Coronavirus

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Coronavirus medication research

Lab-grown beating heart cells could identify Covid drugs

Scientists have grown beating heart cells to attempt to identify drugs to prevent Covid-19-related heart damage. Concerns over the extent of cardiac damage among Covid patients emerged during the coronavirus pandemic and there are also suggestions that the impact on cardiomyocytes could contribute to the symptoms of long Covid. To explore these issues, a research team at the University of…

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Variants of concern

Are Covid-19 vaccines still effective against Delta variant? New study says yes

Obtaining two vaccine doses remains the most effective way to ensure protection against the Covid-19 Delta variant of concern dominant in the UK today, according to a study from the University of Oxford. Conducted in partnership with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), the study found that with Delta, Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca…

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Public health worldwide

Sharing Covid-19 vaccines between nations: a mathematical approach

New research from the University of Oxford and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology uses mathematical modelling to determine the most equitable way to share vaccines between nations. Vaccines provide a route to achieving high levels of immunity against SARS-CoV-2 across populations, and provide a route to reopening economies, tourism, and livelihoods. However, vaccine resources amongst…

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Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia

Rare blood clotting in brain after Covid-19 vaccination: study gives new insights

A new study of patients with cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following Covid-19 vaccination provides a clearer guide for clinicians trying to diagnose and treat patients. The research, led by University College London (UCL) and UCL Health and published in The Lancet, is the most detailed account of the characteristics of CVT, when it is caused by the novel condition vaccine-induced immune…

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Infection research

Understanding lung damage in Covid-19 patients

Covid-19 disease severity is determined by the individual patient’s immune response. The precise mechanisms taking place inside the lungs and blood during the early phase of the disease, however, remain unclear. Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Freie Universität Berlin have now studied the cellular mechanisms…

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Potential for pan-variant therapies

SARS-CoV-2 might have a 'sugar coated' weak spot

Researchers identify two sugar-binding proteins that impede the viral entry of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. The team, spearheaded by researchers at IMBA – Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences – may have found the “Achilles’ heel” of the virus, with potential for pan-variant therapeutic interventions. The findings are now published in the EMBO…

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AI in public health

Inspiring women to create technology that impacts society

Some people change the narrative about technology and society. One of them is Nuria Oliver, Chief Data Scientist at Data-Pop Alliance, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Vodafone Institute, and Co-founder and Vice-president of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS). In an interview with HiE, she explains how she develops computational tools and uses artificial…

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Genome editing

Using CRISPR to speed up Covid-19 testing

A research team led by scientists in the labs of Jennifer Doudna, David Savage and Patrick Hsu at the University of California, Berkeley, is aiming to develop a rapid Covid-19 diagnostic test that is much faster and easier to deploy than qRT-PCR. It has now combined two different types of CRISPR enzymes to create an assay that can detect small amounts of viral RNA in less than an hour. Doudna…

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Compulsory coronavirus prevention

Should Covid-19 vaccination be mandatory for health and care staff?

Italy, France, and Greece have made Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers, and England is making it compulsory for care home workers and consulting on whether to extend this to healthcare workers and other social care staff. Experts debate in The BMJ whether frontline health and social care workers should be compelled to take up the vaccine, if efforts to encourage them fail.…

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Coronavirus research

Contagious cash? The role of banknotes and coins in Covid-19 infections

How long do coronaviruses remain infectious on banknotes and coins? Is it possible to become infected through contact with cash? Experts at the European Central Bank, in collaboration with the Department of Medical and Molecular Virology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, wanted to clarify this question. The researchers led by Professor Eike Steinmann and Dr. Daniel Todt developed a method specifically…

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Coronavirus protein and antibody detection

Bioluminescence lights up traces of Covid-19 in the blood

Home test kits to check for Covid-19 spike proteins and anti-Covid-19 antibodies are fast and simple to use but lack the sensitivity and accuracy of laboratory tests. Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology with Utrecht University have developed a new type of sensor that combines the sensitivity and accuracy of current laboratory-based measurements with the speed and low-cost of…

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Immune response determined

How Covid-19 vaccines prepare our immune system for the virus

In view of the continuing high numbers of infections, vaccination offers important protection against severe Covid-19 disease. Scientists from the Faculty of Medicine – University of Freiburg have now been able to determine in detail at what time point initial immune protection is established after vaccination with an mRNA-based vaccine and how the reactions of the various components of the…

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Search for signatures

‘Long Covid’ biomarkers in blood could lead to diagnostic test

Markers in our blood – ‘fingerprints’ of infection – could help identify individuals who have been infected by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, several months after infection even if the individual had only mild symptoms or showed no symptoms at all, say Cambridge researchers. The team has received funding from the National Institute for Health Research to develop a test…

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Mechanical inactivation

'Nano traps' to lock up and neutralize viruses

To date, there are no effective antidotes against most virus infections. An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now developed a new approach: they engulf and neutralize viruses with nano-capsules tailored from genetic material using the DNA origami method. The strategy has already been tested against hepatitis and adeno-associated viruses in cell…

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Heard at SIIM 2021

AI in radiology: unexpected benefits, unintended consequences

Artificial intelligence (AI) could match the impact of PACS on radiology. Covid-19 stimulated the development and testing of AI diagnostic-aiding tools in radiology, an unintended consequence of the pandemic. More image data sets have been created to train AI software – an unexpected benefit for radiology research. The Samuel Dwyer Memorial Lecture at the virtual 2021 Society of Imaging…

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Early detection of coronavirus presence

Covid-19 wastewater testing: new quantification kit launched

Life science research and clinical diagnostics company Bio-Rad Laboratories announced the launch of its PREvalence ddPCR SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Quantification Kit, a tool to detect the virus that causes Covid-19 in a community’s wastewater. "With wastewater testing becoming more widely adopted, this assay provides the ability for a community to determine if the virus is present days to…

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Coronavirus and the sexes

Covid-19 clinical trials ignore gender differences

Although the coronavirus affects men and women differently, the vast majority of clinical trials do not mention sex/gender, a new analysis of 4,420 studies concludes. Ultimately, it can influence the treatment negatively. The meta analysis is published in Nature Communications. According to the new research, only 4 percent of 4,420 registered studies explicitly plan to address sex and gender in…

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