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HomeHealthWhy old age and comorbidities make people more vulnerable to Covid-19

Why old age and comorbidities make people more vulnerable to Covid-19

From a detailed illustration of the virus to a new nanotechnology that turns tap water into disinfectants, ThePrint brings you the latest research on Covid-19.

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New Delhi: As death toll from the SARS-CoV-2 continue to rise across the world, researchers’ race to find a treatment of cure continues too.

Here are some of the latest scientific developments around the novel coronavirus.

Virus-fighting RNA diminishes with age, comorbidities

A group of tiny RNA — that is supposed to attack the SARS-CoV-2 when it infects human bodies — diminishes with age and in people with chronic health problems, which may explain why older individuals and those with pre-existing health conditions are more vulnerable to Covid-19.

MicroRNAs play a big role in controlling gene expression, and are a frontline defence when viruses invade.

According to a study published in Aging and Disease, the microRNA numbers dwindle with age and under chronic medical conditions, which reduces a person’s ability to respond to viruses.

The team from Augusta University had looked at the RNA sequence of two coronaviruses — SARS, which surfaced in 2002, and SARS-CoV-2. They also looked at the sequence of microRNAs that appeared to be attacking these viruses, then used computer simulation to figure out the results.

They found 873 microRNAs that target the SARS-CoV-2 genome. These microRNAs were associated with more than 72 biological processes — from the production of molecules to immune response.

Many of these are known to become dysregulated and/or diminish in number with age and with underlying medical conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a likely factor in the increased disease presentation and death rates seen in these individuals, the researchers said.


Also read: Experimental heart cell therapy may help critically ill Covid patients recover: Researchers


Scientists create a detailed model of SARS-CoV-2

Visual Science, a biomedical visualisation studio, has created what they claimed to be the most detailed and scientifically accurate 3D model of the full SARS-CoV-2 virus in atomic resolution.

The model is based on the latest scientific research into the structure of coronaviruses and communication with virologists currently working with the virus, the team said.

The model reflects scientists’ current understanding of the virus’ architecture. It includes surface spike protein that binds to receptors on the surface of a human cell, the fatty envelope with an integrated layer of matrix proteins, and a genome assembly.

The team used published scientific information about the virus and available structures of proteins as a starting point. They reconstructed the complete model of the viral proteins and their interactions using computational biology software.

New nanotech turns tap water into disinfectants

Researchers from Bar-Ilan University in Israel have developed new methodologies to produce powerful, environmentally-friendly disinfectants that can be added to tap water to eliminate bacteria and kill viruses, including microbes from the coronavirus family.

The technology works through an array of nanometer-sized electrodes with unique surface properties. The meeting between water and electrodes create a cleaning material in a unique aquatic environment.

The combination of these compounds give rise to an effective antibacterial capability for microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and spores), while at the same time cannot damage larger organisms like skin cells.

The disinfectants also do not contaminate groundwater.

The technology can be used to prepare a variety of disinfectant solutions. The ability to produce electrodes in a variety of shapes and textures makes this technology suitable to almost any application — from disinfection and removal of pesticides from vegetables and fruits, to manufacturing antibacterial cloths for masks and gloves.

Covid-19 pandemic may lead to rise in psychosis 

Scientists in Australia, who have reviewed contemporary epidemic and pandemic research, found an increase in the prevalence of psychosis due to Covid-19.

The review, published in Schizophrenia Research, suggests that increase in prevalence of psychosis as a result of Covid-19 is likely be associated with viral exposure, pre-existing vulnerability and psychosocial stress.

The review also said people with psychosis may present a major challenge and potential infection control risk to clinical teams working with them.

The team had looked at published research on viruses such as MERS, SARS, swine and other influenza that have occurred in the past 20 years, to examine if there was any connection to how these viruses might impact people with psychosis.

The first episodes of psychosis are commonly triggered by substantial psychosocial stress, the researchers have said. In the context of Covid-19, this could include stress related to isolation and having to stay in challenging family situations.


Also read: Scientists identify new bat coronavirus that sheds light on how SARS-CoV-2 evolved


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. ROLE OF NOSE AND SMELL SENSE IN IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL COVID-19 INFECTION IN HUMAN BEINGS.
    The following expert-competent reports in the U.S. and The Netherlands are significant leading to corroboration of implications of this Vedic astrology writer’s a lot prior predictive alerts on record :-
    (1) Report published on 4 May , 2020 in a newspaper has highlighted significant finding of a team of scientists from University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands relating to the Coronavirus infection. It has been indicated by the team that two types of cells found in the nose are a mechanism that the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses as a means to enter the body and trigger an infection. Significantly , nasal swabs have yield higher viral loads than throat swabs. The lead researcher , Dr. Martijn Nawijn has reportedly stated :- “ This is the first time these particular cells in the nose have been associated with COVID-19………..Our findings are consistent with the rapid infection rates of the virus seen so far. The location of these cells on the surface of the inside of nose make them highly accessible to the virus , and also may assist with transmission to other people”. It has also been opined that such knowledge can provide the basis for developing potential treatments to reduce spread of the virus. The news report can be found at digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/science/essential-sience-coronavirus-is-the-nos-a-route-of-infection/article/571145.
    (2). That nose has precise role to play in providing some indication about potential of Covid-19 infection in the person , was earlier brought out by Roni Caryn Robin as early as on 22 March 2020 ( 26 March , 2020) through news report titled – “ Lost sense of smell may be peculiar clue to Coronavirus infection” – published at nytimes.com. It was mentioned in the report that doctor groups in the US were recommending testing and isolation for people who had lost their ability to smell and taste , even if they had no other symptoms.
    (3). There is a report from Ahmad Sedachat , Associate Professor in the University of Cincinnati , the U.S. , — “ Your nose may know more when it comes to COVID-19. University Cincinnati expert says loss of smell could be an early indication of infection”. The said report has been published at eurekalert.org on 14 April , 2020. It reads like this :- “ A University of Cincinnati ear , nose and throat specialist says your nose may hold a clue in identifying COVID-19. Physicians are increasingly recognizing the importance of the nasal cavity in determining the physiology of COVID-19. COVID-19 is associated with a fairly unique combination of nasal symptoms : a sudden loss of one’s sense of smell , also known as ‘ anosmia’ , without nasal obstruction”.
    (4). In this context , a lot prior to all these reports , this Vedic astrology writer’s 11 November , 2019 predictive alerts through article – “ Astrological probable alert for 2020” – published at wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/5176/ on 1 January 2020 can be read to imply the same conclusion. The text related to the theme aforesaid reads like this in the 11 November 2019 predictive article :-
    “ Predictive Conclusions
    4. The months of April to June , particularly May-June 2020 look to be trending into the scene some serious worrisome landscapes. There could be war or war-like conditions across the world , which the US may be called upon to address…………………………….More care and appropriate strategy may be taken during April to June , particularly May-June in 2020 , against loss of such stuff as are known for repugnant and repulsive smell through air passage”. It implies that smell ability to sense repugnancy and repulsive nature of stuff could be impaired , due to some deficiency ( loss ) caused by infection. In other words , during the effective period of April-June , 2020 , smell ability of the cells in the nose could be affected , which doctors have found as additional symptom for sending people for testing. An inference of nose or smell playing a vital role in worrisome concern calling for more care and appropriate strategy can be drawn from this writer’s following alert in other predictive articles as well:-
    “ Some substances or industries having repugnant or repulsive smell may call for more care and appropriate strategy during twenty days from 20 March to 10 April 2020”. This predictive alert was indicated by this writer through article – “ Vedic astrology highlights for Japan in coming year 2020” – brought to public domain widely on 23 October , 2019.
    A clear indication for more care and appropriate strategy in relation to respiratory system in the body was also recorded in article – “ Potential of stars for Italy in soon coming year 2020” – published last year 2019 on 15 December at http://www.astralis.it/Kumar02.htm. The alert reads like this :-
    “ 7…………………..This scenario can also mean worrisome ailments involving respiratory system in the body or venereal disease or increase in ailments relating to nerves”.
    In conclusion , this writer’s predictive alerts of last year 2019 can be said to be substantially on the same page with those of competent –expert scientists briefly brought out herebefore.

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