SHE Center at Dana-Farber and Silverberry Genomix form SHE Biobank, a Population Health Initiative for Research and Education

With a focus on ethnic minorities, the SHE Biobank provides an infrastructure for boosting research and education and improves response to pandemics.

April 23, 2020, Massachusetts and San Francisco - Science Health Education (SHE) Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Silverberry Genomix, a leading company in digital health based in San Francisco, announced the launch of the SHE Biobank initiative. The SHE Center’s goal is to bring best practices, better health outcomes, and increased stability to developing countries including the Middle East and North America (MENA), a region urgently in need of all three. Navid Madani, Ph.D., the director of the SHE Center and a senior scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has led educational workshops and training programs in the region which reinforced the understanding of the current lack of health data infrastructure and solidified the need for such platforms in the region.

“The SHE Biobank is a large, long-term study that will investigate the impact of genetic predisposition and environmental exposure to the development of the disease,” said Madani. “Biobanking is crucial to this research and helps researchers, healthcare providers and governments to health policies and assign resources properly. “In recent years, due to advancements in healthcare technologies, data availability, and decreasing DNA sequencing costs, various biobanks have been created around the world.  However, the majority of such projects have been launched in developed countries, contributing to an increasing gap between developed and developing countries. This initiative aims to decrease that gap,” she said.

The SHE Biobank is unique in the educational support it offers researchers to conduct studies and the infrastructure it provides so the data can be put into action for the public good.  It also helps increase the readiness of the healthcare community to prevent or combat future disease outbreaks.

“The recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of the availability of digital health platforms to provide access to data and enable research and collaboration at scale for large size of population,” said Shayan Mashatian, Founder of Silverberry Genomix. “By making the Silverberry platform available to this critical endeavor, we are facilitating a rapid launch of the project, connecting the researchers, healthcare institutions, and other interested parties so more people can take advantage of scientific advancement, preventing disease or empower emerging field of precision medicine.”

Researchers, universities, government agencies, companies, and foundations as well as individual participants, are invited to participate in the initiative.

For more information about the initiative visit https://shebiobank.org or contact [email protected]

About SHE Center at Dana-Farber Institute, Harvard Medical School

Science Health Education Center (SHE) is a collaborative hub that promotes the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region relevant research and capacity building through international training and scientific investigation, creating synergies between the MENA healthcare professionals and the Dana-Farber and Harvard communities. For more information visit https://www.dana-farber.org/science-health-education-center/research/

About Silverberry Genomix

Silverberry Genomix is a leading digital health platform that utilizes AI and machine learning to provide personalized assessments and recommendations to optimize health and wellness plans. By offering a DNA Testing Kit, anyone can take the test and receive a personalized assessment as well as a wide range of recommendations. Those with an existing DNA file may upload their file and get access to Comprehensive DNA Health Reports. For more information visit https://silverberrygenomix.com/

Media Contacts

For all inquiries, call 617-632-4090 and ask to speak to a member of the media team. Please direct emails to [email protected]

Silverberry Genomix announces a new genomic study for Coronavirus susceptibility in response to current COVID-19 pandemic

The new study intends to identify genomic susceptibility that alters either the rate of infection or the severity of the disease in response to the Coronavirus exposure.

April 13, 2020, San Francisco - Silverberry Genomix, a leader in the use of DNA testing for health and wellness announced a large scale genomic study in response to the current Coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 outbreak. 

The new study intends to identify genomic susceptibility that alters either the rate of infection or the severity of the disease in response to the coronavirus exposure. 

The study involves healthy participants that may or may not be exposed to COVID-19 and it will look into the effects of various factors including known risk factors such as age, comorbidities, and lifestyle choices such as smoking in the occurrence of COVID-19 symptomes. 

Collection of pre and post universal exposure data from a large number of people in different communities would enable Silverberry Genomix to effectively learn and come up with recommendations to counter future pandemics. 

Silverberry Genomix is a market leader by launching its digital health platform to create personalized assessment and recommendations for its users to better manage their health and wellness goals. The platform can be used as a biobank for population health studies to better understand diseases, run clinical trials for disease prevention or drug discovery. 

Study participants will have their genome analyzed for the presence of protective or susceptibility factors. Users with an existing DNA file can also upload their corresponding files. New users can use Silverberry DNA Test Kit at-home using a saliva swab. The study volunteers will participate in an ongoing survey and undergo analysis of their genetic markers. The goal of the study is to identify genomic variants that affect diseases in the healthier participants that can protect them against more severe diseases, and to use this knowledge for the development of novel therapies.

“We believe to address the current pandemic challenge, a data-driven approach is crucial, so researchers can have access to reliable data at large scale. By leveraging existing Silverberry Digital Health Platform, we are taking an important step toward that goal.” said Shayan Mashatian, Founder of Silverberry Genomix. "The comprehensive Silverberry platform already available plus a community of users who are well versed and keen about their health and wellness, provides a solid base for this study. It is a natural next step in expanding our service to address the most urgent issues endangering the society." he continued.

Silverberry Genomix has formed a Pandemic Scientific Task Force to oversee the study, including scientists with virology background, computential genomics, and data scientists. 

A Coronavirus Response Initiative has also been stated which includes comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions. Participants can register online to participate in the study.

For more information visit https://silverberrygenomix.com/covid-19-genomic-study/ 

Aged people are far more prone to COVID-19 complications

Advance age seems to be the most important factor determining the death rate due to COVID-19

Other common conditions that may increase the chance of death due to COVID-19 include:

Cardiovascular disease: >11 folds higher death rate than the general public
Diabetes = >8 folds higher death rate than the general public
Chronic respiratory disease = 7 folds higher death rate than the general public
Hypertension = >6 folds higher death rate than the general public
Cancer >6 fold higher death rate.

Source:

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/global-covid-19-case-fatality-rates/

Can pets carry the disease?

Yes. While there are very few cases of infections in animals, it seems they can’t infect humans. However, pets could potentially carry the SARS-CoV2 virus on their body and potentially transfer it to humans.

Aged people are far more prone to COVID-19 complications

Advance age seems to be the most important factor determining the death rate due to COVID-19

Other common conditions that may increase the chance of death due to COVID-19 include:

Cardiovascular disease: >11 folds higher death rate than the general public
Diabetes = >8 folds higher death rate than the general public
Chronic respiratory disease = 7 folds higher death rate than the general public
Hypertension = >6 folds higher death rate than the general public
Cancer >6 fold higher death rate.

Source:

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/global-covid-19-case-fatality-rates/

Cupper supplements may help against COVID-19

While vitamins and supplements might not help in reducing the chance of getting COVID-19, according to Dr. Walter Willett, a professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, there is some reason to hypothesize that some vitamins and supplements could reduce the risk and severity of COVID-19 because of benefits seen for other viral or respiratory disease.

Source:  told USA TODAY.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/03/24/coronavirus-fact-check-could-vitamin-c-cure-covid-19/2904303001/

 

Zinc supplements may help in fighting against the coronavirus

While vitamins and supplements might not help in reducing the chance of getting COVID-19, according to Dr. Walter Willett, a professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, there is some reason to hypothesize that some vitamins and supplements could reduce the risk and severity of COVID-19 because of benefits seen for other viral or respiratory disease.

Source:  told USA TODAY.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/03/24/coronavirus-fact-check-could-vitamin-c-cure-covid-19/2904303001/

 

The number of people that one person with COVID-19 with no social distancing or quarantine can indirectly infect in a month is ~244

There is simple math behind the power of social distancing.

Generally, each COVID-19 patient can infect ~2.5 others. There are ~5 days between one infection and next, so each infected person can infect 244 others in a month.

If by practicing social distancing, we reduce the transmission by half, so each person infects 1.25 others, we'd expect only 4 more cases.

The average number of people that one person with COVID-19 can directly infect is ~ 2.5

There is simple math behind the power of social distancing.

Generally, each COVID-19 patient can infect ~2.5 others. There are ~5 days between one infection and next, so each infected person can infect 244 others in a month.

If by practicing social distancing, we reduce the transmission by half, so each person infects 1.25 others, we'd expect only 4 more cases.

How COVID-19 is tested in the laboratory?

There are at least two strategies to establish COVID-19.

  1. A PCR test which relies on the amplification of a fragment of the viral RNA and detection of the signal. Most current tests available use this mechanism. This test is done by swabbing the infected region (respiratory system).
  2. A CRISPR-based detection. Using a protocol called SHERLOCK, which identifies the two SRS-Cov2 genes a specific readout for viral RNA is generated.
  3. An antibody test which relies on the detection of antibodies that are produced in response to the viral particles in the blood. This test needs a blood draw.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Reemerging Infection

In 2007 a study from the University of Hong Kong described 36 known #coronaviruses in the family Coronaviridae within the order Nidovirales. Members of the Coronaviridae are known to cause #respiratory or #intestinal infections in humans and other animals.

Back then this study made the following prediction :
“The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like #viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb.

The possibility of the reemergence of #SARS and other novel #viruses from animals or laboratories and therefore the need for preparedness should not be ignored”

“The findings that horseshoe bats are the natural reservoir for SARS-CoV-like virus and that civets are the amplification host highlight the importance of wildlife and #biosecurity in farms and wet markets, which can serve as the source and amplification centers for emerging.

Source: https://cmr.asm.org/content/20/4/660.long

What is the origin of SARS-CoV-2?

SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh #coronavirus known to infect humans. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) in the spike protein is the most variable part of the coronavirus genome. On the basis of structural studies, and biochemical experiments SARS-CoV-2 seems to have an RBD that binds with high affinity to receptor ACE2 from humans cats and other species with high receptor homology. The high-affinity binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to human ACE2 is most likely the result of natural selection on a human or human-like ACE2 that permits another optimal binding solution to arise. Thus there is strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of purposeful manipulation.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9

Clinical Trials for Geroprotectors and Deep Immunological Aging Clocks to Combat COVID-19

The Biogerontology Research Foundation announced the publication of an important paper by Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, the chief scientist of the Biogerontology Research Foundation and the CEO of an Insilico Medicine. In the paper Alex Zhavoronkov proposes a strategy for repurposing known geroprotectors such as rapamycin, nicotinamide riboside, nicotinamide mononucleotide, metformin, and other drugs with the known safety profile for prevention of COVID-19 in older people. There are over 1 billion people over 60 in the world and they are the demographic that’s most vulnerable to the virus.

Source: http://bg-rf.org.uk/press/combat-covid-19