Corona Letter: Antibody therapies not very effective against new strains

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  • India on Thursday reported 21,566 Covid cases and 45 fatalities. The cumulative caseload is 4,38,25,185 (1,48,881 active cases) and 5,25,870 fatalities
  • Worldwide: Over 566 million cases and over 6.38 million fatalities.
  • Vaccination in India: Over 2 billion doses. Worldwide: Over 11.84 billion doses.
Skin swabs promise a non-invasive future for Covid testing
Skin swabs promise a non-invasive future for Covid testing
  • Tired of the invasive swab test for Covid-19, especially the meltdown it inspires in kids? Researchers from the University of Surrey bring some promising news – skin swabs can be “surprisingly accurate” at identifying the presence of SARS-CoV-2.
  • The study: The team used non-invasive swabs to collect sebum – an oily waxy substance produced by the body’s sebaceous glands – from 83 hospitalised patients. Forty of the participants were diagnosed with Covid-19. They also collected blood and saliva samples from the participants.
  • Covid-19 has been found to significantly change the makeup of lipids (fats and oils) of biofluids such as blood or sebum. But this is the first time that researchers looked at correlations between serum metabolites, salivary metabolites and sebum lipids.
  • The findings: By measuring changes in lipids and other metabolites of the samples, the team observed that blood samples scored 0.97, with a score of 1.0 being the most accurate and sensitive. In comparison, skin swab tests scored 0.88 and saliva tests scored 0.80.
  • “Our research suggests that skin sebum responds to changes to the immune system in Covid-19 patients. In fact, we believe that illness can alter the body’s natural balance across the whole range of biological systems, including skin, digestive health and others. This can help us identify and understand illness better by providing a whole-body atlas of a disease,” says Matt Spick, a co-author of the study published in Scientific Reports.
  • The caveat: “For diagnostic purposes, however, where sensitivity and specificity are paramount, this work provides further evidence that blood-based metabolomics will remain the best-in-class approach,” adds the study. But skin swabs are not too far behind, offering a route to a non-invasive future for Covid-19 testing.
Fatigue in long Covid patients is related to anxiety, apathy
Fatigue in long Covid patients is related to anxiety, apathy
  • Fatigue in its many forms of physical, mental, and psychosocial exhaustion is a common symptom of the much-dreaded long Covid.
  • Scientific literature estimates that up to 49% of patients present fatigue four weeks after the onset of symptoms, and it may even persist for a year in at least a third of patients.
  • A team of researchers from the Spain-based Universitat Oberta de Catalunya have now proved that fatigue in long Covid patients is related to anxiety, depression and apathy.
  • The team studied a sample of 136 Covid patients – 43.4% of whom needed hospitalisation – who were suffering from cognitive deficits eight months after contracting the virus. They found that 82.3% of the participants showed clinically significant levels of fatigue.
  • The study published in the Journal of Neurology claims that there were “significant changes” between retrospective “before Covid” scores of the patients on the parameters analysed and their scores at the time of assessment.
  • While 23.5% of the respondents showed clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms, 35.3% showed significant levels of anxiety.
  • “We found that the prevalence of apathy associated with Covid-19 increased from 17% before infection to 62% after infection,” says Marco Calabria, the lead author.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Sushmita Choudhury, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta
Research: Rajesh Sharma

Read More | Source: THE TIMES OF INDIA

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