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    • Can coronavirus be sexually transmitted? Researchers are trying to find out

    Researchers at the University of Miami are studying whether COVID-19 can be sexually transmitted.

    So far, they have found COVID-19 can invade the male testicles and linger.

    Fertility specialist Ranjith Ramasamy and his colleagues at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine looked at tissue from autopsies of six men who died with the COVID-19 infection and found the virus was still in their testicles. They also found COVID-19 in the testicles of a male patient who had the coronavirus and recovered without showing symptoms.

    In the men studied, about half the time the virus inhibited their sperm function.

    “What most surprised us is the fact the virus can be present in the testes of asymptomatic men and linger long after they test negative, even if they have no testicular pain,” Ramasamy said.

    It makes sense that the testicles, which are responsible for sperm and testosterone production, are a target for COVID-19 infection because of the way the virus attaches to organs, Ramasamy said. The receptor in the testes (ACE-2) in which the virus attaches is the same one as in the lungs, heart, intestines and kidneys, where it has been known to cause damage.

    The UM researchers published their findings Thursday in the World Journal of Men’s Health.

    “This study is the first step in that process and opens the door to important research to pursue, especially in South Florida,” Ramasamy said.

    Ramasamy said his Miami research group has gone on to study the semen of 30 men between ages of 30 and 55 during the three- to six-month period after they recovered from COVID-19. They wanted to know whether the virus could lead to male infertility and be sexually transmitted.

    “If you have a small viral load, you may be OK,” Ramasamy said.

    But because men without symptoms of COVID-19 don’t know their viral load and may continue to be sexual, they could transmit the virus to their partner or affect their long-term ability to reproduce. As much as 30% to 40% of men are asymptomatic and could potentially spread the virus to their partner without knowing, he said.

    “Some young college students are worried. We have had a few requests from guys who want to freeze sperm with the fear of getting COVID in future,” he said. “They may have no symptoms now, but they could see it affect them down the road when they attempt to have kids.”

    Ramasamy said he will be publishing the results of the second study soon.

    The Miami doctors are not the only ones studying this effect of COVID-19. New York researchers also have published studies that conclude men who have had COVID-19 might develop sexual and reproductive health issues.

    A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found no evidence of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the semen from men who had recovered from the infection. However, this study looked at 34 men with researchers checking the semen a median of 31 days after each person had been diagnosed with COVID-19. The study did not rule out the possibility that the virus was in semen earlier in the infection.: https://www.tampabay.com/news/health...g-to-find-out/
    • Coronavirus Cases: 49,570,037

    Deaths: 1,246,896

    Underreported US death count: 241,887

    American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

    Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
    it's been blown way out of proportion.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

    Comment


      • Nasal spray prevents COVID-19 infection in test animals, new study finds

      Researchers have developed a nasal spray treatment that appears to prevent coronavirus infections in ferrets and could potentially be used to protect humans from contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a report from the New York Times.

      A small study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Columbia University Medical Center that has yet to be peer-reviewed details how the nasal spray protected ferrets from becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

      Six ferrets were given the treatment and put in three separate cages in groups of two. Two ferrets that were given a placebo were put in each cage along with one that had recently been infected with the novel coronavirus.

      Scientists said none of the animals treated with the nasal spray contracted the virus after 24 hours, while the ferrets given a placebo became infected.

      “Virus replication was completely blocked,” the study said.

      The experimental preventative treatment was developed by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, Erasmus Medical Center and Cornell University. Researchers use ferrets to study respiratory diseases because the animals can become infected through the nose, similar to humans.

      “If it works this well in humans, you could sleep in a bed with someone infected or be with your infected kids and still be safe,” Anne Moscona, a pediatrician and microbiologist from Columbia University Medical Center and co-author of the study, told the New York Times.

      Moscona said the spray attaches to cells in the nose and lungs and is effective for about 24 hours. The researcher said the team of scientists would need additional funding to conduct clinical trials of the treatment in humans.

      The study has been submitted to the journal Science to be peer-reviewed, according to the New York Times.

      The preliminary study comes as the world is racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine amid worsening outbreaks in the U.S. and Europe.

      On Thursday, the U.S. set a grim new COVID-19 record — surpassing 120,000 infections in a single day.: https://thehill.com/changing-america...ection-in-test
      • Coronavirus Cases: 49,812,233

      Deaths: 1,251,145

      Underreported US death count: 242,261

      American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

      Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
      it's been blown way out of proportion.
      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

      Comment


        • New US Covid-19 deaths have topped 1,000 for four straight days as infections soar

        The country's fall Covid-19 surge is well underway and ramping up: Daily infection tallies are regularly setting records, officials are reporting sharp increases in hospitalized patients and daily deaths are now also climbing.

        The US reported more than 1,140 coronavirus deaths Friday, the fourth straight day that count has risen above 1,000. The last time that happened was in August, Johns Hopkins University data show.

        Since the start of the pandemic, more than 236,000 have died of Covid-19 in the US. Another 106,000 could lose their lives in the next two months, according to projections from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

        With the virus running rampant in the country, many state leaders have pushed to implement new measures to curb the spread and avoid more hospitalizations and loss of life. Experts have warned that unless Americans heed safety guidelines like wearing masks and social distancing, things could get much worse.

        That's a bleak outlook, considering this week saw multiple new highs. The US beat its own record of new daily cases for three days straight, topping 100,000 a day since Wednesday.

        On Friday, the US reported more than 126,000 new cases -- the highest one-day tally yet, Johns Hopkins data show. As of Saturday morning, more than 9.7 million cases have been recorded in the US.: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/07/healt...day/index.html
        • Coronavirus Cases: 49,832,272

        Deaths: 1,251,401

        Underreported US death count: 242,316

        American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

        Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
        it's been blown way out of proportion.
        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

        Comment


        • Coronavirus Cases: 50,103,552

          Deaths: 1,254,956

          Underreported US death count: 243,146

          American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

          Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
          it's been blown way out of proportion.

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

          Comment


            • Nursing home COVID-19 cases rise four-fold in surge states



            Despite Trump administration efforts to erect a protective shield around nursing homes, coronavirus cases are surging within facilities in states hard hit by the latest onslaught of COVID-19.

            An analysis of federal data from 20 states for The Associated Press finds that new weekly cases among residents rose nearly four-fold from the end of May to late October, from 1,083 to 4,274. Resident deaths more than doubled, from 318 a week to 699, according to the study by University of Chicago health researchers Rebecca Gorges and Tamara Konetzka.

            Equally concerning, weekly cases among nursing home staff in surge states more than quadrupled, from 855 the week ending May 31, to 4,050 the week ending Oct. 25. That rings alarms because infected staffers not yet showing symptoms are seen as the most likely way the virus gets into facilities. When those unwitting staffers test positive, they are sidelined from caring for residents, raising pressures on remaining staff.

            The administration has allocated $5 billion to nursing homes, shipped nearly 14,000 fast-test machines with a goal of supplying every facility and tried to shore up stocks of protective equipment. But the data call into question the broader White House game plan, one that pushes states to reopen while maintaining that vulnerable people can be cocooned, even if the virus rebounds around them.

            “Trying to protect nursing home residents without controlling community spread is a losing battle,” said Konetzka, a nationally recognized expert on long-term care. “Someone has to care for vulnerable nursing home residents, and those caregivers move in and out of the nursing home daily, providing an easy pathway for the virus to enter.”

            The nation is setting records for coronavirus cases heading into cold weather season when many experts expect the virus will be harder to contain. The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases stood at nearly 104,000 on Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

            Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities account for about 1% of the U.S. population, but represent 40% of COVID-19 deaths, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

            In Fort Dodge, a manufacturing and transportation center in north-central Iowa, Julie Thorson said she knew she was in for a bad week when several employees at the Friendship Haven nursing home tested positive last Monday. As president of the senior living community, Thorson contacted the county health department. “They were basically not surprised because they’re seeing it all over the county,” she said.

            Residents also started testing positive. The facility had 11 new cases among residents, as of Friday.

            “I was thinking all night what’s worse, to have it hit and not know what you are getting into, or to prepare, prepare, and prepare, and then have it hit,” she said.

            Responding to the study findings, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a statement saying that “the bottom line is that the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on nursing homes is complex and multifactorial.”

            The agency noted different ways the administration has worked to help nursing homes and said its focus now was on ensuring that residents and staff would “immediately” have access to a vaccine once approved. But it also added that facilities “bear the primary responsibility for keeping their residents safe.”

            “Many times, the likely causes of nursing home outbreaks are simply nursing homes failing to comply with basic infection control rules,” the statement said.

            But Konetzka said her research has shown that nursing home quality has no significant effect on cases and deaths once community spread is factored in. “It’s not like the high-quality facilities have figured out how to do things better,” she said. Other academic experts have reached similar conclusions.

            Highly rated by Medicare, St. Paul Elder Services in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, has had 72 COVID-19 cases among residents and 74 among staff, according to its Facebook page. The first case among residents was Aug. 19, and 15 have died, said the facility's president, Sondra Norder.

            “The outcomes are really not much different here than they were in New York back earlier in the pandemic,” Norder said. “It's been called the perfect killing machine of the elderly, especially those who live in congregate settings.” Kaukauna is a small city about 100 miles north of Milwaukee.

            The study, based on data reported by nursing homes to the government, also raised other concerns:

            — For the week ending Oct. 25, about 1 in 6 nursing homes in surge states did not report having tested staff the prior week. Government requirements call for staff testing at least weekly in areas where the virus is spreading.

            — During the same period, nearly 1 in 5 nursing homes reported shortages of basic protective supplies such as masks and gowns.

            — Nearly 1 in 4 facilities reported a nurse staffing shortage.

            Most of the states in the study are in the middle and northern tiers of the country.

            The Commons, a senior living community in Enid, Oklahoma, that includes a nursing home, is in a coronavirus hotspot. The oil and gas hub has a positive rate approaching 18%. A local mask mandate has twice been shot down, said Steven Walkingstick, CEO of The Commons.

            “From my standpoint, a mandate unfortunately is needed,” said Walkingstick. “I don’t want the government involved, but evidence has shown we are not going to do this voluntarily.”

            Walkingstick said he believes the U.S. has gotten better at saving the lives of COVID-19 patients, but not at keeping the virus out of nursing homes.

            Thorson, head of the Fort Dodge facility, said it takes a lot of effort to try to keep the virus out, and it's demoralizing to see it break through.

            “Don’t forget about us, because we are still here, doing the best we can in rural areas,” she said.

            The 20 states analyzed in the study were Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. They were selected because they're now seeing their highest hospitalization rates for COVID-19.: https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/h...SIECJZFE4B5R4/
            • Coronavirus Cases: 50,354,682

            Deaths: 1,257,448

            Underreported US death count: 243,269

            American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

            Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
            it's been blown way out of proportion.
            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

            Comment


            • Coronavirus Cases: 50,499,049

              Deaths: 1,259,183

              Underreported US death count: 243,316

              American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

              Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
              it's been blown way out of proportion.

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

              Comment


              • How it might not spread to us.

                Early of course. But worth a note. I'm not sure what Phase it's in.

                From the Guardian:


                Covid-19 vaccine candidate is 90% effective, says manufacturer


                Interim analysis of vaccine by Pfizer/BioNTech far exceeds expectations of most experts


                https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...fizer-biontech

                LWO Community strong!

                Comment


                  • Pfizer Says Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine Is More Than 90% Effective

                  Pfizer's experimental COVID-19 vaccine appears to be working. The vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective, according to clinical results released by the company Monday.

                  That news comes from an interim analysis of a study involving 43,538 volunteers, 42 percent of whom had "diverse backgrounds."

                  Each participant got two injections spaced 21 days apart. The analysis compared the number of cases of COVID-19 among the volunteers getting the vaccine, with an approximately equal sized group of volunteers who got an injection of a liquid that didn't contain the vaccine.

                  In a news release from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, the company said results from 94 evaluable cases of COVID-19 among study participants indicated the more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration set a minimum effectiveness bar at 50%.

                  This is the first COVID-19 vaccine in development to have data showing that it exceeded that mark.

                  While promising, this analysis alone does not provide enough information about the vaccine for Pfizer to ask the FDA for permission to distribute the vaccine.

                  The agency has informed manufacturers that it wants a minimum of two months of follow-up data from at least half of the volunteers. FDA says the reason for that requirement is that most dangerous side effects from a vaccine occur within two months of getting the final injection. Pfizer says those data won't be available until the third week in November.

                  The company didn't say how serious the COVID-19 cases were that occurred in the study, or whether any of them required hospitalization.

                  The Pfizer vaccine trial is what's known as an event-driven study. It does not last for a specified period of time. Instead, the study will continue and won't be considered complete until it has recorded a total of 164 cases of COVID-19 among all the volunteers.

                  As described in its publicly released protocol, the company had planned to conduct four interim analyses, when a proscribed number of COVID-19 cases had occurred. The results released today are from the second one, the company having agreed with the FDA to forgo the first analysis.: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-...n-90-effective
                  • Coronavirus Cases: 50,786,162

                  Deaths: 1,262,841

                  Underreported US death count: 243,768

                  American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                  Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                  it's been blown way out of proportion.
                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                  Comment


                    • Asians at Higher Risk of COVID-Linked Stroke

                    Asian COVID-19 patients in the United Kingdom have a higher stroke risk than other racial/ethnic groups, a new study finds.

                    Researchers analyzed data on 1,470 stroke patients admitted to 13 hospitals in England and Scotland between March and July 2020, during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

                    Among patients who had an ischemic stroke (one caused by blocked blood flow to the brain), Asians accounted for 19% of those who had COVID-19 when their stroke occurred. That was more than double the proportion of ischemic stroke patients without COVID-19 (7%).

                    The researchers also found that ischemic strokes in COVID-19 patients were more severe, and more likely to result in disability and death, according to the study published online Nov. 5 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

                    Previous research has suggested that COVID-19 infection might make blood stickier and more apt to clot, leading to an increased risk of stroke.

                    "Our study suggests that COVID-19 has had more impact on strokes in the Asian community than in other ethnic groups. We cannot say from our data whether this is because Asians are more likely to catch COVID-19, but it seems unlikely that this is the sole explanation," said lead author Dr. Richard Perry, a stroke specialist at National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, in London.

                    In the United Kingdom, people of Afro-Caribbean origin have the highest risk of COVID-19 infection, while those of Asian descent have only a marginally higher risk than white people, Perry said in a journal news release.

                    "We suspect, therefore, that Asian people who contract COVID-19 may have a higher risk of COVID-19-associated stroke than is seen in other ethnic groups," he added.

                    The researchers also assessed the association between COVID-19 and stroke.

                    "[This] study provides the most compelling evidence yet that COVID-19-associated ischemic strokes are more severe and more likely to result in severe disability or death, although the outlook is not quite as bleak as previous studies have suggested," the authors concluded.: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-n...d-stroke-study
                    • Coronavirus Cases: 50,881,193

                    Deaths: 1,264,136

                    Underreported US death count: 243,797

                    American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                    Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                    it's been blown way out of proportion.
                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                    Comment


                      • In places you're most likely to catch Covid-19, reducing crowds can help

                      A small minority of places where people go frequently account for a large majority of coronavirus infections in big cities, according to a new modeling study.

                      The study, published in the journal Nature on Tuesday, suggests that reducing the maximum occupancy in such places -- including restaurants, gyms, cafes and hotels -- can slow the spread of illness substantially.

                      "Our model predicts that capping points-of-interest at 20% of maximum occupancy can reduce the infections by more than 80%, but we only lose around 40% of the visits when compared to a fully reopening with usual maximum occupancy," Jure Leskovec, an author of the study and associate professor of computer science at Stanford University, said during a press briefing on Tuesday.

                      "Our work highlights that it doesn't have to be all or nothing," he said.

                      The model also found significant racial and socioeconomic inequities in coronavirus infections.

                      Model spotlights potential 'superspreader' places

                      The researchers -- from Stanford University and Northwestern University -- used cell phone location data from SafeGraph to model the potential spread of Covid-19 within 10 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington DC.

                      The data, representing the hourly movements of 98 million people, included mobility patterns from March to May.

                      The researchers examined Covid-19 case counts for each area and took a close look at how often people traveled to certain non-residential locations or "points-of-interest."

                      Those locations included grocery stores, fitness centers, cafes and snack bars, doctor's offices, religious establishments, hotels and motels and full-service restaurants.

                      "On average across metro areas, full-service restaurants, gyms, hotels, cafes, religious organizations, and limited-service restaurants produced the largest predicted increases in infections when reopened," the researchers wrote in their study.

                      The model predicted that "infections are happening very unevenly -- that there are about 10% of points-of-interest that account for over 80% of all infections, and these are places that are smaller, more crowded and people dwell there longer," Leskovec said during Tuesday's briefing.

                      The model also predicted that people living in neighborhoods with the lowest income, based on Census data, were more likely to have been infected -- driven in part by how places in those areas tended to be smaller in size, leading to crowding and increasing the risk of spread.

                      "Our model predicts that one visit to a grocery store is twice more dangerous for a lower-income individual compared to a higher-income individual," Leskovec said. "This is because of grocery stores visited by lower-income individuals have on average 60% more people by square foot, and visitors stay there 17% longer."

                      The study comes with limitations, including that the model is a simulation -- not a real-life experiment -- and the data are based on 10 metropolitan areas and do not capture all places someone could frequent, such as schools, nursing homes and prisons, which also have been associated with Covid-19 outbreaks. More research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among other populations and places.: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/10/healt...ess/index.html
                      • Coronavirus Cases: 51,187,330

                      Deaths: 1,268,137

                      Underreported US death count: 244,272

                      American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                      Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                      it's been blown way out of proportion.
                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                      Comment


                        • Thai Airways Q3 loss nosedives

                        Thai Airways International has posted a huge loss for the third quarter, its deficit up more than four-fold on last year, after the coronavirus pandemic shut down global tourism.

                        Acting president Chansin Treenuchagron said on Thursday the carrier's net loss in the third quarter ending September was 21.53 billion baht, leapfrogging from 4.68 billion baht for the same period last year.

                        Its load factor, a key indicator of the utilisation of airline fleets, dived to 35% from 80% a year ago, and the number of passengers was down 92% from the third quarter of 2019 to only 490,000.

                        Mr Chansin said the Covid-19 pandemic was still having a major impact on business, limiting air travel worldwide and keeping foreign tourists at bay.

                        Tourism is a key driver of the Thai economy, accounting for around 20% of gross domestic product.

                        Thailand had 6.7 million foreign visitors in the first nine months of the year, down about 77% from almost 30 million last year, according to figures from the Tourism and Sports Ministry. Most of those arrived in the first quarter, before the virus closed down tourism. The number of tourists from overseas last month was zero.

                        THAI's accumulated performance for the first nine months of the year was not available on Thursday.

                        Trading in THAI shares was suspended on Thursday after auditors refused to comment on its balance sheet to the end of last month, the Stock Exchange of Thailand announced. THAI shares closed on Wednesday at 3.20 baht, down 2.44% on the previous day.

                        The airline is under financial rehabilitation approved by the Bankruptcy Court, having finally lost its status as a state enterprise due to a huge accumulating debt, which stood at 28 billion baht at the end of the second quarter.

                        It has put 34 of its planes up for sale, with the deadline set for Friday for buyers, and is shedding 5,000 employees through an early retirement programme under a cost-cutting plan.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...loss-nosedives

                        Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                        Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                        Comment


                          • MOST OF PFIZER’S VACCINE ALREADY PROMISED TO RICHEST, CAMPAIGNERS WARN

                          The vast majority of US pharma giant Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine has already been bought by the richest governments in the world, Global Justice Now warns today. Over 1 billion doses have already been sold to rich governments, 82% of the 1.35 billion doses Pfizer says it has the capacity to produce by the end of next year.

                          Big purchases include the EU with 200 million doses and an option for a further 100 million, the UK with 40 million and the USA with 100 million, and an option to buy another 500 million. Yet the countries that have secured advanced supplies of the Pfizer vaccine represent just 14% of the global population, campaigners warn.

                          Pfizer is likely to offer some doses to developing countries in the coming weeks through the global COVAX Facility, but these are likely to represent a small fraction of the vaccines produced. While rich countries, including the UK, have joined international efforts to ensure fair distribution, they have undermined these schemes by mass purchases of the vaccine doses outside of the scheme.

                          Campaigners claim the situation is exacerbated by the failure of these same rich governments to heed calls to suspend global patent rules and encourage countries everywhere to manufacture generic versions of Covid-19 treatments and vaccines.

                          Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said:

                          “On the one hand, the British government is helping limit supply of these drugs by insisting on global patent rules that prevent countries producing their own generic vaccines. On the other, it is buying up as much of that limited supply as it can, so there are no vaccines left for developing countries. You couldn’t get a clearer example of how unequal the pharmaceutical system is – some make billions of pounds, while many others die because they cannot afford treatments or there are no more left for them to buy. It’s got to change.

                          “Pfizer claims not to have had any state support, but the advance purchase of a billion doses of an unproven drug, not to mention the tax breaks and direct public funding of Pfizer’s partner suggests their claim is misleading at best. Unless we break the stranglehold of these massive corporations over our medicines, the injustice will continue. It is imperative that we end the vaccine nationalism and that sufficient supply is made available to all, on a fair basis, as a matter of urgency. That can be helped by supporting governments like South Africa and India who are trying to suspend intellectual property rules at the WTO during this global emergency.”: https://www.radiofree.org/2020/11/11...paigners-warn/
                          • Coronavirus Cases: 51,865,619

                          Deaths: 1,280,592

                          Underreported US death count: 245,943

                          American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                          Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                          it's been blown way out of proportion.
                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                          Comment


                            • 'Breakthrough finding' reveals why certain Covid-19 patients die

                            Dr. Megan Ranney has learned a lot about Covid-19 since she began treating patients with the disease in the emergency department in February.

                            But there's one question she still can't answer: What makes some patients so much sicker than others?

                            Advancing age and underlying medical problems explain only part of the phenomenon, said Ranney, who has seen patients of similar age, background and health status follow wildly different trajectories.

                            "Why does one 40-year-old get really sick and another one not even need to be admitted?" asked Ranney, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Brown University.

                            In some cases, provocative new research shows, some people — men in particular — succumb because their immune systems are hit by friendly fire. Researchers hope the finding will help them develop targeted therapies for those patients.

                            In an international study in Science, 10 percent of nearly 1,000 Covid-19 patients who developed life-threatening pneumonia had antibodies that disable key immune system proteins called interferons. These antibodies — known as autoantibodies, because they attack the body itself — weren't found at all in 663 people with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infections. Only four of 1,227 healthy patients had the autoantibodies. The study was led by the Covid Human Genetic Effort, which includes 200 research centers in 40 countries.

                            "This is one of the most important things we've learned about the immune system since the start of the pandemic," said Dr. Eric Topol, executive vice president for research at Scripps Research in San Diego, who wasn't involved in the new study. "This is a breakthrough finding."

                            In a second Science study by the same team, the authors found that an additional 3.5 percent of critically ill patients had mutations in genes that control the interferons involved in fighting viruses. Given that the body has 500 to 600 of those genes, it's possible that researchers will find more mutations, said Qian Zhang, lead author of the second study.

                            Interferons serve as the body's first line of defense against infection, sounding the alarm and activating an army of virus-fighting genes, said virologist Angela Rasmussen, an associate research scientist at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

                            "Interferons are like a fire alarm and a sprinkler system all in one," said Rasmussen, who wasn't involved in the new studies.

                            Lab studies show that interferons are suppressed in some people with Covid-19, perhaps by the virus itself.

                            Interferons are particularly important for protecting the body against new viruses, such as the coronavirus, which the body has never encountered, said Zhang, a researcher at Rockefeller University's St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases.

                            When infected with the novel coronavirus, "your body should have alarms ringing everywhere," Zhang said. "If you don't get the alarm out, you could have viruses everywhere in large numbers."

                            Significantly, patients didn't make autoantibodies in response to the virus. Instead, they appeared to have had them before the pandemic even began, said Paul Bastard, the antibody study's lead author, who is also a researcher at Rockefeller University.

                            For reasons that researchers don't understand, the autoantibodies never caused a problem until patients were infected with Covid-19, Bastard said. Somehow, the coronavirus, or the immune response it triggered, appears to have set them in motion.

                            "Before Covid, their condition was silent," Bastard said. "Most of them hadn't gotten sick before."

                            Bastard said he now wonders whether autoantibodies against interferon also increase the risk from other viruses, such as influenza. Among patients in his study, "some of them had gotten flu in the past, and we're looking to see if the autoantibodies could have had an effect on flu."

                            Scientists have long known that viruses and the immune system compete in a sort of arms race, with viruses evolving ways to evade the immune system and even suppress its response, said Sabra Klein, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

                            Antibodies are usually the heroes of the immune system, defending the body against viruses and other threats. But sometimes, in a phenomenon known as autoimmune disease, the immune system appears confused and creates autoantibodies. This occurs in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, when antibodies attack the joints, and Type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

                            Although doctors don't know the exact causes of autoimmune disease, they've observed that the conditions often occur after viral infections. Autoimmune diseases are more common as people age.

                            In yet another unexpected finding, 94 percent of patients in the study with the autoantibodies were men. About 12.5 percent of men with life-threatening Covid-19 pneumonia had autoantibodies against interferon, compared with 2.6 percent of women.

                            That was unexpected, given that autoimmune disease is far more common in women, Klein said.

                            "I've been studying sex differences in viral infections for 22 years, and I don't think anybody who studies autoantibodies thought this would be a risk factor for Covid-19," Klein said.

                            The study might help explain why men are more likely than women to become critically ill with Covid-19 and die, Klein said.

                            "You see significantly more men dying in their 30s, not just in their 80s," she said.

                            Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, noted that several genes involved in the immune system's response to viruses are on the X chromosome.: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...s-die-n1247576
                            • Coronavirus Cases: 52,181,491

                            Deaths: 1,285,465

                            Underreported US death count: 246,326

                            American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                            Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                            it's been blown way out of proportion.
                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                            Comment


                              • 'Breakthrough finding' reveals why certain Covid-19 patients die

                              Dr. Megan Ranney has learned a lot about Covid-19 since she began treating patients with the disease in the emergency department in February.

                              But there's one question she still can't answer: What makes some patients so much sicker than others?

                              Advancing age and underlying medical problems explain only part of the phenomenon, said Ranney, who has seen patients of similar age, background and health status follow wildly different trajectories.

                              "Why does one 40-year-old get really sick and another one not even need to be admitted?" asked Ranney, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Brown University.

                              In some cases, provocative new research shows, some people — men in particular — succumb because their immune systems are hit by friendly fire. Researchers hope the finding will help them develop targeted therapies for those patients.

                              In an international study in Science, 10 percent of nearly 1,000 Covid-19 patients who developed life-threatening pneumonia had antibodies that disable key immune system proteins called interferons. These antibodies — known as autoantibodies, because they attack the body itself — weren't found at all in 663 people with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infections. Only four of 1,227 healthy patients had the autoantibodies. The study was led by the Covid Human Genetic Effort, which includes 200 research centers in 40 countries.

                              "This is one of the most important things we've learned about the immune system since the start of the pandemic," said Dr. Eric Topol, executive vice president for research at Scripps Research in San Diego, who wasn't involved in the new study. "This is a breakthrough finding."

                              In a second Science study by the same team, the authors found that an additional 3.5 percent of critically ill patients had mutations in genes that control the interferons involved in fighting viruses. Given that the body has 500 to 600 of those genes, it's possible that researchers will find more mutations, said Qian Zhang, lead author of the second study.

                              Interferons serve as the body's first line of defense against infection, sounding the alarm and activating an army of virus-fighting genes, said virologist Angela Rasmussen, an associate research scientist at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

                              "Interferons are like a fire alarm and a sprinkler system all in one," said Rasmussen, who wasn't involved in the new studies.

                              Lab studies show that interferons are suppressed in some people with Covid-19, perhaps by the virus itself.

                              Interferons are particularly important for protecting the body against new viruses, such as the coronavirus, which the body has never encountered, said Zhang, a researcher at Rockefeller University's St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases.

                              When infected with the novel coronavirus, "your body should have alarms ringing everywhere," Zhang said. "If you don't get the alarm out, you could have viruses everywhere in large numbers."

                              Significantly, patients didn't make autoantibodies in response to the virus. Instead, they appeared to have had them before the pandemic even began, said Paul Bastard, the antibody study's lead author, who is also a researcher at Rockefeller University.

                              For reasons that researchers don't understand, the autoantibodies never caused a problem until patients were infected with Covid-19, Bastard said. Somehow, the coronavirus, or the immune response it triggered, appears to have set them in motion.

                              "Before Covid, their condition was silent," Bastard said. "Most of them hadn't gotten sick before."

                              Bastard said he now wonders whether autoantibodies against interferon also increase the risk from other viruses, such as influenza. Among patients in his study, "some of them had gotten flu in the past, and we're looking to see if the autoantibodies could have had an effect on flu."

                              Scientists have long known that viruses and the immune system compete in a sort of arms race, with viruses evolving ways to evade the immune system and even suppress its response, said Sabra Klein, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

                              Antibodies are usually the heroes of the immune system, defending the body against viruses and other threats. But sometimes, in a phenomenon known as autoimmune disease, the immune system appears confused and creates autoantibodies. This occurs in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, when antibodies attack the joints, and Type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

                              Although doctors don't know the exact causes of autoimmune disease, they've observed that the conditions often occur after viral infections. Autoimmune diseases are more common as people age.

                              In yet another unexpected finding, 94 percent of patients in the study with the autoantibodies were men. About 12.5 percent of men with life-threatening Covid-19 pneumonia had autoantibodies against interferon, compared with 2.6 percent of women.

                              That was unexpected, given that autoimmune disease is far more common in women, Klein said.

                              "I've been studying sex differences in viral infections for 22 years, and I don't think anybody who studies autoantibodies thought this would be a risk factor for Covid-19," Klein said.

                              The study might help explain why men are more likely than women to become critically ill with Covid-19 and die, Klein said.

                              "You see significantly more men dying in their 30s, not just in their 80s," she said.

                              Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, noted that several genes involved in the immune system's response to viruses are on the X chromosome.: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...s-die-n1247576
                              • Coronavirus Cases: 52,181,491

                              Deaths: 1,285,465

                              Underreported US death count: 246,326

                              American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                              Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                              it's been blown way out of proportion.
                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                              Comment


                              • Thailand to borrow $1.5 billion from ADB to cope with Covid-19 impact

                                The Finance Ministry signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday to secure a loan of US$1.5 billion to help combat the impact of Covid-19.

                                Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said after signing the deal with Hideaki Iwasaki, ADB country director for Thailand, that the loan was part of the country's Bt1-trillion emergency borrowing to combat the impact of the pandemic.

                                He said the ministry had used many tools in fiscal year 2020 to secure domestic loans for funding its three main projects, which are public health projects to solve the outbreak, compensation for those affected by the virus, and economic stimulus packages to revive the economy.

                                He added that many organisations were offering foreign loans to Thailand and the ministry was considering these proposals.

                                Public Debt Management Office director-general Patricia Mongkhonvanit said that the government has already borrowed Bt338 billion out of the proposed Bt1-trillion loan.: https://www.nationthailand.com/busin...ernal_referral

                                Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                                Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.


                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                                Comment

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