New Delhi: The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc and has claimed over 4,39,561 lives globally. Scientists continue to make new discoveries about the virus and how the pandemic is affecting our lives.
Here are some of the latest research findings around Covid-19
Plasma therapy may work only when obtained from recently recovered Covid patient
Antibody-laden plasma from recovered patients to treat severely-ill Covid-19 patients may only work if the donor has recently recovered from the infection, a study suggests.
The study, published in the journal Viruses, tested a number of potential Covid-19 treatments in a cell culture used to grow SARS-CoV-2.
Blood plasma from recovered patients were added to the cell cultures to test how effectively the antibodies in the plasma neutralised the virus.
The team found that the more recent the recovery from Covid-19, the more effective the blood serum was.
The samples that were collected two months after a patient was diagnosed, did not have enough antibodies to combat the virus in the cell culture.
Researchers suggest that clinicians need to collect plasma for treatment purposes as soon as patients recover from Covid-19, as the antibodies decline with time.
Transmission of Covid-19 to babies during pregnancy is uncommon
It is uncommon for a baby to get infected with Covid-19 from the mother during pregnancy, and even after the infant is born vaginally, breastfed or allowed contact with the mother, scientists say.
In a study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, researchers also found that the babies who did test positive for Covid-19 were mostly asymptomatic.
Earlier reports had suggested that to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus during pregnancy from mother to baby, caesarean births were safer. Healthcare workers were recommended to isolate the baby from the mother at birth and to formula feed.
However, there was no scientific data to back these guidelines. Researchers from the University of Nottingham undertook a systematic review of 49 studies that included 666 newborn babies and 655 women. Of the babies born vaginally, eight out of 292 (2.7 per cent) tested positive for Covid-19.
On the other hand, out of the caesarean babies, 20 (5.3 per cent) tested positive for Covid-19.
One in 5 people worldwide have health condition that increase risk of severe Covid-19
As much as 22 percent of the world population — about 1.7 billion people — have at least one underlying health condition that could increase the risk of severe Covid-19 infection, according to a study published in The Lancet Global Health journal.
However, not all individuals with these conditions would go on to develop severe symptoms if infected, according to the study that used data from 188 countries.
Researchers estimate that 4 per cent of the world’s population, about 349 million people, would require hospitalisation if infected, suggesting that the increased risk of severe Covid-19 could be modest for many with underlying conditions.
Countries with younger populations have fewer people with at least one underlying health condition, while those with older populations have more people with at least one condition, the report said.
Excess police force during Covid-19 pandemic affects long term relationship with public
The use of extra powers by the police during Covid-19 will have a long-lasting effect on their relationship with the public, a new study warns.
The study warns against police forces adopting an authoritarian or militarised approach during the lockdown imposed in several countries to arrest the spread of Covid-19.
Drawing on data from around the world, researchers state that over-policing of marginalised neighbourhoods and communities is particularly worrisome during the pandemic.
The relationship between the police and public is particularly important at a time when the police have to enforce new public health laws and ensure public safety while depending on the public’s willingness to comply with social distancing or lockdowns, the researchers state.
Scientists identify potent antibodies against SARS-CoV-2
Scientists have discovered antibodies in the blood of recovered Covid-19 patients that they claim can provide powerful protection against SARS-CoV-2, after being tested on animals and human cell cultures.
The research, published in the journal Science Tuesday, paves the way for clinical trials and additional tests of the antibodies.
The team isolated over 1,000 antibody-producing immune cells, called B cells, that produced a different anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody. They obtained gene sequences from these B cells to replicate the process of producing the antibodies in the laboratory.
The team then screened these antibodies individually, and identified several that could block the virus in test cells even in small quantities.
Injections of such antibodies could be given to patients in the early stages of Covid-19 to protect against a severe form of the disease. They may also provide temporary, vaccine-like protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection for healthcare workers and elderly people.