News arrived one after another from the medical and life science research teams of Tongji University for the previous days. Researchers of Tongji University have been actively engaged in intensified research to race against time and contribute their professional wisdom in the fight against the epidemic and protect people's life and health.
On January 30, an article on "identification of potential cross-protective epitope between 2019-nCoV and the SARS virus" was published online in Journal of Genetics and Genomics by the research team headed by Professor CAO Zhiwei from the School of Life Science and Technology, Tongji University, in collaboration with the Clinical Center of the Shanghai Public Health. With help of CE-Blast, an immunogenicity calculation tool with independent intellectual property right, the research discovered that the immunogenicity of the S virus protein is closer to that of SARS in general, and the S antigens of the two viruses have a potential cross-reactive epitope in the receptor binding domain (RBD). Most importantly, one of the epitope domains is closely adjacent to the human ACE2 RBD. Therefore, the development of antibodies against this domain is expected to play a protective role in viral infection. In order to speed up the development of new virus antibodies and vaccines, CAO's team offered to share their calculation related to antibody development for free with other research teams.
On January 28, two messages issued by research teams of Tongji University spread fast among Wechat groups in China.
One is from the translation medical platform of the East Hospital. The platform is speeding up its research on mRNA-based vaccine of the novel coronavirus in collaboration with Stemirna Therapeutics (Shanghai) based on the result from the mRNA synthesis platform, a task of the project “Stem Cell Strategic Library and Stem Cell Technology Clinical Translation Platform of Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone”. Recently, an emergency research project has been set up for the development of production of the coronavirus vaccine. When the vaccine sample is produced, it will be sent to the designated national authority for the anti-coronavirus activity test. It is likely to put in clinical use upon approval.
The other message comes from the medical team headed by Professor ZUO Wei. The team discovered from analyses of over 43,000 lung cells by high-throughput and single-cell sequencing technology, that 80% of ACE2 receptors are mainly concentrated in type II alveoli, and therefore positioned the novel coronavirus receptor genes. Their research result was published online in BioRxiv (ZHAO Yu and ZHAO Zixian being the co-first authors). This young research team with an average age of 28 makes their research data public and keeps their source codes open, hoping to unite the strengths from various sources in the fight against the epidemic.
On January 25, the first day of the Lunar Chinse Year, the article Mental Health and Humanistic Care Related to 2019-nCov Infection written by the research team of Professor ZHAO Xudong, a well-known psychiatrist of the Medical School, Tongji University jointly with the Disaster Medicine Team of the China International Emergency Medical Team (Shanghai) of the East Hospital, Tongji University has been reposted by thousands of medical workers with a total reading of nearly 200,000 soon after it was issued in the Wechat official account.