Yale researchers have conducted an experiment on “humanized mice” to try and get insight into why some people experience more severe symptoms than others when contracting the COVID-19 virus. The study found a link between the body’s inflammatory response to infection.
Researchers also found two well-known therapies, monoclonal antibodies and the steroid dexamethasone, can help treat COVID-19. The study was conducted on mice who were “engineered to possess human-like immune systems” states the Yale report published in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Researchers posed the question, “why do 80 to 90% of people infected with COVID-19 experience only mild cases while 10 to 20% face more severe or life-threatening symptoms?”
Thus far comparing the virus in humans and laboratory animals “made it difficult for scientists to pinpoint the tipping point between mild and severe cases of COVID-19.” But, the unique use of rodents with humanized immune systems offered this finding to researchers:
“If you infect a standard laboratory mouse with SARS-CoV-2 they will get infected, but not get seriously ill,” said Flavell, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at Yale and senior author of the paper. “But our humanized mice get sick and just don’t get better. Their whole immune system is on fire.”
The research team — which was led by first author Esen Sefik, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Fellow at the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation — introduced SARS-CoV-2 virus taken from seriously ill human patients into the nasal passages of their humanized mice and then followed the course of the disease.
They found that the infected mice exhibited the same symptoms as severely ill human patients, such as lung damage, weight loss, and a heightened, persistent inflammatory immune response that damages tissues. They then treated the mice with monoclonal antibodies provided by Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University and, like Flavell, an HHMI investigator. These antibodies, which specifically target the virus, were effective if given before or very early after infection but did little to stifle symptoms if administered in later stages of infections, they found.
Conversely, during the early stages of infection the immune suppressant dexamethasone was fatal to mice when it suppressed the initial immune response that was crucial to combat the virus. However, it helped clear infection during later stages of disease by suppressing the inflammatory response that had begun damaging organs.
“Early in the course of the disease, a strong immune response is crucial for survival,” Sefik said. “Later in the disease, it can be fatal.”
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Huge protests erupt in China in defiance of the Chinese Communist Party’s Covid-19 lockdowns
Much of the world is getting on with life and attempting to recover any of the horrendous damage caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has just imposed even more Covid-19 lockdowns sparking unrest.
Chinese citizens are banning together to protest yet another round of strict covid protocols and lockdowns suffocating their freedom.
In Shanghai, citizens chanted against President Xi Jinping’s rule, according to CNN. Chants “Xi Jinping, step down” and “Communist party, step down” were chanted. Some protesters held up blank sheets of paper to symbolize resistance against the Chinese government.
One social media user explained the black sheets of paper: “We don’t need to write anything on it. It is a symbol of the revolution of the people.”
An apartment fire in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, killed ten people and injured nine last week. The incident triggered “the most recent wave of unrest” because “it was believed that the mobility restrictions in the area either trapped the residents or slowed the dispatch of emergency services” reports National Review.
Various universities including in Shanghai, Beijing, and Nanjing, saw huge crowds of students who honored the victims and denounced China’s zero-Covid-19 policy and strict control measures.
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