Omicron is better at conquering young noses than other variants; Loss of smell may predict memory problems

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.

Children’s noses defend less than the Omicron

A small study has found that the Omicron variant may be more effective at infecting children through the nose than previous versions of the coronavirus.

Earlier in the pandemic, children’s noses were less welcoming to the virus that causes COVID-19 than the noses of adults. Studies of the original SARS-CoV-2 and some of its variants found that the virus met with stronger immune responses in cells lining the noses of young adults than in cells lining the noses of adults, and was less efficient at making copies of itself in children. noses. But recent experiments in test tubes mixing the virus with nasal cells from 23 healthy children and 15 healthy adults found that the antiviral defenses in the children’s noses “were significantly less pronounced in the case of Omicron,” researchers reported Monday in PLOS Biology https://www.plosbiology. : // They also reported that Omicron reproduced itself more efficiently in children’s nasal lining cells than both Delta and the original virus.

“These data are consistent with the increasing number of pediatric injuries observed during the omicron wave,” the researchers wrote, while calling for additional studies.

Smell problems may predict memory problems after COVID-19

An Argentine study shows that the severity of olfactory impairment after infection with the coronavirus may be a better predictor of long-term cognitive impairment than the general severity of COVID-19.

The researchers studied a random sample of 766 people over the age of 60, about 90% of whom had contracted the virus. Physical, cognitive, and neuropsychological tests performed three to six months after injury showed some degree of memory impairment in two-thirds of the affected participants. Researchers reported Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association 2022 International Conference, held online and in San Diego.

“The more we can see about what causes or at least predict who will experience the significant long-term cognitive impact of COVID-19 infection, the better we can track it and start developing ways to prevent it,” study leader Gabriela Gonzalez- Aleman of Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina in Buenos Aires said. In a statement.

Vaccine mandates linked to better nursing home employment

A study in the United States found that mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for nursing home employees, achieved the desired effect and did not lead to mass resignations and/or staff shortages.

Researchers reported Friday at the JAMA health forum that in states without such mandates, nursing homes faced staff shortages during the study period. Data collected from mid-June to mid-November 2021 from the National Healthcare Safety Network showed that in 12 states with COVID-19 vaccine mandates, vaccination coverage rates for employees ranged from 78.7% to 95.2%. According to the report, states without mandates “consistently had lower staff vaccination coverage throughout the study period” and “higher rates of reported understaffing throughout the study period.”

“The association of mandates with higher vaccination coverage contrasts with previous efforts to increase uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among nursing home workers through education, awareness, and incentives,” the researchers said. They added that the data “suggests that the fear of massive staffing shortages due to vaccine mandates may be unfounded.”

Click for the Reuters Global Tracker for COVID-19 and for the Reuters COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker world-virus-tracker-and-maps / vaccination-startup and access.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid and Shawana Allen Morris; Editing by Bill Bercrot)

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