• India on Wednesday reported 14,506 Covid cases and 30 fatalities. The cumulative caseload is 4,34,33,345 (9,9602 active cases) and 5,25,077.
  • Worldwide: Over 545 million cases and over 6.33 million fatalities.
  • Vaccination in India: Over 1.97 billion twos. Worldwide: Over 11.69 billion twos.
TODAY’S TAKE
A common herpes virus may play a role in long Covid
A common herpes virus may play a role in long Covid
  • Covid-19 may reactivate a common virus that lurks unseen in most people, and that may play a role in some long Covid cases, according to preliminary findings from a study.
  • Latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a widespread human herpes virus, is present in 90-95% of adults in high-income settings.
  • The study: Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and Monogram Biosciences examined the connections between long Covid – formally called post-acute sequelae of Covid-19 (PASC), which some studies claim affects 1 in 3 survivors – and EBV reactivation.
  • To do this, they analyzed the frequency of virological and serological evidence of EBV reactivation in a well-defined group of patients, with and without PASC symptoms about four months after first positive testing.
  • The findings: Among 280 participants, including 208 with long Covid, researchers found that fatigue and problems with thinking and reasoning were more common in patients showing signs of recent EBV reactivation in their blood. But this was not linked with other long Covid findings such as gastrointestinal or heart and lung problems.
  • Significantly, EBV itself was not found in patients’ blood, which suggests “any reactivation likely is transient and happens during acute Covid-19”, says Dr Timothy Henrich, a co-author of the study posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.
  • Given that long Covid was also observed in a small proportion of participants without evidence of prior or recent EBV infection, it appears that EBV reactivation is not a prerequisite for this condition. The team says that “further assessment during the acute phase of Covid-19 is warranted” to better understand the linkages.
TELL ME ONE THING
What does ethnicity have to do with Covid mortality?
What does ethnicity have to do with Covid mortality?
  • It’s a well-established fact that the pandemic has been more dangerous for the middle-aged and the elderly, compared to younger people. One study claimed that the risk of a middle-aged person dying from Covid is about 100 times greater than dying from an automobile accident. And the odds that an infection becomes fatal goes from only 1:10,000 at age 25 to roughly 1:100 at age 60.
  • But a new study reveals that ethnicity, too, played a role with some countries bearing a significantly higher share of the death toll.
  • The study, led by the World Heart Federation in association with the Public Health Foundation of India, reveals that during the pandemic Indians had nearly three times higher mortality due to Covid than the European population.
  • However, the proportion of in-hospital deaths were higher among the Hispanics and Blacks, adds the study published in the journal Global Heart.
  • The researchers say that a higher prevalence of diabetes and hypertension among Indians was the major driver of the increased mortality.
  • The study, covering 5,313 patients admitted with Covid in 40 hospitals across 23 countries, aimed to bridge the research gap between low and high-income countries.
  • “Compared to Caucasians, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics had almost 2–4 times higher risk of death,” reads the study. Another finding was that patients recruited from low- to middle-income countries had 2–3 times increased risk of death compared to high income countries, but no surprises there.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Sushmita Choudhury, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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