Category News analysis

DNA Inherited From Neanderthals May Increase Risk of COVID-19

A stretch of DNA linked to Covid-19 was passed down from Neanderthals 60,000 years ago, according to a new study.

Scientists don’t yet know why this particular segment increases the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. But the new findings, which were posted online on Friday and have not yet been published in a scientific journal, show how some clues to modern health stem from ancient history.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/04/health/coronavirus-neanderthals.html

A stretch of DNA linked to Covid-19 was passed down from Neanderthals 60,000 years ago, according to a new study. Scientists don’t yet know why this particular segment increases the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. But the new findings, which were posted online… Continue Reading →

Opinion: Look to Cholera Vaccine Campaigns for COVID-19 Guidance

Accounting for a limited stockpile of cholera vaccine can provide insight into the most effective way to distribute future COVID-19 vaccines.

https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/opinion-look-to-cholera-vaccine-campaigns-for-covid-19-guidance-67632

Accounting for a limited stockpile of cholera vaccine can provide insight into the most effective way to distribute future COVID-19 vaccines. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/opinion-look-to-cholera-vaccine-campaigns-for-covid-19-guidance-67632

Can existing live vaccines prevent COVID-19?

Prophylactic vaccination is the most effective intervention to protect against infectious diseases. The commonly accepted paradigm is that immunization with both attenuated virus (live but with substantially reduced virulence) and inactivated (killed virus particles) vaccines induces adaptive and generally long-term and specific immunity in the form of neutralizing antibodies and/or activating pathogen-specific cellular immune responses. However, an increasing body of evidence suggests that live attenuated vaccines can also induce broader protection against unrelated pathogens likely by inducing interferon and other innate immunity mechanisms that are yet to be identified. The stimulation of innate immunity by live attenuated vaccines in general, and oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) in particular, could provide temporary protection against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/368/6496/1187.full

Prophylactic vaccination is the most effective intervention to protect against infectious diseases. The commonly accepted paradigm is that immunization with both attenuated virus (live but with substantially reduced virulence) and inactivated (killed virus particles) vaccines induces adaptive and generally long-term… Continue Reading →

Coronavirus: Dexamethasone proves first life-saving drug

A cheap and widely available drug can help save the lives of patients seriously ill with coronavirus

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53061281

A cheap and widely available drug can help save the lives of patients seriously ill with coronavirus https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53061281

Bridging a false dichotomy in the COVID-19 response: a public health approach to the ‘lockdown’ debate

As the world grapples with the public health emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, various control strategies have been attempted across the globe resulting in a growing body of evidence. Thus, we see a wide range of ‘lockdowns’, from the extremely tight Wuhan style, to the more measured Rwandan and more open Swedish model, and a range of testing protocols and quarantine durations.

https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/6/e002909.full

As the world grapples with the public health emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, various control strategies have been attempted across the globe resulting in a growing body of evidence. Thus, we see a wide range of ‘lockdowns’, from… Continue Reading →

Questions remain following first COVID-19 vaccine results

CanSino and Moderna are the first vaccine makers to report data on safety and neutralization, but the extent of protection these products afford remains unclear.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41587-020-00015-x

CanSino and Moderna are the first vaccine makers to report data on safety and neutralization, but the extent of protection these products afford remains unclear. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41587-020-00015-x

Mutations in the Coronavirus Spike Protein

Antibodies against the Spike protein could range from neutralizing ones that will stop the virus in its tracks all the way to others that would cause antibody-dependent enhancement and make the viral infection even worse (see below), and we don’t know how the mutational landscape might alter the activity of any given monoclonal candidate. A new preprint on spike muations (from researchers at Los Alamos, Duke, and Sheffield) has gotten a great deal of attention in the last couple of days, and I think that a detailed look at it would be useful to help explain these issues.

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/05/07/mutations-in-the-coronavirus-spike-protein

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.29.069054v1.full.pdf

Antibodies against the Spike protein could range from neutralizing ones that will stop the virus in its tracks all the way to others that would cause antibody-dependent enhancement and make the viral infection even worse (see below), and we don’t… Continue Reading →

Visualization of week-wise COVID-19 symptoms

Recent Updates: A much larger scale study of over 26 lakh participants who self reported symptoms on a smartphone-based app.  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0916-2#Tab1 Real-time tracking of self-reported symptoms to predict potential COVID-19 We report that loss of smell and taste is a potential… Continue Reading →

A personal account by scientist Peter Piot, who worked with HIV and Ebola, and recently contracted COVID-19

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/05/finally-virus-got-me-scientist-who-fought-ebola-and-hiv-reflects-facing-death-covid-1

Piot, who grew up in Belgium, was one of the discoverers of the Ebola virus in 1976 and spent his career fighting infectious diseases. He headed the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS between 1995 and 2008 and is currently a coronavirus adviser to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. But his personal confrontation with the new coronavirus was a life-changing experience, Piot says.

What do new mutations in the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) mean?

To say that you’ve revealed the emergence of a more transmissible form of SARS-CoV-2 without ever actually testing it isn’t the type of thing that makes me feel comfortable as a scientist.” She and other virologists I’ve spoken with who were not involved in the Los Alamos research agree that the paper’s claims are plausible, but not justified by the evidence it presents. More important, they’re not convinced different strains of the coronavirus exist at all.

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