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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

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

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

Food allergy is associated with lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection

A study found that people with food #allergies are less likely to become infected with the #SARSCoV2 #coronavirus. The study also found that #obesity & high body mass index (BMI) are associated with increased risk of infection, while having asthma does not increase risk. Read more at:

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

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

Scientists struggle to probe COVID’s origins amid sparse data from China

3 recent preprints offer further evidence supporting the hypothesis that the #coronavirus spread from animals to people. A next step in the hunt for #SARSCoV2’s origin should be studying wildlife, such as foxes and raccoon dogs, on farms in China. Scientists are anxious to obtain more data on the earliest days of the pandemic, following three tantalizing reports posted online in the past few weeks1,2,3. Although not yet published in peer-reviewed journals, the preprints provi

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

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:

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

‘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

COVID-19: endemic doesn’t mean harmless

The word ‘endemic’ has become one of the most misused of the pandemic. Many of the errant assumptions made encourage a misplaced complacency. A disease (e.g. #malaria) can be endemic as well as widespread & deadly. #endemic #COVID19 #coronavirus The word ‘endemic’ has become one of the most misused of the pandemic. And many of the errant assumptions made encourage a misplaced complacency. It doesn’t mean that COVID-19 will come to a natural end. To an epidemiologist, an endem

New Research Hints at 4 Factors That May Increase Chances of Long Covid

Study reports 4 factors present early during coronavirus infection that correlate with increased risk of having #LongCovid weeks later. 1. Levels of #coronavirus RNA 2. Presence of autoantibodies 3. Reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus 4. Type 2 diabetes It is one of many mysteries about long Covid: Who is more prone to developing it? Are some people more likely than others to experience physical, neurological or cognitive symptoms that can emerge, or linger for, months after t

Long-COVID symptoms less likely in vaccinated people, Israeli data say

#LongCovid symptoms less likely in vaccinated people, Israeli data say. People who have had both #SARSCoV2 #coronavirus infection & doses of Pfizer vaccine were much less likely to report Long Covid symptoms than people who were unvaccinated when infected. Data from people infected with SARS-CoV-2 early in the pandemic add to growing evidence suggesting that vaccination can help to reduce the risk of long COVID. Researchers in Israel report that people who have had both SARS

We are playing whack-a-mole with variants – and the coronavirus is winning

If we do not vaccinate the world, the #COVID19 pandemic won't end. More #coronavirus variants will emerge, millions more lives will be lost. As we begin year three of the Covid-19 pandemic, hunkering down again to survive the viral blizzard that #Omicron has brought, it is painfully clear that we are failing to learn from the past. Predictably, rich nations have made boosters and border controls their primary response to the Omicron crisis, while vaccine apartheid, the 800-po

Why Omicron Is Less Severe Than Other Coronavirus Variants: It Spares the Lungs

Compared with earlier variants, #Omicron may cause less damage to the lungs, new animal research suggests. A spate of new studies on lab animals and human tissues are providing the first indication of why the #OmicronVariant causes milder disease than previous versions of the #coronavirus. In studies on mice and hamsters, Omicron produced less damaging infections, often limited largely to the upper airway: the nose, throat and windpipe. The variant did much less harm to the l

Evolution of enhanced innate immune evasion by SARS-CoV-2

Evolution of enhanced innate immune evasion by the #SARSCoV2 #coronavirus. "Importance of mutations outside Spike in adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 to humans is underscored by the observation that similar mutations exist in the #Delta & #Omicron N/Orf9b regulatory regions." Abstract Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) suggests viral adaptation to enhance human-to-human transmission1,2. Although much effort has focused on characterisation of spike changes in VOCs, mut

Making it easier to be a patient in times of a pandemic

by David Chambers, Michelle Brady, David Ojcius, Evelyn Cuny #COVID19 #COVID #SARSCoV2 #coronavirus #dentistry #dental 1 PROBLEM What responses are needed when a public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupts continuity of care in a dental school clinic? To what extent do fears regarding safety during treatment deter patients from attending appointments in dental school clinics and can the school control these factors to ensure educational experiences? Much attention h

Signs of the Omicron variant are being found in California wastewater systems

In the effort to track the spread of #SARSCoV2 #coronavirus, researchers are monitoring #wastewater in many locations around the state of California. The approach has found the virus in wastewater in Sacramento area, the Central Valley & the Bay Area. In the effort to track the spread of the #Omicron variant of the coronavirus, researchers in California are monitoring the wastewater in many locations around the state. The approach has already uncovered signs of the variant in

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