The following is a summary of some recent COVID-19 research. They include research that requires further research to confirm the findings, and that are yet to be certified by peer review.
Coronavirus alters pancreas cell function by changing the function of pancrastia's cells.
New data suggest that when the coronavirus infects cells, it does not only affect the immune system's activity, but it also may alter their function. When insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are infected with the virus, for example, they produce significantly less insulin than normal, but they also start to produce glucose and digestive enzymes, which isn't their job, researchers discovered. "We call this a change of cell fate," said study leader Dr. Shuibing Chen, who described the work in hexamed presentation at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, held almost this year. In a study published in Cell Metabolism, the researchers stated that the modifications are long-lasting or may be reversible. Chen noted that shortly after infection, some COVID-19 survivors have developed diabetes. "It's definitely worthwhile investigating the rate of new-onset diabetes patients in this COVID-19 epidemic," she said in a statement. Her team has been working on the coronavirus in clusters of cells developed to create mini-organs or organoids that resemble the lungs, liver, intestines, heart, and nervous system. Chen, from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told Reuters that loss of cell fate/function may be occurring in lung tissues as well.
Certain genes may assist the spouse of an infected patient.
A study of couples in which both partners were exposed to the coronavirus but only one person was infected helps to figure out why some individuals may be naturally resistant to it. Researchers believed that such circumstances were rare, but a call for volunteers who matched that profile sparked around ten people's interest. They ultimately obtained blood samples from 86 couples for detailed analysis. The findings suggest that resistant partners have genes that help the immune system produce more efficient activation of so-called natural killer (NK) cells, which are part of the system's initial response to germs. In a study published on Tuesday in Frontiers in Immunology, the researchers explained that when NKs are correctly activated, they are able to recognize and destroy infected cells, preventing the disease from developing. "Our conclusion is that the genomic variants most frequently found in the vulnerable spouse lead to the production of molecules that inhibit activation of NKs," Mayana Zatz of the University of So Paulo, Brazil, stated in a statement. According to she, the current study cannot guarantee that this is happening. Even if the findings are confirmed with more research, the contributions of other immune mechanisms would also need to be examined, according to the researchers.
Contrary to coronavirus variants, the experimental pill shows signs of improvement in the immune system.
Researchers said on Wednesday in a presentation at IDWeek 2021, the virtual annual meeting of infectious disease organizations, that Merck & Co's (MRK.N) experimental oral COVID-19 antiviral drug, molnupiravir, is likely to be effective in patients infected with any of the known variants of lonavirus, including the dominant, highly transmissible Delta. Molnupiravir does not target the virus's spike protein, which is the target of all current COVID-19 vaccinations. Instead, it targets an enzyme that the virus uses to produce copies of itself. It is meant to work by introducing errors in the virus's genetic code. According to Merck, the drug is most effective when given early in the course of infection because of data. The firm is undergoing two large late-stage trials of the drug, one for COVID-19 treatment and the other as a preventive.
A Reuters graphic on vaccines is in development, so click here.