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Deltacron: the story of the variant that wasn’t


21 Jan 2022

News of a ‘super variant’ combining Delta and Omicron spread rapidly last week, but researchers say it never existed and the sequences may have resulted from contamination. On 7 January, virologist Leondios Kostrikis announced on local television that his research group at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia had identified several SARS-CoV-2 genomes that featured elements of both the Delta and Omicron variants.


How One Change to The Coronavirus Spike Influences Infectivity


18 Jan 2022

Since joining NIH, I’ve held a number of different leadership positions. But there is one position that thankfully has remained constant for me: lab chief. I run my own research laboratory at NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). My lab studies a biochemical process called O-glycosylation. It’s fundamental to life and fascinating to study. Our cells are often adorned with a variety of carbohydrate sugars. O-glycosylation refers to the biochemical process through which these sugar molecules, either found at the cell surface or secreted, get added to proteins. The presence or absence of these sugars on certain proteins plays fundamental roles in normal tissue development and first-line human immunity. It also is associated with various diseases, including cancer.


Shipments of free coronavirus tests will take at least a week, U.S. officials say


14 Jan 2022

Americans will be able to order free rapid coronavirus tests online at COVIDTests.gov beginning on Wednesday, but the tests will take time to arrive: they will typically ship within 7 to 12 days after being ordered, senior Biden administration officials said on Friday.


Starting later this week, some at-risk Americans become eligible for a 4th shot.


13 Jan 2022

Some people with a weakened immune system can get a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine as early as this coming week, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that were updated last week. The C.D.C. endorsed a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for moderately or severely immunocompromised people on Aug. 13, but said this would be considered a part of the primary immunization, not a booster shot.


Is It Flu, COVID-19, Allergies, or a Cold?


12 Jan 2022

Feeling sick can be especially concerning these days. Could your sniffles be caused by COVID-19? Or the flu? A cold? Or maybe allergies? Determining the cause of an illness can be tricky because many share some symptoms. They can leave you sniffling, coughing, and feeling tired. But there are important differences.




Articles


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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