immune-related genes, giving women a more robust immune system to fight off the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Or, maybe the virus is hiding in the testes, which has abundant expression of ACE2 receptors, the portal that allows SARS-CoV-2 into cells.

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    The new coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, may be using part of the human body's own immune response against us, a new study suggests.

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    As doctors see more and more COVID-19 patients, they are noticing an odd trend: Patients whose blood oxygen saturation levels are exceedingly low but who are hardly gasping for breath. These patients are quite sick, but their disease does not present like typical acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a type of lung failure known from the 2003 outbreak of the SARS coronavirus and other respiratory diseases. Their lungs are clearly not effectively oxygenating the blood, but these patients are alert and feeling relatively well, even as doctors debate whether to intubate them by placing a breathing tube down the throat.

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    As doctors learn more about what makes COVID-19 so severe for some patients, they have discovered a mysterious and potentially lethal complication of the disease: blood clots.

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    Covid-19 leads to a similar excessive immune reaction in the lungs as in organs affected by rheumatism, psoriasis or intestinal inflammation. A research team at FAU has now shown in a study that drugs used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, so-called cytokine inhibitors, inhibit Covid-19 before the coronavirus can spread in the body.

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    Most viral test kits rely on labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques; for example, tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs. Now, researchers have demonstrated an inexpensive yet sensitive smartphone-based testing device for viral and bacterial pathogens that takes about 30 minutes to complete. The roughly $50 smartphone accessory could reduce the pressure on testing laboratories during a pandemic such as COVID-19.

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    Certain genetic differences might separate people who fall severely ill with COVID-19 from those who contract the infection but hardly develop a cough, a new preliminary study suggests. 

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    A low-cost, easy-to-build non-invasive ventilator aimed at supporting the breathing of patients with respiratory failure performs similarly to conventional commercial devices, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

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    Manual for practical psychotherapeutic work with clients from or in war and conflict areas: Prof. Dr. Jan Ilhan Kizilhan and colleagues focus in "Trauma Workbook" on the change of dysfunctional behavior and its sustaining factors. There are two goals: One is the reduction of symptoms, the other is to improve the quality of life or functioning.

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