The following is a brief summary of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
The new corona virus adapts to different populations
Genetic analysis of samples from more than 7,500 people infected with COVID-19 suggests that as the new coronavirus rapidly spreads around the world, it adapts to its human hosts, researchers reported on Tuesday in the medical journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution. They found nearly 200 recurrent genetic mutations in the new coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 – that show how it can develop when it spreads in humans.
"All viruses mutate naturally," Francois Balloux of University College London, who co-led the research, told Reuters. "Mutations in themselves are not a bad thing and there is no indication that SARS-CoV-2 mutates faster or slower than expected. So far we cannot say whether SARS-CoV-2 will be more or less fatal and contagious."
The experimental vaccine protects macaques from SARS-CoV-2 infection
In macaque monkeys, an experimental vaccine against the novel coronavirus safely induced antibodies that blocked several different SARS-CoV-2 strains, Chinese researchers reported in Science magazine on Wednesday. The researchers say tests on their vaccine candidate "PiCoVacc" in humans are likely to start later this year.
The relationship between coronavirus and loss of smell and taste can be underestimated
According to researchers who reviewed 10 studies published earlier this year, the actual prevalence of smell and taste problems in patients infected with the novel coronavirus may be higher than doctors think. Of a total of more than 1,600 infected patients in North America, Asia and Europe, almost 53% had a reduced or lost sense of smell and almost 44% had taste problems.
The dysfunction was even higher in the subset of studies that used particularly reliable tests to assess the smell and taste of patients, suggesting that "the actual prevalence of dysfunction in COVID-19 patients may remain underestimated "the research team continued writing Tuesday in the journal Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. Increased awareness "can promote early diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 and increase alertness for the spread of viruses."
The researchers list ways to reduce front-line caregiver stress
There are many well-documented methods that hospitals can use to alleviate the emotional stress of caregivers at the forefront, researchers said, who have reviewed dozens of studies with healthcare workers who work during the outbreak of new viruses. By and large, interventions fall into the categories of clear communication, access to adequate personal protection, adequate rest, and practical and psychological support.
Her specific recommendations include changes in practice, such as: B. Screening stations to guide infected patients to specific areas, redesigning procedures that pose a high risk of spreading infections, and reducing patient density in the stations. They wrote in the BMJ on Tuesday that interventions that had proven helpful in previous studies were "similar despite the wide range of attitudes and types of outbreaks … and could therefore be applicable to the current COVID-19 outbreak" .
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