ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0080.v1
Subject: Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry Keywords: Chemical characterization; New psychoactive substances; Synthetic cathinones; FTIR; GC-MS; NMR
Online: 2 February 2021 (09:44:23 CET)
The innovation of the new psychoactive substances (NPS) market requires the rapid identification of new substances that can be a risk to public health, in order to reduce the damage due to their use. Twelve seized products suspected to contain illicit substances were analyzed by attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). Synthetic cathinones (SCat) were found in all products, either as a single component or in mixtures. Infrared spectra of all products were consistent with the molecular structure of SCat, showing an intense absorption band at 1700–1674 cm‐1, corresponding to the carbonyl stretching, a medium/strong peak at 1605-1580 cm-1, indicating stretching vibrations in the aromatic ring (C=C) and bands with relative low intensity at frequencies near 2700–2400 cm-1, corresponding to an amine salt. It was possible to identify a total of eight cathinone derivatives by GC-MS and NMR analysis: 4’-methyl-α-pyrrolidinohexanophenone (MPHP), α-pyrrolidinohexanophenone (α-PHP), 3-fluoromethcathinone (3-FMC), methedrone, methylone, buphedrone, N-ethylcathinone, and pentedrone. Among the adulterants found in these samples, caffeine was the most frequently detected substance, followed by ethylphenidate. These results highlight the prevalence of SCat in seized materials of the Portuguese market. Reference standards are usually required for confirmation, but when reference materials are not available, the combination of complementary techniques is fundamental for a rapid and an unequivocal identification of such substances.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0750.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2 genomics; spike protein; epitope prediction; coronavirus comparative genomics
Online: 31 May 2021 (11:36:29 CEST)
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) challenges include understanding what triggered SARS-CoV-2 emergence, how this RNA virus is evolving or how the genomic variability may impact the primary structure of proteins that are targets for vaccine. We analyzed 19471 SARS-CoV-2 genomes and 199,984 spike glycoprotein sequences available at the GISAID database from all over the world and 3335 genomes of other Coronoviridae family members available at Genbank, collecting SARS-CoV-2 high-quality genomes and distinct Coronoviridae family genomes. Here, we identify a SARS-CoV-2 emerging cluster containing 13 closely related genomes isolated from bat and pangolin that showed evidence of recombination, which may have contributed to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. The analyzed SARS-CoV-2 genomes presented 9632 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) corresponding to a variant density of 0.3 over the genome, and a clear geographic distribution. SNPs are unevenly distributed throughout the genome and hotspots for mutations were found for the spike gene and ORF 1ab. We describe a set of predicted spike protein epitopes whose variability is negligible. All predicted epitopes for the structural E, M and N proteins are highly conserved. This result favors the continuous efficacy of the available vaccines.