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Scripps Research scientists explain what makes COVID-19 antibody “J08” so potent

LA JOLLA, CA—Last year, scientists at Scripps Research and Toscana Life Sciences studied the blood of 14 COVID-19 survivors to find the most potent antibodies…



LA JOLLA, CA—Last year, scientists at Scripps Research and Toscana Life Sciences studied the blood of 14 COVID-19 survivors to find the most potent antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. One of the leading molecules that emerged—now in stage II/III trials in Italy—was an antibody dubbed J08, which seemed to be capable of both preventing and treating COVID-19.

Credit: Scripps Research

LA JOLLA, CA—Last year, scientists at Scripps Research and Toscana Life Sciences studied the blood of 14 COVID-19 survivors to find the most potent antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. One of the leading molecules that emerged—now in stage II/III trials in Italy—was an antibody dubbed J08, which seemed to be capable of both preventing and treating COVID-19.

Now, the same group—a collaboration between scientists at Scripps Research and in Italy and France—has visualized exactly how J08 binds to different SARS-CoV-2 variants in different conformations, explaining what makes the monoclonal antibody so potent. The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the J08 antibody, because of its flexibility, will likely remain effective against future variants of COVID-19.

“Even though we can’t predict what variants of COVID-19 will emerge next, understanding the details of J08 reveals what works against the virus, and perhaps how we can engineer antibodies to be even more potent,” says senior author Andrew Ward, PhD, professor of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at Scripps Research.

When a person is exposed to a virus like SARS-CoV-2, their body generates a variety of antibodies that bind to different sections of the virus to clear it from the body. Scientists designing vaccines and treatments against COVID-19 are interested in what makes some of these naturally produced antibodies—like J08—more effective than others. In the months after Ward and his collaborators first identified J08, it became clear that the antibody, unlike many others, was potent against a variety of COVID-19 variants.

In the new work, the researchers determined the three-dimensional structure of J08 as it bound to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. They confirmed that J08 successfully attached to the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants and neutralized the viruses—preventing them from replicating. However, J08 attached to the Omicron variant about 7 times more slowly, and then rapidly came off. About 4,000 times more J08 was needed to fully neutralize Omicron SARS-CoV-2 compared to the other variants.

“With variants other than Omicron, this antibody binds quickly and doesn’t come off for hours and hours,” says co-first author Gabriel Ozorowski, a senior staff scientist in the Ward lab at Scripps Research. “With Omicron, we were initially happy to find that it still binds, but it falls off very quickly. We identified the two structural changes that cause this.”

The team showed that, for all the variants, J08 binds to a very small section of the virus—a section that generally stays the same even as the virus mutates. Moreover, J08 could attach in two completely different orientations, like a key that manages to unlock a door whether it is right side up or upside down.

“This small, flexible footprint is part of why J08 is able to withstand so many mutations—they don’t impact the antibody binding unless they happen to be in this one very small part of the virus,” says co-first author Jonathan Torres, lab manager of the Ward lab at Scripps Research.

The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, however, had two mutations (known as E484A and Q493H) that changed the small area of the virus that directly interfaces with J08, anchoring it in place. Ward and his collaborators found that if just one of these mutations is present, J08 still manages to bind and neutralize the virus strongly, but mutations in both are what make it less effective against the Omicron variant.

The researchers say the new results support the continued clinical trials of the monoclonal antibody based on J08.

“I think we’re pretty confident that future variants won’t necessarily have both of these two critical mutations at the same time like Omicron,” says Ozorowski, “so that makes us hopeful that J08 will continue being very effective.”

In addition to Torres, Ozorowski and Ward, authors of the study, “Structural insights of a highly potent pan-neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 human monoclonal antibody,” include Hejun Liu, Jeffrey Copps and Ian Wilson of Scripps Research; Emanuele Andreano, Noemi Manganaro, Elisa Pantano, Ida Paciello, Piero Pileri, Claudia Sala and Rino Rappuoli of Fondazione Toscana Life Sciences; Giulia Piccini and Emanuele Montomoli of VisMederi; Lorena Donnici, Matteo Conti and Raffaele De Francesco of Istituto Nazionale Genetica Molecolare (INGM); and Cyril Planchais, Delphine Planas, Timothee Bruel, Hugo Mouquet and Olivier Schwartz of Institut Pasteur.

This work was supported by funding from Toscana Life Sciences, through the European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant agreement number 787552 (vAMRes), the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (653316), the Italian Ministry of Health (COVID-2020-12371817), Institut Pasteur, Urgence COVID-19 Fundraising Campaign of Institut Pasteur, ANRS, the Vaccine Research Institute (ANR-10-LABX-77), Labex IBEID (ANR-10-LABX-62-IBEID), ANR/FRM Flash Covid PROTEO-SARS-CoV-2, IDISCOVR, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1170236/INV-004923).


About Scripps Research

Scripps Research is an independent, nonprofit biomedical institute ranked the most influential in the world for its impact on innovation by Nature Index. We are advancing human health through profound discoveries that address pressing medical concerns around the globe. Our drug discovery and development division, Calibr, works hand-in-hand with scientists across disciplines to bring new medicines to patients as quickly and efficiently as possible, while teams at Scripps Research Translational Institute harness genomics, digital medicine and cutting-edge informatics to understand individual health and render more effective healthcare. Scripps Research also trains the next generation of leading scientists at our Skaggs Graduate School, consistently named among the top 10 US programs for chemistry and biological sciences. Learn more at

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Spread & Containment

Lab, crab and robotic rehab

I was in Berkeley a couple of months back, helping TechCrunch get its proverbial ducks in a row before our first big climate event (coming in a few weeks,…



I got previews of a number of projects I hope to share with you in the newsletter soon, but one that really caught my eye was FogROS, which was just announced as part of the latest ROS (robot operating system) rollout. Beyond a punny name that is simultaneously a reference to the cloud element (fog/cloud — not to mention the fact that the new department has killer views of San Francisco and frequent visitor, Karl) and problematic French cuisine, there’s some really compelling potential here.

I’ve been thinking about the potential impact of cloud-based processing quite a bit the last several years, independent of my writing about robots. Specifically, a number of companies (Microsoft, Amazon, Google) have been betting big on cloud gaming. What do you do when you’ve seemingly pushed a piece of hardware to its limit? If you’ve got low enough latency, you can harness remote servers to do the heavy lifting. It’s something that’s been tried for at least a decade, to varying effect.

Image Credits: ROS

Latency is, of course, a major factor in gaming, where being off by a millisecond can dramatically impact the experience. I’m not fully convinced that experience is where it ought to be quite yet, but it does seem the tech has graduated to a point where off-board processing makes practical sense for robotics. You can currently play a console game on a smartphone with one of those services, so surely we can produce smaller, lighter-weight and lower-cost robots that rely on a remote server to complete resource-intensive tasks like SLAM processing.

The initial application will focus on AWS, with plans to reach additional services like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Watch this space. There are many reasons to be excited. Honestly, there’s a lot to be excited about in robotics generally right now. This was one of the more fun weeks in recent memory.

V Bionic's exoskeleton glove shown without its covering.

Image Credits: V Bionic

Let’s start with the ExoHeal robotic rehabilitation gloves. The device, created by Saudi Arabian V Bionic, nabbed this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup. The early-stage team is part of a proud tradition of healthcare exoskeletons. In this case, it’s an attempt to rehab the hand following muscle and tendon injuries. Team leader Zain Samdani told TechCrunch:

Flexor linkage-driven movement gives us the flexibility to individually actuate different parts of each finger (phalanges) whilst keeping the device portable. We’re currently developing our production-ready prototype that utilizes a modular design to fit the hand sizes of different patients.

Image Credits: Walmart

This is the third week in a row Walmart gets a mention here. First it was funding for GreyOrange, which it partnered with in Canada. Last week we noted a big expansion of the retail giant’s deal with warehouse automation firm, Symbotic. Now it’s another big expansion of an existing deal — this time dealing with the company’s delivery ambitions.

Like Walmart’s work with robotics, drone delivery success has been…spotty, at best. Still, it’s apparently ready to put its money where its mouth is on this one, with a deal that brings DroneUp delivery to 34 sites across six U.S. states. Quoting myself here:

The retailer announced an investment in the 6-year-old startup late last year, following trial deliveries of COVID-19 testing kits. Early trials were conducted in Bentonville, Arkansas. This year, Arizona, Florida, Texas and DroneUp’s native Virginia are being added to the list. Once online, customers will be able to choose from tens of thousands of products, from Tylenol to hot dog buns, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Freigegeben für die Berichterstattung über das Unternehemn Wingcopter bis zum 25.01.2026. Mit Bitte um Urhebervermerk v.l.: Jonathan Hesselbarth, Tom Plümmer und Ansgar Kadura von Wingcopter GmbH. Image Credits: © Jonas Wresch / KfW

There are still more question marks around this stuff than anything, and I’ve long contended that drone delivery makes the most sense in remote and otherwise hard to reach areas. That’s why something like this Wingcopter deal is interesting. Over the next five years, the company plans to bring 12,000 of its fixed-wing UAVs to 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. It will cover spots that have traditionally struggled with infrastructural issues that have made it difficult to deliver food and medical supplies through more traditional means.

“With the looming food crisis on the African continent triggered by the war in Ukraine, we see great potential and strong social impact that drone-delivery networks can bring to people in all the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa by getting food to where it is needed most,” CEO Tom Plümmer told TechCrunch. “Especially in remote areas with weak infrastructure and those areas that are additionally affected by droughts and other plagues, Wingcopter’s delivery drones will build an air bridge and provide food from the sky on a winch to exactly where it is needed.”

Legitimately exciting stuff, that.

Image Credits: Dyson

In more cautiously optimistic news, Dyson dropped some interesting news this week, announcing that it has been (and will continue) pumping a lot of money into robotic research. Part of the rollout includes refitting an aircraft hangar at Hullavington Airfield, a former RAF station in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England that the company purchased back in 2016.

Some numbers from the company:

Dyson is halfway through the largest engineering recruitment drive in its history. Two thousand people have joined the tech company this year, of which 50% are engineers, scientists, and coders. Dyson is supercharging its robotics ambitions, recruiting 250 robotics engineers across disciplines including computer vision, machine learning, sensors and mechatronics, and expects to hire 700 more in the robotics field over the next five years. The master plan: to create the UK’s largest, most advanced, robotics center at Hullavington Airfield and to bring the technology into our homes by the end of the decade.

The primary project highlighted is a robot arm with a number of attachments, including a vacuum and a human-like robot hand, which are designed to perform various household tasks. Dyson has some experience building robots, primarily through its vacuums, which rely on things like computer vision to autonomously navigate. Still, I say “cautiously optimistic,” because I’ve seen plenty of non-robotics companies showcase the technology as more of a vanity project. But I’m more than happy to have Dyson change my mind.

Image Credits: Hyundai

Hyundai, of course, has been quite aggressive in its own robotics dreams, including its 2020 acquisition of Boston Dynamics. The carmaker this week announced that part of its massive new $10 billion investment plans will include robotics, with a focus of actually bringing some of its far-out concepts to market.

Another week, another big round for logistics/fulfillment robotics, as Polish firm Nomagic raised $22 million to expand its offerings. The company’s primary offering is a pick and place arm that can move and sort small goods. Khosla Ventures and Almaz Capital led the round, which also featured European Investment Bank, Hoxton Ventures, Capnamic Ventures, DN Capital and Manta Ray.

Amazon Astro with periscope camera

The periscope camera pops out and extends telescopically, enabling Astro to look over obstacles and on counter tops. A very elegant design choice. Image Credits: Haje Kamps for TechCrunch

We finally got around to reviewing Amazon’s limited-edition home robot, Astro, and Haje’s feelings were…mixed:

It’s been fun to have Astro wandering about my apartment for a few days, and most of the time I seemed to use it as a roving boom box that also has Alexa capabilities. That’s cute, and all, but $1,000 would buy Alexa devices for every thinkable surface in my room and leave me with enough cash left over to cover the house in cameras. I simply continue to struggle with why Astro makes sense. But then, that’s true for any product that is trying to carve out a brand new product category.

A tiny robot crab scuttles across the frame. Image Credits: Northwestern University

And finally, a tiny robot crab from Northwestern University. The little guy can be controlled remotely using lasers and is small enough to sit on the side of a penny. “Our technology enables a variety of controlled motion modalities and can walk with an average speed of half its body length per second,” says lead researcher, Yonggang Huang. “This is very challenging to achieve at such small scales for terrestrial robots.”

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Scuttle, don’t walk to subscribe to Actuator.

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Pandemic-related stressors in pregnant women may impact their babies before they’re born

Prolonged levels of stress and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to altering key features of fetal brain development — even if the…



Prolonged levels of stress and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to altering key features of fetal brain development — even if the mother was not infected by the virus. This is what a study published in Communications Medicine suggests after following more than 200 pregnant women. The study, led by Children’s National Hospital experts, emphasized the need for more scientific inquiry to shed light on the long-term neurodevelopmental consequences of their findings and COVID-19 exposures on fetal brain development.

Credit: Children’s National Hospital

Prolonged levels of stress and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to altering key features of fetal brain development — even if the mother was not infected by the virus. This is what a study published in Communications Medicine suggests after following more than 200 pregnant women. The study, led by Children’s National Hospital experts, emphasized the need for more scientific inquiry to shed light on the long-term neurodevelopmental consequences of their findings and COVID-19 exposures on fetal brain development.

“Understanding how contemporary stressors may influence fetal brain development during pregnancy has major implications for basic science and informing public policy initiatives,” said Catherine Limperopoulos, Ph.D., chief and director of the Developing Brain Institute at Children’s National and senior author of the study. “With this work, we are able to show there’s a problem, it’s happening prenatally, and we can use this model to start exploring how we can reduce stress in moms and support unborn babies.”

To better understand the effects of environmental exposures on the fetus during pregnancy, further confirmation of the team’s latest findings is needed by ruling out other possibilities, such as maternal nutrition, financial security and genetic factors.

The psychosocial impact of COVID-19 on fetal brain development remains vastly understudied. The neurologic underpinnings of fetal development that turn into psycho-behavioral disorders later in life, including bipolar disorder, mood disorder or anxiety disorder, remain complex and difficult to explain.

Among the 202 participants from the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, 137 were part of the pre-pandemic cohort and 65 were part of the pandemic cohort.

Through advanced MRI imaging techniques and reconstruction of high-resolution 3D brain models, the researchers found a reduction of fetal white matter, hippocampal and cerebellar volumes and delayed brain gyrification in COVID-19 pandemic-era pregnancies. Validated maternal stress, anxiety and depression scales were also used to compare the scores between the two cohorts.

This study builds upon previous work from the Developing Brain Institute led by Limperopoulos, which discovered that anxiety in pregnant women appears to affect the brain development of their babies. Her team also found that maternal mental health, even in high socioeconomic status, alters the structure and biochemistry of the developing fetal brain, emphasizing the importance of mental health support for pregnant women.

“We’re looking at modifiable conditions,” said Limperopoulos. “What’s clear is the next frontier is intervening early to see how we can prevent or reduce stress in the mom’s current setting.”

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Trading Penny Stocks & Using Volume Analysis To Find Stocks To Buy

How to find the most active penny stocks today.
The post Trading Penny Stocks & Using Volume Analysis To Find Stocks To Buy appeared first on Penny…



Technical Data and Trading Charts can help determine the right price to sell or buy penny stocks. These penny stock chart patterns are beneficial for traders and investors alike if you know what you’re looking for. Quickly analyzing trading opportunities by watching any changing trends in share prices and trading volumes is critical for identifying entry targets. Today we’ll look more closely at trading volumes as a way to find penny stocks to buy.

Most Active Penny Stocks To Buy

This brings us to today’s focus: identifying potential in the most active penny stocks. The first thing to understand is what “most active” means. We’re referring to penny stocks with much higher or unusually high volume in most cases. This might mean that trading has increased in a particular penny stock and could signal either growing interest in the form of buying or declining interest in the form of heavy selling.

It’s essential to keep a close watch on technical signals and the level of volume in the market. For example, when trading volume decreases during a specific time frame (3-minute chart, for example), that could mean interest is drying up. You might miss this on a daily or hourly chart, but witnessing a trend like this early by paying attention to shorter time frames could help.

What Is A Penny Stock – Definition & More

In this case, the volume drying up could signal that bullish interest has stalled. If that ends up as the case, it could also give a green light for selling pressure in the form of profit-taking or shorting to take the stock lower.

Confirmations & Followthrough

In addition to overall volume, an unusual spike or drop in trading volume might not always indicate or confirm a directional move. For instance, there might be chances that penny stock trading activity shows a bullish spike, and in the next period (depending on chart time frames), it returns to the previous condition. This is where new or inexperienced traders can fall victim to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Are Penny Stocks Good For Beginners? [Answered]

The quick spike can entice traders to trade emotionally and want to “jump in before it runs.” Unfortunately, they learn a valuable lesson in waiting for follow-through in the stock. This is when an unusual spike in activity is confirmed when additional trading & volume candles continue the aggressive trend.

Basically, the first move (or big spike in volume) isn’t always the right move. A 3-minute candle might be bullish, but if the next few candles on the chart don’t have a similar or greater level of bullish volume, it lacks follow-through. The chances of an uptrend failing are generally higher in this instance.

Penny Stock Trading Volume & What To Look For

So, what can cause a spike in volume?:

  1. There could be an unexpected boom in trading volume due to penny stock news releases
    • Management changes
    • Corporate milestones
    • Oversight body news (FDA, Patents, etc.)
    • Industry presentations
    • Financial news
  2. There is an uptrend happening over a period of time
    • A gradual increase in trading volume could be caused by either rising or falling prices.
    • Industry momentum catalysts
    • Rumors
    • Social media-fueled trading  
  3. There is no ascending or descending movement in Trading Volume
    • Usually means uncertainty in the market
    • Potential bullish and bearish sentiment ahead of news or corporate filings
    • Channel trading can offer day traders opportunities to take advantage of a sideways trend
  4. Sudden decrease due to an unusual event.
    • A sudden dip in trading volume is occasional. This may take place when investors get scared of investing in penny stocks due to things like significant Company issues
    • Similar catalysts as with point #1 but more bearish outcomes than bullish 
  5. There is a downward trend over a period of time
    • This happens when the traders and investors do not take any more interest in a particular penny stock.
    • The market losing faith or a company constantly raising discounted money can be a root cause, among other things 

It’s also important to consider other indicators. Here’s an article to get you informed about different penny stock technical analyses: Technical Strategies To Find Top Penny Stocks.

high volume penny stocks

Making Your List Of High Volume Penny Stocks

It’s not unusual to see high-volume penny stocks within the same industry or sector. Retail traders will often identify one breakout stock and look for sympathy trades. Some of the more prevalent examples of this phenomenon came during the COVID pandemic and at the time when “meme stocks” began to captivate retail traders.

When the pandemic hit, plenty of trends sparked speculative trading action in the stock market. The “Great Toilet Paper Shortage” had traders hunting for paper goods stocks. Even if a company didn’t post news in years, it was a target if their “About” section had any mention of paper. We also saw plenty of vaccine stocks skyrocket. One of the most notable penny stocks, Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX), went on to explode to highs of more than $300 from price levels below $5 at the onset of the pandemic.

Penny Stocks & Frequently Asked Questions From New Traders

Then we saw meme stocks. Companies like AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AMC), GameStop (NYSE: GME), Bed, Bath, & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY), Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY), and many others took flight. While many had their time to shine, AMC and GME stocks have clearly become the forerunners of this market niche.

The critical thing to remember when making your list of penny stocks with high volume is your strategy. It’s great to see stocks make explosive moves. But if those moves are quicker than you’re prepared for, it could become a losing proposition. For this reason, perfect your trading style and choose high-volume penny stocks that fit your criteria. They don’t always need to be the 1-day movers. There are plenty of high-volume names that trade at consistently heightened levels. That’s something to be aware of when it comes time to putting together your watch list. Just know that this is just the beginning of your research! Check out’s Penny Stocks Basics section for more info if you’re new to trading.

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The post Trading Penny Stocks & Using Volume Analysis To Find Stocks To Buy appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information |

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