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How COVID-19 likely infects gastrointestinal tissue contributing to long-term infection of the gastrointestinal tract in long COVID

This study found that fecal viral RNA shedding is correlated with gastrointestinal symptoms in COVID-19 patients who had cleared their respiratory infection. The authors observed that fecal shedding can continue to 7 months post-diagnosis. Read more about this study under Article 3.

Article 1: Omicron infection enhances Delta antibody immunity in vaccinated persons

This study shows that participants vaccinated with BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) or Ad26.CoV2.S (Johnson&Johnson) who had an Omicron breakthrough infection should be protected against Delta and other variants.

Unvaccinated Omicron (BA.1) infected individuals had lower BA.1 neutralization, lower Delta neutralization, lower Beta variant neutralization, lower ancestral virus neutralization, and lower Omicron sub-lineage BA.2 neutralization as compared to vaccinated individuals. These results indicate that vaccination combined with BA.1 infection should be protective against Delta and other variants. In contrast, infection with BA.1 alone offers limited cross-protection.

In summary: Vaccination combined with Omicron infection protects against Delta and other variants. Read the full article here.

Article 2: The costs and benefits of primary prevention of zoonotic pandemics

The lives lost and economic costs of viral zoonotic pandemics have steadily increased over the past century. Humans have extensive contact with wildlife known to harbor vast numbers of viruses, many of which have not yet spilled into humans. “Spillover” describes the event when a virus is transmitted from one species to another.

The study found three primary pandemic prevention actions: better surveillance of pathogen spillover and development of global databases of virus genomics and serology, better management of wildlife trade, and substantial reduction of deforestation.

In summary: Three practical actions can minimize the impact of future pandemics. Read the full article here.

Article 3: Gastrointestinal symptoms and fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 RNA suggest prolonged gastrointestinal infection

The study suggests that a COVID-19 infection in the gastrointestinal tract might play a role in long-term infection of the gastrointestinal tract in syndromes such as “long COVID“. Gastrointestinal symptoms and SARS-CoV-2 RNA shedding in feces point to the gastrointestinal tract as a possible site of infection in COVID-19. Viral shedding describes the release of the virus into the environment e.g., through sneezing, coughing, or even feces.

This study found that fecal viral RNA shedding is correlated with gastrointestinal symptoms in COVID-19 patients who had cleared their respiratory infection. The authors observed that fecal shedding can continue to 7 months post-diagnosis.

In summary: SARS-CoV-2 likely infects gastrointestinal tissue contributing to long-term infection of the gastrointestinal tract in e.g., long COVID. Read the full article here.

Article 4: An Artificial Intelligence-guided signature reveals the shared host immune response in MIS-C and Kawasaki disease

The inflammatory disorders; COVID-19, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), and Kawasaki disease (KD) share similar underlying molecular patterns. MIS-C and KD have many common symptoms, including fever, rash, and bloodshot eyes, though KD can also lead to coronary artery aneurysms and heart attack. Unlike MIS-C, which is associated with a specific virus, KD may be triggered by various infectious and environmental stimuli.

The study reveals that MIS-C and KD share the same immune response as COVID-19, with MIS-C being a more severe version of the response than KD. Despite these underlying similarities, the conditions diverge in several clinical (reduced cardiac function) and laboratory (thrombocytopenia and eosinopenia) parameters. These findings could improve disease diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment in pediatric patients.

In summary: COVID-19, MIS-C, and Kawasaki disease share the same immune response. Read the full article here.

References 

[1] Khan K et al. Omicron infection of vaccinated individuals enhances neutralizing immunity against the Delta variant. Preprint. medRxiv. 2022;2021.12.27.21268439. Published 2022 Jan 28. doi:10.1101/2021.12.27.21268439 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04830-x

[2] Bernstein AS et al. The costs and benefits of primary prevention of zoonotic pandemics. Sci Adv. 2022;8(5):eabl4183. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abl4183 https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abl4183

[3] Natarajan A et al. Gastrointestinal symptoms and fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 RNA suggest prolonged gastrointestinal infection. Med (N Y). 2022 Apr 13. doi: 10.1016/j.medj.2022.04.001. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35434682; PMCID: PMC9005383. https://www.cell.com/med/fulltext/S2666-6340(22)00167-2

[4] Ghosh P et al. An Artificial Intelligence-guided signature reveals the shared host immune response in MIS-C and Kawasaki disease. Nat Commun. 2022 May 16;13(1):2687. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-30357-w. PMID: 35577777; PMCID: PMC9110726. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-30357-w

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