Feb 11, 2022 12:00:00 PM       by Hannah Flaherty

Lab Member of The Year: Dr. F. Xavier Ruiz

In November 2021 we hosted a Lab Member of the Year contest. This contest allowed for various members of the research community to be highlighted for their contributions to their respective labs. At the end of it all Dr. Francesc X. "Xavi" Ruiz Figueras, an assistant research professor at Rutgers' Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, took first place and became ABclonal's Lab Member of the Year.

Dr. Ruiz Figueras is a highly skilled scientist who has made significant scientific contributions to the fields of enzymology and structural biology studying the structure and function of human and viral proteins, especially HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and human aldo-keto reductases, with an emphasis on catalysis and inhibition for drug discovery1. In his spare time he enjoys playing basketball, reading, and spending time with his family. Currently, he is reading a book about philosophy, which he feels has applications to living during these pandemic times. He believes we should take whatever the life lessons we can take from this book in order to hopefully be more resilient.

We sat down with Dr. Ruiz to discuss his lab life at Rutgers, his current research, and what he is looking forward to researching in the future. 


Jan 11, 2022 12:57:34 PM       by Edward Li, Ph.D

The 3CLpro as a Potential Target for the Intervention of COVID-19

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has raised global health concerns. As case numbers continue to climb, there is an urgent need for an active drugs against SARS-CoV-2. The development of new drugs is time-consuming and costly, and the safety of new drugs is paramount. Therefore, the strategy of drug repurposing represents one of the fastest approaches to have an active drug to fight SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a matter of fact, in silico repurposing approaches have found increasing popularity during the COVID-19 epidemic [1], especially with the great breakthrough achieved using 3CLpro as a target to screen drugs. By the end of 2021, the FDA has authorized the first oral antiviral drug Paxlovid, produced by Pfizer, to treat COVID-19. Due to that much of the scientific and clinical work on drug repurposing or drug screening against SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 is still ongoing, in this blog we will review the latest progress on the potential targets, including 3CLpro, for the drug discovery or intervention of COVID-19.


Apr 26, 2021 3:00:00 PM       by Dennis Miao

COVID-19: 5 Aspects to Understand

Having been over a year since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic, we here at ABclonal have had the chance to compile and explore a wide range of information, resources, and breakthroughs related to the novel coronavirus through our blogs. Below, we've organized and selected five recommended pieces of reading related to COVID-19, covering topics including asymptomatic cases, the different detection methods (PCR vs. antibody testing), as well as a one-year-mark review of the impact of COVID-19.



Apr 12, 2021 3:30:00 PM       by Dennis Miao

The Impact of COVID-19: A Year in Review

It has now been over a year since March 2020, when the World Health Organization determined that the growing spread of COVID-19 would be officially characterized as a global pandemic. The year that followed challenged humanity with a public health crisis on a scale that few could even imagine, with far-reaching social and economic impacts still being felt across the globe. And yet, this past year also brought out the best in many of us, with medical professionals diligently fighting the pandemic on the front lines and researchers collaborating to progress our global recovery. Owing to the relentless work of researchers making breakthroughs in vaccine research, it appears that the long road to recovery has finally begun.

 


Sep 17, 2020 12:00:00 PM       by Dennis Miao

FDA OKs Abbott's COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit

In a press release on August 26th, 2020, Abbott Laboratories announced that they were issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA for their new, rapid point-of-care COVID-19 antigen test. Branded as the “BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card”, the test is unique compared to the more prevalent molecular-based detection tests for COVID-19 in that it utilizes a lateral flow assay, similar to traditional over-the-counter pregnancy tests. Contained in a portable, credit-card sized device, Abbott claims that the test can deliver results in as little as 15 minutes, representing a significant reduction in time compared to RT-PCR-based tests that have turnaround times on a scale of hours rather than minutes.

 


Jul 22, 2020 1:35:25 PM       by Dennis Miao

Pricing in a Pandemic: Gilead Announces Remdesivir Pricing

During these past few months, the push to discover effective treatments and vaccines against COVID-19 has largely overshadowed another vitally important aspect of drug development: drug pricing. Let’s take a look at a recent example from pharma giant Gilead, who recently announced the pricing for its promising COVID-19 treatment remdesivir.