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MOSTLY MICROBES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES

Welcome to Mostly Microbes and Infectious Diseases. David Ojcius posts newspaper and journal articles in the broad field of microbiology.

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Infection of the oral cavity with SARS-CoV-2 variants: Scope of salivary diagnostics

Coronaviruses, including #SARSCoV2, have caused pandemics in the past two decades. The most prevalent SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern can re-infect individuals who have been previously infected with other variants or had protection from vaccines targeting the original SARS-CoV-2 variant. Given the high risk of transmission of #coronavirus via aerosols produced during dental procedures, it is important to understand the future risk of coronavirus infection for oral health profe

Fasting as key tone for COVID immunity

#SARSCoV2-induced #anorexia triggers systemic metabolic alterations. A new study shows that the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) improves COVID19 disease outcomes. Further, BHB metabolically and functionally reprograms CD4+ T cells, highlighting immunometabolic tuning of immunity in #COVID19. #Fasting #diet #nutrition #immunology Infection-induced anorexia is an evolutionarily conserved sickness behaviour that can mediate protective or detrimental immune functions1. Fastin

Your first brush with coronavirus could affect how a fall booster works

As #omicron-specific boosters near, scientists debate how ‘original antigenic sin’ will influence immune responses. In the beginning, when the coronavirus was new, the quest for a #COVID19 vaccine was simple. Everyone started out susceptible to the virus. Shots brought spectacular protection. But the next chapters of life with the virus — and the choice of booster shots for the fall and beyond — will be complicated by the layers of immunity that now ripple through the populat

Operation Nasal Vaccine—Lightning speed to counter COVID-19

Just 10 months after the initial genome sequencing of the #SARSCoV2 virus, two mRNA vaccines were demonstrated to provide 95% efficacy against symptomatic infections via randomized, placebo-controlled trials of more than 74,000 participants (1). That unprecedented success was, in part, fueled by the $10 billion governmental investment in Operation Warp Speed (OWS) in March 2020 to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of #COVID19 vaccines. We urgently ne

Think All Viruses Get Milder With Time? Not This Rabbit-Killer

As #COVID19 death rate globally has fallen, it may be tempting to conclude that #coronavirus is becoming milder. But this not a given. A good example of the opposite is a pathogen that has been ravaging rabbits in Australia for 72 years: the #myxoma virus. As the Covid death rate worldwide has fallen to its lowest level since the early weeks of the pandemic in 2020, it may be tempting to conclude that the coronavirus is becoming irreversibly milder. That notion fits with a w

How long is your COVID vaccine good for? You can soon find out, thanks to a new test

Researchers have developed a rapid T-cell test (the dqTACT assay) that measures the activation of T cells in response to #COVID19. The test will allow for mass monitoring of the population’s immunity & effectiveness of vaccines new & old. How long is your COVID vaccine good for? Until recently, it’s been nearly impossible to say. Immunity, whether from vaccine or prior infection, is thought to wane after three or four months, but it varies by person. That knowledge is based o

COVID and smell loss: answers begin to emerge

Smell disruption from #COVID19 is becoming less-common, but millions of people still have problems with their sense of #smell. The #coronavirus seems to cause damage to the olfactory neurons in the nose, scrambling their nuclei. Researchers are finally making headway in understanding how the #SARSCoV2 coronavirus causes loss of smell. And a multitude of potential treatments to tackle the condition are undergoing clinical trials, including steroids and blood plasma. Once a tel

Haven't had COVID yet? It could be more than just luck

Haven't had #COVID19 yet? It could be more than just luck. Simplest explanation: you have never come into contact with the virus. Another: although you were exposed to the #coronavirus, it failed to establish an infection even after gaining entry to the airways. We all know a few of those lucky people who, somehow, have managed to avoid ever catching COVID. Perhaps you’re one of them. Is this a Marvel-esque superpower? Is there any scientific reason why a person might be resi

US sexually transmitted infections surged to record high in 2020

After briefly dropping in early months of the #COVID19 pandemic in 2020, rates of sexually transmitted infections in US then resurged beyond 2019 levels to finish the year at a record high, according to new CDC data. #syphilis #chlamydia #gonorrhea Reported cases dropped in early months of Covid-19 pandemic but disrupted healthcare and diverted resources aided sharp rise After briefly dropping in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, rates of sexually transmitted

What triggers severe COVID? Infected immune cells hold clues

Two studies show that immune cells infected with #SARSCoV2 can stimulate a large inflammatory response via #inflammasome activation. In mice, drugs that inhibit inflammasomes save mice from severe #COVID19 pathology. #inflammation #immunology #coronavirus Immune cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 can trigger a massive inflammatory response that contributes to severe COVID-19, suggest two papers — one published today in Nature, and a preprint posted online on 1 April. Since the ea

Outbreak at Shanghai Hospital Exposes Covid’s Risks to China’s Seniors

A #COVID19 outbreak is ravaging a hospital for older adults in Shanghai, China. Workers said that deaths are increasing & resources are dwindling. A coronavirus outbreak is ravaging a hospital in Shanghai for older adults, underscoring the difficulties officials have had in containing infections even as the city imposed a 10-day staggered lockdown. Two orderlies at the Shanghai Donghai Elderly Care Hospital said in interviews that the coronavirus was spreading widely among th

Are ‘COVID toes’ actually caused by the coronavirus?

A surge in people with discolored toes does not seem to be linked to #COVID19. New report suggests that #COVID toe could have been caused by something unrelated to the #coronavirus. For example, people in lockdown “being at home, not wearing shoes and socks”. In March 2020, just as COVID-19 cases began to surge in Boston, Massachusetts, Esther Freeman noticed something peculiar — a deluge of people with discoloured toes requesting appointments. Freeman, director of global h

China, pummeled by an outbreak, adds Pfizer’s antiviral pills to its treatment protocol

China has revised the country’s pandemic guidelines to include the use of antiviral pills made by Pfizer, #Paxlovid, as the country scrambles to contain its biggest outbreak since the early days of the #COVID19 pandemic. China has revised the country’s pandemic guidelines to include the use of antiviral pills made by Pfizer, as the country scrambles to contain its biggest outbreak since the early days of the pandemic. The country’s medical products regulator last month approv

Europe thought it was done with Covid-19. But the virus isn't done with Europe

Europe thought it was done with #COVID19. The UK's daily case rate is still < 1/3 of what it was during the #Omicron peak, but cases are rising as fast as they were falling just 2 weeks earlier. Daily cases are also rising in > 1/2 of European Union. It has been two years since the Covid-19 pandemic became a reality for millions of people in Europe and many of the region's leaders now believe it is time to move on. But as countries shed restrictions, cases and hospitalizatio

Covid Cases Linked to Brain Shrinkage, Cognitive Decline Months Later

Even a mild case of #COVID19 can damage the brain, leading to shrinkage equivalent to up to a decade of #aging, according to a new study. The findings represent more evidence of the #SARSCoV2 #coronavirus' impact on the central nervous system. Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-07/brain-shrinkage-cognitive-decline-found-months-after-mild-covid?cmpid=BBD031222_WKND&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=220312&utm_campaign=weekendreading

First Possible Case of Covid-19 Spreading From Deer to Humans

Scientists in Canada discovered the 1st potential case of deer passing #coronavirus to a human, according to a preprint. The discovery underscores importance of monitoring wildlife for diseases that could jump to humans but isn’t yet cause for panic. #COVID19 #SARSCoV2 #COVID #zoonosis #zoonoses Scientists in Canada have discovered the first potential case of deer passing coronavirus to a human, according to the new research that hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed. The event has

Wild animals prized as delicacies in China contain a bevy of threatening viruses

Wild animals sometimes prized as delicacies in Asian countries harbor many viruses, a new study found, including many that can infect humans. None is closely related to #SARSCoV2#coronavirus, but other viral threats are lurking in the animal kingdom. Wild animals sometimes found on the menu in Asian countries harbor a bewildering panoply of viruses, a new study has found—including many that can infect humans. Although none is closely related to the coronavirus that touched o

‘I Had Never Felt Worse’: Long Covid Sufferers Are Struggling With Exercise

And experts have some theories as to why. #COVID19 #COVID #LongCovid #coronavirus By Melinda Wenner Moyer When Natalie Hollabaugh tested positive for Covid-19 in March 2020, her recovery felt extremely slow. Eighteen months later, she was still suffering from a litany of symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches and joint pain. She saw a cardiologist and a pulmonologist, who both ruled out other health problems, she said. And they advised her to start exerci

In New York City Sewage, a Mysterious Coronavirus Signal

New York City’s #wastewater contains #coronavirus sequences with unique mutations that have not been reported in human patients. There is no evidence that the "cryptic lineages" pose a health risk to humans, but researchers don't know where they came from. #COVID19 #SARSCoV2 By Emily Anthes Last January, a team of researchers searching for the coronavirus in New York City’s wastewater spotted something strange in their samples. The viral fragments they found had a unique con

Gut bacteria may play a role in the development of long COVID

Previous research found that individuals with severe #COVID19 tend to have gut #dysbiosis. New study finds there may also be connection between gut dysbiosis & #LongCovid. Future clinical trials could investigate probiotics, dietary changes as treatment. Many people who recover from COVID-19 report lingering symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and insomnia, known collectively as post-acute COVID syndrome (PACS) or long COVID. Previous research has found that individu

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