Dogs Sniff Out Virus In Small Study
Scientists train dogs to sniff out the coronavirus. (But to what end?) Other news stories summarizes new research on COVID-19 and its prevention as well as reports on Alzheimer's and gene therapy research.
Pilot Study Evaluates Use Of Dogs For SARS-CoV-2 Detection
A small pilot study suggests trained scent-detection dogs have the potential to be used for mass detection of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, German researchers reported yesterday in BMC Infectious Diseases. In the study, eight dogs were trained for 1 week to detect SARS-CoV-2 from saliva or tracheobronchial secretions of patients infected with the virus. During the training, dogs were presented with positive and negative samples (confirmed by RT-PCR tests) using a device with seven scent holes with tubes leading to metal containers that held the samples. Only one hole had a container with a positive sample, and the other six had containers with control samples. After a week, the researchers conducted a double-blind, randomized controlled trial. (7/24)
The New York Times:
Your Coronavirus Antibodies Are Disappearing. Should You Care?
Your blood carries the memory of every pathogen you’ve ever encountered. If you’ve been infected with the coronavirus, your body most likely remembers that, too. Antibodies are the legacy of that encounter. Why, then, have so many people stricken by the virus discovered that they don’t seem to have antibodies? Blame the tests. (Mandavilli, 7/26)
CDC: Even Mild Coronavirus Symptoms Can Persist For Weeks
COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness even in people with mild symptoms, including young adults, according to a new analysis released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It has been known that people severely ill after contracting COVID-19 can stay sick for several weeks. But less has been known about the effects of the disease on people with milder symptoms who don’t require hospitalization. (Hellmann, 7/24)
Study Finds No Transmission Of COVID-19 From Moms To Newborns
A study yesterday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health found no evidence of COVID-19 transmission between 120 babies born to mothers with COVID-19, even after 2 weeks of breastfeeding with appropriate hygiene precautions. The findings led the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to change its guidance on infants and COVID-19–positive mothers. The guidelines now recommend that newborns "room-in" with infected others after delivery if proper hygiene precautions are taken, including wearing a mask when appropriate and practicing hand hygiene. (7/24)
Could A Century-Old Technology Zap Coronavirus In Schools And Offices?
One approach to battling such airborne-spread of coronavirus that’s capturing attention is a century-old technology, known as germicidal ultraviolet air disinfection, or GUV, that zaps harmful airborne germs. In modern use, the lights are tucked inside air conditioning systems or mounted high above people’s heads near ceiling fans that draw the air up so the lights can disarm the germs. (Lazar, 7/26)
In other news —
Flu And Pneumonia Vaccines May Reduce Risk For Alzheimer's, Studies Find
It turns out that flu and pneumonia shots may be good for more than what their names suggest. Not only does getting a shot reduce your chances of coming down with a nasty infection, but getting vaccinated may also reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in the future, according to two separate abstracts presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Monday. (Kane and LaMotte, 7/27)
Could A Flu Shot Reduce Your Alzheimer's Risk?
For years, public health officials have been trying to dispel the myth that people who get a flu shot are more likely to get Alzheimer's disease. They are not. And now there is evidence that vaccines that protect against the flu and pneumonia may actually protect people from Alzheimer's, too. The evidence comes from two studies presented Monday at this year's Alzheimer's Association International Conference, which is being held as a virtual event. (Hamilton, 7/27)
Gene Therapy Sees Encouraging Success In Child With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
This is the story of a fatal genetic disease, a tenacious scientist and a family that never lost hope. Conner Curran was 4 years old when he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disease that causes muscles to waste away. Conner's mother, Jessica Curran, remembers some advice she got from the doctor who made that 2015 diagnosis: "Take your son home, love him, take him on trips while he's walking, give him a good life and enjoy him because there are really not many options right now." (Hamilton, 7/27)
Covid-19 Surge Helps AI Researchers Amass Lung Scans
At first, the images of lungs infected by the novel coronavirus were hard to come by. It was early in the pandemic, and Joseph Paul Cohen, a researcher at the University of Montreal, was trying to stockpile radiology scans to train an artificial intelligence model to recognize warning signs of severe illness. With so few images available, the work was next to impossible. But in recent weeks, the resurgence of Covid-19 in the U.S. and other hotspots has solved that problem, allowing him to amass hundreds of lung scans from clinical reports published around the world. (Ross, 7/27)