Virusis

  • Photo of The best way to kill a superbug? Weaponise a virus

    The best way to kill a superbug? Weaponise a virus

    Trials of an exciting new way of treating dangerous drug-resistant infections will start to report results in 2021. These treatments involve patients being injected with billions of virus particles. What are bacteriophages? ‘Bacteriophages’ are simply viruses that infect and kill bacteria. Such viruses – also known as just ‘phages’ – are found everywhere there are bacteria and replicate by inserting…

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  • Photo of The U.K. approved the world’s first COVID-19 human challenge trial

    The U.K. approved the world’s first COVID-19 human challenge trial

    In a few weeks, dozens of young and healthy volunteers in the United Kingdom will be intentionally exposed to the coronavirus as part of the world’s first COVID-19 human challenge trial. The project, which received ethics approval February 17 from the U.K. government, will study how much virus is required to kick-start an infection. Eventually, researchers could then address other…

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  • Photo of The COVID-19 death toll sent U.S. life expectancy plunging in 2020

    The COVID-19 death toll sent U.S. life expectancy plunging in 2020

    Life expectancy in the United States plunged in the first half of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. A preliminary estimate of overall U.S. life expectancy from birth finds it dropped a full year compared with 2019, from 78.8 to 77.8 years, the National Center for Health Statistics reports online February 18. It’s the largest decline in life expectancy…

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  • Photo of Some Neandertal genes in people today may protect against severe COVID-19

    Some Neandertal genes in people today may protect against severe COVID-19

    Some genetic variants inherited from Neandertals may protect against developing severe COVID-19. A new study looked at a stretch of DNA on chromosome 12 where a haplotype — a cluster of genetic variants that are inherited together — that affects susceptibility to the coronavirus is located. For each copy of the Neandertal haplotype a person inherited, the risk of needing…

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  • Photo of In the social distancing era, boredom may pose a public health threat

    In the social distancing era, boredom may pose a public health threat

    In recent months, journalists and public health experts have bandied about the term “pandemic fatigue.” Though not clearly defined, the general gist is that people have grown tired of the pandemic and keeping apart for almost a year and running. That fatigue can manifest as feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, frustration, anger and boredom. Seeing boredom on that list worries those…

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  • Photo of Will social distancing measures cause coronavirus to evolve into a more deadly strain?

    Will social distancing measures cause coronavirus to evolve into a more deadly strain?

    Viruses, like COVID-19, evolve rapidly. Each time the virus replicates, mutations can occur in its genome. Most of these mutations have no effect, or are even damaging to the virus. However, occasionally a mutation will arise that is advantageous for the virus. These mutations may allow the virus to grow faster, spread better or evade our immune system. The longer…

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  • Researchers propose that humidity from masks may lessen severity of COVID-19

    Masks help protect the people wearing them from getting or spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but now researchers from the National Institutes of Health have added evidence for yet another potential benefit for wearers: The humidity created inside the mask may help combat respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. The study, led by researchers in the NIH’s National Institute…

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  • Photo of Pfizer’s vaccine appears to reduce coronavirus transmission

    Pfizer’s vaccine appears to reduce coronavirus transmission

    Researchers are getting the first real-world hints that a vaccine can curb the coronavirus’s spread, not just prevent people from getting seriously ill. People vaccinated with Pfizer’s shots and who still get infected with the coronavirus carry less virus in their bodies than unvaccinated people who are infected, researchers from Israel report in two separate preliminary studies posted February 8…

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  • NIH experts discuss SARS-CoV-2 viral variants

    The rise of several significant variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has attracted the attention of health and science experts worldwide. In an editorial published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, outline how these variants have arisen,…

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  • Identifying risk factors for elevated anxiety in young adults during COVID-19 pandemic

    A new study has identified early risk factors that predicted heightened anxiety in young adults during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The findings from the study, supported by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, could help predict who is at greatest risk of developing anxiety during stressful life…

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