Scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California showed that infection with common cold coronaviruses can generate an immune response that resembles key pieces of the immune response generated by SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19. This raises the possibility that previous infection with one of the milder coronaviruses could make COVID-19 less severe.
They made an experiment by releasing droplets in a room to see how it spreads. They found that people in front of the room are more susceptible and at higher risk in a properly ventilated room. In a poorly ventilated room the entire room is at risk.
WHO says the lockdowns are a good tactic in situations where the transmission is spiralling out of control and a threat that the health system will be overwhelmed. But they should not be used as the main strategy and the decision should be considered carefully.
Epidemiologists reviewed 25 studies of cloth face masks. Here’s what they found out about how well they work, why they work, who they protect and why the mosquito and chain-link fence analogy is wrong.
Evidence has shown masks likely do reduce the spread of COVID-19, so wearing them is a good thing – particularly as Victoria continues to grapple with a second wave. But one conversation we’re not having enough is around how to safely dispose of single-use masks. Disposing of used masks or gloves incorrectly could risk spreading the infection they’re designed to protect against.
This post talks about various testing methods for checking the effectiveness of your homemade face masks. The purpose of these masks is to reduce the distance your breath travels to infect others.
The risk of severe COVID-19 infection is more common in those with high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. This raises the question of whether the gut microbiome has a role in dictating COVID-19 severity.
In the face of the virus emergency, research standards have been relaxed to encourage faster publication and mistakes become inevitable. This is risky. Ultimately, if expert advice on the pandemic turns out to be wrong, it will have dire consequences for how reliable scientific evidence is treated in other policy areas, such as climate change.
Why are there so few antivirals? The answer boils down to biology, and specifically the fact viruses use our own cells to multiply. This makes it hard to kill viruses without killing our own cells in the process.
With more than a third of the world’s population in lockdown, there are widespread fears of social breakdown. As a historian of loneliness, I have recently been interviewed by journalists in Brazil, France, Chile and Australia, all pondering the same problems: what will the long-term effects of social isolation be? What techniques or habits might help us learn how to be alone?