Skip to main content

Blogs

Bringing you the latest but fresh content

OZO Blogs

What is herd immunity and could it work with COVID-19?
What is herd immunity and could it work with COVID-19?
   • Herd immunity is when a virus can no longer spread easily because enough people are immune to it. That lowers the chances of the virus spreading from person to person and reaching those who haven't been infected yet.
      
    • People can become immune to certain viruses after surviving infection or being vaccinated. Typically, at least 70 per cent of a population must be immune to achieve herd immunity.
      
But how long immunity lasts varies depending on the virus, and it's not yet known how long COVID-19 survivors might have that protection.
 
How easily the virus spreads also plays a key role.
 
someone who's infected with a particular virus typically transmits it to two others. The chances of that person passing it on to others would be lower if half the population is already immune, said Dr. Walter Orenstein, a vaccine expert at Emory University.
 
The odds of transmission fall further if even more of the population is immune. That could cause new infections to die out. But if a virus is more infectious, a higher percentage of people would need to have immunity to stop the spread and achieve herd immunity, Orenstein said. 
People who feel fine can unknowingly spread the virus
People who feel fine can unknowingly spread the virus
 • Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the Covid-19 pandemic, made it clear on Tuesday that the actual rates of asymptomatic transmission aren’t yet known.
      
    • However massive coronavirus testing campaign in Vietnam has found evidence that infected people who never show any symptoms can pass the virus to others.
 
Early in the global COVID-19 outbreak, Vietnam began to repeatedly test people at high risk of infection. Those who tested positive were admitted to a hospital until they either recovered or tested negative.
 
Of roughly 14,000 people tested between mid-March and early April, 49 were infected. Le Van Tan at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and his colleagues monitored 30 of the 49 individuals and found that 13 developed no symptoms during their hospital stay. (Source: N. V. V. Chau et al. Clin. Infect. Dis. http://doi.org/ggzfz9; 2020).
 
Nasal swabbing showed that the infected but asymptomatic study participants had lower levels of viral RNA than infected people who felt ill at some point. But it’s “highly likely” that two of the asymptomatic participants were the source of infection for at least two other people, the authors say.
What's the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?
What's the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?
 • A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals.
      
    • The CDC subsequently issued a news release to clarify that indirect contact from a contaminated surface — what scientists call fomite transmission — remains a potential risk for catching COVID-19.
 
“Based on data from lab studies on COVID-19 and what we know about similar respiratory diseases, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes,” the agency wrote. “But this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
 
A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals.
A new US government report explores how blockchains could be used to track drones carrying medical supplies
A new US government report explores how blockchains could be used to track drones carrying medical supplies

Commercial drone delivery is becoming a serious business, but it still faces technical challenges related to data sharing and trust. Blockchains could help with that, a report published April 15 by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) contends.

Companies and governments all over the world are using unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) to deliver essential products, like medicines.

“The number of variety of UASs and the diverse operations they are or may be expected to soon be involved in make these aircraft especially suitable to the trust and operational integrity provided by blockchains,” says the DOT report.

A “blockchain-based black box,” for example, might provide data that would help investigators figure out what a drone was doing right before it crashed or failed.

The race to make vaccines faster
The race to make vaccines faster

In the race to create a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, some researchers are testing new approaches they hope can ultimately produce vaccines in months rather than years.

Why it matters?

The global COVID-19 outbreak is a harsh reminder of the urgent need to be able to vaccinate large swaths of the population fast — in this pandemic and the next.

What’s happening?

The world is pinning its hopes on a vaccine for COVID-19 to save lives, return to normal and emerge from an economic recession.

Experts estimate it could take at least 12–18 months for a vaccine to be widely available, with glimmers of hope for some limited availability sooner tempered by a reality that vaccines typically take multiple years to develop.

The state of play: There are at least 92 vaccines under development for COVID-19.

22 of those are experimental DNA- or RNA-based vaccines, which provide the most hope for speedy development.

 

Elevator rides in this pandemic situation
Elevator rides in this pandemic situation

If I step into an elevator where an infected person has recently been, could I get the virus?

Perhaps you live in a building with an elevator, you ride in one at work or you use one at the grocery store with a full cart. Maybe you’re facing an empty elevator and are worried. Could a person with COVID-19 have just been in that space? Should you worry about viral particles in the air?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says current data suggest that the primary mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets from an infected person that can land in the mouths, noses or eyes of people nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. The virus is also believed to spread by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Five months on, what scientists now know about the coronavirus
Five months on, what scientists now know about the coronavirus

Coronaviruses have been causing problems for humanity for a long time. Several versions are known to trigger common colds and more recently two types have set off outbreaks of deadly illnesses: severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).

Our knowledge about the Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is also remarkable. This was an organism unknown to science five months ago. Today it is the subject of study on an unprecedented scale.

The questions are therefore straightforward: what have we learned over the past five months?

Where did it come from and how did it first infect humans?

  • The Sars-CoV-2 virus almost certainly originated in bats, which have evolved fierce immune responses to viruses, researchers have discovered. These defences drive viruses to replicate faster so that they can get past bats’ immune defences. In turn, that transforms the bat into a reservoir of rapidly reproducing and highly transmissible viruses. Then when these bat viruses move into other mammals, creatures that lack a fast-response immune system, the viruses quickly spread into their new hosts. Most evidence suggests that Sars-CoV-2 started infecting humans via an intermediary species, such as pangolins.
How coronavirus (COVID-19) attacks?
How coronavirus (COVID-19) attacks?

In the search for a treatment for COVID-19 disease, researchers have been targeting specific behaviours of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) that causes the disease. While the virus itself is still being studied, the hunt for a treatment is based on what is known so far about the way it infects humans.

So, how does coronavirus (COVID-19) infect someone?

It begins with the “spike” that gives coronaviruses their name. A coronavirus is surrounded by a fatty outer layer (“envelope”) and on the surface of this layer is the “corona” (crown) of spikes made of protein.

On the surface of human cells is an enzyme called ACE2, which acts as the receptor that enables SARS-CoV2 to launch its attack. The virus’s spike protein binds to the receptor, then fuses with the cell surface, and releases its genetic material (RNA in the case of SARS-CoV2) into the cell. The coronavirus that causes SARS, called SARS-CoV, uses the same ACE2 receptor to invade a cell.

Is COVID-19 pneumonia different?
Is COVID-19 pneumonia different?

Prof Christine Jenkins, chair of Lung Foundation Australia and a leading respiratory physician, says COVID-19 pneumonia is different from the most common cases that people are admitted to hospitals for.“Most types of pneumonia that we know of and that we admit people to hospital for are bacterial and they respond to an antibiotic.

Prof John Wilson, the president-elect of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and a respiratory physician, says there is evidence that pneumonia caused by COVID-19 may be particularly severe. Wilson says cases of coronavirus pneumonia tend to affect all of the lungs, instead of just small parts.

He says: “Once we have an infection in the lung and, if it involves the air sacs, then the body’s response is first to try and destroy [the virus] and limit its replication.”

What happens to people’s lungs when they get coronavirus?
What happens to people’s lungs when they get coronavirus?

What became known as COVID-19, or the coronavirus, started in late 2019 as a cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause. The cause of the pneumonia was found to be a new virus — severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2. The illness caused by the virus is COVID-19.

Now declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the majority of people who contract COVID-19 suffer only mild, cold-like symptoms.

WHO says about 80% of people with COVID-19 recover without needing any specialist treatment. Only about one person in six becomes seriously ill “and develops difficulty breathing”.

So how can COVID-19 develop into a more serious illness featuring pneumonia, and what does that do to our lungs and the rest of our body?

Going digital: Healthcare adapting to industry changes
Going digital: Healthcare adapting to industry changes

In the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic, companies that offer virtual appointments are seeing a rise in usage. With the population self-isolating and staying indoors and with many doctors’ offices closing, virtual appointments have become crucial to addressing all emerging health concerns. It’s not just about speaking with a doctor though, it’s about providing patients with the best possible care from afar to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19.

Digitization has allowed these types of meetings to become a reality — it has opened the door for highly tailored and precise healthcare.

Artificial intelligence, blockchain, and 5G connectivity are all assisting in pushing healthcare’s move into the future — something like this wasn’t available 5–10 years ago.

Additionally, options like DNA profiling have also expanded the universe of big data that clinicians can mine in search of the right treatments for their patients.

Blood plasma taken from COVID-19 survivors might help patients fight off the disease
Blood plasma taken from COVID-19 survivors might help patients fight off the disease

Transfusions of blood serum from people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 could help severe cases recover, according to a new study from China.

Plasma donation: The concept of using blood from survivors — or “convalescent plasma” — isn’t new, but it’s now being tried against covid-19 because there aren’t any drugs known to work. A survivor’s blood is charged up with antibodies against the virus. Give these to someone else, and they can give a temporary assist by interfering with the virus until that person mounts an immune response.

Positive result: The Chinese study, authored by scientists working for state-owned Sinopharm, wasn’t randomized, so benefits from plasma aren’t proven with certainty. But the 10 severely affected patients they treated with a half a Coke can’s worth of plasma seemed to do much better after three days. In several of the patients, the virus cleared up entirely, leading the authors to conclude that plasma “can serve as a promising rescue option” for severe COVID-19 cases. The report follows a previous one from China involving five patients.

Latest ICMR study hints at community transmission
Latest ICMR study hints at community transmission

According to the study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR) of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), of the 102 COVID-19 positive SARI patients, 40 (39.2%) did not report any history of contact or international travel, two (2.0%) reported contact with a confirmed case and one (1.0%) reported recent history of international travel. The cases with no travel history known were from 36 districts in 15 states.

According to the study, 965 selected SARI patient samples were tested retrospectively between February 15–29, 2020 and March 19, 2020, and only two (0.2%) were positive for COVID-19. However, when the testing strategy was expanded to include all SARI patients, a total of 4,946 samples yielded 102 (2.1%) cases. “The positivity increased from zero during the initial weeks to 2.6 % in the 14th week,” it said. The majority of the SARI patients tested were from Gujarat (792), Tamil Nadu (577), Maharashtra (553) and Kerala (502).

When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?
When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

Even at their most effective — and draconian — containment strategies have only slowed the spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19. With the World Health Organization finally declaring a pandemic, all eyes have turned to the prospect of a vaccine, because only a vaccine can prevent people from getting sick.

About 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to create such a vaccine, at least four of which already have candidates they have been testing in animals.

This unprecedented speed is thanks in large part to early Chinese efforts to sequence the genetic material of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. China shared that sequence in early January, allowing research groups around the world to grow the live virus and study how it invades human cells and makes people sick.

India agrees to release Hydroxychloroquine to the U.S
India agrees to release Hydroxychloroquine to the U.S

The president has repeatedly touted the drug as a possible cure for COVID-19, despite a lack of proof. India is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hydroxychloroquine.

It is unclear how much will now be exported. Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said on Tuesday that the “the stock position could allow our companies to meet the export commitments that they had contracted.

 
Can a face mask protect me from coronavirus? COVID-19 myths busted
Can a face mask protect me from coronavirus? COVID-19 myths busted

Wearing a face mask is certainly not an iron-clad guarantee that you won’t get sick — viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks. However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly fivefold protection versus no barrier alone (although others have found lower levels of effectiveness)

If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others. So masks are crucial for the health and social care workers looking after patients and are also recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill — ideally, both the patient and carer should have a mask.


However, masks will probably make little difference if you’re just walking around town or taking a bus so there is no need to bulk-buy a huge supply.

About OZO.Life

OZO proudly stands for "ONE ZILLION OPPORTUNITIES" for "GOOD LIFE". Our aim in LifeScience is to accelerate access to health for people everywhere. To that end, we collaborate with the global scientific community and offer high-quality products and solutions both for research and the manufacturing of chemical and biological drugs. We also provide products and solutions for diagnostics, environmental testing and industrial customers. We help scientists and engineers to solve problems at every stage of their work. Our lab materials, technologies and services help make research, pharmaceutical and biotech production simpler, faster and safer. Our aim is to be an enabler to scientific discovery by helping customers better understand biological function and disease. Our extended products range from lab water systems to gene-editing tools, antibodies, cell lines and end-to-end systems to manufacture drugs and we use our OZO's proprietary blockchain to ensure quality and authenticity at all stages