Coronavirus Briefing Newsletter – Times of India

  • India on Wednesday reported 16,906 Covid cases and 45 deaths. Cumulative amounts are 4,36,69,850 (1,32,457 active cases) and 5,25,519 deaths
  • All around the world: More than 557 million cases and more than 6.35 million deaths.
  • Vaccination in India: More than 1.99 billion doses. Worldwide: Over 11.77 billion doses.
How machine learning helps learn about emerging variants faster
How machine learning helps learn about emerging variants faster
  • With the pandemic thickening variants and sublines, scientists around the globe are constantly monitoring the SARS-CoV-2 virus for mutations.
  • But the emphasis so far has been on mutant proteins and lineage markers in an effort to assess questionable effects on disease or vaccination effectiveness.
  • Researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s national science body, feel that tracking variations in such a way could miss genetic changes have a functional effect on disease.
  • So they have now developed a faster and more comprehensive way to identify emerging and dangerous variants, by analyzing the RNA of the entire variant. After all, there are more than 11 genes in the Covid-19 virus, and these genes interact with the human immune system in different ways.
  • “By harnessing the capabilities of a powerful machine learning engine we have developed, called VariantSpark, we were able to analyze the genomes of 10,000 Covid-19 samples, which is the largest number of samples ever. analyzed in this way”. Denis Bauera co-author of the study.
  • Thus, VariantSpark can account for small changes that may seem insignificant on their own, but when combined with other small changes can affect how the virus behaves.
  • Research, published in the Journal of Computational and Structural Biotechnology, claims that the new method can identify variants that can be tracked a week before they are flagged by health organizations – and a week is a long periods of time when you’re trying to get through a pandemic.
  • “We can also apply this approach to other viruses. In fact, it has the potential to become the international standard for disease surveillance,” adds Bauer.
Covid-19 causes hair loss but can be overcome
Covid-19 causes hair loss but can be overcome
  • Hair loss is a common complaint among Covid survivors. Previous studies have shown that it affects up to one in five patients, including multiple types, including telogen effluvium (TE), worsening of male pattern baldness and alopecia areata.
  • One new paperpublished in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, explores resilience, duration, association with Covid severity, and possible causes of this potentially distressing condition.
  • The researchers reviewed all eligible articles published on the topic, including randomized controlled trials and case-control studies, and found that TE – when large numbers hair follicles enter a resting phase in response to stress or other disturbances – starting 45-50 days after the onset of infection.
  • TE is the predominant form of hair loss – reported in 3/4 of cases – while hair loss is present in 5% of patients. No clear link has been made to the severity of Covid-19.
  • Almost all patients claim to have been cured of alopecia areata after 5 months. The most common treatment is a topical cream containing clobetasol or minoxidil or low-dose systemic corticosteroids.
  • Hypotheses for the cause of such hair loss include severe inflammation in some patients, with high levels of cytokines such as interleukin (IL) 6, which suppress hair growth.
  • The hormones estrogen and progesterone may also play a role, as most of the “victims” are female. Covid-19 can alter the balance of these hormones or reduce their levels, leading to hair loss. Further studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis, the researchers added.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Sushmita Choudhury, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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