COVID-19

Potent mini antibodies could lead the way to faster, cheaper antiviral drugs

By Lindsay Borthwick

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3D model of a coronavirus-fighting mini antibody | University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Moving quickly to get COVID-19 therapeutics into the clinic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted emergency approval to two antibody treatments for COVID-19, developed by Eli Lilly and Regeneron. The drugs generally contain one or more disease-fighting proteins called monoclonal antibodies that mimic those made by the human immune system. So far, they are proving safe, making researchers even more optimistic about the potential of lab-made antibodies to prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infections.

A recent article in Nature Biotechnology pegged the number of antibody treatments for COVID-19 that are undergoing human testing at 13, with at least another 150 in the discovery phase. The Coronavirus Immunotherapeutic Consortium (CoVIC), a U.S.-based nonprofit organization providing independent evaluation of antibody therapeutics, has a slightly higher tally. It has received more than 180 therapeutic antibody candidates for evaluation from academics, nonprofits, biotech and pharmaceutical companies around the world. …


WEBINAR

Join our free webinar on November 4th to learn how baby turtles and narcoleptic dogs led to careers in science

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At the best of times, a career transition can be difficult, especially when you’re jumping to a whole new field. Meta’s product application scientists, Burcin Ikiz and Michael Czerwinski, can shed some light on what that process can look like.

Because of Michael and Burcin’s collective experience in academia and industry, their job is to wear their scientist hats while working with our teams to develop Meta. In their current roles, they get to problem solve every day and help fill a major need in the biomedical research community. …


COVID-19

Scientists are scouring SARS-CoV-2 genomes for clues to the virus’s origins, spread and evolution. What’s written into its RNA?

By Lindsay Borthwick

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PRODUCT NEWS

How we used BioBERT to surface the papers you most want to see

By Ana-Maria Istrate

At Meta, we are helping biomedical researchers keep up with the latest scientific preprints and articles through feeds powered by machine learning models. Recently, we introduced Matched to You feed sorting, in which articles are now organized by their relevance to you based on your interaction with the content in a feed.

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The Meta Personalized Ranking Algorithm

Our personalized ranking algorithm is a content-based recommender system model that predicts what scientific articles users would be most interested in.

Let’s use a feed on COVID-19 as an example. Below is the composition for a feed named “COVID-19” based on a number of keywords and concepts. This query will retrieve papers that are either tagged with ‘COVID 19’, or with the concept 2019-NCoV, or with the concept COVID-19, and so on. …


PRODUCT NEWS

Watch highlights from our webinar on how to save time keeping up with new research

By Jennifer L. Minnick

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Unleashing the power of Meta was the focus of a recent webinar, and the first in a series. In roughly 30 minutes, Product Manager Erin Hoops provided an introduction to Meta, answered questions, and gave an overview of the exciting changes and new features we have planned for Meta in the near future.

By watching this recording, you can easily get started with using Meta. The video is divided into chapters to help you readily access the part of Meta you want to learn about (on the play bar, the dots indicate chapters, and the chapter playlist will pop up when you click the second icon from the right). …


Go deeper into the transformative research honored by one of science’s biggest prizes.

By Lindsay Borthwick

Last week, the 2021 Breakthrough Prizes were awarded to biomedical researchers David Baker, Catherine Dulac, Dennis Lo, and Richard Youle. Their discoveries — on the design of synthetic proteins, the neural circuits of parenting, prenatal testing for genetic disease, and the role of key proteins in hereditary Parkinson’s — have been transformative, overturning longstanding ideas in biology and opening up promising new avenues of exploration.

Join us in celebrating these four remarkable scientists, and use Meta’s Breakthrough Prize-related feeds to go deeper into the research areas the prizewinners have shaped and follow their science as it evolves.

David Baker, Protein Designer

David Baker has deciphered the rules governing how proteins twist, bend and fold into their final shape and uses them to desi
David Baker has deciphered the rules governing how proteins twist, bend and fold into their final shape and uses them to desi
David Baker has deciphered the rules governing how proteins twist, bend and fold into their final shape and uses those rules to design synthetic proteins. | Institute of Protein Design, University of Washington

David Baker, PhD, designs and builds proteins from scratch, a feat of scientific derring-do made possible by decades of research into understanding how chains of amino acids twist, bend, and fold into their final shape. …


OPEN SCIENCE

How we used Meta to empower computational scientists to mine coronavirus research

By Alex D. Wade

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Creative rendition of SARS-COV-2 virus particles. Note: not to scale. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

Accelerating Research Amidst a Global Crisis

Earlier this year, as scientists struggled to learn about COVID-19, immediate access to research and clinical findings became critical for the research community to share and learn from each other, and open science has become pivotal in addressing the pandemic.

Open science is an effort to embrace each step in the research process as an opportunity to share, improve, collaborate, and accelerate the cycles of science. More broadly, open science is a set of practices that aims to make science more equitable, reproducible, verifiable, and efficient. Open sharing of software code, protocols, and data allows researchers to re-use resources and reproduce experiments, or to formulate new hypotheses and experiments. And the sharing of preprints, on platforms such as bioRxiv and medRxiv, can accelerate the time to discovery and is already accelerating efforts to combat COVID-19. …


COVID-19

Northwestern’s Thomas McDade aims to track coronavirus infections and explain social inequalities by neighborhood, one drop of blood at a time.

By Christopher King

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Thomas McDade, PhD, and his colleagues at Northwestern University devised a blood test for antibodies to the coronavirus, allowing detailed monitoring of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in specific geographic areas. Credit: Northwestern University

With the COVID-19 pandemic prompting untold thousands of researchers to pivot their work to the coronavirus, much of the effort has naturally played out within such fields as molecular biology, virology, and immunology. Nevertheless, scientists from other disciplines have also joined the fray.

One such researcher is Thomas McDade, PhD, of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His work occupies a niche at the intersection of biology and anthropology, investigating how biomedical factors such as inflammation, tracked over time and combined with lifestyle and environmental data, can predict rates of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other health problems within given populations. …


COVID-19

Research is illuminating who is at risk for the new condition, known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), and what sets it apart from other serious illnesses.

By Lindsay Borthwick

A 3-D printed model of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2
A 3-D printed model of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2
About 600 children in the United States have been diagnosed with a rare hyperinflammatory syndrome linked to COVID-19. Credit: NIH

As debate rages in many countries over if and how children should return to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are working overtime to understand SARS-CoV-2 infection in children. One of their most urgent questions is why a small proportion of children develop a life-threatening form of hyperinflammation in response to infections whereas others display no symptoms at all.

The new hyperinflammatory condition — named “multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children” (MIS-C) — is slowly coming into focus. …


The latest updates to Meta make it even easier to understand and explore science

By Jennifer L. Minnick

Meta is a research discovery tool that provides a faster way to understand and explore science through personalized feeds. It uses machine learning to quickly analyze, map, and cluster tens of millions of articles and preprints so researchers can easily follow developments, intersections, or emerging trends that they may not know to look for.

We are constantly striving to enhance your experience though richer content, improved algorithms, and new features. …

About

Meta

Meta is a free research discovery tool from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, providing a faster way to understand and explore science through personalized feeds.

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