Experimental chewing gum reduces omicron in saliva; Impotence, hair loss among the long-term symptoms of Covid disease

Written by Nancy Lapid

(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.

Experimental chewing gum reduces omicron particles in saliva

New data shows that experimental gum that “traps” SARS-CoV-2 particles in saliva holds promise for reducing transmission of new types of the virus, as researchers prepare to launch the first human trial.

Chewing gum contains copies of the ACE2 protein found on the surfaces of cells, which the coronavirus uses to break into and infect cells. In test-tube experiments using the saliva of individuals infected with delta or omicron variants, virus particles attached themselves to ACE2 “receptors” in the gum and the viral load decreased to undetectable levels, researchers report in Biomaterials. In the clinical trial, each patient with COVID-19 will chew four gummies every day for four days. ACE2 “viral trap” proteins found in the gum are transported into engineered lettuce cells. A second experimental gum made with bean powder instead of lettuce cells not only traps SARS-CoV-2 particles in lab experiments, but also strains of influenza, other coronaviruses that cause the common cold, and other potential oral viruses such as HPV and herpes virus. , Accordingly. on paper.

“Because nasal transmission is negligible when compared to oral transmission, chewing ACE2 gum and swallowing the ACE2 protein should reduce infection and protect COVID-19 patients and prevent transmission,” said lead researcher Dr. Henry Daniell of the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. . University of Pennsylvania.

Long-term symptoms of COVID include impotence and hair loss

British researchers have warned against adding hair loss and libido to symptoms associated with prolonged COVID-19.

They compared nearly half a million people who recovered from SARS-2 infection before mid-April 2021, without hospitalization, with nearly two million uninfected people of the same age, sex and health status. Overall, 62 of the persistent symptoms were significantly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection after 12 weeks, researchers report Monday in the journal Nature Medicine. The most common causes were shortness of breath, smell abnormalities, chest pain and fever, but the study also identified memory problems, inability to perform familiar movements or commands, bowel incontinence, erectile dysfunction, hallucinations, and swollen limbs as being more common in people. With a long COVID. Compared to the unaffected group, those in the affected group were about four times more likely to report hair loss, and more than twice as likely to report difficulty ejaculation or decreased libido. The researchers found that the odds of contracting COVID-19 for a long time were higher in young adults, females, and ethnic minorities.

The study leader, Dr. Shamil Haroun of the University of Birmingham said in a statement.

A faster PCR machine is designed for local settings

The new technology to perform the gold standard test for SARS-CoV-2 infection weighs just 2 pounds (0.9 kg) and gives results in 23 minutes instead of the usual 24 hours, according to the researchers.

PCR testing, or PCR, is rarely performed in care settings such as doctors’ offices or pharmacies, because traditional equipment is bulky, expensive, and requires trained operators. The polymerase chain reaction involves thermal cycling, a process of heating and cooling that creates the conditions necessary to identify the genetic material from the virus in the sample. The new prototype uses smaller optical components and a new method for heating the sample: the so-called plasmonic thermal cycle, which uses infrared radiation of metallic nanoparticles to generate heat from inside the flask rather than using standard heating methods from the outside. “The method can rapidly detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA from human saliva and nasal samples with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity, as well as two different types of SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers reported Monday in Nature Nanotechnology.

The smaller, faster devices “should really move the needle in delivering fast and accurate molecular clinical diagnosis in decentralized environments,” said study co-author Mark Fasciano of Rover Diagnostics, which is developing the technology in collaboration with researchers at Columbia University. “Thermal cycling can now be accelerated…and clinicians and patients alike won’t have to wait long for results.”

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(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Bill Bercrout)

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