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AI used to predict which animal viruses are likely to infect humans: study

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Artificial intelligence (AI) could be key in helping scientists identify the next animal virus that is capable of infecting humans, according to researchers. 

In a Tuesday study published in the journal PLoS Biology, the Glasgow-based team said it had devised a genomic model that could “retrospectively or prospectively predict the probability that viruses will be able to infect humans.”

The group developed machine learning models to single out candidate zoonotic viruses using signatures of host range encoded in viral genomes. 

With a dataset of 861 viral species with known zoonotic status, the researchers collected a single representative genome sequence from the hundreds of RNA and DNA virus species, spanning 36 viral families.

They classified each virus as being capable of infecting humans or not, made by merging three previously published datasets that reported data at the virus species level and did not consider the potential for variation in host range within virus species.

The researchers trained models to classify viruses accordingly.

Binary predictions correctly identified nearly 72% of the viruses that predominantly or exclusively infect humans and nearly 70% of zoonotic viruses as human infecting, though performance varied among viral families. 

Upon further conversion of predicted probabilities of zoonotic potential into four categories, 92% of human-infecting viruses were predicted to have medium, high or very high zoonotic potential and a total of 18 viruses not currently considered to infect humans by their criteria were projected to have very high zoonotic potential – at least three of which had serological evidence of human infection, suggesting they could be valid zoonoses. 

“Across the full dataset, 77.2% of viruses predicted to have very high zoonotic potential were known to infect humans,” the researchers wrote.

Next, the scientists tested several learning-based models to find the best-performing model, which was used to rank 758 virus species – and 38 viral families – not present in training data. 

Among a second set of 645 animal-associated viruses excluding from training data, models predicted increased zoonotic transmission risk of genetically similar nonhuman primate-associated viruses.

“Taken together, our results are consistent with the expectation that the relatively close phylogenetic proximity of nonhuman primates may facilitate virus sharing with humans and suggest that this may in part reflect common selective pressures on viral genome composition in both humans and nonhuman primates. However, broad differences among other animal groups appear to have less influence on zoonotic potential than virus characteristics,” the authors said.

In total, 70.8% of viruses sampled from humans were correctly identified with high or very high zoonotic potential.

A second case study predicted the zoonotic potential of all currently recognized coronavirus species and the human and animal genomes of all severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus.

“Our findings show that the zoonotic potential of viruses can be inferred to a surprisingly large extent from their genome sequence,” the researchers reported. “By highlighting viruses with the greatest potential to become zoonotic, genome-based ranking allows further ecological and virological characterization to be targeted more effectively.”

By identifying high-risk viruses and conducting further investigation, they said predictions could aid in the growing imbalance between the rapid pace of virus discovery and research needed to comprehensively evaluate risk.

Nearly 2 million animal viruses can infect humans.

“Importantly, given diagnostic limitations and the likelihood that not all viruses capable of human infection have had opportunities to emerge and be detected, viruses not reported to infect humans may represent unrealized, undocumented, or genuinely nonzoonotic species. Identifying potential or undocumented zoonoses within our data was an a priori goal of our analysis,” the group said.

“A genomic sequence is typically the first, and often only, information we have on newly discovered viruses, and the more information we can extract from it, the sooner we might identify the virus’ origins and the zoonotic risk it may pose,” co-author Simon Babayan of the Institute of Biodiversity at the University of Glasgow said in a journal news release.

“As more viruses are characterized, the more effective our machine learning models will become at identifying the rare viruses that ought to be closely monitored and prioritized for preemptive vaccine development,” he added.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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