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Biologics, Volume 1, Issue 2 (September 2021) – 12 articles

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Review
Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Antiviral Drugs in the Extended Use against COVID-19: What We Know So Far
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 252-284; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020016 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 914
Abstract
Human beings around the globe have been suffering from a devastating novel pandemic and public health emergency, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), for more than one and a half years due to the deadly and highly pathogenic severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection [...] Read more.
Human beings around the globe have been suffering from a devastating novel pandemic and public health emergency, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), for more than one and a half years due to the deadly and highly pathogenic severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection worldwide. Notably, no effective treatment strategy has been approved for the complete recovery of COVID-19 patients, though several vaccines have been rolled out around the world upon emergency use authorization. After the emergence of the COVID-19 outbreak globally, plenty of clinical investigations commenced to screen the safety and efficacy of several previously approved drugs to be repurposed against the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen. This concise review aims at exploring the current status of the clinical efficacy and safety profile of several antiviral medications for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 and other respiratory complications caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. The paper covers all kinds of human studies (January 2020 to June 2021) except case reports/series to highlight the clear conclusion based on the current clinical evidence. Among the promising repositioned antivirals, remdesivir has been recommended in critical conditions to mitigate the fatality rate and improve clinical conditions. In addition, boosting the immune system is believed to be beneficial in treating COVID-19 patients, so interferon type I might exert immunomodulation through its antiviral effects by stimulating interferon-stimulated gene (ISG). However, more extensive clinical studies covering all ethnic groups globally are warranted based on current data to better understand the clinical efficacy of the currently proposed repurposed drugs against COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anti-SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Drugs and Vaccines)
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Review
Implications of Endothelial Cell-Mediated Dysfunctions in Vasomotor Tone Regulation
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 231-251; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020015 - 08 Sep 2021
Viewed by 370
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) constitute the major cause of death worldwide and show a higher prevalence in the adult population. The human umbilical cord consistsof two arteries and one vein, both composed of three tunics. The tunica intima, lined with endothelial cells, regulates vascular [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) constitute the major cause of death worldwide and show a higher prevalence in the adult population. The human umbilical cord consistsof two arteries and one vein, both composed of three tunics. The tunica intima, lined with endothelial cells, regulates vascular tone through the production/release of vasoregulatory substances. These substances can be vasoactive factors released by endothelial cells (ECs) that cause vasodilation (NO, PGI2, EDHF, and Bradykinin) or vasoconstriction (ET1, TXA2, and Ang II) depending on the cell type (ECs or SMC) that reacts to the stimulus. Vascular studies using ECs are important for the analysis of cardiovascular diseases since endothelial dysfunction is an important CVD risk factor. In this paper, we will address the morphological characteristics of the human umbilical cord and its component vessels. the constitution of the vascular endothelium, and the evolution of human umbilical cord-derived endothelial cells when isolated. Moreover, the role played by the endothelium in the vasomotor tone regulation, and how it may be associated with the existence of CVD, were discussed. Full article
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Brief Report
Suitable Interpretation of Skin Prick Test and Biomedical Guidance Leads to a Better Clinical State in Atopic Individuals with High Indoor Permanence: Possible Therapeutic Implications
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 222-230; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020014 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 586
Abstract
Indoor conditions contribute to allergen sensitization and multiple allergens reactivity, mainly for inhaled allergens. This study analyzes if Skin Prick Test (SPT) combined with efficient individual biomedical guidance about allergy development’s social, biological, and environmental aspects can yield a better clinical state with [...] Read more.
Indoor conditions contribute to allergen sensitization and multiple allergens reactivity, mainly for inhaled allergens. This study analyzes if Skin Prick Test (SPT) combined with efficient individual biomedical guidance about allergy development’s social, biological, and environmental aspects can yield a better clinical state with therapeutic implications for atopic individuals with high indoor permanence. We recruited atopic and non-atopic volunteers (clinically and in vitro diagnosed) with indoor permanence above 15 h per day and without previous SPT evaluation. The SPT and serum anti-allergen IgE analyses were performed individually in person, demonstrated, and discussed by the practitioners. Six months after, SPT and specific IgE titers determination were repeated, and a questionnaire to evaluate the effectiveness of the practitioner’s orientation was performed. After six months, 14% of atopic volunteers reported changes in their social habits, 30% said that they avoid the development of allergies clinical symptoms, and 68% reported a substantial improvement in their health after being informed mentored about their allergen reactivity. The control non-atopic group, as expected, reported no changes in social habits, the maintenance of total avoidance of allergic symptoms, and almost no improvement of their health. Reduced SPT and serum allergen-specific IgE titers were detected in the atopic individuals corroborating with questionnaire results. Our results indicated that SPT, followed by an individual and efficient discussion about the main biomedical aspects of allergy development, could exert a pronounced therapeutic role in allergy development by high indoor permanence individuals. Full article
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Article
Immunomodulatory Properties of Polyphenol-Rich Sugarcane Extract on Human Monocytes
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 211-221; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020013 - 25 Aug 2021
Viewed by 363
Abstract
As inflammatory lifestyle factors become more prevalent and as the population ages, the management of inflammation will become increasingly relevant. Plant polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that are known to have beneficial effects in a number of diseases with an inflammatory or oxidative component, [...] Read more.
As inflammatory lifestyle factors become more prevalent and as the population ages, the management of inflammation will become increasingly relevant. Plant polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that are known to have beneficial effects in a number of diseases with an inflammatory or oxidative component, such as malignancy, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Polyphenol-rich sugarcane extract (PRSE) is a novel preparation with high concentrations of polyphenolic antioxidants, with some evidence to show benefits in health, but there is limited research investigating its effects on immunomodulation. This study determined the effects of PRSE on human monocyte cells in vitro. We show that PRSE has an immunomodulatory effect in U937 human monocyte cells, altering the expression of cellular surface markers, with an increased expression of CD16 and CD11b, as well as small changes in CD40, CD80, CD80, CD206 and MHCI. It also modulates the profile of secreted cytokines, increasing IL-1β, TNFα, IL-6, IL-8, IL-4 and IL-10. These changes are consistent with the advanced differentiation of the monocyte, as well as the switch from the M1 to M2 phenotype in macrophages. We also demonstrate that this effect is likely to be independent of the NF-κB signalling pathway, suggesting that other mechanisms drive this effect. PRSE exerts an immunomodulatory effect on U937 monocytes in vitro, potentially facilitating the conversion from inflammation to healing. Future studies should identify specific mechanisms underlying the changes and evaluate their effectiveness in animal models of disease. Full article
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Review
Biological Treatments in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Complex Mix of Mechanisms and Actions
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 189-210; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020012 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 787
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disease that requires lifelong medication and whose incidence is increasing over the world. There is currently no cure for IBD, and the current therapeutic objective is to control the inflammatory process. Approximately one third of treated [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disease that requires lifelong medication and whose incidence is increasing over the world. There is currently no cure for IBD, and the current therapeutic objective is to control the inflammatory process. Approximately one third of treated patients do not respond to treatment and refractoriness to treatment is common. Therefore, pharmacological treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, are urgently needed, and new treatment guidelines are regularly published. Due to the extremely important current role of biologics in the therapy of IBD, herein we have briefly reviewed the main biological treatments currently available. In addition, we have focused on the mechanisms of action of the most relevant groups of biological agents in IBD therapy, which are not completely clear but are undoubtfully important for understanding both their therapeutic efficacy and the adverse side effects they may have. Further studies are necessary to better understand the action mechanism of these drugs, which will in turn help us to understand how to improve their efficacy and safety. These studies will hopefully pave the path for a personalized medicine. Full article
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Review
A COVID-19 Overview and Potential Applications of Cell Therapy
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 177-188; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020011 - 02 Aug 2021
Viewed by 440
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has already reaped thousands of lives, although many scientific studies already showed the possibility of this scenario. Currently, further attention is provided to patients depicting comorbidities such as respiratory or immunocompromised diseases, hypertension, and diabetes, as these individuals show a [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already reaped thousands of lives, although many scientific studies already showed the possibility of this scenario. Currently, further attention is provided to patients depicting comorbidities such as respiratory or immunocompromised diseases, hypertension, and diabetes, as these individuals show a worse prognosis. Cell therapies using stem cells and/or defense cells, combined or not with traditional treatment, could be an outstanding strategy for COVID-19 management since these treatments can act by modulating the immune system, reducing proliferation, and favoring the complete elimination of the virus. In this review, we highlight the main molecular characteristics of this novel coronavirus, as well as the main pathognomonic signs of COVID-19. Furthermore, possible cell therapies are pointed out to show alternative treatments against COVID-19 and its sequels. Full article
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Article
Isolation and Characterization of Bacteriophage ZCSE6 against Salmonella spp.: Phage Application in Milk
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 164-176; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020010 - 02 Aug 2021
Viewed by 532
Abstract
Food safety is very important in the food industry as most pathogenic bacteria can cause food-borne diseases and negatively affect public health. In the milk industry, contamination with Salmonella has always been a challenge, but the risks have dramatically increased as almost all [...] Read more.
Food safety is very important in the food industry as most pathogenic bacteria can cause food-borne diseases and negatively affect public health. In the milk industry, contamination with Salmonella has always been a challenge, but the risks have dramatically increased as almost all bacteria now show resistance to a wide range of commercial antibiotics. This study aimed to isolate a bacteriophage to be used as a bactericidal agent against Salmonella in milk and dairy products. Here, phage ZCSE6 has been isolated from raw milk sample sand molecularly and chemically characterized. At different multiplicities of infection (MOIs) of 0.1, 0.01, and 0.001, the phage–Salmonella interaction was studied for 6 h at 37 °C and 24 h at 8 °C. In addition, ZCSE6 was tested against Salmonella contamination in milk to examine its lytic activity for 3 h at 37 °C. The results showed that ZCSE6 has a small genome size (<48.5 kbp) and belongs to the Siphovirus family. Phage ZCSE6 revealed a high thermal and pH stability at various conditions that mimic milk manufacturing and supply chain conditions. It also demonstrated a significant reduction in Salmonella concentration in media at various MOIs, with higher bacterial eradication at higher MOI. Moreover, it significantly reduced Salmonella growth (MOI 1) in milk, manifesting a 1000-fold decrease in bacteria concentration following 3 h incubation at 37 °C. The results highlighted the strong ability of ZCSE6 to kill Salmonella and control its growth in milk. Thus, ZCSE6 is recommended as a biocontrol agent in milk to limit bacterial growth and increase the milk shelf-life. Full article
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Article
Optimization of a New Antihyperglycemic Formulation Using a Mixture of Linum usitatissimum L., Coriandrum sativum L., and Olea europaea var. sylvestris Flavonoids: A Mixture Design Approach
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 154-163; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020009 - 21 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 783
Abstract
Flavonoids are a class of natural chemicals with variable phenolic structures that have long been recognized for their health advantages, they have recently attracted researchers’ attention for treating diabetes and hyperglycemia. The goal of this research is to develop a novel antihyperglycemic formulation [...] Read more.
Flavonoids are a class of natural chemicals with variable phenolic structures that have long been recognized for their health advantages, they have recently attracted researchers’ attention for treating diabetes and hyperglycemia. The goal of this research is to develop a novel antihyperglycemic formulation using a combination of three plant flavonoids: Linum usitatissimum L. seeds (FLU), Coriandrum sativum L. seeds (FCS), and Olea europaea var. sylvestris leaves (FOE) based on a mixture design experiment approach which generates the most effective ratio of each component in a mixture instead of the trial-and-error method. Prior to the test, sub-acute toxicity research was conducted to establish a safe and effective dosage. The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) was used to assess the antihyperglycemic impact of these extracts and their combinations in Swiss albino mice. The dose that showed efficacy and safety was 25 mg/kg, which was utilized in all formulations. According to the results, the binary and ternary combinations showed the most significant synergetic effects. The optimum combination with the most potent effect was 37% FLU, 20% FCS, and 43% FOE. This study’s mixture design and prediction model for glycemic variation (GV) may be utilized at an industrial level to develop a novel antidiabetic and antihyperglycemic formulation that is safe and effective. Full article
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Article
Induction of the CD24 Surface Antigen in Primary Undifferentiated Human Adipose Progenitor Cells by the Hedgehog Signaling Pathway
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 129-153; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020008 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 444
Abstract
In the murine model system of adipogenesis, the CD24 cell surface protein represents a valuable marker to label undifferentiated adipose progenitor cells. Indeed, when injected into the residual fat pads of lipodystrophic mice, these CD24 positive cells reconstitute a normal white adipose tissue [...] Read more.
In the murine model system of adipogenesis, the CD24 cell surface protein represents a valuable marker to label undifferentiated adipose progenitor cells. Indeed, when injected into the residual fat pads of lipodystrophic mice, these CD24 positive cells reconstitute a normal white adipose tissue (WAT) depot. Unluckily, similar studies in humans are rare and incomplete. This is because it is impossible to obtain large numbers of primary CD24 positive human adipose stem cells (hASCs). This study shows that primary hASCs start to express the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored CD24 protein when cultured with a chemically defined medium supplemented with molecules that activate the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway. Therefore, this in vitro system may help understand the biology and role in adipogenesis of the CD24-positive hASCs. The induced cells’ phenotype was studied by flow cytometry, Real-Time Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) techniques, and their secretion profile. The results show that CD24 positive cells are early undifferentiated progenitors expressing molecules related to the angiogenic pathway. Full article
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Review
Computational Chemistry to Repurposing Drugs for the Control of COVID-19
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 111-128; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020007 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 678
Abstract
Thus far, in 2021, 219 countries with over 175 million people have been infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 is a positive sense, single-stranded RNA virus, and is the causal agent for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Due to the urgency [...] Read more.
Thus far, in 2021, 219 countries with over 175 million people have been infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 is a positive sense, single-stranded RNA virus, and is the causal agent for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Due to the urgency of the situation, virtual screening as a computational modeling method offers a fast and effective modality of identifying drugs that may be effective against SARS-CoV-2. There has been an overwhelming abundance of molecular docking against SARS-CoV-2 in the last year. Due to the massive volume of computational studies, this systematic review has been created to evaluate and summarize the findings of existing studies. Herein, we report on computational articles of drugs which target, (1) viral protease, (2) Spike protein-ACE 2 interaction, (3) RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and (4) other proteins and nonstructural proteins of SARS-CoV-2. Based on the studies presented, there are 55 identified natural or drug compounds with potential anti-viral activity. The next step is to show anti-viral activity in vitro and translation to determine effectiveness into human clinical trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anti-SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Drugs and Vaccines)
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Review
Involvement of Probiotics and Postbiotics in the Immune System Modulation
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 89-110; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020006 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
Intestinal microbiota interacts with other systems, especially the immune system, which is responsible for protecting the body by recognizing “stranger” (pathogen associated molecular patterns-PAMPs) and “danger” (damage-associated molecular patterns-DAMPs) molecular motifs. In this manner, it plays an important role in the pathogenesis of [...] Read more.
Intestinal microbiota interacts with other systems, especially the immune system, which is responsible for protecting the body by recognizing “stranger” (pathogen associated molecular patterns-PAMPs) and “danger” (damage-associated molecular patterns-DAMPs) molecular motifs. In this manner, it plays an important role in the pathogenesis of various diseases and health. Despite the use of probiotics that modulate the intestinal microbiota in providing health benefits and in the treatment of diseases, there are some possible concerns about the possibility of developing adverse effects, especially in people with suppressed immune systems. Since probiotics provide health benefits with bioactive compounds, studies are carried out on the use of products containing non-living probiotic microorganisms (paraprobiotics) and/or their metabolites (postbiotics) instead of probiotic products. It is even reported that these microbial compounds have more immunomodulatory activities than living microorganisms via some possible mechanism and eliminates some disadvantages of probiotics. Considering the increasing use of functional foods in health and disease, further studies are needed with respect to the benefits and advantages of parabiotic and/or postbiotic use in the food and pharmaceutical industry as well as immune system modulation. Although probiotics have been extensive studied for a long time, it seems that postbiotics are promising tools for future research and applications according to the recent literature. This review aimed to evaluate the interaction of probiotics and postbiotics with the immune systems and also their advantages and disadvantages in the area of food-pharmaceutical industry and immune system modulation. Full article
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Review
How to Train Your Phage: The Recent Efforts in Phage Training
Biologics 2021, 1(2), 70-88; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biologics1020005 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 950
Abstract
Control of pathogenic bacteria by deliberate application of predatory phages has potential as a powerful therapy against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The key advantages of phage biocontrol over antibacterial chemotherapy are: (1) an ability to self-propagate inside host bacteria, (2) targeted predation of specific species [...] Read more.
Control of pathogenic bacteria by deliberate application of predatory phages has potential as a powerful therapy against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The key advantages of phage biocontrol over antibacterial chemotherapy are: (1) an ability to self-propagate inside host bacteria, (2) targeted predation of specific species or strains of bacteria, (3) adaptive molecular machinery to overcome resistance in target bacteria. However, realizing the potential of phage biocontrol is dependent on harnessing or adapting these responses, as many phage species switch between lytic infection cycles (resulting in lysis) and lysogenic infection cycles (resulting in genomic integration) that increase the likelihood of survival of the phage in response to external stress or host depletion. Similarly, host range will need to be optimized to make phage therapy medically viable whilst avoiding the potential for deleteriously disturbing the commensal microbiota. Phage training is a new approach to produce efficient phages by capitalizing on the evolved response of wild-type phages to bacterial resistance. Here we will review recent studies reporting successful trials of training different strains of phages to switch into lytic replication mode, overcome bacterial resistance, and increase their host range. This review will also highlight the current knowledge of phage training and future implications in phage applications and phage therapy and summarize the recent pipeline of the magistral preparation to produce a customized phage for clinical trials and medical applications. Full article
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