the Ohio State genetic pathologist led a team of researchers that placed samples of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, into machines that resemble giant microwaves. Not that long ago, it took two weeks to determine the order of the chemical building blocks that make up a virus’ DNA. With these machines, however, the results can come overnight, substantially speeding up essential research. 

Jones’ project was a part of the unprecedented, worldwide, scientific response to the once-in-a-century global health crisis. That effort’s crowning achievement, of course, was the rapid development of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Thanks to these life-saving inoculations, Columbus and many other parts of the world have begun to reopen in recent months: ditching masks, returning to offices, gathering again in bars, restaurants, theaters and sports arenas. 

Yet for Jones and other researchers in Columbus, their work continues—as does their sense of urgency. While others may celebrate a return to normalcy, these scientists remain locked in a race against a relentless foe—a constantly evolving pathogen that still poses a serious threat, especially to the large percentage of the population in Ohio and elsewhere that remains unvaccinated. Just as they have since the novel coronavirus upended life in 2020, Jones and his colleagues at Ohio State and other Columbus research and medical institutions are staying focused. They’re quietly building upon the work they began last year—and keeping close tabs on the new viral strains developing both here and around the globe, including the delta variant, now the most common coronavirus strain in the United States.

The result has been a plethora of projects across multiple disciplines that have combined to advance the understanding of not only how to successfully treat those who get COVID-19, but how to protect against its transmission, keep it in check and lay a pathway to prevent future outbreaks from morphing into pandemics. And, most of all, to win the race against the virus. 

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图片:药物研究人员正在测试样品

哥伦布能领先于COVID-19变种吗?

哥伦布每月

凯西·林恩·格雷于2021年9月14日发布

随着疫情的肆虐,许多人都呆在家里,而丹·琼斯博士却在做一些在冠状病毒出现之前很少有人关注的事情:基因组测序。在哥伦布市极北区的一座不起眼的建筑里,俄亥俄州的遗传病理学家带领一组研究人员将导致COVID-19的SARS-CoV-2病毒样本放入类似于巨型微波的机器中。就在不久前,科学家们花了两周时间来确定构成病毒DNA的化学成分的顺序。然而,有了这些机器,结果可能在一夜之间就出来了,大大加快了基本研究的速度。

琼斯的项目是世界范围内对百年一遇的全球健康危机作出前所未有的科学反应的一部分。当然,这一努力的最大成就是辉瑞、Moderna和强生疫苗的快速开发。多亏了这些拯救生命的疫苗接种,哥伦布和世界上许多其他地方在最近几个月开始重新开放:人们不再戴口罩,回到办公室,再次聚集在酒吧、餐馆、剧院和体育场。

然而,对于琼斯和哥伦布的其他研究人员来说,他们的工作仍在继续,他们的紧迫感也在继续。虽然其他人可能会庆祝恢复正常,但这些科学家仍在与一个无情的敌人赛跑——一种不断进化的病原体,仍然构成严重威胁,特别是对俄亥俄州和其他地方仍未接种疫苗的很大比例的人口。自从新型冠状病毒在2020年颠覆了人们的生活以来,琼斯和他在俄亥俄州立大学以及哥伦布大学的其他研究和医疗机构的同事一直在关注这一问题。他们正悄悄地在去年开始的工作的基础上继续努力,密切关注在这里和世界各地发展的新病毒毒株,包括现在美国最常见的冠状病毒毒株丁型病毒变种。

结果是大量的项目跨多个学科综合发展的理解不仅成功如何对待那些COVID-19,而是如何防止其传播,保持在检查和躺着一个通路,防止未来变成大流行疫情。最重要的是,赢得与病毒的竞赛。

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