Tag Archives: COVID-19

COVID-19 severity affected by proportion of antibodies targeting crucial viral protein – Study

A comprehensive study of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 associates mild disease with comparatively high levels of antibodies that target the viral spike protein. But all antibodies wane within months.

COVID-19 antibodies preferentially target a different part of the virus in mild cases of COVID-19 than they do in severe cases, and wane significantly within several months of infection, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford Medicine

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The findings identify new links between the course of the disease and a patient’s immune response. They also raise concerns about whether people can be re-infected, whether antibody tests to detect prior infection may underestimate the breadth of the pandemic and whether vaccinations may need to be repeated at regular intervals to maintain a protective immune response. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wearable Sensor May Signal You’re Developing COVID-19 – Even If Your Symptoms Are Subtle – Study

A smart ring that generates continuous temperature data may foreshadow COVID-19, even in cases when infection is not suspected. The device, which may be a better illness indicator than a thermometer, could lead to earlier isolation and testing, curbing the spread of infectious diseases, according to a preliminary study led by UC San Francisco and UC San Diego.  

The Oura Ring is a wearable sensor that continuously measures sleep and wakefulness, heart and respiratory rates and temperature. Photo courtesy of Oura

An analysis of data from 50 people previously infected with COVID-19, published online in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports on Dec. 14, 2020, found that data obtained from the commercially available smart ring accurately identified higher temperatures in people with symptoms of COVID-19. 

While it is not known how effectively the smart ring can detect asymptomatic COVID-19, which affects between 10 percent to 70 percent of those infected according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the authors reported that for 38 of the 50 participants, fever was identified when symptoms were unreported or even unnoticed. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

LED lights found to kill coronavirus: Global first in fight against COVID-19 – TAU

Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) have proven that the coronavirus can be killed efficiently, quickly, and cheaply using ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs). They believe that the UV-LED technology will soon be available for private and commercial use.

This is the first study conducted on the disinfection efficiency of UV-LED irradiation at different wavelengths or frequencies on a virus from the family of coronaviruses. The study was led by Professor Hadas Mamane, Head of the Environmental Engineering Program at TAU’s School of Mechnical Engineering, Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering. The article was published in November 2020 issue of the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology.

“The entire world is currently looking for effective solutions to disinfect the coronavirus,” said Professor Mamane. “The problem is that in order to disinfect a bus, train, sports hall, or plane by chemical spraying, you need physical manpower, and in order for the spraying to be effective, you have to give the chemical time to act on the surface. Disinfection systems based on LED bulbs, however, can be installed in the ventilation system and air conditioner, for example, and sterilize the air sucked in and then emitted into the room.

“We discovered that it is quite simple to kill the coronavirus using LED bulbs that radiate ultraviolet light,” she explained. “We killed the viruses using cheaper and more readily available LED bulbs, which consume little energy and do not contain mercury like regular bulbs. Our research has commercial and societal implications, given the possibility of using such LED bulbs in all areas of our lives, safely and quickly.”

1 Comment

Filed under COVID-19

Research strongly suggests COVID-19 virus enters the brain

More and more evidence is coming out that people with COVID-19 are suffering from cognitive effects, such as brain fog and fatigue.

And researchers are discovering why. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, like many viruses before it, is bad news for the brain. In a study published Dec.16 in Nature Neuroscience, researchers found that the spike protein, often depicted as the red arms of the virus, can cross the blood-brain barrier in mice.

The S1 protein likely causes the brain to release inflammatory products causing a storm in the brain, researchers said. Credit Alice Gray

This strongly suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, can enter the brain.

The spike protein, often called the S1 protein, dictates which cells the virus can enter. Usually, the virus does the same thing as its binding protein, said lead author William A. Banks, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a Puget Sound Veterans Affairs Healthcare System physician and researcher. Banks said binding proteins like S1 usually by themselves cause damage as they detach from the virus and cause inflammation.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pandemic has severely disrupted sleep, increasing stress and medication use – Study

The COVID-19 pandemic is seriously affecting the sleep habits of half of those surveyed in a new study from The Royal and the University of Ottawa, leading to further stress and anxiety plus further dependence on sleep medication.

The global pandemic’s impact on daily routines extends to the bed, according to ‘Profiles of sleep changes during the COVID?19 pandemic: Demographic, behavioural and psychological factors’. The study was led by Principal Investigator Rébecca Robillard, an Assistant Professor and co-director of the Sleep Laboratory of the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, and Head Scientist in the Sleep Research Unit at The Royal Institute of Mental Health Research and published in the Journal of Sleep Research.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Dr. Robillard and her team, which was comprised of nearly two dozen scientists from across North America, conducted an online survey of 5,525 Canadian during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. She walked us through some of the study’s most important findings.

How has the pandemic affected our sleep?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Researchers rank various mask protection, modifications against COVID-19

It’s been shown that when two people wearing masks interact, the chance of COVID-19 transmission is drastically reduced. This is why public health officials have pleaded for all people to wear masks: they not only protect the wearer from expelling particles that might carry SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), but masks also protect the wearer from inhaling particles that carry the virus. Some people, though, still refuse to wear a mask. So UNC School of Medicine scientists, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, researched the protectiveness of various kinds of consumer-grade and modified masks, assuming the mask wearer was exposed to the virus, like when we interact with an unmasked infected person.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the research shows that some masks were as much as 79 percent effective at blocking particles that could carry the virus. These were masks made of two layers of woven nylon and fit snug against the wearer’s face. Unmodified medical procedure masks with ear loops – also known as surgical masks – offered 38.5 percent filtration efficacy, but when the ear loops were tied in a specific way to tighten the fit, the efficacy improved to 60.3 percent. And when a layer of nylon was added, these masks offered 80 percent effectiveness.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

This Anti-COVID Mask Breaks the Mold

In the early days of the pandemic, amidst all the uncertainty, one thing was for sure: N95 masks – the personal protective respiratory devices that filter out viruses, bacteria, and wildfire smoke – were in short supply. So when materials scientists Jeff Urban and Peter Hosemann heard that a local HMO needed advice on N95 alternatives, they immediately knew what to do: Make a better mask.   

To address PPE shortages during the pandemic, scientists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley are developing a rechargeable, reusable, anti-COVID N95 mask and a 3D-printable silicon-cast mask mold. 

Hosemann got on the phone, and discovered that the HMO’s doctors and supply managers wanted to know what makes an effective antiviral mask, and how they could verify whether the masks they found were actually any good. “It was helpful to learn what their needs were, and how we could fill in and help support their mission,” said Hosemann, who holds titles of faculty scientist in the Materials Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Ernest S. Kuh Chair in Engineering at UC Berkeley.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Using existing treatment earlier saves COVID-19 patients’ lives

The lives of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are being saved by doctors using an existing medical treatment at an earlier stage.

Dr Luigi Sedda of Lancaster University analyzed the results from the team at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WWL). Their research has now been published in the medical journal BMJ Respiratory Open.

CPAP treatment, often used at home to help people with sleep problems, helps to keep the lungs open and makes breathing easier.

He said: “We show that Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) in the first days of hospitalization seems to save between 10% to 20% of patients. However, it is important to underline that this was a pilot study with a small sample size, although comforting evidence is starting to emerge elsewhere.”

According to NHS England, 96% of people who died with Covid had at least one serious health condition and the majority are over the age of 80.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pandemic social isolation linked with high blood pressure

Lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with an increase in high blood pressure among patients admitted to emergency. That’s the finding of a study presented at the 46th Argentine Congress of Cardiology (SAC).

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

SAC 2020 is a virtual meeting during 19 to 21 November. Faculty from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) will participate in joint scientific sessions with the Argentine Society of Cardiology as part of the ESC Global Activities program.

“Admission to the emergency department during the mandatory social isolation period was linked with a 37% increase in the odds of having high blood pressure – even after taking into account age, gender, month, day and time of consultation, and whether or not the patient arrived by ambulance,” said study author Dr. Matías Fosco of Favaloro Foundation University Hospital, Buenos Aires.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Life After COVID-19 Hospital Stay: Major Lasting Effects on Health, Work and More

Surviving a case of COVID-19 that’s bad enough to land you in the hospital is hard enough. But life after the hospital stay – and especially after an intensive care stay – is no bed of roses, either, according to a new study. 

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

Within two months of leaving the hospital, nearly 7% of the patients had died, including more than 10% of the patients treated in an intensive care unit. Fifteen percent had ended up back in the hospital. The data come from more than 1,250 patients treated in 38 hospitals across Michigan this spring and summer, when the state was one of the earliest to experience a peak in cases. 

When researchers interviewed 488 of the surviving patients by phone, around 60 days after their hospitalization, they heard a litany of health and life woes. They’ve published their findings in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Aspirin Use Reduces Risk of Death in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients – Study

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were taking a daily low-dose aspirin to protect against cardiovascular disease had a significantly lower risk of complications and death compared to those who were not taking aspirin, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). Aspirin takers were less likely to be placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) or hooked up to a mechanical ventilator, and they were more likely to survive the infection compared to hospitalized patients who were not taking aspirin, The study, published today in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, provides “cautious optimism,” the researchers say, for an inexpensive, accessible medication with a well-known safety profile that could help prevent severe complications.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

“This is a critical finding that needs to be confirmed through a randomized clinical trial,” said study leader Jonathan Chow, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at UMSOM. “If our finding is confirmed, it would make aspirin the first widely available, over-the-counter medication to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.”

To conduct the study, Dr. Chow and his colleagues culled through the medical records of 412 COVID-19 patients, age of 55 on average, who were hospitalized over the past few months due to complications of their infection. They were treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore and three other hospitals along the East Coast. About a quarter of the patients were taking a daily low-dose aspirin (usually 81 milligrams) before they were admitted or right after admission to manage their cardiovascular disease.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Possible Link Between Blood Type and COVID-19 Susceptibility and Severity

Two studies published today in Blood Advances suggest people with blood type O may have a lower risk of COVID-19 infection and reduced likelihood of severe outcomes, including organ complications, if they do get sick.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

As the pandemic continues, the global biomedical research community is working urgently to identify coronavirus risk factors and potential therapeutic targets. The potential role of blood type in predicting risk and complications of COVID-19 infection has emerged as an important scientific question. These new studies add evidence that there may be an association between blood type and vulnerability to COVID-19; however, additional research is needed to better understand why and what it means for patients.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How COVID-19 Spreads – CDC

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

COVID-19 spreads very easily from person to person

How easily a virus spreads from person to person can vary. The virus that causes COVID-19 appears to spread more efficiently than influenza but not as efficiently as measles, which is among the most contagious viruses known to affect people.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Obesity raises risk of COVID-19 regardless of age, sex, ethnicity health

The opposite of a gift that keeps on giving is an affliction that keeps on taking away. Latest research seems to indicate that is exactly that case with obesity in relation to COVID-19. Fat chance.

The probability that an obese person will develop severe COVID-19 is high regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, and the presence of co-morbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart or lung disease, according to a study by Brazilian researchers published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

The systematic review and meta-analysis of relevant data in the scientific literature focus on nine clinical studies, which in aggregate reported the evolution of 6,577 COVID-19 patients in five countries. The authors conclude that obesity is itself a factor that favors rapid progression to critical illness requiring intensive care and significantly increases the risk of death. The associated research project was supported by São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP .

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Can the common cold help protect you from COVID-19?

A new study provides evidence that the seasonal colds you’ve had in the past could protect you from COVID-19. The study also suggests that immunity to COVID-19 is likely to last a long time — maybe even a lifetime.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Seasonal colds are by all accounts no fun, but new research suggests the colds you’ve had in the past may provide some protection from COVID-19. The study, authored by infectious disease experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center, also suggests that immunity to COVID-19 is likely to last a long time — maybe even a lifetime.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Why COVID-19 Means You Need a Flu Shot This Year – UCSF

I have been writing this blog since March 2010. There are approximately 4000 posts in here. Without a doubt, one of the most incendiary topics in that entire time is … flu shots. I get one every year. My doctor tells me to. I listen to her and I got one on Friday. I think you should, too. In view of the pandemic it is even more important.

As the flu season approaches in the United States, health experts are warning that the addition of another respiratory illness on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could overburden the health care system, strain testing capacity, and increase the risk of catching both diseases at once, according to the University of California San Francisco.

In a bad flu season, which peaks from December to February, 40 million to 50 million Americans may catch the flu, with some 800,000 requiring hospitalization, according to Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, an infectious disease expert at UC San Francisco.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

“So the worry is that with the onset of the flu season, you’re going to get peaks of flu and COVID-19 cases at the same time,” he said. “Even with a mild flu season, the convergence with a COVID surge could very rapidly overwhelm our hospital system.”

Unlike COVID-19, however, the flu is a familiar foe, and a safe and effective vaccine is available every year.

4 Comments

Filed under coronavirus, coronavirus risk, COVID-19, flu deaths, flu season, flu shot