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COVID-19 in a vacant apartment in China suggests the virus can spread through faulty toilet pipes
August 28, 2020
COVID-19 in a vacant apartment in China suggests the virus can spread through faulty toilet pipes

In another alarming research, the presence of coronavirus in the bathroom of a vacant apartment in China’s Guangzhou, suggests that the highly contagious infection may have wafted upwards through drain pipes.

The study, published in the Environment International, by the researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this month, said that traces of coronavirus were found on the sink, faucet, and shower handles of a long-vacated apartment in February. The apartment was just above the home of five people confirmed a week earlier to have Covid-19.

Blood thinners help reduce the risk of COVID-19 deaths, study finds
August 28, 2020
Blood thinners help reduce the risk of COVID-19 deaths, study finds

Early in the coronavirus disease pandemic, the disease was recognized as a respiratory illness. As the outbreak spread across the globe, infecting more than 24.35 million people, evidence showed that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 also affected other vital organs and systems in the body.

Now, a new study by a team of researchers in New York has shown that blood thinners may reduce the risk of death by up to 50 percent among severely ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients. 

Coronavirus Treatment: Monoclonal antibodies treat COVID-19 safer than plasma therapy, finds study
August 27, 2020
Coronavirus Treatment: Monoclonal antibodies treat COVID-19 safer than plasma therapy, finds study

A group of researchers have been able to establish the effectiveness of much touted Plasma therapy in the severely ill Coronavirus patients. A team of Netherlands-based researchers found that the convalescent plasma could protect against the disease when given in higher doses and is currently being peer-reviewed.

The efficacy of the treatment has been established in-vitro but the same is yet to be established in the living organisms.Other studies too have identified various neutralising antibodies as the mode to induce protective immunity against Novel Coronavirus, which have further been substantiated by various sero-surveys indicating significant sero-prevalence in large populations across the world. 

T cells in women induce better immune response to Covid than in men, finds study
August 27, 2020
T cells in women induce better immune response to Covid than in men, finds study

Women with COVID-19 mount a more robust and sustained immune response via the body’s T cells than men, according to a study that may help guide a gender-based approach to the treatment and care for those infected with the novel coronavirus.

The research, published in the journal Nature, assessed 98 patients — aged 18 years or over — admitted to the Yale New Haven Hospital in the US with mild to moderate disease, who had confirmed positive tests for novel coronavirus infection.

Wastewater contains Coronaviruses, may become source of contagion, warns study
August 26, 2020
Wastewater contains Coronaviruses, may become source of contagion, warns study

Wastewater containing coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 that caused the COVID19 pandemic, may be a potential threat. A research paper says additional filtration is required in sewage treatment plants to successfully remove viruses. Scientists warned that treated wastewater used to fill recreational water facilities, like lakes and rivers, could also become sources of contagion. The study was conducted by an international collaboration of 35 researchers, assessed recent studies on coronaviruses in wastewater. The research has been published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Study reveals how immune system deteriorates due to COVID-19
August 26, 2020
Study reveals how immune system deteriorates due to COVID-19

In a major study, Australian researchers have identified mechanisms leading to the functional deterioration of the immune system in response to severe viral infections, such as HIV or Covid-19.

It is widely known that severe viral infections and cancer cause impairments to the immune system, including to T cells, a process called immune 'exhaustion'.

According to the study, published in the journal Nature Immunology, overcoming immune exhaustion is a major goal for the development of new therapies for cancer or severe viral infections.

 

BP drugs may improve COVID-19 survival rates, study says
August 25, 2020
BP drugs may improve COVID-19 survival rates, study says

Medication for high blood pressure may improve COVID-19 survival rates, and reduce the severity of novel coronavirus infection, particularly in patients with hypertension, according to a study.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the UK studied 28,000 patients taking antihypertensives -- a class of drugs that are used to treat hypertension or high blood pressure.

 

Gorillas, Orangutans, Whales Too at High COVID-19 Risk: Study
August 25, 2020
Gorillas, Orangutans, Whales Too at High COVID-19 Risk: Study

Not just Humans, but several critically endangered species like gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, grey whales, bottlenose dolphins and hamsters are also at an equal risk of getting infected by the novel coronavirus, say researchers.Domestic animals such as cats, cattle and sheep have been found to have a medium risk and dogs, horses and pigs were found to have a low risk for contracting the deadly disease to date.

According to a new study from the University of California, Davis , endangered species are predicted to be at COVID-19 risk.An international team of scientists used genomic analysis to compare the primary cellular receptor for the virus in humans called angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 in 410 different species of vertebrates, including birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

 

Covid-19 can infect placenta in pregnant women: Study
August 24, 2020
Covid-19 can infect placenta in pregnant women: Study

Covid-19 virus can infect the placenta in pregnant women, a study jointly carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research -National Institute of Research in Reproductive Health at Parel and Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science stated.

The authors stated in their study published in the Frontiers of Cell and Developmental Biology journal that cross-transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is possible from infected mothers to their children.

Covid-19: Children are silent spreaders of coronavirus, study finds
August 21, 2020
Covid-19: Children are silent spreaders of coronavirus, study finds

Children play a larger role in the community spread of Covid-19 than previously thought, according to a study which found that the younger people may not be as likely to become seriously ill as adults, but they can spread infection and bring the virus into their homes.

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, also challenges the current hypothesis that because children have lower numbers of immune receptors for SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes Covid-19, this makes them less likely to become infected or seriously ill.

US Study finds why some COVID-19 patients may not develop lasting immunity
August 21, 2020
US Study finds why some COVID-19 patients may not develop lasting immunity

A US study led by an Indian-origin researcher has found that high levels of some cytokines seen in Covid-19 patients, as part of a cytokine storm, may prevent the development of long-term immunity to coronavirus.

"By using our understanding of how two different types of immune cells normally collaborate to make the best antibodies, we were able to find a mechanism that could explain this lower-quality immune response in Covid-19 patients," said Shiv Pillai from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.

Scientists decode immune system changes in children with rare COVID-19 related syndrome
August 20, 2020
Scientists decode immune system changes in children with rare COVID-19 related syndrome

Scientists have uncovered how the immune system is altered in a rare COVID-19 related illness in children which can cause severe inflammation and heart damage, findings that may lead to better treatment for some of the youngest patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

According to the researchers, including those from King''s College London in the UK, the rare disease, referred to as paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome , has emerged in a small number of children during the COVID-19 pandemic.In a study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, they noted that the condition causes severe inflammation in blood vessels and can lead to heart damage.

New study says flushing public urinals can spread COVID-19 virus
August 20, 2020
New study says flushing public urinals can spread COVID-19 virus

According to the researchers, flushing a urinal involves an interaction between gas and liquid interfaces, resulting in a large spread of aerosol particles released from the urinal.The simulations performed by the scientists revealed that the trajectory of the tiny particles ejected by flushing a urinal manifests an external spread type, with more than 57 per cent of the particles travelling away from the urinal.

Research shows how smell loss linked to Covid-19 differs from the common cold
August 19, 2020
Research shows how smell loss linked to Covid-19 differs from the common cold

New research from a European group of smell disorder experts, including Prof Philpott at the University of East Anglia, shows how smell loss associated with Covid-19 infection differs from what you typically might experience with a bad cold or flu.The new study published today is the first to compare how people with Covid-19 smell and taste disorders differ from those with other causes of upper respiratory tract infections.

Study links Covid-19 to rise in childhood type 1 diabetes
August 19, 2020
Study links Covid-19 to rise in childhood type 1 diabetes

Cases of type 1 diabetes among children in UK study almost doubled during the peak of Britain's Covid-19 epidemic, suggesting a possible link between the two diseases that need more investigation, scientists said on Tuesday.

While the study is based on only a handful of cases, it is the first to link Covid-19 and new-onset type 1 diabetes in children, and doctors should be on the look-out, the Imperial College London researchers said.

Dry air a breeding ground for COVID-19, Aussie researchers say
August 18, 2020
Dry air a breeding ground for COVID-19, Aussie researchers say

A second Australian study has confirmed a link between low humidity and the spread of COVID-19, suggesting it may be another reason to wear a mask.The research by the University of Sydney and its partner institution Fudan University School of Public Health in Shanghai, China, found the risk of community transmission is greater when the air is drier.

New research shows obesity can increase risk of death from COVID-19
August 18, 2020
New research shows obesity can increase risk of death from COVID-19

New research shows that obesity is associated with a substantial increased risk of death from COVID-19. However, it also found that the risk of death from coronavirus associated with obesity is not uniform among those who are obese, but instead disproportionately affects men and people under 60 years of age. In a study, researchers looked at the electronic health records of 6,916 Kaiser Permanente Southern California members who tested positive for COVID-19 between February 13 and May 2. The mean patient age was 49 years and mean BMI was 30.5. A BMI of 30 to 39 is considered obese, 40 to 44 is severely obese, and 45 or higher is extremely obese.

Scientists See Signs of Lasting Immunity to Covid-19, Even After Mild Infections
August 17, 2020
Scientists See Signs of Lasting Immunity to Covid-19, Even After Mild Infections

Scientists who have been monitoring immune responses to the virus are now starting to see encouraging signs of strong, lasting immunity, even in people who developed only mild symptoms of Covid-19, a flurry of new studies suggests. "This is exactly what you would hope for,"said Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington and an author on another of the new studies, which is currently under review at the journal Nature. 

Protection against reinfection cannot be fully confirmed until there is proof that most people who encounter the virus a second time are actually able to keep it at bay, Researchers have yet to find unambiguous evidence that coronavirus reinfections are occurring, especially within the few months that the virus has been rippling through the human population. The prospect of immune memory “helps to explain that,” Dr. Pepper said. Viruses that have already invaded cells, for instance, are cloaked from antibodies, but are still vulnerable to killer T cells, which force infected cells to self-destruct. Another set of T cells, nicknamed helpers, can coax B cells to mature into antibody-making machines. 

New Big Data Study Investigates How People With Cancer Fare When They Get Covid-19
August 17, 2020
New Big Data Study Investigates How People With Cancer Fare When They Get Covid-19

New research has provided important information describing which individuals with cancer are more likely to experience severe outcomes or die if they contract the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus. The study analysed of over 154,585 people who had received a diagnosis of cancer and were treated within the last five years across three large health systems in the Midwest United States.The work was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Virtual Meeting on Covid-19 and Cancer in mid-July.

 

Stanford study reveals immune-system deviations in severe COVID-19 cases
August 14, 2020
Stanford study reveals immune-system deviations in severe COVID-19 cases

A study by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine and other institutions has turned up immunological deviations and lapses that appear to spell the difference between severe and mild cases of COVID-19. 

The researchers analysed the immune response in 76 people with COVID-19 and in 69 healthy people.

They found enhanced levels of molecules that promote inflammation in the blood of severely ill COVID-19 patients.Three of the molecules they identified have been shown to be associated with lung inflammation in other diseases but had not been shown previously in COVID-19 infections. 

Study: 80% of infected people do not spread COVID-19
August 14, 2020
Study: 80% of infected people do not spread COVID-19

The preliminary research, conducted by epidemiologists and infectious disease physicians, shows that people with COVID-19 only shed enough viral load to be contagious for a brief period of time: one to two days. These brief periods when an infected person is most contagious is known as super spreading, and researchers believe that it is now driving the pandemic.

However, that two-day period when a person is most contagious and likely to spread the illness often occurs before the person is exhibiting any symptoms, meaning they are most likely to infect others before ever knowing they are sick.

Gargling with mouthwash might lower spread of Covid-19, say scientists
August 12, 2020
Gargling with mouthwash might lower spread of Covid-19, say scientists

According to the researchers, including those from Ruhr University Bochum in Germany, high quantities of the virus particles, or viral load, can be detected in the oral cavity and throat of some Covid-19 patients.

In the research, they tested eight mouthwashes with different ingredients that are available in pharmacies in Germany.The scientists mixed each mouthwash with virus particles and a substance which was intended to recreate the effect of saliva in the mouth.They then shook the mixture for 30 seconds to simulate the effect of gargling, and tested it in Vero E6 cells, which, according to the researchers, are particularly receptive to SARS-CoV-2, to determine the quantities of the virus particles.

Research on malaria may throw light on treating Covid-19
August 12, 2020
Research on malaria may throw light on treating Covid-19

Breakthrough research in malaria has paved the way to look at the problem of the novel Coronavirus from a completely new angle. The research led by RMIT University's Professor Christian Doerig suggested that enzymes from the human host should be targeted rather than targeting the pathogens.

In the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, the team showed that the parasites that cause malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, largely depend on the enzymes present in the red blood cells. This is where the parasites dodge the immune response and spread in the body of the host.

Scientists identify five blood molecules linked to severe COVID-19 outcome in patients
August 11, 2020
Scientists identify five blood molecules linked to severe COVID-19 outcome in patients

Scientists have found five medical indicators in the blood of COVID-19 patients which are associated with higher odds of death due to the disease, findings that can help physicians better predict clinical outcomes of those infected with the novel coronavirus.

The study, published in the journal Future Medicine, evaluated 299 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 admitted to the George Washington University Hospital between March 12 and May 9, 2020.

Decoys could trick COVID-19, keep humans safe from infection
August 11, 2020
Decoys could trick COVID-19, keep humans safe from infection

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infects cells by plugging into a receptor on their surface. Now, by crafting a decoy of that receptor, scientists aim to foil the virus's attack.

In a new study, published Aug. 4 in the journal Science, researchers engineered such a decoy and found that the coronavirus bound tightly to the imposter receptor, and once attached, the virus couldn't infect primate cells in a lab dish. The decoy binds to the virus as tightly as a neutralizing antibody, a Y-shaped molecule generated by the immune system to grab the virus and prevent it from infecting cells.

Indian researchers show how Covid-19 PPE can turn into biofuel
August 7, 2020
Indian researchers show how Covid-19 PPE can turn into biofuel
Plastic from used personal protective equipment can and should be transformed into renewable liquid fuels, according to Indian researchers.
 
The study, published in the journal Biofuels, suggested a strategy that could help to mitigate the problem of dumped PPE - currently being disposed of at unprecedented levels due to the current Covid-19 pandemic - becoming a significant threat to the environment.
 
The research from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in Uttarakhand shows how billions of items of disposable PPE can be converted from its polypropylene state into biofuels - which is known to be at par with standard fossil fuels. "The transformation into biocrude, a type of synthetic fuel, will not just prevent the severe aftereffects to humankind and the environment but also produce a source of energy," said study lead author Dr Sapna Jain from UPES.
 
 
90% of recovered Covid-19 patients in Wuhan have damaged lungs, some have to rely on oxygen machines: Report
August 7, 2020
90% of recovered Covid-19 patients in Wuhan have damaged lungs, some have to rely on oxygen machines: Report
A team of doctors in China has claimed that the lungs of 90 per cent of Covid-19 patients who recovered in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak of the disease was first reported, are still damaged.
 
The team is led by Peng Zhiyong, the director of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University. It has been conducting follow-up visits with ‘100 recovered patients’ since April.
 
The findings of the research have been startling. Peng’s team said that the recovered patients could only walk for 400 metres in six minutes, unlike their healthy peers who could cover a distance of 500 metres in the same time. This is based on the walking test with the patients.
The first phase of this one-year programme finished in July. The average age of the patients in the study was 59.
 
 
Common colds train the immune system to recognize COVID-19
August 6, 2020
Common colds train the immune system to recognize COVID-19

The study, published Aug. 4 in the journal Science, found that immune cells are known as T cells that recognize common cold coronaviruses also recognize specific sites on SARS-CoV-2 — including parts of the infamous spike protein it uses to bind to and invade human cells.

This existing immune system memory may explain why some people have milder COVID-19 infections compared with others; however, the authors stress that this hypothesis is highly speculative and requires more research to confirm. That's because it's unknown exactly how big a role T cells play in fighting COVID-19 — T cells are just one part of a complex menagerie of molecules and cells that makes up our immune system.

"We have now proven that, in some people, preexisting T-cell memory against common cold coronaviruses can cross-recognize SARS-CoV-2, down to the exact molecular structures," study co-lead author Daniela Weiskopf, assistant professor at La Jolla Institute for Immunology in La Jolla, California, said in a statement.

 

Covid-19 Researchers Hope Monoclonal Antibody Treatments Are a Bridge to Vaccine
August 6, 2020
Covid-19 Researchers Hope Monoclonal Antibody Treatments Are a Bridge to Vaccine
Scientists are seeking to apply monoclonal antibody therapies to fight against COVID-19, saying such treatments could provide a bridge of relief until a coronavirus vaccine is ready, reported The Wall Street Journal.
 
Two drugmakers in the US,  are each advancing mAbs in clinical trials, while others, mostly in Europe and Asia, are not far behind, the news source said.
 
Monoclonal antibody therapy is similar to, and potentially more potent than, convalescent plasma transfusion, according to the news source.
 
 
Patients with the neuromuscular disease at high risk of severe COVID-19: Study
August 5, 2020
Patients with the neuromuscular disease at high risk of severe COVID-19: Study

COVID-19 can bring on neuromuscular complications in patients who previously had none, and exacerbate symptoms in those with preexisting conditions on therapies to stimulate the immune system, according to new research.

The review of studies, published in the RRNMF Neuromuscular Journal, assessed research mentioning COVID-19 and neuromuscular conditions, published since the beginning of the pandemic through June 18, 2020 -- a total of 547 publications.

It analysed cases of serious neuromuscular complications and outcomes associated with the viral infection, and management considerations for patients on therapies to boost their immune system function during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Study finds major coronavirus weakness: normal water
August 5, 2020
Study finds major coronavirus weakness: normal water

While researchers around the world are trying to find a vaccine for coronavirus, Russian researchers have found out that water at room temperature water is an important weakness of the virus, Sputnik News reported on July 30.

The study showed that 90 per cent of the virus’s particles were destroyed in room temperature water within 24 hours and 99.9 per cent were dead within72 hours. Scientists also confirmed that boiling water containing Covid-19 kills the virus immediately.

Even though the virus can survive for some time, chlorinated and seawater also restrict its growth, the study revealed.

 

Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of Covid-19 infection, reveals Israeli research
July 31, 2020
Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of Covid-19 infection, reveals Israeli research

Israeli researchers have found that low levels of Vitamin D can increase the risk of contracting Covid-19 caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2.  A significant link between low plasma vitamin D level and the likelihood of coronavirus infection and hospitalization was found among the patients tested for the virus, as per the study. Due to lockdown, the time that people spent outdoors has relatively reduced and thus, experts have been emphasizing the importance of getting daily recommended doses of vitamins.

Dr Milana Frenkel Morgenstern, leader of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine research group said that about 70 per cent of the worlds' population is vitamin D deficient or insufficient. In this light, the finding of this research is important. "It has shown that vitamin D is critical for the functioning of the human immune system", she informed. The study was conducted on 782 Covid-19 positive patients and 7,025 negative patients. "The main finding of our study was the significant association of low plasma vitamin D level with the likelihood of Covid-19 infection among patients who tested for Covid-19, even after adjustment for age, gender, socioeconomic status, and chronic, mental and physical disorders," said Dr Eugene Merzon, head of Leumit's Department of Managed Care. The larding researcher also added, "Furthermore, low vitamin D level was associated with the risk of hospitalization due to Covid-19 infection, although their association wasn't significant after making necessary adjustments to confounders".

British researchers identify six types of COVID-19
July 31, 2020
British researchers identify six types of COVID-19

Researchers from the King's College London in the UK have recently identified six distinct types of COVID-19 by analyzing data collected from a COVID-19 tracking application, saying each of the type distinguished by a cluster of symptoms.

The researchers said these types also correlated with levels of severity of infection, and with the likelihood of a patient needing help with breathing during hospitalization, such as oxygen or ventilator treatment.

The findings "have major implications for clinical management of COVID-19, and could help doctors predict who is most at risk and likely to need hospital care in the second wave of coronavirus infections," according to the college's official website.

 

ICMR proposes research on non-communicable disease in relation to COVID-19
July 30, 2020
ICMR proposes research on non-communicable disease in relation to COVID-19

The government has proposed a research agenda for COVID-19 in relation to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart and kidney ailments, which puts people with these conditions, especially the elderly, at higher risk for developing severe illness when affected by the novel coronavirus.

According to the scientists at the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research, Indian Council of Medical Research, the proposed agenda can strategically guide the preparedness of the health system to include NCDs in the response to the pandemic.

The scientists, in a review, have proposed health-care delivery, use of technology, surveillance-monitoring-evaluation, governance and policy, as the key research domains. According to the review, NCDs account for nearly 62% of the deaths in India.

"Covid-19 pandemic is characterized with attenuation of innate immunity and a pro-inflammatory response which could accelerate many NCDs and their occurrence. Several steps taken to minimize the spread of infection, social distancing, restricted mobility, and advise to stay indoors have resulted in disruption of routine health-care access and service delivery and supplies to essential food, medicines, and diagnostics," said Dr Prashant Mathur and Dr Sukanya Rangamani, authors of the review.

 

Stroke risk higher for COVID-19 patients who smoke or vape
July 30, 2020
Stroke risk higher for COVID-19 patients who smoke or vape

A recent report from a neurological hospital in the United Kingdom identifies cases of delirium, brain inflammation, nerve damage, and stroke in COVID-19 patients.

Reports of stroke in COVID-19 are particularly prevalent. Some reports estimate that 30% of critically ill COVID-19 patients experience blood clots. And if they occur in the brain, they may trigger a stroke.

Researchers from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center previously found that smoking and vaping increases the risk of viral infection. They have now published a review on how these activities might affect the risk of neurological dysfunction in COVID-19, particularly from damage to blood vessels in the brain.

 

The rare genetic mutation might be making some people more vulnerable to COVID-19
The rare genetic mutation might be making some people more vulnerable to COVID-19

Scientists have identified a gene in humans which they say could be an essential player in the immune response against the novel coronavirus, an advance that may lead to better understanding and treatment of COVID-19.

Rapid clinical sequencing of all the genes performed in the study, and segregation in available family members, found that the variants of the TLR7 gene in the patients had a loss-of-function. "In this case series of four young male patients with severe COVID-19, rare putative loss-of-function variants of X-chromosomal TLR7 were identified that were associated with impaired type I and II IFN responses", the scientists wrote in the study. "TLR7 triggers the production of so-called interferons, signalling proteins that are essential in the defence against virus infections", the scientists explained. Earlier research had noted that alterations in the TLR7 gene may result in hardly any of these receptor proteins from being produced.

 

Study reveals Covid-19 can infect ears
Study reveals Covid-19 can infect ears

While Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe, a recent study suggests that the virus can infect the ear as well. The study, which was published in the scientific journal JAMA, was based on the autopsy carried out on three patients who died from Covid-19. The findings revealed the virus’ presence inside the middle ear and in the mastoid area of the head. The mastoid is a hollow bone behind the ear.

The research was carried out with the team removing the mastoids from the deceased patients’ bodies and taking specimens from their middle ears. Mastoid specimens from two patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

"Two of the 3 patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus in the mastoid or middle ear, with viral isolation from 2 of 6 mastoids and 3 of 6 middle ears. Results for case 1 were positive for the right middle ear only. Case 2 had negative results for all samples", the study stated.

 

New study refutes narrative of COVID-19 being a natural animal-to-human transmission
New study refutes narrative of COVID-19 being a natural animal-to-human transmission

A new scientific study, however, demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 could not have jumped from animals to humans, because it is probably incapable of infecting bats or pangolins, the only two animal hosts that could have harboured the virus.

The closest ancestor to SARS-CoV-2 so far identified by China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology is the bat RaTG13 coronavirus with over 96% identity at the genomic level.

A newly reported bat coronavirus, RmYN02, also found by China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, shares 93.3% nucleotide identity with SARS-CoV-2, but apparently lacks the ability to infect humans. Besides bat coronaviruses, two pangolin coronaviruses share up to 90% and 85.2% sequence identity with SARS-CoV-2.

It is important to note, however, that, while SARS-CoV-2 appears to be of bat ancestry, there is still no definitive evidence of an intermediate host, such as pangolins, that could have transmitted the virus to humans.

 

Coronavirus can spread through air very fast
Coronavirus can spread through air very fast

The researchers, including those from the University of California San Diego in the US, expressed concern that the World Health The researchers, including those from the University of California San Diego in the US, expressed concern that the World Health Organisation for a long time only emphasised the prevention of contact transmission, and largely ignored the importance of the airborne transmission route for the novel coronavirus. Based on the study, published in the journal PNAS, they said airborne transmission, "particularly via nascent aerosols", is highly virulent and represents the dominant route for the transmission of this disease. According to the findings, "the difference with and without mandated face-covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic". The researchers said this protective measure significantly reduced the number of infections.

 

India begins study on Tuberculosis vaccine impact on Covid-19
India begins study on Tuberculosis vaccine impact on Covid-19

The Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis has initiated a multi-centric study to see if tuberculosis vaccine, can reduce the severity of Covid-19 among people aged 60 and above residing in hot spots for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, said the Union health ministry release issued on Saturday. The study will involve around 1,000 healthy volunteers above 60 years of age in six states that have reported a high Covid-19 disease burden so far. A lot is being talked about the protective effect of the vaccine in terms of Covid-19.  The study will focus on whether the BCG vaccine can prevent the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its progression and deaths associated with Covid-19 in the elderly population.

 

Immune cells associated with security against COVID-19 recognized
Immune cells associated with security against COVID-19 recognized

Patients experiencing extreme respiratory indications because of the novel coronavirus disease can quickly create a safe reaction as infection assaulting T cells, recommends another examination which may prompt new immunization improvement methodologies against COVID-19.

As indicated by the specialists, including those from the University of California in the US, two out of 10 solid people without an earlier introduction to the infection additionally held SARS-CoV-2-receptive T cells.

They said the investigation may help comprehend whether patients with progressively serious manifestations can produce defensive infection explicit T cells by any stretch of the imagination, and offer intimations in regards to the cells answerable for exorbitant invulnerable reactions which have prompted the passings of numerous COVID-19 patients.

 

Autopsies Indicate Blood Clots Are Lethal in COVID-19
Autopsies Indicate Blood Clots Are Lethal in COVID-19

"COVID-19 is a new disease, and we really want to know what’s underlying it", Lax, a professor of pathology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz said. There’s only one method to determine what causes illness and death. "It’s doing an autopsy". He’d waited two days to perform the autopsy to reduce the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

With little known about the illness at the time, he and his colleagues wanted to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick. Waiting 48 hours after death to perform the autopsy, however, didn’t rid the body of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. "We don’t know if the virus is still infectious", Lax says, but finding its genetic material lingering in the patient’s tissues prompted him to be even more cautious. This autopsy was the first of 11 he and his colleagues have performed on patients who died from COVID-19.

 

COVID-19 side effects outside lungs decoded
COVID-19 side effects outside lungs decoded

The researchers urged that doctors treat those illnesses alongside respiratory disorder. "Physicians should think about COVID-19 for a multisystem illness", Aakriti Gupta, also a co-author of this analysis from Columbia University at the united states explained. One of those non-respiratory complications reported with studies is blood-clotting, according to the researchers. They said that these clotting complications could result from the virus’ attack on cells which line the bloodstream.

The scientists also said when herpes strikes arteries, inflammation grows blood begins to make clots, big and small. All these blood clots, based on the analysis, may travel throughout the human body and also wreak havoc in organs, perpetuating a vicious cycle of melancholy. "Researchers all around the planet will work at an unprecedented speed towards focusing on this virus specifically hijacks the protective biological mechanics. We expect this would aid in the evolution of effective treatments for COVID-19 while in the close foreseeable future", stated Kartik Sehgal, still another co-author of this analysis from Harvard Medical School in the united states.

 

Research finds three distinct immune reactions to coronavirus; severity of COVID-19 disease linked to WBCs
Research finds three distinct immune reactions to coronavirus; severity of COVID-19 disease linked to WBCs

While there are many things we have learnt about SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 disease, we still can’t say that we know exactly how our immune system reacts to the virus. First of all, humans have three different immune reactions to the virus and these reactions are related to the disease severity.

The three responses

The median age of all the COVID-19 patients was 60, whereas the age of the recovered group was 29 and that of the healthy group was 41. About 83 per cent of all patients in the COVID-19 cohort had cardiovascular diseases and about 20 per cent had chronic kidney disease.

Three distinct immune types were found in all the patients that were then studied with the use of a system called Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection to link them to disease severity.

 

Coronavirus may have ‘devastating impact’ on the heart
Coronavirus may have ‘devastating impact’ on the heart

More than half of heart scans among hospitalised COVID-19 patients are abnormal, suggesting the coronavirus may have a devastating impact on this vital organ, according to new research.

A study from 69 countries, funded by the British Heart Foundation, found that 55 per cent of 1,261 patients studied had abnormal changes to the way their heart was pumping, with around one in seven showing evidence of severe dysfunction.

 

How to Clean and Disinfect Yourself
How to Clean and Disinfect Yourself

Local governments are gradually loosening Covid-19 restrictions across the World, despite the fact that cases are beginning to rise again and the nationwide infection rate has surpassed 2 million individuals. Regardless of how much you plan to take advantage of opening shops, bars, restaurants, and parks, you should continue social distancing, using a mask when near others outside your home, and maintaining the same cleaning habits. The SARS-CoV-2 virus–the coronavirus that causes the disease Covid-19–isn't going away anytime soon, and you need to keep up your defences against it, no matter how much warm weather and semi-bustling streets may lull you into feeling like life is, in some places, returning to normal.

Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces in your home can help lower the chances you or a loved one will contract Covid-19 and lower the chances you might spread it to someone else. Keeping your home sanitized helps everyone.

 

COVID-19 Linked To Persistent Hyperglycemia And Ketonemia In Diabetes
COVID-19 Linked To Persistent Hyperglycemia And Ketonemia In Diabetes

Observations obtained from the Chinese population describe ketosis or ketoacidosis to be common among hospitalized COVID-19 patients that can potentially modify the clinical outcome. However, to date, there is lack of information on the characteristics of hyperglycaemic emergencies occurring in the context of COVID-19. According to Eleni Armeni, Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, North Middlesex Hospital, London, UK, and colleagues, they reported the first case series of hyperglycaemic emergencies in patients hospitalized during the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK. The researchers described 35 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals in north London with hyperglycemic emergencies, including 11 with DKA, 13 with mixed DKA/HHS, nine with hyperglycemic ketosis and two with HHS.

 

These states have more Covid-19 recoveries than active cases
These states have more Covid-19 recoveries than active cases

The government has said that coordinated steps taken by it along with state governments have contributed to a "gradual surge" in the recovery of patients.

As per July 14 Report,28,498 fresh cases in the past 24 hours, the total Covid-19 caseload in the country surged to 9,06,752 and the death toll mounted to 23,727. Of the total infections, the number of recoveries stood at 5,71,459, leaving 3,11,565 cases active.

The number of cases has been increasing by more than 26,000 for the fifth consecutive day. While it took 110 days for Covid-19 cases in the country to reach one lakh, it crossed the nine lakh-mark in just 56 days more.

 

Coronavirus and neurological complications: Scientists warn of brain damages linked to COVID-19
Coronavirus and neurological complications: Scientists warn of brain damages linked to COVID-19

Recently, a study published in the medical journal The Lancet Neurology reported neurological associations of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The researchers aid that some of the 43 patients included in the study did not show respiratory symptoms. "We might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause", Dr Ross Paterson, of UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, and joint first author on the study, was quoted as saying that by local media. The researchers are now calling for systematic surveillance of brain complications as a result of COVID-19 infection, which will enable appropriate clinical management and treatment.

 

The mathematical strategy that could transform coronavirus testing
The mathematical strategy that could transform coronavirus testing

Scientists say that widespread testing is needed to get outbreaks of the new coronavirus under control.

“In the current epidemic, there is a need to test an extremely large number of patients, making pooling an attractive option,” says Roy Kishony, a systems biologist at Technion — Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

There are many ways to conduct group testing, and scientists in several countries are experimenting with the best method for doing this during a pandemic. Their ideas largely come from a field of mathematics known as group testing, which has been widely used — from detecting faulty Christmas-tree lights to estimating the prevalence of HIV in a population. “There has been a flurry of innovation in this field,” says Dror Baron, an information scientist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

 

Coronavirus | Lancet study casts doubts on herd immunity feasibility
Coronavirus | Lancet study casts doubts on herd immunity feasibility

A Spanish study published in The Lancet journal has cast doubt over the feasibility of herd immunity — when enough people become infected with a virus to stop its spread — as a way of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

For herd immunity to work, at least 70% of a population needs to be immune to protect the uninfected people, experts say.

 

Why children avoid the worst coronavirus complications might lie in their arteries
Why children avoid the worst coronavirus complications might lie in their arteries

• Since the coronavirus outbreak began, scientists have been trying to work out why children are much less likely than adults to experience severe complications from the infection. Now research suggests that the answer might lie in children’s healthy blood vessels.

• Endothelium is typically in much better condition in children than adults. A kid’s endothelium is set up perfectly and then just deteriorates with age.

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, scientists have been trying to work out why children are much less likely than adults to experience severe complications from the infection. Now research suggests that the answer might lie in children’s healthy blood vessels. Children make up only a small proportion of those infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A large survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, found that children aged 17 and under, who make up 22% of the US population, account for fewer than 2% of confirmed COVID-19 infections across the United States. And, of 2,572 children included in the survey, only 5.7% went to the hospital and only three died.

 

 

Study connects higher levels of stress hormone to COVID19 deaths
Study connects higher levels of stress hormone to COVID19 deaths

Covid-19 patients with very high levels of cortisol — a hormone associated with stress — in their blood are more likely to deteriorate quickly and die, researchers have reported in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. Cortisol is produced by the body in response to stress, but excessive levels are associated with various conditions. In healthy people, cortisol levels are 100-200 nm/L when resting, and nearly zero when we sleep.

The new study was led by Imperial College London. The observational study covered 535 patients, including 403 COVID19 cases. Cortisol levels in COVID19 patients were significantly higher. Among COVID19 patients, those with a baseline cortisol level of 744 or less survived on average for 36 days. Patients with levels over 744 had an average survival of 15 days.

CRISPR pinpoints host genes that aid the viral invasion
CRISPR pinpoints host genes that aid the viral invasion

• A trawl through a monkey genome using the CRISPR–Cas9 genome-editing system has identified a handful of genes that might help the new coronavirus to infect its hosts.


• The discovery of host genes that aid viral activity could aid the development of new therapies, and reveal why some people are more susceptible to COVID-19 than others. They then looked for those genes that influenced viral infection and host-cell death.


• The team’s survey found genes that code for several proteins not known to assist the coronavirus. Chemicals that inhibit this pathway also prevented coronavirus-induced cell death.

A trawl through a monkey genome using the CRISPR–Cas9 genome-editing system has identified a handful of genes that might help the new coronavirus to infect its hosts.

 

Mini organs reveal how the coronavirus ravages the body
Mini organs reveal how the coronavirus ravages the body

• Researchers are growing miniature organs in the laboratory to study how the new coronavirus ravages the body. Multiple groups are using organized studies to show where in the body the virus travels, which cells it infects, and what damage it does.

  • Organoids better demonstrate what SARS-CoV-2 does to human tissue, says Núria Montserrat, a stem-cell biologist at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain.

Researchers are growing miniature organs in the laboratory to study how the new coronavirus ravages the body. Studies in these organoids are revealing the virus’s versatility at invading organs, from the lungs to the liver, kidneys, and gut.

 

Mounting clues suggest the coronavirus might trigger diabetes
Mounting clues suggest the coronavirus might trigger diabetes

• In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune cells start destroying β-cells — which are responsible for producing the hormone insulin — in the pancreas, often suddenly.

• Growing evidence on evidence from dozens more people with COVID-19 who have arrived in hospital with extremely high levels of blood sugar and ketones, which are produced from fatty deposits in the liver. And many organs involved in controlling blood sugar are rich in a protein called ACE2, which SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect cells.

In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune cells start destroying β-cells — which are responsible for producing the hormone insulin — in the pancreas, often suddenly. 

 

Why COVID-19 ICU patients may face risk of heart issues
Why COVID-19 ICU patients may face risk of heart issues

New research found that COVID-19 patients in ICU were 10 times more likely to experience arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) than COVID-19 patients hospitalized but not admitted to ICU.

The study found that cardiac arrests — a condition in which the heart stops beating suddenly — and arrhythmias in ICU were the consequence of a systemic form of COVID-19, rather than the direct effect of infection with the virus that causes the disease.

The research, published in the journal Heart Rhythm, may help clinicians better treat and manage patients in ICU with COVID-19.

 

Covid-19: CDC, top US health body, adds three new symptoms to its list
Covid-19: CDC, top US health body, adds three new symptoms to its list

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added three new COVID-19 symptoms to its existing list. The new symptoms will join the federal agency’s list that already included fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, the new loss of taste or smell and sore throat. 

• Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, the federal health agency has warned.

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added three new COVID-19 symptoms to its existing list. The US health protection agency has included congestion or runny nose, nausea, and diarrhoea as possible indicators of the infection. Till now 12 symptoms of the virus have been identified by the agency.

 

Why are some people at greater risk of severe COVID-19?
Why are some people at greater risk of severe COVID-19?

• There is plenty of evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus, affects individuals differently. About 80% of those who have SARS-CoV-2 experience a clinically mild version of COVID-19, meaning that they get better without needing to go to the hospital.

• To pinpoint how different cells interact and communicate with each other, the multidisciplinary research team performed a single-cell RNA sequencing analysis of upper and lower respiratory tract samples from 19 people in the hospital with COVID-19 and five volunteers without the new coronavirus. In total, the scientists analyzed 160,528 individual cells.

There is plenty of evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus, affects individuals differently. About 80% of those who have SARS-CoV-2 experience a clinically mild version of COVID-19, meaning that they get better without needing to go to the hospital.

 

Four unusual things about coronavirus
Four unusual things about coronavirus

• It is now almost six months since the world became aware of COVID-19, and almost four months since the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic.

• As the number of people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus grows, so does the knowledge of how it spreads, how it affects the body, and the range of symptoms it causes. This article explains some of the unusual things learned about the coronavirus along the way.

It is now almost six months since the world became aware of COVID-19, and almost four months since the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic.

 

New Study Claims COVID-19 Is Mutating Into A More Infectious Variant
New Study Claims COVID-19 Is Mutating Into A More Infectious Variant

• Terrifying new lab research has revealed that about 70 per cent of the 50,000 genomes of coronavirus that were uploaded by researchers has mutated.

• At first glance, the mutations seemed trivial. But the locations of the mutation is significant because the switch occurred in the part of the genome that codes for the all-important «spike protein», The Washington Post reported.

 New lab research has revealed that about 70 per cent of the 50,000 genomes of coronavirus that were uploaded by researchers has mutated.

Researchers from Northwest University’s medical school in Chicago believe that mutation in the coronavirus has made it considerably more contagious.

 

The synthetic antibody could prevent and treat COVID-19
The synthetic antibody could prevent and treat COVID-19

• SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus, gains entry into cells in the body using a receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2.

• In an effort to trick the virus, the researchers behind the study designed a «decoy» ACE2, which the virus recognizes in the same way it does the real thing. However, it is not attached to cells in the body.

SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus, gains entry into cells in the body using a receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

 

COVID-19 and mysterious blood clots - Scientists find answers in blood platelet changes
COVID-19 and mysterious blood clots - Scientists find answers in blood platelet changes
 • The researchers found that inflammatory proteins produced during the infection significantly alter the functions of platelets, making them hyperactive, and more prone to form dangerous and potentially deadly blood clots.

• The researchers studied 41 COVID-19 patients hospitalised at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. Researchers said that better understanding of these changes could help medical experts devise better treatments for blood clots and strokes occurring due to COVID-19.

When the outbreak of a new virus was reported in Wuhan, China, towards the end of the year 2019, it was believed to be a respiratory illness – a viral infection that affects the lungs specifically. However, as the disease progressed, it was found that the virus is way more dangerous than previously perceived, and can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, liver and other vital organs.

 

WHO acknowledges 'emerging evidence' of coronavirus transmission through air
WHO acknowledges 'emerging evidence' of coronavirus transmission through air
   • The World Health Organisation has acknowledged that 'evidence is emerging' of airborne spread of coronavirus after a group comprising of global scientists urged the world health watchdog to update its guidelines on how COVID-19 spreads among people.

    • ''We've been working on this for several weeks now and we've engaged with a large number of groups,'' Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Head of the Technical Committee said.

The WHO has acknowledged that 'evidence is emerging' of airborne spread of coronavirus after a group comprising of global scientists urged the world health watchdog to update its guidelines on how COVID-19 spreads among people.

 

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.

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