Contagiousness may linger beyond five days; COVID-19 worse for vapers

Jan 14 (Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that deserves further study to corroborate the findings and that has not yet been certified by peer review.

Many people could still be contagious after a 5-day quarantine

After a five-day quarantine, about a third of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, could still be contagious, according to new data. PCR tests detect virus particles but cannot tell whether they are infectious remnants or simply inactive. For a study using samples obtained from March to November 2020, the researchers used a new test. In sequential samples from 176 people with positive PCR tests, they looked for the genetic material the virus produces when it actively copies itself and is still transmissible. “After five days, 30% of people still had clinically relevant levels of potentially active virus,” said study leader Lorna Harries, from the University of Exeter Medical School in England. After a 10-day quarantine, one in 10 people could still be contagious, his team reported Thursday in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Some people maintained these levels for up to 68 days, the researchers said. “There was nothing clinically noteworthy about these people, which means we wouldn’t be able to predict who they are,” Harries said in a press release. The study was conducted before the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants began circulating last year. The researchers plan to conduct larger trials to confirm their findings. In the meantime, they suggest that in settings “where onward transmission would be particularly problematic, it may be prudent to obtain molecular evidence of remission to prevent continued transmission.”

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Vapers are at greater risk of COVID-19 symptoms

E-cigarette users infected with the coronavirus may be more likely than infected non-vapers to experience symptoms of COVID-19, according to a study published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health. The researchers compared 289 vapers with 1,445 people of similar age and gender who neither vaped nor smoked tobacco, all of whom had tested positive for the coronavirus in PCR tests. Compared to infected non-vapers and after controlling for participants’ other risk factors, infected vapers had higher rates of chest pain or tightness (16% vs. 10%), chills (25% against 19%), body aches (39% against 32%). %), headache (49% vs 41%), smell and taste problems (37% vs 30%), nausea/vomiting/abdominal pain (16% vs 10%), diarrhea (16% vs 10% ) and slight giddiness (16% against 9%). “Our research was not designed to test whether e-cigarette use increases the risk of contracting COVID infection, but it clearly indicates that the burden of symptoms in patients with COVID-19 who vape is greater than in those who do not vape,” study co-author Dr. Robert Vassallo of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said in a press release. Inflammation caused by the coronavirus and inflammation induced by vaping may combine to worsen the likelihood of inflammation throughout the body, with a resulting increase in symptoms, Vassallo and colleagues have suggested.

An experimental drug targets COVID-19 from two angles

An experimental drug originally developed to treat influenza shows promise against SARS-CoV-2 and could defend against COVID-19 in two different directions, researchers have said. The drug, called zapnometinib or ATR-002, could potentially curb virus proliferation in cells and also reduce the exaggerated immune response that contributes to severe illness in severe cases of COVID-19, test-tube experiments have indicated. The data, published Thursday in the journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, provided the basis on which the German Institute for Drugs and Medicinal Products gave manufacturer Atriva Therapeutics approval for the drug to be tested in humans. This is the first time that a drug has been shown to have a dual action against COVID-19, study co-author Stephan Ludwig from the University of Münster said in a press release. “Positive results from the still ongoing clinical study in humans could already lead to an emergency approval this year,” Ludwig said.

Click for a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.

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Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Will Dunham

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