Connect with us

Research

Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

March 3, 2020 — The new coronavirus epidemic that started in Wuhan, China, in late December is now in dozens of countries, including the United States. Here are answers to key questions about the virus, including how to protect yourself and what to expect. 

When and where did the outbreak start?

China first reported the outbreak in Wuhan on Dec. 30, 2019.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19, the disease the new coronavirus cases, may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms may appear in as little as 2 days and as long as 14 days after you’re exposed to the virus.

Is the coronavirus seasonal, like the flu?

Will the coronavirus die out once warmer weather hits? It’s possible, but we don’t know enough about the virus yet to know for sure, says Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Most respiratory viruses, like the flu, are seasonal. Coronavirus may behave like the flu and we’ll see cases go down in spring and summer, she says. “But it’s premature to assume that.” The agency continues to take aggressive action because it can’t count on that.

How is coronavirus diagnosed?

If you believe you may have COVID-19, call your doctor’s office before you go. Alert them to the situation so they can prepare for your arrival. Do not just go to urgent care or emergency room without calling first. If your health care professional agrees you may have coronavirus, they will contact your state and local health departments. The CDC is supplying states with test kits. Each test result must be verified by the CDC before a diagnosis is confirmed.

How does coronavirus spread?

Because COVID-19 is new, there remain many unanswered questions about how it spreads. But experts believe:

  • The virus may spread from person to person, between people who are within about 6 feet of each other, and through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • It spreads from contact with infected surfaces. Touching a surface or object that has the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes is one way it may spread, although the CDC says it is not believed to the main way of spreading the virus.
  • It may spread before people have symptoms.
  • It is not airborne, so you can’t catch it from breathing.
  • It spreads easily. Not all viruses do, but the CDC believes COVID-19 spreads “easily and sustainably in the community” in some geographic regions it has affected.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

Not yet. And any working vaccine is at least a year away. But several research universities and drug companies are working on it. At least one possible vaccine is ready for phase I human trials.

How is coronavirus treated?

There is no drug treatment yet, and antibiotics are effective only against bacterial infections. Experts recommend treating symptoms: Try ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen for pain and fever; get rest, and drink plenty of water. People with more serious cases need to be in the hospital, where they may need help with breathing and other support.

Is it safe to travel?

Advice on travel is changing rapidly. Visit the CDC website for countries flagged for travel due to the outbreak and this blog for tips if you do travel.

Is coronavirus worse than the flu?

There have been at least 29 million Americans sickened by the flu this season, compared to more than 100 who are known to be sick with coronavirus here. While more than 90,000 people are confirmed coronavirus patients worldwide, the numbers are still minuscule compared to the flu.

But COVID-19, the disease this coronavirus causes, may be more deadly. The flu’s estimated death rate is about 0.1%, compared to the coronavirus’s estimated 2%-3% mortality rate. It’s difficult to know a true death rate because people may have had mild cases that were never diagnosed. A recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine says for that reason, the actual death rate may be closer to the flu in a severe season. The editorial was written in part by Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

The flu is also well-known to scientists and doctors, although each year’s strain is slightly different. Flu treatment plans are well-established, and vaccines exist. This coronavirus is brand-new, and health officials are still learning about its spread. It is also possible the virus mutates into multiple strains, as the flu has. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said there are some key differences people need to understand. First, COVID-19 doesn’t seem to spread as efficiently as the flu. The second big difference is that people get sicker from COVID-19.

“While many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity. That means more people are susceptible to infection and some will suffer severe disease,” he said.

Can I get coronavirus from a package?

The CDC says there is likely a “very low risk” of it spreading from products or packaging shipped over a period of days or weeks. “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods, and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods,” the agency says. But it is always good practice to wash your hands after touching shipped objects and certainly before eating or touching your mouth or eyes. How long does this coronavirus live on surfaces or outside of the body?

The World Health Organization says studies have shown that COVID-19 may last for a few hours or several days on surfaces. It depends on temperature, the kind of surface, and humidity. Using a simple disinfectant on all reachable surfaces is a good idea.

How can you prevent and avoid coronavirus?

Three words offer the best advice: Wash. Your. Hands. Wash them for at least 20 seconds each time. Wash them before you prepare food, eat, after using the bathroom, if you cough or sneeze, and if you are caring for sick people. If you don’t have soap and water, use a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Otherwise:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow, or cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw the tissue into the trash.
  • Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces with a disinfectant cleaning spray or wipe.

Click here to read more on crohnsdigest

Research

COVID-19 will likely be with us forever. Here’s how we’ll live with it.

As COVID-19 continues to run its course, the likeliest long-term outcome is that the virus SARS-CoV-2 becomes endemic in large swaths of the world, constantly circulating among the human population but causing fewer cases of severe disease. Eventually—years or even decades in the future—COVID-19 could transition into a mild childhood illness, like the four endemic human coronaviruses that contribute to the common cold.

“My guess is, enough people will get it and enough people will get the vaccine to reduce person-to-person transmission,” says Paul Duplex, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research. “There will be pockets of people who won’t take [the vaccines], there will be localized outbreaks, but it will become one of the ‘regular’ coronaviruses.”

But this transition won’t happen overnight. Experts say that SARS-CoV-2’s exact post-pandemic trajectory will depend on three major factors: how long humans retain immunity to the virus, how quickly the virus evolves, and how widely older populations become immune during the pandemic itself.

Depending on how these three factors shake out, the world could be facing several years of a halting post-pandemic transition—one marked by continued viral evolution, localized outbreaks, and possibly multiple rounds of updated vaccinations.

“People have got to realize, this is not going to go away,” says Roy Anderson, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Imperial College London. “We’re going to be able to manage it because of modern medicine and vaccines, but it’s not something that will just vanish out of the window.”

The long road to another common cold

One of the essential factors governing the future of COVID-19 is our immunity to the illness. Immunity to any pathogen, including SARS-CoV-2, isn’t binary like a light switch. Instead, it’s more like a dimmer switch: The human immune system can confer varying degrees of partial protection from a pathogen, which can stave off severe illness without necessarily preventing infection or transmission.

In general, the partial protection effect is one of the reasons why the four known endemic human coronaviruses—the ones that cause a common cold—have such mild symptoms. A 2013 study in BMC Infectious Diseases shows that on average, humans are first exposed to all four of these coronaviruses between the ages of three and five-part of the first wave of infections that young children experience.

These initial infections lay the foundation for the body’s future immune response. As new variants of the endemic coronaviruses naturally evolve, the immune system has a head start in fighting them off—not enough to eradicate the virus instantly, but enough to ensure that symptoms don’t progress much beyond the sniffles.

“The virus is also its own enemy. Every time it infects you, it tops up your immunity,” says Marc Veldhoen, an immunologist at the Portugal’s University of Lisbon.

Past studies make clear that partial immunity can keep people from getting seriously ill, even as coronaviruses successfully enter their systems. Long-term, the same is likely to be true for the new coronavirus. Emory University postdoctoral fellow Jennie Lavine modeled SARS-CoV-2’s post-pandemic trajectory based on the 2013 study’s data, and her results—published in Science on January 12—suggest that if SARS-CoV-2 behaves like other coronaviruses, it will likely morph into mild nuisance years to decades from now.

This transition from pandemic to minor ailment, however, depends on how the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 holds up over time. Researchers are actively examining the body’s “immunological memory” of the virus. A study published in Science on January 6 tracked the immune response of 188 COVID-19 patients for five to eight months post-infection, and while individuals are varied, about 95 percent of patients had measurable levels of immunity.

“Immunity is waning, but certainly not gone, and I think this is key,” says Lavine, who wasn’t involved with the study.

In fact, it’s even possible that one of the cold-causing coronaviruses sparked a serious outbreak in the 1800s before fading into the litany of mild, commonplace human pathogens. Based on the spread of its family tree, researchers estimated in 2005 that the endemic coronavirus OC43 entered humans sometime in the late 19th century, likely the early 1890s. The timing has led some researchers to speculate that the original version of OC43 may have caused the “Russian flu” pandemic of 1890, which was noted for its unusually high rate of neurological symptoms—a noted effect of COVID-19.

“There’s no hard proof, but there are a lot of indications that this wasn’t an influenza pandemic but a corona-pandemic,” Veldhoen says.

The crucible of evolution

Though the carnage of past coronaviruses has faded over time, the road to a relatively painless coexistence between humans and SARS-CoV-2 will likely be bumpy. In the medium-term future, the impact of the virus will depend largely on its evolution.

SARS-CoV-2 is spreading uncontrollably around the world, and with every new replication, there’s a chance for mutations that could help the virus more effectively infect human hosts.

The human immune system, while protecting many of us from a serious illness, is also acting as an evolutionary crucible, putting pressure on the virus that selects for mutations that make it bind more effectively to human cells. The coming months and years will reveal how well our immune systems can keep up with these changes.

New SARS-CoV-2 variants also make widespread vaccination and other transmission-blocking measures, such as face masks and distancing, more crucial than ever. The less the virus spreads, the fewer opportunities it has to evolve.

We’re going to be able to manage it because of modern medicine and vaccines, but it’s not something that will just vanish out of the window.

ROY ANDERSONIMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

Current vaccines should still work well enough against emerging variants, such as the B.1.1.7 lineage first found in the United Kingdom, to prevent many cases of serious illness. Vaccines and natural infections create diverse swarms of antibodies that glom onto many different parts of SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein, which means that a single mutation can’t make the virus invisible to the human immune system.

Mutations may produce future variants of SARS-CoV-2 that partially resist current vaccines, however. In a preprint posted on November 19 and updated on January 19, Duplex and his colleagues show that mutations that delete parts of the SARS-CoV-2 genome’s spike protein region prevent certain human antibodies from binding.

“What I’ve learned from our own work is how deviously beautiful evolution is,” Duplex says.

Other labs have found that mutations in 501Y.V2, the variant first found in South Africa, are especially effective at helping the virus elude antibodies. Out of 44 recovered COVID-19 patients in South Africa, blood extracts from 21 of the patients didn’t effectively neutralize the 501Y.V2 variant, according to another preprint published on January 19. Those 21 people had mild to moderate cases of COVID-19, however, so their antibody levels were lower, to begin with, perhaps explaining why their blood did not neutralize the 501Y.V2 variant.

So far, currently authorized vaccines—which spur the production of high levels of antibodies—seem to be effective against the most concerning variants. In a third preprint published on January 19, researchers showed that antibodies from 20 people who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines didn’t bind quite as well to viruses with the new mutations as they did to earlier variants—but they still bound, suggesting the vaccines will still protect against severe illness.

The new variants bring other threats as well. Some, such as B.1.1.7, appear to be more transmissible than earlier forms of SARS-CoV-2, and if left to spread uncontrollably, these variants could make many more people severely ill, which risks overwhelming healthcare systems around the world and even higher death tolls. Veldhoen adds that new variants also may pose a greater risk of reinfection to recovered COVID-19 patients.

Researchers are closely monitoring the new variants. If vaccines need to be updated in the future, Anderson says that it could be done quickly—in roughly six weeks for currently authorized mRNA vaccines, such as those made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. That timetable, though, doesn’t account for the regulatory approvals that updated vaccines would need to go through.

Anderson adds that depending on how the evolution of the virus progresses, lineages of SARS-CoV-2 may arise that are distinct enough that vaccines will need to be tailored to specific regions akin to vaccines for pneumococcus. To successfully guard against SARS-CoV-2 going forward, we will need a global monitoring network similar to the worldwide reference laboratories used to collect, sequence, and study variants of influenza.

“We’re going to have to live with it, we’re going to have to have constant vaccination, and we’re constantly going to have to have a very sophisticated molecular surveillance program to keep track of how the virus is evolving,” Anderson says.

The promise and challenge of widespread vaccination

Experts agree that transitioning beyond a pandemic depends on the prevalence of immunity, especially among older and more vulnerable populations. Younger people, especially children, will build up immunity to SARS-CoV-2 over a lifetime of exposure to the virus. Today’s adults have had no such luxury, leaving their immune systems naive and exposed.

The exact threshold for achieving population-wide immunity that slows down the virus’s spread will depend on how contagious future variants become. But so far, research of early variants of SARS-CoV-2 suggests at least 60 to 70 percent of the human population will need to become immune to end the pandemic phase.

This immunity can be achieved in one of two ways: large-scale vaccination, or recovery from natural infections. But achieving widespread immunity through uncontrolled spread comes at a terrible cost: hundreds of thousands more deaths and hospitalizations around the world. “If we don’t want to push forward vaccines and champion vaccines, we have to decide collectively how many old people we want to die—and I don’t want to be the one making that decision,” Duplex says.

Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious diseases expert at Columbia University, points out that the global push for vaccines also exposes existing inequities in global health. In a widely shared map from December, The Economist Intelligence Unit estimated that rich countries such as the U.S. will have widely accessible vaccines by early 2022, which may not happen for poorer countries in Africa and Asia until as late as 2023.

Efforts to vaccinate the developing world hinge, in part, on vaccines that can be stored with standard refrigeration, such as the vaccines under development by Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. (See the latest on COVID-19 vaccine development around the world.)

As of the week of January 18, according to a World Health Organization estimate, some 40 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered around the world, mostly in high-income countries. In Africa, only two countries, Seychelles and Guinea, have started providing vaccines. And in Guinea, a low-income country, only 25 people have received doses.

Continue Reading

Research

Patients with IBD should receive COVID-19 vaccine, despite concerns

“For patients with IBD we would advocate, based on [International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IOIBD)], that patients get vaccinated, acknowledging that there is a lack of data specifically in IBD patients,” Ryan C. Ungaro, MD, MS, gastroenterologist with Mount Sinai Hospital’s Feinstein IBD Center, told Healio Gastroenterology. “But we think the benefits outweigh the risks and based on prior experience with vaccinations in IBD patients.”

CDC and IOIBD recommend patients with IBD should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Abobe Stock

According to Ungaro, the CDC recommended immunocompromised patients should get the COVID-19 vaccine. Patients should be counseled that it is not yet known whether the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in immunocompromised patients are the same compared with the general population.

“The major concern would be certain medications could lead to decreased response to the vaccine,” he said. “That is something that is going to need to be studied but right now the expert consensus is that IBD patients should get vaccinated against COVID-19.”

According to IOIBD recommendations, patients with IBD should receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Messenger RNA vaccines, replication vector vaccines, inactivated vaccines, and recombinant vaccines are safe to be administered in IBD patients, Ungaro said.

Additionally, the IOIBD said vaccines should not be deferred if an IBD patient is receiving immune-modifying therapies.

According to Ungaro, patients with IBD who take corticosteroids and get the vaccine should receive counseling that there may be a decreased systemic response. He said this needs to be studied further.

“Prospective studies are being planned to look at the real-world effectiveness and side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in IBD patients,” Ungaro said. “This would require cohorts that are vaccinated and followed. Some studies are ongoing for that both in the United States and internationally. [Surveillance Epidemiology of Coronavirus Under Research Exclusion-IBD (SECURE-IBD)] is going to help support some of these efforts as well.”

Ungaro and his team at Mount Sinai in collaboration with the University of North Carolina developed the SECURE-IBD registry early in 2020 to monitor and report outcomes of COVID-19 in patients with IBD.

He said, “Physicians can encourage IBD patients to enroll in the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s IBD Partners, they will be one of the sources for the prospective COVID-19 vaccine studies.”

Continue Reading

Research

Udo’s Choice® Super 8 Microbiotic

People liveing with crohns sisease can have a altered “microbiome” which means that the digestive bacteria thats in ther gut can be unbalanced ,that were takeing

Some experts maintain that using probiotics to restore the microbiome can allow a person with Crohn’s disease to reduce irregular immune responses and experience fewer symptoms.

They believe that adding healthful bacteria to the digestive tract, potentially by incorporating natural probiotic food sources to the diet, can reduce both intestinal inflammation and anomalies of the immune system. This could minimize symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as gastrointestinal irritation, diarrhea, and stomach upset.

To see whether or not probiotics work for them, people with Crohn’s disease can keep a food diary and slowly incorporate some of these foods into their diet, noting any changes in their symptoms.

Probiotic foods include:

  • yogurt
  • kombucha
  • kefir
  • sauerkraut
  • kimchi
  • tempeh
  • miso

A person may also incorporate prebiotic foods into their diet. These are food sources that feed bacteria in the digestive tract and can promote their growth. These foods include onions, leeks, and asparagus.

Research has not proven that the probiotics in food can help reduce Crohn’s disease symptoms, so some people may wish to try taking a supplement first.

However, as long as someone does not have an allergy to foods that contain probiotics, incorporating them into the diet is a relatively risk-free method to try to improve overall health and help manage the disease.

click here to buy Udo’s Choice® Super 8 Microbiotic get 10% of if you buy through link

Continue Reading

Most Read