Immunity to Common Cold Viruses Lowers Risk of Severe COVID-19

According to researchers from the University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland, people who had been exposed to common cold coronaviruses (HCoVs) circulating before the pandemic have a higher level of immunity against COVID-19.Immunity to Common Cold Viruses Lowers Risk of Severe COVID-19

For this study, the scientists analyzed serum samples from 825 participants taken before the pandemic and assessed their immune responses to four of these HCoVs. They also analyzed 389 serum samples from individuals who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The analysis showed that people who contracted SARS-CoV-2 had lower levels of antibodies against HCoVs than those who did not contract the virus.

Prof. Alexandra Trkola, lead researcher and head of the Institute of Medical Virology at UZH, says: “Of course, immune responses targeting SARS-CoV-2 that are mounted by the memory cellsTrusted Source are far more effective than cross-reactive responses. But even though the protection isn’t absolute, cross-reactive immune responses shorten the infection and reduce its severity. And this is exactly what is also achieved through vaccination, just much, much more efficiently.”

COVID-19 Survivors Are at Higher Risk of Death 12 Months after the Infection

A new study from the University of Florida found that people younger than 65 who were hospitalized with COVID-19, were at 233% higher risk of death during the next 12 months after the infection than people who did not have the disease.COVID-19 Survivors Are at Higher Risk of Death 12 Months after the Infection

For the study, a team of researchers analyzed electronic healthcare records from patients tested for COVID-19 in any setting in the University of Florida health system, both in Gainesville and Jacksonville.

Approximately 80% of all deaths of people in the study who had recovered from COVID-19 in the past 12 months were not due to cardiovascular or respiratory causes. This means that the impact of the virus is significant and wide-ranging, even after recovering from the initial infection.

Prof. Arch Mainous, the author of the study, says: “Treatment in the hospital is [fine for surviving] the initial episode, but our strategy should focus on keeping people out of the hospital in the first place. Taking your chances that you might get COVID-19 but that it will be mild, or that you will just rely on treatments to pull you through a severe episode, is a course of action with big risks.”

All You Should Know about the Newly Emerged Omicron Variant

For the first time, the newly emerged variant, Omicron (B.1.1.529), was reported in South Africa on November 24, 2021. At the present moment, the WHO calls it a “variant of concern” as it is the most heavily mutated variant of the SARS-Co-V-2 virus, causing COVID-19.All You Should Know about the Newly Emerged Omicron Variant

The Omicron variant has 50 mutations, while the Delta variant has 9 mutations. Moreover, 32 of these mutations are on the spike protein alone, which is the protein that helps the virus to attach to cells helping the virus to enter the cell. The larger number of mutations may mean that this variant could be more transmissible and/or better at evading immune protection.

One more reason to be concerned about the Omicron variant is that it has 10 mutations in the receptor-binding domain — the part of the spike protein that interacts with the ACE-2 receptor and aiding entry into cells — compared with just 2 for the Delta variant.

Study Shows How Vitamin D Could Halt Lung Inflammation in COVID-19

Recent research, conducted by a joint team of scientists from Purdue University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), demonstrates how an active metabolite of vitamin D, which cannot be found in an over-the-counter form, has a “switch-off” mechanism for inflammation, which could work in severe cases of COVID-19.Study Shows How Vitamin D Could Halt Lung Inflammation in COVID-19

However, researchers warn that clinical trials are needed before including vitamin D in the treatment plan for COVID-19 or other respiratory diseases. Also, scientists notice people should not take excessive amounts of vitamin D in hopes of staving off COVID-19 infection.

For the study, scientists analyzed individual lung cells from eight people with COVID-19. They discovered that in these cells, part of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — was going into overdrive and exacerbating inflammation in the lungs.

Outdoor Exercise Decreased Anxiety and Depression during Lockdown

In a new study, led by the healthcare company Kaiser Permanente (KP), researchers found that people who exercised more during lockdowns experienced less anxiety and depression than those who did not exercise. Moreover, according to the study, people who spent more time outdoors had lower levels of anxiety and depression than those who stayed inside.Outdoor Exercise Decreased Anxiety and Depression during Lockdown

A team of researchers surveyed more than 20,000 people from Hawaii, Colorado, Georgia, the mid-Atlantic states, and Southern and Northern California in April 2020 and at least three more times until July 2020. The participants were asked to answer questions about their lifestyle, share their electronic health records, and give biospecimens.

Dr. David A. Merill, adult and geriatric psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Pacific Brain Health Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, says: “The data is very clear that the mind and the brain are healthier when we spend more time […] in nature, but [also] just outdoors in general. There are studies that show that less time outdoors leads to brain atrophy, over time and with age.”

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