COVID-19 research

Coronavirus research

Coronavirus research

SARS-CoV-2

Vaccine

There is no available vaccine, but coronavirus research into developing a vaccine has been undertaken by various agencies. There are three vaccination strategies being investigated:

  • First, researchers aim to build a whole virus vaccine. The use of such a virus (inactive or dead) aims to elicit a prompt immune response of the human body to a new infection with COVID-19.
  • A second strategy, subunit vaccines, aims to create a vaccine that sensitises the immune system to certain subunits of the virus. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, such research focuses on the S-spike protein that helps the virus intrude the ACE2 enzyme receptor.
  • A third strategy is that of the nucleic acid vaccines (DNA or RNA vaccines, a novel technique for creating a vaccination).

COVID-19: Could gut bacteria be involved?

Gut bacteria

The authors of a recent paper ask what role gut bacteria might play in COVID-19. They outline strands of existing evidence and conclude that a link between the two is plausible, but that more research is necessary.

Scientists have implicated gut bacteria in a number of conditions. From type 2 diabetes to depression, researchers have observed relationships between a wide range of disease states and the organisms that live in our gastrointestinal tract.

WHO Walks Back Claim Asymptomatic Transmission is Rare

who

A backpedaling WHO clarified its Monday statement that asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission appears to be rare, NPR's Goats and Soda reports.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for health emergencies, said yesterday that she was responding to a journalist's question and "wasn't stating a policy of WHO or anything like that."

What she meant, she said, is that she hasn't seen evidence of widespread transmission from asymptomatic individuals. The existing data is spotty because "so-called silent spreaders" are tough to pinpoint.

WHO Says Asymptomatic Spread “Rare,” Sparking Debate

Maria Van Kerkhove

The WHO called into question the extent that asymptomatic people are spreading COVID-19, launching a global debate, The Hill reports.

"From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual," said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, citing unpublished data from detailed contact tracing reports at a briefing yesterday. She suggested that the focus should be on following symptomatic cases.

WHO Pauses Hydroxychloroquine Trial

pills of hydroxychloroquine

The WHO paused hydroxychloroquine’s inclusion yesterday in a global trial of COVID-19 treatments, following Friday’s release of a study linking the drug to harmful outcomes, Politico reports.

The observational study, published in the Lancet, tied the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine in COVID-19 patients with a higher risk of death and increased frequency of heart arrhythmias.

The CDC’s New Takes on COVID-19

Young adults Florida

35% of novel coronavirus infections are asymptomatic and 0.4% of people who show symptoms may die, according to the US CDC’s new "best estimates," CNN reports.

The estimates are part of 5 planning scenarios for infectious disease modelers in new CDC guidance.

The CDC also estimates that 40% of transmission occurs before people feel sick, per CNN.

The CDC has also recently revised its "How COVID-19 Spreads" website
to emphasize that SARS-CoV-2 "spreads between people" and not easily from a contaminated surface, The Washington Post reports.

Scientists identify promising drug candidates for COVID-19

COVID-19 tests

By mapping interactions between human proteins and the new coronavirus, researchers have pinpointed 29 potential treatments using drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a wide range of other conditions.

There is currently no vaccine or antiviral drug with proven efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, though several clinical trials are underway.

Lack of in-depth knowledge about how the newly emerged virus interacts with human cells has hampered the hunt for an effective treatment.

Scientists discover unique mutation of new coronavirus

SARS-CoV-2 mutation

Researchers have identified a mutation in the genetic code of SARS-CoV-2 that mirrors changes scientists saw in the 2003 SARS outbreak.

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the illness COVID-19. In the mutation, 81 letters in the virus’s genome had been deleted.

Viral mutations are a normal part of a virus’s evolution and can alter the severity of the disease they cause.

Latest evidence on obesity and COVID-19

obesity

A summary of the evidence so far suggests that obesity is associated with a higher risk of developing severe symptoms and complications of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), independent of other illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease.

Early data seems to suggest that people with obesity are more likely to become severely ill due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

An increasing number of reports have linked obesity to coronavirus mortality, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now list severe obesity as a risk factor for severe COVID-19. The CDC define severe obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above.

New drug candidate against the novel coronavirus

COVID-19 treatment

A team of scientists from China has found a new candidate drug against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which works by inhibiting a key part of the virus’s machinery.

Much of the world is on hold until scientists find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, which has, so far, claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

However, with current estimates suggesting that a vaccine is 12–18 months away, many people are placing increasing hope on an effective treatment for COVID-19.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - COVID-19 research