Coronavirus can alter pancreatic cell activity; some genes may protect an infected person’s spouse

The following is a synopsis of several recent COVID-19 research. They contain research that requires more investigation to confirm the findings and has not yet been verified by peer review.

Coronavirus alters pancreatic cell function.
The researchers emphasized earlier in a paper published in Cell Metabolism that it is unclear if the alterations are permanent or reversible. Chen observed that some COVID-19 survivors acquired diabetes soon after infection.

“The percentage of new-onset diabetes patients in this COVID-19 epidemic is clearly worth examining,” she stated in a statement. Her group has been testing the coronavirus in clusters of cells designed to form mini-organs, or organoids, that resemble the lungs, liver, intestines, heart, and nervous system. Their findings imply that cell fate/function loss may occur in lung tissues as well, Chen, from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, related to the press.

Certain genes may protect the spouse of an infected patient.

A study of couples in which both spouses were exposed to the coronavirus but only one of them became infected is shedding light on why some people may be inherently immune to the virus. The researchers thought such situations were uncommon, but a request for volunteers who met that criteria yielded over a thousand couples.

Finally, they collected blood samples from 86 couples for an in-depth examination. According to the findings, resistant spouses are more likely to have genes that lead to more efficient activation of so-called natural killer (NK) cells, which are part of the immune system’s early reaction to pathogens.

When NK cells are properly activated, they may detect and destroy contaminated cells, stopping the illness from progressing, according to the researchers in a paper published on Tuesday in Frontiers in Immunology.

“Our theory is that the genetic variations most commonly identified in the susceptible spouse lead to the generation of chemicals that limit NK activation,” stated research leader Mayana Zatz of the University of So Paulo in Brazil.

She further stated that the current study cannot confirm this is happening. Even if the findings are validated by more studies, the researchers believe that the roles of other immune systems should be studied as well.

An experimental medication appears to be effective against coronavirus strains.

Laboratory studies show that Merck & Co’s experimental oral COVID-19 antiviral drug, molnupiravir, is likely to be effective in patients infected with any of the known coronavirus variants, including the dominant, highly transmissible Delta, researchers reported on Wednesday during IDWeek 2021, the virtual annual meeting of infectious disease organizations.

Molnupiravir does not inhibit the virus’s spike protein, which is the target of all existing COVID-19 vaccines. Instead, it targets an enzyme that the virus needs to replicate itself.

It is intended to function by inserting faults into the virus’s genetic code. According to Merck, data suggest that the medication is most effective when administered early in the course of illness. The business is undertaking two big late-stage trials of the medication, one for COVID-19 therapy and the other as a preventative measure.

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