This week’s roundup of a few of the newest scientific research on the novel coronavirus and efforts to search out therapies for COVID-19 appears to be like into the vaccines at the moment on trial or in emergency use, hyperlinks intestinal well being to lingering signs and voices issues about well being staff’ psychological well being.
Intestine micro organism tied to COVID-19 severity, immune response
The microscopic organisms residing in our intestines may affect the severity of COVID-19 and the physique’s immune response to it, and will account for lingering signs, researchers reported within the journal Intestine. They discovered that the intestine microorganisms in COVID-19 sufferers had been very totally different from these in uninfected people.
“COVID sufferers lack sure good micro organism recognized to manage our immune system,” mentioned Dr. Siew Ng of The Chinese language College of Hong Kong. The presence of an irregular assortment of intestine micro organism, or “dysbiosis,” persists after the virus is gone and will play a task within the long-lasting signs that plague some sufferers, she mentioned. Her group has developed an oral method of reside micro organism generally known as probiotics and a particular capsule to guard the organisms till they attain the intestine.
“In contrast with sufferers on normal care, our pilot medical research confirmed that extra COVID sufferers who acquired our microbiome immunity method achieved full symptom decision,” Ng mentioned, including that those that obtained it had considerably lowered markers for irritation of their blood, elevated favorable micro organism of their stool and so they developed neutralizing antibodies to the virus.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine advancing by way of medical trials
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson produced protecting antibodies in opposition to the novel coronavirus in 90% of 805 volunteers by 29 days, and that elevated to 100% by day 57, in line with information from an ongoing mid-stage research. Unwanted effects akin to fever, muscle aches and injection website ache resolved shortly, researchers reported within the New England Journal of Drugs.
To be accepted by regulators, the J&J vaccine should present efficacy as mirrored by a decrease danger of infections and extreme illness in research members who obtain it in comparison with those that don’t. Efficacy information from a big late-stage trial on the vaccine is due by February. Consultants count on the vaccine to point out efficacy at or above 80%, which might exceed the 50% benchmark for regulatory approval however path the roughly 95% achieved in trials of already-authorized vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc. with BioNTech SE.
The J&J vaccine requires only a single dose, and it doesn’t have the chilly storage necessities of the opposite vaccines. The probability of fine outcomes “hopefully may be very excessive,” the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based firm’s chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels mentioned.
The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seems to guard in opposition to extremely transmissible new variants of the coronavirus found in Britain and South Africa, a laboratory research suggests.
In blood samples from vaccine recipients, scientists discovered the vaccine seems efficient in opposition to the so-called N501Y mutation of the spike protein on the virus, in line with a report posted on bioRxiv forward of peer evaluation.
Pfizer scientist Phil Dormitzer mentioned the vaccine has been examined in opposition to 16 mutations and none have actually had any important affect. “That is the excellent news,” he mentioned, earlier than including a word of warning. “That does not imply that the 17th will not.”
Ongoing testing can be wanted, specialists mentioned, to allay issues about whether or not the vaccines can be protecting because the virus mutates. The vaccine relies on artificial messenger RNA expertise (mRNA), as is the one from Moderna Inc.
“The proof shouldn’t be conclusive however there’s a lot to point that the prevailing mRNA vaccines do cowl the brand new variants,” mentioned Andreas Bergthaler of the Analysis Heart for Molecular Drugs of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. AstraZeneca Plc., Moderna and CureVac NV are additionally testing their pictures in opposition to the fast-spreading coronavirus variants.
Pandemic takes toll on ICU staff’ psychological well being
Practically half of employees working in intensive care items (ICU) in England have extreme nervousness, despair or post-traumatic stress dysfunction, with some feeling they might be higher off useless, researchers reported in Occupational Drugs. The research was carried out in June and July – earlier than Britain started experiencing its newest surge in hospitalizations.
Amongst greater than 700 well being care staff in 9 ICUs, 45% met the edge for possible medical significance for at the very least one among 4 critical psychological well being issues: extreme despair (6%), PTSD (40%), extreme nervousness (11%) or drawback consuming (7%). Multiple in eight reported frequent self-harming or suicidal ideas within the earlier two weeks.
Poor psychological well being amongst ICU employees caring for critically ailing and dying COVID-19 sufferers not solely harms their high quality of life but additionally seemingly impairs their skill to work successfully, the researchers mentioned. The findings present an pressing want for psychological well being providers to be promptly accessible for all well being care staff.