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The following is a summary of some recent research on COVID-19. These include studies requiring further study to confirm findings that have not yet been peer-reviewed.
Reinfections, severe outcomes may be more common in AD.5.
A study from Portugal suggests that compared to the earlier Omicron BA.2 subvariant, the currently dominant Omicron BA.5 is associated with higher chances of causing a second SARS-COV-2 infection regardless of vaccination status.
From late April to early June, the researchers studied 15,396 adults infected with the BA.2 variant and 12,306 infected with BA.5. According to a report published Monday on medRxiv before peer review, the vaccines and boosters were equally effective against both sub-series. However, 10% of BA.5 cases were reinfections compared to 5.6% of BA.2 cases, suggesting a decrease in protection afforded by a previous infection against BA.5 compared to BA.2, the researchers said. Moreover, vaccines were less effective in reducing the risk of severe outcomes in AD.5 than in AD.2.
“Among those infected with BA.5, booster vaccination was associated with a 77% and 88% reduction in incidence in relation to the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, respectively, while a higher risk reduction was found for cases of BA.2, at 93% and 94%, respectively,” the researchers write. serious consequences after BA.5 infection,” they said, their results provide “evidence for adjusting public health measures during the BA.5 surge.”
Virus spike protein damages heart muscle cells
A spike protein on its surface, which the coronavirus uses to enter heart muscle cells, also triggers a devastating attack from the immune system, according to a new study.
The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein interacts with other proteins in cardiac myocytes to cause inflammation, the researchers said Wednesday in a presentation at the 2022 American Heart Association scientific sessions. Researchers have found that only the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein causes dysfunction, enlargement, and inflammation of the heart. In addition, they found that in infected heart muscle cells, only the SARS-CoV-2 spike interacts with so-called TLR4 (Toll-like receptor-4) proteins, which recognize invaders and trigger inflammatory responses. In a deceased patient with COVID-19 inflammation, researchers found the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and TLR4 protein in both heart muscle cells and other cell types. Both were absent from healthy human heart biopsies.
“This means that once the heart is infected with SARS-CoV-2, it will activate TLR4 signaling,” Zhiqiang Lin of the Masonic Medical Research Institute in Utica, New York, said in a statement. “We provided direct evidence that the spike protein is toxic to heart muscle cells and narrowed down the underlying mechanism as the spike protein directly inflames heart muscle cells,” he told Reuters. “More work is being done in my lab to see if and how the spike protein kills heart muscle cells.”
Omicron-Targeting Antibody Combination Moves Closer to Human Trials
new monoclonal antibody combination may prevent and treat Omicron infections in monkeys, the researchers reported Monday in Nature Microbiology.
The antibodies, called P2G3 and P5C3, recognize specific regions of the spike protein that the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to enter cells. “P5C3 alone can block all the SARS-CoV-2 variants that have dominated the pandemic, up to Omicron BA.2,” the doctor said. Didier Tronot of the Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne. “Then P2G3 comes to the rescue, as it can not only neutralize all previous SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, but it can also block BA.4 and BA.5,” he said. “P2G3 is even effective against some BA.2 or BA.4/BA.5 mutants that can elude bebtelovimab (Eli Lilly), the only antibody approved for clinical use that is still active against the currently dominant BA subvariants. 4/BA.5. .”
In laboratory experiments, mutations that could make SARS-CoV-2 variants resistant to P2G3 prevented P5C3 from escaping, Trono said, and escaped P5C3 mutants were still blocked by P2G3. “Essentially, two antibodies cover each other, one making up for the other’s deficiencies, and vice versa.”
Aerium Therapeutics plans to begin human testing of the combination next month, said Trono, one of the company’s founders. If larger trials eventually confirm its effectiveness, the P5C3/P2G3 combination will be given by injection every three to six months to people who are immunocompromised and do not have a strong reaction to COVID-19 vaccines, the company said.