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Studying viral outbreaks in single cells could reveal new ways to defeat them

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Many viruses, including HIV and influenza A, mutate so quickly that identifying effective vaccines or treatments is like trying to hit a moving target. A better understanding of viral propagation and evolution in single cells could help. Today, scientists report a new technique that can not only identify and quantify viral RNA in living cells, but also detect minor changes in RNA sequences that might give viruses an edge or make some people “superspreaders.”


The researchers will present their results at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo.

“For studying a new virus like SARS-CoV-2, it’s important to understand not only how populations respond to the virus, but how individuals—either people or cells—interact with it,” says Laura Fabris, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator. “So we’ve focused our efforts on studying viral replication in single cells, which in the past has been technically

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How Beijing’s National Security Crackdown Transformed Hong Kong in a Single Month

After Beijing enacted a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, the city’s leader tried to allay fears of a broad crackdown on dissent by promising the measure would affect only a very small minority of people.

But throughout July, the first full month under the new legislation, the measure featured prominently in a sustained effort to quell political upheaval in the enclave, while also ushering in a transformative climate of fear and uncertainty.

The law’s provisions — which punish crimes related to secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces — have been used as grounds for disqualifying political candidates, arresting students over social media posts and banning common protest slogans.

The blows to the city’s democracy movement over the past few weeks have extended beyond the far-reaching law itself. Academics who are key figures in the protests were fired from their posts, police raided the office of an

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