COVID SCIENCE-Sugar molecules may be a way to prevent …

By Nancy Lapid

August 20 (Reuters) – Here is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the results and that has not yet been certified by peer review.

The “gates” of the sugar molecule help the coronavirus to infect cells

Researchers have found a sweet residue on the tip of the novel coronavirus that helps it enter and infect cells, according to a study published Thursday in Nature Chemistry The molecules that make up the sugar coating, called glycans, act as “gates” that open to allow the receptor binding domain of the tip to attach to a cell. Without this gate, the receptor-binding domain cannot take the shape it needs to enter the cell, said Rommie Amaro of the University of California at San Diego, co-author of the study, in a report. Press release. If drugs could be developed to “lock” the glycan doors shut, the virus would be prevented from entering and infecting cells, the researchers said.

COVID-19 patients were younger in early 2021 compared to late 2020

The average hospitalized COVID-19 patient was younger last spring than last winter, researchers from a large Pennsylvania health care system have found. They analyzed data from nearly 39,000 COVID-19 patients, including 7,774 who were hospitalized. People who tested positive in March and April 2021, when the Alpha variant of the coronavirus was circulating, were younger and less likely to die than those diagnosed between November 2020 and January 2021. Among patients under the age of 50, those who were tested positive in the spring were three times more likely to be hospitalized and twice as likely to require intensive care admission or mechanical ventilation than those diagnosed in the winter before Alpha circulated widely, according to a report on medRxiv on Wednesday https : // before peer review. “The widespread availability of highly effective vaccines is promising,” they said, “but infections and deaths from the disease continue … These dynamics are of particular concern in light of the continued emergence of new variants of the disease. SARS-CoV-2. “

Childbirth problems in the United States are not worse during the pandemic

Problematic deliveries have not increased in the United States during the pandemic, researchers found in a study of nearly 838,500 women, including more than 225,000 who gave birth during the pandemic. There was no difference in the rates of preterm delivery, maternal blood pressure problems, stillbirths, low birth weight, placenta problems, cesarean deliveries, or uncontrolled bleeding afterwards. childbirth, by comparing the period from March to December 2020 to the pre-pandemic years. 2017 to 2019, the research team reported in Obstetrics & Gynecology About half of the women had been tested for the coronavirus during their pregnancy, and about 7% of them had tested positive. There was no difference in the outcome of childbirth between these groups. The authors were not able to distinguish between asymptomatic and symptomatic coronavirus infections, or the severity of the disease, which could have varying effects on pregnancy outcome, or whether an earlier infection or later in pregnancy made a difference. They only looked at the results of labor and delivery, not any issues that might have arisen earlier in the pregnancy.

Nursing Home Data Growing Indicates Vaccine Problems

Doctors who immunized 120 nursing home residents against COVID-19 with the Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA vaccine found protective antibodies in only 28% of residents six months later, compared to 84% of residents immediately after full vaccination . The research, posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review, adds to the evidence showing that vaccine protection wanes over time. Vaccinated healthcare workers had higher antibody levels than residents, not surprisingly as they were younger and healthier, but they too experienced “significant drops” in protection over time. time, the researchers reported. Given the “rapid decline in antibodies” and “the rapid spread of the Delta variant and vaccine breakthrough reports,” they concluded that booster doses are likely needed. On Wednesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would “start working to provide booster shots directly to residents of long-term care facilities,” starting in September.

Click for a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Tiffany Wu)

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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