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Coronavirus immunoassay

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In a time, where many European countries are taking their first, tentative steps towards re-opening after lockdown, it is becoming more and more important to be able to test if people has already had the COVID-19 infection. Detection of antibodies against the virus (SARS-CoV-2 / nCov-2019) is one of the best measures for this.

Antibodies are large and robust proteins, and their presence in patient blood / plasma can be detected with rather simple methods, where the ability of the antibodies to bind to the virus spikes is utilized. For more details, see this animation I have made. Once again, Frédéric Eghiaian has created the amazing music for this animation.

Knowledge about the body’s antibody response is also important for the development of an efficient and safe vaccine against COVID-19 and treatment options like immunotherapy.

New animations

COVID-19 / nCov-2019 test (RT-PCR)

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We hear a lot about corona-testing these days! Currrently, the most used (and fastest) test is based on an assay, that is named PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction).

With this technology, it is possible to detect the presence of COVID-19 in a patient sample by purification and amplification of specific gene sequences from the viral RNA (genetic material). These gene sequences were published by Chinese researchers shortly after the beginning of the outbreak.

This animation describes the principle of a PCR (more specific, a RT-PCR) reaction.

My friend Frédéric Eghiaian was so kind to make the music for this animation.

New animations

Coronavirus / COVID-19 infection mechanism

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Three coronaviruses, originating in animals, have crossed the species barrier to cause deadly pneumonia in humans within the last two decades; SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrom), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and now the current pandemic of COVID-19 / nCov-2019 / SARS-CoV-2.

But exactly how does the nCov-2019 infect us? The spikes (that can be seen on all the current illustrations of coronavirus) on its surface act as keys in locks by binding to specific receptors (ACE2) on the surface of our epithelial cells. Watch this animation and learn more. It is based on the recent, scientific literature within the field, but it is my interpretation and some details have been simplified.

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ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

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Although all the focus rigth now is on coronavirus / Covid-19, the problem with antibiotic resistance has never been more important. Because virus infections is often the prime cause  / initiators of bacterial infections.

It is close to a century ago that Penicillin was discovered (by serendipity) by Alexander Fleming – and it led to an revolution of medicine and health. It was followed by a golden era of discovery of various antibiotics and many fatal diseases could suddenly be treated. However, now we might be facing a ‘post-antibiotic era’ where infectious diseases will again be a major killer due to the development of antibiotic resistance in many bacteria. WHO claims that antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/antibiotic-resistance).

In a series of animations, I have described how penicillin was discovered (part 1), how it led to discovery of other antibiotics (part 1), how and why resistance occurs/works (part 2) and how it spreads (part 3).

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CORONAVIRUS

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This winter, a new coronavirus is scaring the world. Coronavirus is actually a sort for virus, that is not normally very aggressive. Coronavirus normally give us common colds, but the last decades, new and more aggressive diseases caused by coronavirus have emerged. SARS (in the period 2002-2004) and MERS (around 2018) both belonged to the coronavirus family. And now, the new nCov-2019 from Wuhan. I have here made a 3D-model of a typical coronavirus particle.

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CAFFEINE

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Do you just need your daily coffee to function properly? Maybe you should get your sleep instead, because caffeine in the coffee tricks your brain to ‘think’ its’ not tired. This is because caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors in the brain. Normally, the adenosine receptors bind adenosine – and adenosine is a “tiredness”-signal as it builds up during activity and wakefullness. See this animation and learn more.

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DIABETES TYPE 1

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I have just helped the australian biotech-company Captixbio with an animation about a new device/implant to be used in Type 1 diabetes. I can’t show the animation here yet, but this is an image from the animation that shows a transparent person with the pancreas highlighted in pink. The full animation will be added to my portfolio later. Working with an australian company worked just fine – using Zoom meetings for clarification and feed-back.

pancreas captixbio
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MYOCARDIAL INFARCT

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Happy new year! I have just made an animation about myocardial infarct for a biotech company (Resotherpharma) and in the process, I created this beating heart, complete with atria and ventricles. The full animation will be added to my porfolio later.

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Hypoxia Nobel Prize 2019

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The nobel prize in physiology / medicine was recently announced. And it went to a research area I have worked with myself (at Lundbeck), namely HIF / hypoxia biology.  We published a paper on our findings, it can be found here:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061615/pdf/ISRN.NEUROSCIENCE2013-598587.pdf

All animal cells need oxygen in order to use the energy from food (they do this in cellular respiration), but when oxygen levels are lower than normal (hypoxia) they have a very smart way of adaptation. The HIF1 alpha protein! I have made an animation explaining the molecular basics of the mechanism by which HIF do this.

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