Vaccination after infection may hold back a prolonged COVID illness;  Office 'air curtains' may deflect virus particles

Vaccination after infection may hold back a prolonged COVID illness; Office ‘air curtains’ may deflect virus particles

A nurse fills syringes with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for residents over 50 who are immunocompromised and eligible to receive their second booster shot in Waterford, Michigan, US, April 8, 2022. REUTERS/Emily Elkonin

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May 19 (Reuters) – Here is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that requires further study to confirm results and that has not yet been approved by peer review.

Vaccination after infection may reduce COVID for a long time

A new study finds that vaccination after infection with SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to reducing the burden of prolonged COVID symptoms.

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The researchers tracked 6,729 volunteers, ages 18 to 69, who received two shots of the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) viral vector vaccine, the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech (22UAy.DE), or Moderna (mRNA.O). After recovering from a coronavirus infection and those who reported prolonged COVID symptoms of any severity at least once between February and September 2021. The odds of reporting prolonged COVID — symptoms that lasted at least 12 weeks — decreased an average of 13% after the first vaccine dose, researchers report Wednesday at BMJ. The researchers said that the second dose, given 12 weeks after the first dose, was associated with an additional 9% reduction in the odds of long-term COVID-19 infection that persisted for at least 9 weeks on average. The researchers reported that the odds of reporting COVID long enough to result in functional impairment were similarly reduced. The results were similar regardless of vaccine type, time interval from infection to first vaccine dose, underlying health status, or severity of COVID-19. However, the study was not designed to detect such differences, and it cannot definitively prove that vaccines reduce the odds of long-term COVID-19 infection.

“Further research is needed to assess the long-term relationship between vaccination and prolonged COVID, and in particular the effect of the Omicron variant,” the researchers said, which emerged after the conclusion of this study.

Desktop ‘air curtains’ may scatter virus particles

Researchers have found that when people cannot maintain a safe distance to avoid the spread of COVID-19, a newly designed office “air curtain” can block aerosols in exhaled air.

Air curtains – artificial streams of moving air – are often used to protect patients in operating rooms. At Nagoya University in Japan, researchers tested their new desktop device by simulating a blood collection room where the lab technician is close to the patient. They reported Tuesday in AIP Advances on Tuesday that aerosol particles released toward the curtain “were observed bending abruptly toward (a) the suction port” without passing through the air curtain. They said that even placing an arm in the air curtain does not break the flow or reduce its effectiveness. They added that a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can be installed inside the suction port.

If additional testing in real-life conditions confirms the system’s efficacy, it could “be useful as an indirect barrier not only in the medical field but also in situations where sufficient physical distance cannot be maintained, such as at the front desk,” the researchers said.

Antacids help fight COVID-19 by helping reduce inflammation

Researchers have discovered how the antacid famotidine, usually sold as Pepcid by the Johnson & Johnson unit, was able to help relieve symptoms of COVID-19 in clinical trials.

In studies in mice, they found that famotidine stimulated the vagus nerve, which controls the immune system and other involuntary body functions. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it can send signals to suppress severe immune reactions – so-called cellular storms – in which high levels of inflammatory proteins are released into the blood too quickly. When famotidine was given to mice, it significantly reduced levels of inflammatory proteins in the blood and spleen and improved survival. But when the vagus nerve was cut, famotidine no longer stopped cytokine storms, according to a report published Monday in Molecular Medicine. Co-author Dr. Kevin Tracy of the Feinstein Institutes of Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, said in a statement that the data “suggest a role for the inflammatory reflex of the vagus nerve in suppressing the cytokine storm during COVID-19.”

Direct electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve is known to improve a variety of diseases. The researchers concluded that “famotidine, a well-tolerated orally administered drug, could offer an additional method” to activate the vagus nerve to reduce inflammatory protein production and tissue damage from COVID-19 and other diseases.

Click for a Reuters graphic of vaccines in development.

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(Nancy Lapid reports). Editing by Bill Bercrot

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

2022-05-19 20:09:00

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