For the six months of the COVID-19 scientists learned a lot about the spread of the novel virus, its effect on the human body, and the range of symptoms it causes. Below you will find four unusual things the researchers found out about the coronavirus:
COVID-19 is strongly associated with blood clots, which, if large enough, may block the flow of blood through blood vessels. The clot in a coronary artery can cause a heart attack, in the lungs — a pulmonary embolism, in the brain — a stroke.
Coronavirus may lead to anosmia or losing your sense of smell, even if you don’t have a runny or blocked nose.
The virus can trigger serious inflammatory disease in children known as “multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children”, or MIS-C.
SARS-CoV-2 may travel from humans to animals and back.
Scientists from institutions in France, Germany, and the United States recently presented a new model of infectious disease dynamics that takes into account the role of the microbiome. They suggest that environmental changes may destabilize this model and lead to the development of new infectious diseases due to changes in the microbiome of animals.
The study has shown that microbial communities, consisting of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, play a significant role in the health of ecosystems, wildlife, and people.
Study leader Dr. Adeline Loyau of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Germany, explains: “We are now only gradually beginning to understand their role in health prophylaxis and how they interact, for example, with the environmental microbiome, pathogens, and the host.”
A team of scientists, led by researchers Scripps Research Institute, isolated super-potent coronavirus-neutralizing antibodies from COVID-19 patients and successfully tested them in animals.
For this research, a group of scientists took blood samples from patients who had recovered from mild-to-severe COVID-19. At the same time, another group developed test cells that express ACE2, the receptor that the current coronavirus uses to get into human cells.
In a set of experiments, the researchers tested whether antibody-containing blood from the patients could bind to the virus and block it from infecting the test cells. The scientists managed to isolate more than 1,000 distinct antibody-producing immune cells, or B cells, each of which produced a distinct anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody.
Study co-senior author Dennis Burton, Ph.D., the James and Jessie Minor Chair in Immunology in the Department of Immunology & Microbiology at Scripps Research, says: “That discovery gives us hope that we will eventually find broadly neutralizing antibodies that provide at least partial protection against all or most SARS coronaviruses, which should be useful if another one jumps to humans.”
A new study from the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, US, finds that approximately 40–45% of people who contract with COVID-19 may show no symptoms of the disease. The study authors caution that may contribute to the “silent spread” of the virus and such people may experience long-term respiratory issues.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from SARS-CoV-2 studies providing clear information regarding testing methods for diagnosis of the condition. In total, they assessed 16 different cohorts, including groups of cruise ship passengers, prison, inmates, and nursing home residents.
One of the study authors Daniel Oran, a behavioral scientist, comments on the results of the study: “What virtually all of them had in common was that a very large proportion of infected individuals had no symptoms. Among more than 3,000 prison inmates in four states who tested positive for the coronavirus, the figure was astronomical: 96% asymptomatic.”
Initial reports from China demonstrated increased male mortality associated with COVID-19, as well as nearly every country is now reporting significantly higher COVID-19-related mortality rates in men than in women as of June 4 according to the Global Health 50/50 research initiative.
Reports show that approximately similar quantity of men and women are being infected with COVID-19, but a significantly higher proportion of men die from the disease than women, across groups of similar age.
Scientists assume that this is because females have a more robust immune response than men which may help females fight off infections better than males. This could be a result of genetic factors or sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.
The recent research shows that mast cells in women initiate a more active immune response, which may help females fight off infectious diseases better than men.
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