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COVID-19 false-negative test results if used too early

  COVID-19 false-negative test results if used too early In a new study, Johns Hopkins researchers found that testing people for SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes COVID-19 -- too early in the course of infection is likely to result in a false negative test, even though they may eventually test positive for the virus. "A negative test, whether or not a person has symptoms, doesn't guarantee that they aren't infected by the virus," says Lauren Kucirka, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc., obstetrics and gynecology resident at Johns Hopkins Medicine. "How we respond to and interpret a negative test is critical because we place others at risk when we assume the test is perfect. However, those infected with the virus are still able to potentially spread the virus." Kucirka says patients who have a high-risk exposure should be treated as if they are infected, particularly if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. This means communicating with patients about the tests'
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Frequent, rapid testing could cripple COVID-19 within weeks; study shows.

  Frequent, rapid testing could cripple COVID-19 within weeks; study shows. Testing half the population weekly with inexpensive, rapid-turnaround COVID-19 tests would drive the virus toward elimination within weeks -- even if those tests are significantly less sensitive than gold-standard clinical tests, according to a new study published today by the University of Colorado Boulder and Harvard University researchers. Such a strategy could lead to "personalized stay-at-home orders" without shutting down restaurants, bars, retail stores, and schools, the authors said. "Our big picture finding is that, when it comes to public health, it's better to have a less sensitive test with results today than a more sensitive one with results tomorrow," said lead author Daniel Larremore, an assistant professor of computer science at CU Boulder. "Rather than telling everyone to stay home so you can be sure that one person who is sick doesn't spread it, we could give o

Researchers examine which approaches are most effective at reducing COVID-19 spread

  Researchers examine which approaches are most effective at reducing COVID-19 spread Social bubbles and masks more situation-dependent in terms of effectiveness Simon Fraser University professors Paul Tupper and Caroline Colijn have found that physical distancing is universally effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, social bubbles and masks are more situation-dependent. The researchers developed a model to test the effectiveness of physical distancing, masks, or social bubbles when used in various settings. Their paper was published Nov. 19 in the journal  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  of the United States of America (PNAS). They introduce the concept of "event R," which is the expected number of people who become infected with COVID-19 from one individual at an event. Tupper and Colijn look at factors such as transmission intensity, duration of exposure, the proximity of individuals, and degree of mixing -- then examine what metho

Why does COVID-19 seem to spare children?

  Why does COVID-19 seem to spare children? Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and their colleagues have determined a key factor as to why COVID-19 appears to infect and sicken adults and older people preferentially while seeming to spare younger children. Children have lower levels of an enzyme/co-receptor that SARS-CoV-2, the RNA virus that causes COVID-19, needs to invade airway epithelial cells in the lung. The findings, published today in the  Journal of Clinical Investigation,  support efforts to block the enzyme to potentially treat or prevent COVID-19 in older people. "Our study provides a biologic rationale for why particularly infants and very young children seem to be less likely to either get infected or to have severe disease symptoms," said Jennifer Sucre, MD, assistant professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology), who led the research with Jonathan Kropski, MD, assistant professor of Medicine. Sucre and Kropski are co-corresponding authors of t

In the lab, scientists identify possible COVID-19 treatment.

  In the lab, scientists identify possible COVID-19 treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant illness and death, while treatment options remain limited. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have discovered a potential strategy to prevent life-threatening inflammation, lung damage, and organ failure in patients with COVID-19. The research appeared online in the journal  Cell . After discovering that the hyperinflammatory immune response associated with COVID-19 leads to tissue damage and multi-organ failure in mice by triggering inflammatory cell death pathways, the scientists identified the drugs. The researchers detailed how the inflammatory cell death signaling pathway worked, which led to potential therapies to disrupt the process. "Understanding the pathways and mechanism driving this inflammation is critical to developing effective treatment strategies," said corresponding author Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Ph.D., vice-chair of the St

A few kilograms of weight loss nearly halves the risk of diabetes.

  A few kilograms of weight loss nearly halves the risk of diabetes. Losing a few kilograms in weight almost halves people's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes -- according to a large scale research study led by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia . A new study published in the international journal  JAMA Internal Medicine  shows how providing support to help people with prediabetes make small changes to their lifestyle, diet, and physical activity can almost halve the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The findings come from the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study (NDPS) -- the largest diabetes prevention research study in the world in the last 30 years. The NDPS clinical trial ran over eight years and involved more than 1,000 people with prediabetes at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The study found that support to make modest lifestyle changes, including losing two to three kilograms of weight and increased physical activity ov

People, who eat chili pepper may live longer?

  People, who eat chili pepper may live longer? Individuals who consume chili pepper may live longer and may have a significantly reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2020. The meeting will be held virtually, Friday, November 13-Tuesday, November 17, 2020. Previous studies have found eating chili pepper has an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and blood-glucose regulating effect due to capsaicin, which gives chili pepper its characteristic mild to intense spice when eaten. To analyze the effects of chili pepper on all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality, researchers screened 4,729 studies from five leading global health databases (Ovid, Cochrane, Medline, Embase, and Scopus). Their final analysis includes four large studies that included health outcomes for participants with data on chili pepper consumption. The health and dietary record

More infections than reported: New study demonstrates the importance of large-scale SARS-CoV-2 antibody screenings

  More infections than reported: New study demonstrates the importance of large-scale SARS-CoV-2 antibody screenings A new study lead by Helmholtz Zentrum München indicates a six-fold higher SARS-CoV-2 exposure rate among children in Bavaria, Germany, than reported cases. This highlights the value of population-based antibody screenings for pandemic monitoring. The study also describes a novel approach to measuring antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 with high accuracy. A novel approach to measuring antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 Current antibody testing strategies are known for their lack of specificity, leading to a large proportion of false-positive results. German researchers lead by Prof. Anette-G. Ziegler at Helmholtz Zentrum München developed a novel approach to measuring antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 by defining antibody positivity as a dual-positive response against both the receptor-binding domain and nucleocapsid proteins of the virus. This two-step approach allows for more accurat

Saliva testing may help doctors diagnose concussions.

  Saliva testing may help doctors diagnose concussions. According to Penn State College of Medicine researchers, doctors may soon be able to more accurately diagnose concussions by measuring the number of certain molecules in a person's saliva. The results of a recent clinical study confirmed that a patient's spit may be used to aid concussion diagnosis in a non-invasive, non-biased fashion. Researchers analyzed the saliva of more than 500 study participants for tiny strands of genetic material called micro ribonucleic acid (microRNA). These molecules play an important role in cellular processes and exist in high amounts in the brain. The investigators hypothesized that due to cranial nerves in the mouth, altered microRNA levels could indicate whether a patient is experiencing a concussion. Concussions occur as a result of physical injury to the head. They may result in short-lived symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, and confusion. Physicians currently use symptom scales