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Genetic variant associated with absence of COVID-19 symptoms

09 Aug 2023

At least 20% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, never showed symptoms. These asymptomatic infections could provide clues to how the virus can be quickly cleared from the body. Genetic factors may be involved. However, most studies of genetics and COVID-19 outcomes to date have focused on severe disease.

Delivering Extra Protection Against COVID-19

27 Jul 2023

What you need to know SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is covered in spike proteins. These spike proteins interact with a protein called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) that sits on the surface of human cells. By attaching to ACE2, the virus can infect the human cells. Because ACE2 does not change, the part of the spike protein that interacts with ACE2 is unlikely to change or mutate. This makes the development of “decoy” ACE2 proteins — proteins that bind to SARS-CoV-2 before it can attach to human cells — a promising target for new treatments.

What Long COVID Looks Like in Children and Young Adults

22 May 2023

At least 15 million kids have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but it is unclear how many of them have had or are living with long COVID. The ailment includes symptoms that linger after COVID-19 or symptoms that come back after an absence of weeks or months. A person might feel short of breath, lose their sense of smell, be unable to think clearly, be tired all the time, or have other maladies that can be traced back to COVID-19.

Rapid Progression of Dementia Following COVID-19

03 May 2023

What you need to know COVID-19 can cause long-term problems with thinking, concentrating, and remembering. This condition is commonly known as “brain fog.” Brain fog after COVID-19 has been studied mostly by observing previously healthy people. In a small study supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), researchers examined the cognitive impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia. The researchers found that having COVID-19 rapidly accelerated the structural and functional brain deterioration of patients with dementia, regardless of the type of dementia being experienced.

Symptoms of Long COVID Differ for People of Different Racial and Ethnic Groups

06 Apr 2023

What you need to know As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a growing number of people are experiencing long-term symptoms and health problems following SARS-CoV-2 infection, a condition known as Long COVID. However, the likelihood of being diagnosed with Long COVID seems to vary. A study supported by the Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative found that the majority of patients from a sample of more than 30,000 patients with a Long COVID diagnosis were White, non-Hispanic, female, and likely to live in more affluent areas with greater access to health care. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected people from racial and ethnic minorities, this finding may mean that people from those groups are living with Long COVID without a formal diagnosis.


Rates of COVID-19 Among Unvaccinated Adults With Prior COVID-19

20 Apr 2022

Risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection among unvaccinated people with prior COVID-19 is a subject of debate.1,2 We performed a survival analysis in a large US population to assess the degree and duration of protection associated with natural immunity in unvaccinated individuals.

Myocarditis Adverse Event Less Common After COVID-19 Vaccine Booster

12 Apr 2022

The risk of adolescents developing myocarditis is lower after a booster dose of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine than after the second dose, according to a CDC analysis of data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Myocarditis is a rare but serious adverse event associated with COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. To assess whether this adverse event was also associated with booster doses administered to adolescents, the authors analyzed reports submitted to the VAERS system and v-safe between December 9, 2021, and February 20, 2022.

Even Mild COVID-19 May Change the Brain

23 Mar 2022

Alarge study comparing brain scans from the same individuals before and after SARS-CoV-2 infection suggests that brain changes could be a lingering outcome of even mild COVID-19. Writing in Nature, researchers at Oxford University’s Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging reported that several months after study participants had SARS-CoV-2 infections, they had more gray matter loss and tissue abnormalities, mainly in the areas of the brain associated with smell, and more brain size shrinkage than participants who hadn’t been infected with the virus.

Risks and burdens of incident diabetes in long COVID: a cohort study

21 Mar 2022

Background There is growing evidence suggesting that beyond the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection, people with COVID-19 could experience a wide range of post-acute sequelae, including diabetes. However, the risks and burdens of diabetes in the post-acute phase of the disease have not yet been comprehensively characterised. To address this knowledge gap, we aimed to examine the post-acute risk and burden of incident diabetes in people who survived the first 30 days of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Interpretation In the post-acute phase, we report increased risks and 12-month burdens of incident diabetes and antihyperglycaemic use in people with COVID-19 compared with a contemporary control group of people who were enrolled during the same period and had not contracted SARS-CoV-2, and a historical control group from a pre-pandemic era. Post-acute COVID-19 care should involve identification and management of diabetes.

SARS-CoV-2 is associated with changes in brain structure in UK Biobank

21 Feb 2022

There is strong evidence for brain-related abnormalities in COVID-191–13. It remains unknown however whether the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection can be detected in milder cases, and whether this can reveal possible mechanisms contributing to brain pathology. Here, we investigated brain changes in 785 UK Biobank participants (aged 51–81) imaged twice, including 401 cases who tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 between their two scans, with 141 days on average separating their diagnosis and second scan, and 384 controls. The availability of pre-infection imaging data reduces the likelihood of pre-existing risk factors being misinterpreted as disease effects. We identified significant longitudinal effects when comparing the two groups, including: (i) greater reduction in grey matter thickness and tissue-contrast in the orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus, (ii) greater changes in markers of tissue damage in regions functionally-connected to the primary olfactory cortex, and (iii) greater reduction in global brain size. The infected participants also showed on average larger cognitive decline between the two timepoints. Importantly, these imaging and cognitive longitudinal effects were still seen after excluding the 15 cases who had been hospitalised. These mainly limbic brain imaging results may be the in vivo hallmarks of a degenerative spread of the disease via olfactory pathways, of neuroinflammatory events, or of the loss of sensory input due to anosmia. Whether this deleterious impact can be partially reversed, or whether these effects will persist in the long term, remains to be investigated with additional follow-up.

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