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The contagiousness can persist for more than five days; COVID-19 worse for vapers

The contagiousness can persist for more than five days;  COVID-19 worse for vapers

Jan 14 (Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies of COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to confirm the findings and has yet to be certified by peer review.

Many people can still be contagious after 5 days of quarantine

After a five-day quarantine, about a third of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, are still contagious, according to new data. PCR tests detect virus particles but cannot tell if they are infectious or just inactive remnants. For a study involving samples obtained from March to November 2020, researchers used a new test. In consecutive samples from 176 people with positive PCR tests, they looked for genetic material that the virus produces when it is actively making copies of itself and is still transmissible. “After five days, 30 percent of people still showed clinically relevant levels of potentially active virus,” said study leader Lorna Harries of the University of Exeter Medical School in England. After a 10-day quarantine, one in 10 people may still be contagious, her 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 remarkable 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 came into circulation last year. The researchers plan to conduct larger trials to confirm their findings. In the meantime, they suggest that in facilities “where further transmission would be particularly problematic, it may be prudent to obtain molecular evidence of remission to prevent continued transmission.”

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Vapers risk more symptoms of COVID-19

E-cigarette users infected with the coronavirus are more likely than infected non-vapers to experience symptoms of COVID-19, according to research published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health. The researchers compared 289 vapers with 1,445 people of the same age and sex who did not vaporize or smoke tobacco, all of whom tested positive for the coronavirus on PCR tests. Compared to infected non-vapers and after taking into account the participants’ other risk factors, infected vapers experienced more chest pain or tightness (16% vs 10%), chills (25% vs 19%), body pain (39% vs 32%), headache (49% vs 41%), smell and taste problems (37% vs 30%), nausea/vomiting/abdominal pain (16% vs 10%), diarrhea (16% vs 10% ) and light-headedness (16% versus 9%). “Our study was not intended to test whether e-cigarette use increases the risk of getting COVID infection, but it clearly indicates that the symptom burden in patients with COVID-19 who vape is greater than in those who don’t vape,” study co-author Dr. Robert Vassallo of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in a press release. The inflammation caused by the coronavirus and the inflammation caused by vaping may combine to increase the likelihood of inflammation throughout the body, resulting in an increase in symptoms, Vassallo and his colleagues suggested.

Experimental drug targets COVID-19 from two angles

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

Click for a Reuters image about vaccines in development.

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Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Will Dunham

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.