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Coronavirus

Keep up-to-date with the latest research news, political developments, and background information on COVID-19.

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Protection from bacteria, fungi, viruses

Antimicrobial technologies – how do they work?

Antimicrobial technologies such as coatings and textiles containing silver and copper are helping people during the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring that whatever they touch, whether that is a door…

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Role of end-of-life support

Covid-19: a 'stress-test' for palliative care

A new report shows how palliative and end of life care in the UK was compromised by shortages of PPE, essential medicines, and equipment, because these services were not seen as ‘frontline NHS’…

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SARS-CoV-2 detection and sequencing

'Nirvana': Fast, portable test diagnoses Covid-19, tracks variants

Clinicians using a new viral screening test can not only diagnose Covid-19 in a matter of minutes with a portable, pocket-sized machine, but can also simultaneously test for other viruses—like…

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Study hints at increased risk

Many Covid-19 patients return to hospital within 140 days

People discharged from hospital after Covid-19 appear to have increased risks of diseases across multiple organs and nearly a third are readmitted to hospital in the following months, according to a…

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Proof of concept

Surveillance system tracks Covid infection hotspots in hospital

A University of Manchester team has applied new techniques to detect and track the transmission of Covid-19 in hospital. The proof of concept system combines the movement and interaction of staff and…

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Mass spectrometry analysis

Skin swabs can detect Covid-19

Skin swab samples analysed using mass spectrometry could be used to detect Covid-19 in patients, according to research conducted at the University of Surrey in the UK. Current Covid-19 testing is via…

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Post-hospitalisation

New study reveals impact of 'Long Covid'

Recovery duration, co-morbidities, mortality, risk groups: A large study across multiple UK centres reports in detail on prospectively assessed outcomes of Covid-19, the so called 'Long Covid'. We spoke with two of the study's co-investigators about why so many patients are still affected after a coronavirus infection. Led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical…

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Immune response in pregnant and lactating women

Mothers pass on Covid-19 protection to their babies after vaccination

In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have found the new mRNA Covid-19 vaccines to be highly effective in producing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in pregnant and lactating women. They also demonstrated the vaccines confer protective immunity to newborns…

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Mass spectrometry

"Protein fingerprint" rapidly identifies Covid-19 biomarkers

Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Francis Crick Institute have developed a mass spectrometry-based technique capable of measuring samples containing thousands of proteins within just a few minutes. It is faster and cheaper than a conventional blood count. To demonstrate the technique’s potential, the researchers used blood plasma collected from Covid-19 patients.…

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A change of heart

New study sees huge turnaround in Covid-19 vaccine sceptics

More than four in five (86%) people who were unsure or said no to a Covid-19 vaccine in December 2020 would now take one, or have already been vaccinated, finds the latest research by the Virus Watch study conducted by University College London (UCL). The new findings, part of UCL Virus Watch’s longitudinal study of over 46,000 people in England and Wales, show the fall in vaccine hesitancy was…

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A much-needed update

New 'double antibody' delivers dual strike SARS-CoV-2 and its variants

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Switzerland developed a second-generation ‘double antibody’ that protects from SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, and all its tested variants. It also prevents the virus from mutating to resist the therapy. Antibody-based immunotherapy was already shown to be effective against Covid-19 but faces two main obstacles: it needs to work…

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SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies

Covid-19 immunity may last from days to decades

Scientists from Singapore found that antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 wane at different rates, lasting for mere days in some individuals, while remaining present in others for decades. The study, published in The Lancet Microbe, shows that the severity of the infection could be a deciding factor in having longer-lasting antibodies. Individuals with low levels of neutralising antibodies may still be…

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Prevalence of depression and anxiety

Covid-19 pandemic impacts mental health worldwide, study finds

A study conducted by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health researchers reports a high global prevalence of both depression and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic. It also shows how the implementation of mitigation strategies including public transportation and school closures, and stay-at-home orders impacted such disorders. Results are published in Psychological Medicine.

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Asymptomatic disease spread

Why vaccines alone may not be enough to end the Covid-19 pandemic

Even as vaccines are becoming more readily available, protecting against the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes Covid-19 is key to ending the pandemic, say two infectious disease experts at the Georgetown University Medical Center. In their Perspective, “SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Without Symptoms,” published in the journal Science, they make the case…

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AI, blockchain, hybrid cloud technology

Cooperation for smarter Covid-19 vaccine management

Moderna and IBM announced their intentions to explore technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchain and hybrid cloud, that could help support smarter Covid-19 vaccine management. Central to the effort will be a pilot of open, standardized, technology-enabled vaccine distribution approaches aimed to improve supply chain visibility and foster near real-time tracking of vaccine…

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Coronavirus demographics analysis

Does living with children increase Covid-19 risk? Probably not

A study published by The BMJ sheds light on the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and covid-19 outcomes among adults living with and without children during the first two waves of the UK pandemic. It finds no evidence of any increased risk in wave 1 (Feb to Aug 2020). Small increased risks of infection and hospital admission were seen in wave 2 (Sept to Dec 2020), but this did not translate into…

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Non-invasive corona breath testing

SpiroNose: The electronic nose that knows about Covid-19

Rapid tests, PCR tests, self-tests… there are many test options to determine contamination with Covid-19. In most this is done by inserting a cotton swab deep into the nose and/or throat to extract some mucus – unpleasant for adults and often a drama for children. Towards the end of 2020, a new system emerged to rule out a Covid-19 contamination. The electronic SpiroNose performs a…

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New study confirms

Covid-19 vaccines highly effective in nursing homes

In what is believed to be the first published study of Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, a research team co-led by the Yale School of Public Health found a widely used vaccine is highly successful in preventing infections. Residents of such facilities, particularly those in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), have experienced disproportionately high…

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Model analysis

Machine learning for Covid-19 diagnosis: promising, but still too flawed

Systematic review finds that machine learning models for detecting and diagnosing Covid-19 from medical images have major flaws and biases, making them unsuitable for use in patients. However, researchers have suggested ways to remedy the problem. Researchers have found that out of the more than 300 Covid-19 machine learning models described in scientific papers in 2020, none of them is suitable…

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