The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID–19, the illness caused by the virus.
COVID–19 increases risks for cancer patients
Cancer patients face poorer outcomes if they become infected with the new coronavirus, a new study shows.
However, undergoing recent cancer treatments did not make COVID–19 outcomes worse, so cancer therapies should not be delayed, the research team advises in a report published on Friday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The study involved nearly 23,000 patients with cancer who were tested for COVID–19 at U.S. Veterans Affairs health facilities nationwide. Roughly 1,800 (7.8%) had tested positive, with no effect of age on the likelihood of infection. C
OVID–19 rates were higher in patients with blood cancers (11%) than in those with solid tumors (8%). Compared to patients who tested negative for the virus, COVID–19 patients had more hospitalizations, needed more intensive care, and needed more help with breathing. Death rates were 14% among cancer patients with COVID–19 and 3% in those without the virus.
Across the country, African-American and Hispanic cancer patients had higher rates of COVID–19 infection than white cancer patients – 15%, 11% and 6%, respectively.
They also had higher rates of hospitalization. The real prevalence of COVID–19 among cancer patients remains uncertain, the researchers point out, because many have not been tested for the virus.
Common cold antibodies do not protect against COVID–19
Your immune system may be able to produce antibodies that recognize and fight off the coronaviruses that cause common colds, but those antibodies are not likely to protect against the coronavirus that causes COVID–19, new research shows.
At Rockefeller University in New York City, scientists studied blood samples collected and stored before the pandemic from people known to have had common colds in the past few months.
In test-tube experiments, they found that each sample contained antibodies that could recognize and neutralize, or disable, at least one common cold coronavirus – and most could recognize multiple such viruses.
But none of the samples had antibodies that could recognize and disable a virus that had been modified to look like the new coronavirus, carrying the spike protein that helps it infect healthy cells. In a report published ahead of peer review on Sunday on medRxiv, the researchers say that while there may be rare individuals with common cold antibodies that can also target the COVID–19 virus, their new data suggest those antibodies are not going to have much of an effect for the population as a whole.
COVID–19 neurological effects may reflect immune response
The new coronavirus might not be having major direct effects on the brain despite neurological issues that have been widely reported.
Researchers examined brains of 43 COVID–19 patients who died in intensive care units, nursing homes, regular hospital wards, or at home.
They found coronavirus proteins in the brain stem, but “little involvement” of the frontal lobe – the part of the brain important for movement, language and higher level functioning.
They also saw increases in brain cells called astrocytes, signaling destruction of other nearby cells. Because critical illness itself can contribute to this finding, it is not clear that COVID–19 is the direct cause. The presence of the virus was not associated with the severity of brain tissue changes, researchers said.
All of the brains showed signs of “neuroimmune activation,” meaning the immune system had been activated to respond to the infection in the brain. Patients’ neurological symptoms might be due to the body’s immune response, rather than to direct central nervous system damage from the virus, the authors reported in The Lancet Neurology. “We have started to define the immune reaction to SARS-CoV-2 virus in the brain,” co-author Markus Glatzel of University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in German told Reuters. “We think that the neuroimmune reaction may be a factor explaining some of the neurological symptoms seen in COVID–19 patients.”
KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 19 The parliamentary party of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) today decided not to take salary for the month of Kartik (mid-October to mid-November) and deposit the same in the government’s COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment Fund. The party decided to do so aft Read More...
KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 19 As the festive season has started, traders have started bringing live goats and mountain goats in the valley. Considering the health safety, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has requested consumers to choose wisely while purchasing goats. For the convenience of co Read More...
The govt cannot wash its hands of its obligation to provide health care and other help to the people when they most need it Seemingly, a PCR test fatigue has set in, with the government asking the people to pay for it and treatment of the coronavirus. Following the government decision on Sunday, it Read More...
KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 19 The Nepali Congress has condemned the government’s decision not to bear the test and treatment expenses of all coronavirus patients. The government had yesterday decided to bear test and treatment expenses of poor, helpless, single women and differently-able citizens, s Read More...
KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 19 Making public the Cabinet decisions, Minister of Information and Communications Parbat Gurung said decisions were taken to upgrade quarantine centres which are not in use currently in Kathmandu into isolations centres. Keeping in view the increasing number of coronavirus Read More...
JHAPA, OCTOBER 19 All the services provided from Damak Municipality Office and ward offices of the municipality have been closed for three days after municipality staffers and people’s representatives tested positive for coronavirus. Deputy Secretary Dinesh Kumar Neupane of the municipality Read More...
KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 19 Construction of the Mid-Hill Highway is facing difficulty in meeting the deadline due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the project saw dismal physical progress in the first three months of the current fiscal year 2020-21, said Chief of Read More...
KATHMANDU: The Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) reported an additional Covid-19 related fatality on Tuesday. A 56-year-old male of Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City of Sunsari district who was undergoing treatment at the Covid Hospital of the institute passed away at 9:30 Read More...