Research Brief: Latest COVID-19 Research News

Brain damage in COVID patients

It is now clear that COVID-19 affects other parts of the body in addition to respiratory symptoms, with neurological symptoms also being reported – such as the most famous loss of smell. A study published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology reported the results of an imaging study examining the neurological effects of COVID-19. The study included a total of six patients and used magnetic resonance imaging to examine the brains of these patients.

The researchers found similar indicators of oxygen starvation in COVID-19 patients as in those with hypoxia (low oxygen levels) without COVID-19. The researchers also noted some brain white matter changes in COVID-19 patients. According to the researchers, "a key question is whether it is just the decrease in oxygen in the brain that is causing these white matter changes, or whether the virus itself is attacking the white matter."

In addition to this study, the researchers hope to further investigate the long-term neurological effects of COVID-19, symptoms such as headache, fatigue, cognitive impairment, and brain fog that are sometimes reported by patients who have recovered from COVID-19 infection .

Mental health green spaces during COVID-19

Given the significant effects of home ordering and social distancing restrictions, a research study looked at the effects of green space exposure and mental health. The researchers not only assessed the time spent outdoors in the green area, but also the visibility of the green space – for example, the view of green areas from windows at home. The researchers reported that outdoor time and the visibility of green spaces were associated with higher self-esteem, increased life satisfaction, and higher levels of happiness. The researchers also reported reductions in depression, anxiety, and loneliness with increasing use and visibility of green spaces. According to researcher Dr. Masashi Soga, of the University of Tokyo, "Our results suggest that the natural environment can act as a buffer to reduce the adverse effects of a very stressful event on humans."

Oxford vaccine

Results from the Phase 2/3 randomized controlled clinical trial for Oxford University's vaccine – ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – have been published in the Lancet. The study included adults over 18 years of age with ages between 18 and 70 years. Participants received either the vaccine or a control vaccine (placebo).

Reactions to the vaccine reported in the study included injection site pain, muscle pain, headache and fever, which were more common in patients who received the vaccine. There were 13 serious adverse events reported in the study, but these were not believed to be vaccine-related. The immune response elicited by the vaccine was similar in all age groups, including IgG responses and neutralizing antibody responses.

In ongoing phase 3 studies, it is now being determined whether the vaccine is effective against SARS-CoV-2 infections. Co-author Dr. Maheshi Ramasamy, University of Oxford, UK, explains, “The robust antibody and T-cell responses seen in the elderly in our study are encouraging. The populations at greatest risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness include people with existing health conditions and older adults. We hope this means our vaccine will help protect some of the most vulnerable people in society, but more research will be needed before we can be sure. "


MR Spectroscopic Findings of the Brain in 3 Consecutive Patients with COVID-19: Preliminary Observations Rapalino, A. Weerasekera, S.J. Moum, K. Eikermann-Haerter, B.L. Edlow, D. Fischer, A. Torrado-Carvajal, M.L. Loggia, S. S. Mukerji, P.W. Schaefer, R.G. Gonzalez, M.H. Lev, E.-M. Ratai American Journal of Neuroradiology Oct. 2020, DOI: 10.3174 / ajnr.A6877

Press release:

Soga, M., Evans, M.J., Tsuchiya, K., and Fukano, Y. 2020. A Room with a Green View: The Importance of Nearby Nature to Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Ecological Applications 00 (00): e02248. 10.1002 / eap.2248

Press release:

Ramasamy MN, Minassian AM, Ewer KJ, Flaxman AL, Folegatti PM, Owens DR, Voysey M, Aley PK, Angus B, Babbage G, Belij-Rammerstorfer S., Berry L., Bibi S., Bittaye M., Cathie K ., Chappell H. Charlton S., Cicconi P., Clutterbuck EA, Colin-Jones R., Dold C., Emary KRW, Fedosyuk S., Fuskova M., Gbesemete D., Green C., Hallis B., Hou MM, Jenkin D., Joe CCD, Kelly EJ, Kerridge S., Lawrie AM, Lelliott A, Lwin MN, Makinson R, Marchevsky NG, Mujadidi Y, Munro APS, Pacurar M, Plested E, Rand J, Rawlinson T, Rhead S, Robinson H, Ritchie AJ, Ross-Russell AL, Saich S, Singh N., Smith CC, Snape MD, Song R., Tarrant R., Themistocleous Y, Thomas KM, Villafana TL, Warren SC, Watson MEE, Douglas AD, Hill AVS, Lambe T, Gilbert SC, Faust SN, Pollard AJ; Oxford COVID Vaccine Trial Group. Safety and Immunogenicity of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccine Administered in Young and Old Adults on a Prime Boost Regimen (COV002): a single-blind, randomized, controlled phase 2/3 study. Lancet. 2020, November 18: S0140-6736 (20) 32466-1. doi: 10.1016 / S0140-6736 (20) 32466-1. Epub before printing. PMID: 33220855; PMCID: PMC7674972.

Press release:

Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

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