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J Biomol Struct Dyn ; : 1-11, 2021 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2258183


Coronaviruses have posed a persistent threat to human health over the last two decades. Despite the accumulated knowledge about coronavirus-related pathogens, development of an effective treatment for its new variant COVID-19 is highly challenging. For the highly-conserved and main coronavirus protease 3CLpro, dimerization is known to be essential for its catalytic activity and thereby for virus proliferation. Here, we assess the potential of short peptide segments to disrupt dimerization of the 3CLpro protease as a route to block COVID-19 proliferation. Based on the X-ray structure of the 3CLpro dimer, we identified the SPSGVY126QCAMRP dodecapeptide segment as overlapping the hotspot regions on the 3CLpro dimer interface. Using computational blind docking of the peptide to the 3CLpro monomer, we found that the SPSGVY126QCAMRP peptide has favourable thermodynamic binding (ΔG= -5.93 kcal/mol) to the hotspot regions at the 3CLpro dimer interface. Importantly, the peptide was also found to preferentially bind to the hotspot regions compared to other potential binding sites lying away from the dimer interface (ΔΔG=-1.31 kcal/mol). Docking of peptides corresponding to systematic mutation of the V125 and Y126 residues led to the identification of seven peptides, SPSGHAQCAMRP, SPSGVTQCAMRP, SPSGKPQCAMRP, SPSGATQCAMRP, SPSGWLQCAMRP, SPSGAPQCAMRP and SPSGHPQCAMRP, that outperform the wild-type SPSGVY126QCAMRP peptide in terms of preferential binding to the 3CLpro dimer interface. These peptides have the potential to disrupt 3CLpro dimerization and therefore could provide lead structures for the development of broad spectrum COVID-19 inhibitors.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

Educ Inf Technol (Dordr) ; 26(6): 7321-7338, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1252154


Recently, the education system has faced an unprecedented health crisis that has shaken up its foundation. Given today's uncertainties, it is vital to gain a nuanced understanding of students' online learning experience in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many studies have investigated this area, limited information is available regarding the challenges and the specific strategies that students employ to overcome them. Thus, this study attempts to fill in the void. Using a mixed-methods approach, the findings revealed that the online learning challenges of college students varied in terms of type and extent. Their greatest challenge was linked to their learning environment at home, while their least challenge was technological literacy and competency. The findings further revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic had the greatest impact on the quality of the learning experience and students' mental health. In terms of strategies employed by students, the most frequently used were resource management and utilization, help-seeking, technical aptitude enhancement, time management, and learning environment control. Implications for classroom practice, policy-making, and future research are discussed.

Studies in Systems, Decision and Control ; 334:203-217, 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1188060


This paper aims to explore the challenges, opportunities and implications of COVID-19 pandemic in the UAE higher education context. It uses the qualitative study approach and websites methodologies to enrich the aims and results of the study. It focuses on the influence of COVID-19 pandemic on higher education institutions and their progressions respectively. As higher education institutions not only provide knowledge but also develop interpersonal skills and help mold an individual in all aspects to face real-world challenges. Institutions should, therefore, get back to traditional teaching methods as soon as possible by incorporating the benefits of virtual learning into traditional learning methods, as virtual learning cannot replace traditional methods. Consequently, over some time as the crisis continues globally, the higher educational institutions worldwide can take into development better modes of communication and continue to provide various forms of delivering their services, and as the COVID-19 with progress in medical fields can fade to a disease of history we can improve what was once traditional learning with the online learning experience from this time. As the COVID-19 crisis continues globally, the higher education institutions can develop better modes of communication and forms of providing their services and as the COVID 19 fades to a disease of history, so it can improve what was known as traditional learning into the online learning over the time. After substantiating the multiple benefits and consequences of having virtual learning in the higher education system, it is clear that there is a lot of room for improvement over the time. This study contributes to the COVID 19 concept and higher education tools as it introduces you to the various impacts of online educational tools used by higher education universities in the UAE during the spread of COVID-19. It can be considered as a pioneer study in UAE in exploration the relationship between COVID-19 and higher education field. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.