The University of Pittsburgh team was previously involved in vaccine research for SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV 2014. Both closely related to SARS-CoV-2. They designed the vaccine to build on the original scratch method used to deliver the smallpox vaccine to the skin but in a more high-tech way. They also used a novel approach to deliver the drug, called a microneedle array, to increase potency. This array is a fingertip-sized patch of 400 tiny needles that delivers the spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is strongest. PittCoVacc (short for Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine) is used with lab-made pieces of viral protein to construct immunity. Much like the current flu short works. The researchers were able to act quickly because they had already laid the groundwork during earlier coronavirus epidemics. When tested in mice, PittCoVacc generated a surge of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 within two weeks of the microneedle prick.

The team reports the vaccine system is scalable—the protein pieces are manufactured by a “cell factory”—that is layers upon layers of cultured cells engineered to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein—that can be stacked further to multiply yield. Once produced, the vaccine can then sit at room temperature until its needed. This removes the need for refrigeration during transport or storage. Previous viruses teach them that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus. The paper was released today by EBioMedicine, which is published by the British leading medical journal The Lancet.

Co-senior author Andrea Gambotto said “our ability to rapidly develop this vaccine was a result of scientists with expertise in diverse areas of research working together with a common goal. That’s why it’s important to fund vaccine research. You never know where the next pandemic will come from.” Importantly, the SARS-CoV-2 microneedle vaccine maintains its potency even after being thoroughly sterilized with gamma radiation — a key step toward making a product that’s suitable for use in humans.

The University of Pittsburgh said Dr Bing Liu, who was attached to its computational and systems biology department, was close to making “very significant findings” into the new coronavirus. The Ross Township Police Department said Dr Liu, 37, a Chinese national, was found with bullet wounds to the head, neck, torso and extremities on Saturday afternoon May 2nd, 2020. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Dr Liu’s wife was not home at the time of the shooting. They do not have children. In a statement on its website, the University of Pittsburgh said “We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence. His loss will be felt throughout the entire scientific community.”

He has a bachelor’s and a doctorate in computer science from the National University of Singapore (NUS). NUS computer science professor David Hsu, who supervised Dr Liu during his time here told The New Paper on May 7th, 2020: “Much has been written in the news media, and even more is available on social media with salacious and sensational details. Most are pure falsehoods. It’s an unspeakable shock and tragedy to his family and to me. I find it hard to accept that such an exceptional human has departed this way.”


Fill in the correct word to make a collocation

    1. ________ cat
    2. ________ room
    3. _______ man
    4. _______alley, age, tatoo
    5. ________armor, coffee, pencil, timber
    6. ________ bear, dog, puppet

ANSWERS: 1. black 2. dark 3. pitch 4. sable 5. ebony 6. sooty

    1. _________ cloak, hair, skin
    2. _______ house, palace, Christmas, bear, collar
    3. _________ coffee, dog eyes, eggs, face cream, glossier, galaxy, germ stone, mist, nail gel, resin
    4. _____________ beach, shells, dress, eyes
    5. ___________ teeth, bread, cheese, egg yolk
    6. _________ coast, dress, powder

ANSWERS: 1. inky 2. white 3. milky 4. pearly 5. chalky 6. ivory

    1. _________ gymsum, design, paint
    2. ________ cheese, pasta___
    3. _________eyes, gray, rose
    4. __________ skin, pallor
    5. __________dandruff, tongue, skin
    6. __________ dawn, eyebrows, harbor
    7. __________bacon, beans, celery

ANSWERS: 1. alabaster 2. creamy 3. ashen 4. waxen 5. pasty 6. misty 7. blanched

    1. _________collar, blood, period
    2. ________cloud, board
    3. ________ cave, color, paint
    4. __________acid, bromide

ANSWERS: 1. blue 2. azure 3. cerulean 4. cyanic

  1. _______army, alert, apple
  2. _________letter, fever, dress
  3. _________border, bay, ranch, restaurant
  4. _________ chocolate, garden, bracelet
  5. _________ drawing, blossom, tomato
  6. ________tea, moth, top
  7. ________flower, egg, tatoo
  8. _________beetle, blades, bug
  9. _________blue, blood, curtains
  10. ______–__ boots, blouse, pants
  11. ________bike, bull, pot
  12. _______avocado, cheeks, dye
  13. ________eagle, estate, paradise
  14. _________cargo, tiger, pigeon
  15. _________ day, deal, store, ring

ANSWERS: 1. red 2. scarlet 3. vermilion 4. ruby 5. cherry 6. cerise 7. cardinal 8. carmine 9. claret 10. maroon 11. rusty 12. reddish 13. sanguine 14. rufescent 15. rosy





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