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JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(1): e24756, 2021 01 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141295


BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is a highly transmissible illness caused by SARS-CoV-2. The disease has affected more than 200 countries, and the measures that have been implemented to combat its spread, as there is still no vaccine or definitive medication, have been based on supportive interventions and drug repositioning. Brazil, the largest country in South America, has had more than 140,000 recorded deaths and is one of the most affected countries. Despite the extensive quantity of scientifically recognized information, there are still conflicting discussions on how best to face the disease and the virus, especially with regard to social distancing, preventive methods, and the use of medications. OBJECTIVE: The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the Brazilian population's basic knowledge about COVID-19 to demonstrate how Brazilians are managing to identify scientifically proven information. METHODS: A cross-sectional study design was used. An original online questionnaire survey was administered from June 16 to August 21, 2020, across all five different geopolitical regions of the country (ie, the North, Northeast, Center-West, Southeast, and South). The questionnaire was comprised of questions about basic aspects of COVID-19, such as the related symptoms, conduct that should be followed when suspected of infection, risk groups, prevention, transmission, and social distancing. The wrong questionnaire response alternatives were taken from the fake news combat website of the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Participants (aged ≥18 years) were recruited through social networking platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter. The mean distributions, frequencies, and similarities or dissimilarities between the responses for the different variables of the study were evaluated. The significance level for all statistical tests was less than .05. RESULTS: A total of 4180 valid responses representative of all the states and regions of Brazil were recorded. Most respondents had good knowledge about COVID-19, getting an average of 86.59% of the total score with regard to the basic aspects of the disease. The region, education level, age, sex, and social condition had a significant association (P<.001) with knowledge about the disease, which meant that women, the young, those with higher education levels, nonrecipients of social assistance, and more economically and socially developed regions had more correct answers. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, Brazilians with social media access have a good level of basic knowledge about COVID-19 but with differences depending on the analyzed subgroup. Due to the limitation of the platform used in carrying out the study, care should be taken when generalizing the study findings to populations with less education or who are not used to accessing social networking platforms.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Behavior , Health Education/methods , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Brazil , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Middle Aged , Social Networking , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
Int J Biol Macromol ; 203: 466-480, 2022 Apr 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1630871


The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N) is a multifunctional promiscuous nucleic acid-binding protein, which plays a major role in nucleocapsid assembly and discontinuous RNA transcription, facilitating the template switch of transcriptional regulatory sequences (TRS). Here, we dissect the structural features of the N protein N-terminal domain (N-NTD) and N-NTD plus the SR-rich motif (N-NTD-SR) upon binding to single and double-stranded TRS DNA, as well as their activities for dsTRS melting and TRS-induced liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). Our study gives insights on the specificity for N-NTD(-SR) interaction with TRS. We observed an approximation of the triple-thymidine (TTT) motif of the TRS to ß-sheet II, giving rise to an orientation difference of ~25° between dsTRS and non-specific sequence (dsNS). It led to a local unfavorable energetic contribution that might trigger the melting activity. The thermodynamic parameters of binding of ssTRSs and dsTRS suggested that the duplex dissociation of the dsTRS in the binding cleft is entropically favorable. We showed a preference for TRS in the formation of liquid condensates when compared to NS. Moreover, our results on DNA binding may serve as a starting point for the design of inhibitors, including aptamers, against N, a possible therapeutic target essential for the virus infectivity.

COVID-19/virology , Nucleic Acids/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Binding Sites , DNA/chemistry , DNA/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Models, Molecular , Nucleic Acids/chemistry , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Protein Binding , RNA/chemistry , RNA/metabolism , Spectrum Analysis , Structure-Activity Relationship