Because the discovery of the virus that causes COVID-19, the every day information cycle has been flooded with updates about how the pathogen spreads, what the bug does to the physique and what options may lastly deliver an finish to the pandemic.
However staying up-to-date on all the most recent coronavirus information generally is a problem. To assist hold you knowledgeable, we at Stay Science have compiled a brief listing of standout information tales from the week — these are those that actually caught our consideration.
Pause in vaccine trial
AstraZeneca and Oxford College have paused their trial of a COVID-19 vaccine after a participant developed a suspected antagonistic response.
This sort of maintain is a “routine motion” taken throughout scientific trials; at any time when a trial participant develops an unexplained sickness, the corporate stops administering the vaccine whereas an unbiased committee determines whether or not the response is said to the vaccine. In giant scientific trials that embrace tens of 1000’s of individuals, individuals can fall ailing by likelihood, so every case of sickness have to be fastidiously reviewed to find out whether or not the vaccine triggered the response.
On this occasion, the participant developed neurological signs typically related to transverse myelitis, a situation the place the spinal twine turns into infected. The participant is now recovering within the hospital and ought to be discharged quickly, however her analysis nonetheless must be confirmed, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot informed traders throughout a personal name on Sep. 9, according to Stat News.
The AstraZeneca trials have been paused as soon as earlier than when a unique participant developed neurological signs. Nonetheless, that first affected person was later identified with multiple sclerosis and the committee decided that the sickness was not associated to the vaccination.
The virus and coronary heart cells
When the coronavirus infects coronary heart cells in a lab dish, the pathogen snips heart muscle fibers into tiny fragments, in response to a brand new research. Nonetheless, scientists do not but know if the virus launches the identical assault towards the guts contained in the human physique.
Coronary heart muscle cells, often known as cardiomyocytes, are made up of small items referred to as sarcomeres that line up end-to-end to kind lengthy, skinny muscle fibers. However when uncovered to SARS-CoV-2 in a lab dish, sarcomeres get sliced and diced into tiny bits. If this occurred to an individual’s heart, it would not have the ability to beat usually.
To see if the virus may behave equally within the physique, the research authors checked out autopsied coronary heart tissue from three COVID-19 sufferers. They discovered that the sarcomere filaments from the sufferers have been additionally disordered and rearranged, however not in precisely the identical manner as cells within the lab dish.
In each the lab dish experiments and autopsied tissue, some coronary heart muscle cells seemed to be lacking their DNA, which might successfully depart these cells “mind useless” and unable to operate, the authors stated. The scientists at the moment are finding out how the virus really causes these adjustments in cells, whether or not they occur within the human physique, and whether or not the harm might be prevented or reversed with medicines.
Can the virus infect the mind?
Some individuals who catch COVID-19 develop disorientating neurological signs, like confusion, mind fog and delirium — now, a brand new research offers the primary strong proof that the virus might directly infect brain cells.
The research authors examined brain tissue from a affected person who died of COVID-19, in addition to two mouse fashions of the illness and clusters of mind cells in a lab dish, often known as organoids. They discovered that the virus enters mind cells by way of the ACE2 receptor that sits on the cell floor. Lung tissue comprises copious numbers of ACE2 receptors, and subsequently many gateways for the virus to enter; the mind comprises far fewer, besides, the virus can nonetheless slip inside, the authors discovered.
As soon as inside, the coronavirus makes use of the inner equipment of mind cells to multiply, whereas additionally ravenous close by cells of oxygen, which helps the virus reproduce. The researchers nonetheless want to find out how typically the virus infects mind cells in sufferers with COVID-19, since some neurological signs might come up from elevated irritation within the physique and never straight from mind an infection. As well as, we nonetheless do not understand how the virus reaches the mind within the first place; the virus might cross by the barrier of tissue between the bloodstream and the mind, often known as the blood-brain barrier, or enter by the nerves of the nostril or eyes.
Initially printed on Stay Science.