the virus mutates –

Scientists have indications that the virus mutates in such a way that the pathogen infects humans more easily since it jumped from bats to us.

The analysis of more than 5,300 genomes (the complete genetic makeup) of the coronavirus from 62 countries shows that the virus is fairly stable. But there are mutations (in which the number of chromosomes in the cell has changed), including two genetic mutations that alter the critical “spike protein” that the virus uses to infect human cells.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine emphasize that it is not clear how the mutations affect the virus, but since the changes originated independently in different countries, the virus can spread more easily.

It can lead to a possible vaccine being useless before it is ready.

“This is exactly what we should pay attention to,” said Prof. Martin Hibberd, a professor of emerging infectious diseases and a senior author of the study. “We make vaccines and other therapies against this spike protein because it seems like a very good target. We have to keep in mind that mutations don’t make the vaccines useless. ”

“Although the number of genetic variations at this stage of the pandemic is relatively small, we have seen some that seem important to the virus and could have important implications for diagnostics, vaccines and therapies.”

Sources): Guardian London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine


Coronavirus found in sperm –

The coronavirus can continue to live in the semen of infected men, even if those men recover. That makes it more likely that the virus is sexually transmitted, say Chinese researchers.

A team at Shangqiu Municipal Hospital tested 38 male patients treated there in January and February at the height of the pandemic in China. About 16% of them had the coronavirus in their sperm. About a quarter of them were in the acute stage of infection and nearly 9% recovered, the team reported. “We found that SARS-CoV-2 may be present in the sperm of patients and that SARS-CoV-2 can still be detected in the sperm of convalescent patients,” said Diangeng Li of China’s People’s Liberation Army General Hospital in Beijing.

It is not a surprising finding. Many viruses can live in the male reproductive system. Ebola and Zika virus were both found to spread in sperm, sometimes months after a patient recovered.


Coronavirus did not emerge until the end of 2019 and spread very quickly

Regrettably, British researchers have to conclude that the coronavirus did not appear until late 2019. They would have preferred to see it circulated for some time, so that more immunity had been built up.

The scientists of it University College London Genetics Institute discovered 198 genetic mutations after research in 7,600 corona patients from around the world. Most mutations appeared in all countries surveyed. The virus then spread at lightning speed. “This excludes the scenario that the virus circulated among humans long before it was discovered, and thus that large parts of the population were already infected,” concludes Professor Francois Balloux.

Balloux estimates that no more than 10 percent of the world’s population has already been infected. We don’t have to be afraid of mutations. “Mutating all viruses is their nature. Mutations in themselves are not bad and nothing indicates that the coronavirus mutates faster or slower than expected. Until now we cannot say that it will become more deadly or contagious. ”

The mutations discovered can be traced back to their common ancestor, which emerged in late 2019. “We are really, really, really sure that this happened at the end of last year,” conclude the scientists in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution.


Dutch virologists may find antibody to coronavirus –

An antibody has been found that can prevent Covid-19 from entering a cell and making someone sick. If someone is already sick, the substance, called 47D11, can prevent the disease from spreading.

Scientists from Erasmus MC and Utrecht University write this in their trade journal Nature Communications. The antibodies have been developed against SARS, among others. “But when the corona crisis broke out, we took the antibodies out of the freezer and looked at how they react to the new virus,” said Berend-Jan Bosch, associate professor of virology at Utrecht University.

Number 47D11 turned out to work: Covid-19 still attached itself to the cell, but could no longer penetrate and infect it. The advantage is that it is a human substance, so that the body will not consider the antibody as an invader.

Bosch warns against too high expectations. The discovery, he says, is an “important first step, but there is still a long way to go. This is a long-term affair, it will not be available in the coming months. ”


“I just have a slow burn.” –

If you are thicker than you would like to be, an option is due to your burn. “I just have a slow burn.” Does that make sense?

No. Prof. Matthys, nutritionist at KU Leuven (in HLN): “No. Studies very clearly show that there is no such thing as a fast or a slow burner. If your profile is similar, you will basic metabolism those are also ”And by profile he means height, weight, whether you are muscular or not, etc.

Dietiste Sanne Mouha: “Many miracle diets respond to the myth that everyone loses kilos in a different way. Such as the “sirt food diet”, which states that losing kilos is about activating the so-called “skinny genes”. That is nonsense: there is no magic diet where the kilos fly off. Everyone needs an individual approach and must find a lifestyle that suits them. By the way, slimming is about one rule: eat fewer calories than you consume, or consume more calories than you eat. How you can do that is very individual. Everything depends on the relationship you have with food. Are you an emo-eater, sneaky snacker, starver or propper? Every type of eater needs a tailor-made solution. ”

Sources): HLN


Corona patients do not notice oxygen deficiency –

There are corona patients who don’t feel so sick at all, but still have oxygen levels that would normally make you unconscious. It is a mystery to doctors.

The phenomenon also referred to as “happy hypoxia” raises the question of exactly how the virus attacks the lungs. “It is remarkable how many people are absorbed with very low oxygen levels, while they are not aware of it,” said Dr. Jonathan Bannard-Smith of Manchester Royal Infirmary in The Guardian. “We don’t see this with flu or pneumonia. It is much more serious and it makes clear that a very strange physiology is happening before our eyes. ”

Dr. Mike Charlesworth, anesthetist at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, says that with normal lung disease, patients with such a severe oxygen deficiency become very ill. “With pneumonia or embolism, people don’t sit up in bed to talk to you. We don’t understand. We also do not know whether it causes organ damage that we cannot yet determine whether that compensates for the body. ”

Normally, an oxygen deficiency poses a great risk to the heart, brain and other vital organs. Usually, patients lose consciousness at an oxygen level of less than 75 percent. The breathlessness arises because the body notices that the CO2 level increases, because the lungs are unable to eliminate the CO2.

In some corona patients, this reaction does not occur, keeping them relatively fit, while the oxygen level in the blood is far too low. That actually defies the laws of biology. “I don’t think any of us expect what we see to be explained by the known processes,” said Bannard-Smith.

It is something many doctors notice: at first, corona patients do not look so bad at all until their situation suddenly deteriorates rapidly.

Sources): The Guardian


“Measles vaccination relieves complaints of coronavirus” –

The vaccination against mumps, measles and rubella would lead to a milder course of Covid-19. It could also explain why the elderly are so badly affected. The advice is to still vaccinate vulnerable elderly people.

The NOS reports this on the basis of British research from, among others, the University of Cambridge. The BMR vaccination has only been around forty years. The elderly have therefore not had the vaccination, most young people have. The scientists now suspect that the vaccination has a beneficial effect on the coronavirus.

Christian Hoebe, doctor of infectious disease control at the GGD Zuid-Limburg, is not surprised. “You often see that vaccines with living material have an overall effect on the immune system. Usually this is a detrimental side effect, now it could be a more favorable one. ”


This animation shows how a virus spreads in an airplane –

If you thought that flying would still be possible if the middle seats remain empty, you should take a look at this animation.

Researchers from Purdue University use the images to show how quickly a virus spreads through a large part of the entire aircraft.

This was already evident at the time of the SARS outbreak. On March 15, 2003, one sick man sitting in the middle of an airplane infected 22 of the 120 passengers on a three-hour flight from Hong Kong to Beijing. That is stated in a reconstruction from that year New England Journal of Medicine.

The risk turned out to be much higher for the people who were up to three rows in front of the sick man than for the rest of the plane, but two people who were seven rows away also became infected.

Qingyan Chen, professor at Purdue University to The Washington Post, “To be honest, planes are not designed to prevent disease transmission.”

Sources): HLN


What is natural wine (and does it really make you hungover)? –

Natural wine is on the rise. In a time when sustainability and health are important themes, this is almost impossible. But what exactly is it?

Natural wine is produced with as few interventions as possible. Pesticides are out of the question, but most winegrowers also skip or filter the wine. Adding ingredients to make the wine sweeter or more acidic will never happen with natural wine. That can of course make the wine less tasty.

It is a myth that natural wine does not contain sulfite. It is a by-product of the alcoholic fermentation and is therefore always naturally in wine. It is true that extra sulphite is added to ordinary wine, so that the wine has a longer shelf life, but natural wine farmers may also add a little bit of sulphite.

Many people claim that you don’t get a hangover from natural wine. That would be because no sulfite was added to it. But that is not true. You get a hangover from alcohol, not from sulfite. However, the presence of a lot of sulphite may make the hangover worse, because sulphite, like alcohol, has to be broken down by the liver.

Organic wine is also different from natural wine. Organic wine is mainly about sustainable grape cultivation, while natural wine goes a step further and also does not allow interventions in the production process.

Natural wine remains a niche. The vast majority of people drink ordinary wine. And that’s a good thing. Production is very labor intensive so there will never be enough for everyone.


reduce your chance of infection by 50 percent ”-

It has been said before: those who come up with a drug as effective as exercise become wealthy. In corona time, specialists therefore advise to keep moving. “Enough exercise, so not too little and not too much, is one of the most efficient ways to boost your immune system.”

Viral infections
That says sports physician Ruud van Thienen to the Flemish Sporza. “If you exercise properly, you can reduce your chance of a viral respiratory infection by 50 percent. That is gigantic. A medicine will never be able to do that, ”the doctor continues.

“Most people who feel well, and therefore sleep well and eat healthy, but do not exercise, still get 3 or 4 viral infections per year. They will not always be deathly ill, but they will have a cold, for example. Those who exercise enough will only have such an infection once or twice a year. That effect has been known for a long time and generally applies to most colds or coronaviruses. Whether this also applies to this specific new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) cannot be said with certainty at the moment. ”

According to the most recent studies, sports also protect against cancer. “White blood cells attack incipient tumors. So the risk of cancer is also 20 to 50 percent lower in people who exercise sufficiently. Especially for breast, stomach, ovarian and colorectal cancer, this has already been clearly demonstrated, ”explains Van Thienen.

Sports would also have a positive effect on the functioning of our brain. “Exercise increases the plasticity of brain cells,” says the sports doctor. “If you cycle for half an hour and then read a book, you will remember 10 to 20 percent more days after that than if you did not exercise. So it is best to start with half an hour of sports every school or working day. ”

For some time now, psychologists have been advising depressed people to exercise more. Van Thienen: “You can officially treat depression with sport. That is the curative effect, but there is also a preventive effect. Sometimes I am genuinely sorry for people who don’t exercise. If you are fitter, life will run easier even if you have the same concerns. ”

How many sports?
But how much do you have to move for the maximum effect? “The WHO recommends that you exercise moderately for 150 minutes or half of it intensively. I say: sweat for half an hour to 40 minutes 3 or 4 times a week. This will allow you to earn all the health benefits of exercising. ”

“It doesn’t matter how you do that. Walking is still better than doing nothing, but it is usually not enough to reap the benefits of sports. That’s why I say you should at least sweat. ” Van Thienen recommends the 60-60 rule: exercise for 60 minutes at 60 percent of your capacity.

Difficult to keep up? Give it a try for 4 to 6 weeks and you will automatically notice the difference. “You feel better, you sleep better, your mood is better, … After that 4th or 5th week, the benefits of sports speak for themselves,” said the expert.

Sources): Sporza