The following is an overview of some of the latest research on the new coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-1
The severity of diet-related COVID-19
People on a meat-free diet are less likely to become infected with moderate to severe COVID-19, according to a six-state study published Monday in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. A plant-based diet is associated with a 73% lower risk of serious illness, researchers found in a study of 2,884 healthcare providers caring for patients with COVID-19. Combining those on a plant-based diet and people who also eat fish but no meat, the researchers found a 59% lower chance of serious illness. The study could not prove that specific diets protected against severe COVID-19, and the diet did not appear to reduce the risk of infection. But plant-based diets are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are important for a healthy immune system, the researchers note, and fish provide vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. However, healthy eating was problematic during the pandemic, according to two presentations this week during a virtual meeting of the American Nutrition Society. Consumption of healthy foods such as vegetables and whole grains has declined, according to researchers comparing the diets of more than 2,000 Americans before and during the pandemic. In a separate study, researchers who collected nutritional data in June 2020 for 3,916 adults in the United States found that they greatly increased their consumption of junk food, desserts and sugary drinks during the pandemic. “People may need help to avoid making these dietary changes permanent,” said Dr. Sohyun Park of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, co-author of the latest study. (https://bit.ly/3g91dUc; https://bit.ly/3xfox8t; https://bit.ly/3zhcSYz)
There are no serious problems with the AstraZeneca vaccine in Scotland
A study of the side effects of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine (AZN.L) in Scotland found only a link to largely harmless bleeding and no link to a potentially deadly venous clot in the brain, known as CVST, which has caused concern in Europe and led to to pauses in its use. Researchers who followed 5.4 million people in Scotland found an additional case of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) per 100,000 people after the first AstraZeneca shot. ITP is a treatable condition with low platelet counts and did not cause death among 1.7 million vaccine recipients in the study, the authors said Wednesday in Nature Medicine. Due to the rarity of CVST, the Scottish study may have been too small to allow any conclusions, said co-author Aziz Sheikh of the University of Edinburgh at a media briefing. “The common message is simply the rarity of these results,” the sheikh said. “This is reassuring data.” (Https://go.nature.com/3crKglC; https://go.nature.com/356SUBI; https://reut.rs/3gkG48m)
Aspirin does not help hospitalized patients with COVID-19
Aspirin did not improve survival or reduce the severity of the disease in a study of nearly 15,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The researchers hoped that because aspirin helps reduce blood clots in other diseases, it may be useful in patients with COVID-19 who are at higher risk of clotting problems. Patients randomized to receive 150 milligrams of aspirin once daily had fewer blood clots, but had no lower risk of developing the disease and required mechanical ventilation or a better chance of survival after 28 days. And they had a higher risk of major bleeding complications, not a rare problem with aspirin therapy. They had a slightly better chance of getting out of the hospital alive, medRxiv researchers said Tuesday before a peer review. But “this does not seem to be enough to justify its widespread use for patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” said Peter Horby of the University of Oxford, co-principal researcher of the process. (https://bit.ly/3cu4fQx; https://reut.rs/3gnY9SO)
COVID-19 control policies are still needed in warm weather
In the absence of locks and social distancing, weather and overcrowding have the greatest impact on the prevalence of COVID-19, a new study has found. But even if virus transmission is slightly lower in warmer conditions, summer time “cannot be considered a substitute for mitigation policies” because population density is more important than temperature, it says. in a report by Imperial College London published Wednesday in PNAS. Warmer regions should not expect to ease mobility restrictions before colder regions, especially because “warmer regions tend to have higher population densities – for example, Florida has a denser population than Minnesota.” said co-author Will Pierce in a statement. Lockdown has stronger effects than temperature or population density, his team said. Because temperature changes have a much smaller effect on transmission than political interventions, “as long as people remain unvaccinated, governments should not abandon policies such as blockades and social distancing just because seasonal change means the weather is warming,” the co-author said. r Tom Smith. The study also suggests “that lower autumn and winter temperatures may lead to easier spread of the virus in the absence of political intervention or behavior change.” (https://bit.ly/3vedKKk)
Open https://tmsnrt.rs/3c7R3Bl in an external browser for the Reuters schedule for vaccines under development.
Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.