Omicron is more effective at invading young noses than the other variants; loss of smell may predict memory problems

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that deserves further study to corroborate the findings and that has not yet been certified by peer review.

Children’s noses defend less well against Omicron

The Omicron variant may be more effective at infecting children through the nose than previous versions of the coronavirus, a small study suggests.

Earlier in the pandemic, children’s noses had been less hospitable to the virus that causes COVID-19 than adult noses. Studies of the original SARS-CoV-2 and some of its variants found that the virus encountered stronger immune responses in cells lining young noses than in adult nasal cells, and it was less efficient at reproducing in the children. nose. But recent test-tube experiments mixing the virus with nasal cells from 23 healthy children and 15 healthy adults found that the antiviral defenses in the children’s noses “were markedly less pronounced in the case of Omicron”, researchers reported Monday in PLOS Biology https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3001728. They also report that Omicron replicated more efficiently in children’s nasal cells compared to Delta and the original virus.

“These data are consistent with the increase in the number of pediatric infections observed during the Omicron wave,” the researchers wrote, while calling for additional studies.

Smell problems may predict memory problems after COVID-19

According to an Argentinian study, the severity of smell dysfunction after coronavirus infection may be a better predictor of long-term cognitive impairment than the overall severity of COVID-19.

The researchers studied a random sample of 766 people over the age of 60, around 90% of whom had been infected with the virus. Physical, cognitive and neuropsychiatric tests performed three to six months after infection showed some degree of memory impairment in two-thirds of infected participants. After accounting for individuals’ other risk factors, the severity of the loss of smell, known as anosmia, “but not the clinical condition, significant (predicted) cognitive impairment”, reported Sunday the researchers at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference https://aaic.alz.org/overview.asp, held online and in San Diego.

“The more we know about the causes or at least predict who will experience the significant long-term cognitive impact of COVID-19 infection, the better we can track it and begin to develop methods to prevent it,” said Gabriela Gonzalez, head of the study. Aleman from Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina in Buenos Aires said in a statement.

Vaccine mandates tied to better nursing home staffing

In US states that have mandated COVID-19 vaccines for nursing home staff, the rules have achieved the desired effect and have not led to mass quits or staffing shortages, a study has found.

In states without such mandates, however, nursing homes experienced staffing shortages during the study period, researchers reported Friday in the JAMA Health Forum https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama -health-forum/fullarticle/2794727. Data collected from mid-June to mid-November 2021 from the National Healthcare Safety Network showed that in 12 states with COVID-19 vaccination mandates, staff vaccination coverage rates ranged from 78, 7% to 95.2%. Non-mandated states “consistently had lower staff immunization coverage throughout the study window” and “higher rates of reported staff shortages throughout the study period,” according to the report.

“The mandates’ association with higher vaccine coverage contrasts with previous efforts to increase uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among nursing home staff through education, outreach, and incentives,” the officials said. researchers. They added that the data “suggests that fears of massive staffing shortages due to vaccination mandates may be unfounded.”

Click for a Reuters Global COVID-19 Tracker https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/index.html and for a Reuters COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker https://graphics.reuters.com /world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/vaccination-rollout-and-access.

(Reporting Nancy Lapid and Shawana Alleyne-Morris; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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