Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Coronavirus Briefing Newsletter – Times of India

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THE COUNT
  • India on Sunday reported 5,076 Covid cases and 11 fatalities. The cumulative caseload is 4,44,95,359 (47,945 active cases) and 5,28,150 fatalities
  • Worldwide: Over 608 million cases and over 6.51 million fatalities.
  • Vaccination in India: Over 2.14 billion doses. Worldwide: Over 12.19 billion doses.
TODAY’S TAKE
A new antiviral therapy that blocks Covid transmission
A new antiviral therapy that blocks Covid transmission
  • A team of US scientists has developed a single-dose, intranasal treatment that not only reduces symptoms of multiple Covid variants but also shedding of the virus.
  • In a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team from Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco showed that this new treatment, called a therapeutic interfering particle (TIP), also decreases the amount of virus shed from infected animals and limits transmission of the virus.
  • Historically, it has been exceptionally challenging for antivirals and vaccines to limit the transmission of respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.
  • “This is the only single-dose antiviral that reduces not only symptoms and severity of Covid-19, but also shedding of the virus,” said Sonali Chaturvedi, first author of the paper.
  • The benefit of TIPs, though, goes beyond their ability to stifle a virus inside infected cells.
  • Since TIPs reside inside the same cells as the virus they target, they evolve at the same time, staying active even as new viral strains emerge.
  • The initial experiments were done using the Delta strain of SARS-CoV-2. By day 5, all control animals were still shedding high levels of virus, while the virus was undetectable in four out of five TIP-treated animals.
  • When the infected animals were housed in cages with uninfected animals, treatment of the infected animals with TIPs did not fully prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
TELL ME ONE THING
Why Covid-19 symptoms may persist for up to a year
Why Covid-19 symptoms may persist for up to a year
  • In a study published in the journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, a team of scientists at the Boston-based Harvard Medical School found that the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes Covid-19 — may linger in the bloodstream of long Covid-19 patients for up to a year after infection. The findings help reinforce a leading theory among scientists that residual virus particles stimulate an immune system reaction that causes Covid-19 symptoms.
  • The research team studied plasma samples from 63 patients, of whom 37 were diagnosed with post-acute sequelae of Covid-19, or long Covid-19. The remaining patients showed recovery after their acute infection. Blood samples were collected at least two times up to one year after testing positive.
  • The study detected the presence of the spike protein in a majority of the samples from long Covid-19 patients, including samples analysed even after 12 months after acute infection, which they wrote in their paper, “supports the hypothesis that a reservoir of active virus persists in the body.”
  • In an interview to The Wall Street Journal, David Walt, the study’s lead author and professor of pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School, said that some long Covid-19 patients had levels of viral spike protein that were as high as earlier in their illness even a year after infection.
  • Walt informed that the research team was planning to test antivirals such as Paxlovid or remdesivir to see if the drugs could help wipe out the residual virus load and neutralise the spike protein from the blood. Adding that there’s a possibility that the usual Covid-19 treatment protocol may not be sufficient to fully eliminate the virus load in some Covid-19 patients, he said such people may need “a much longer exposure to these antivirals to fully clear” the virus.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Sushmita Choudhury, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta, Tejeesh Nippun Singh
Research: Rajesh Sharma



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