AFP, published on Wednesday 03 March 2021 at 18:38
An explosion, described as an “insane” attack by the Dutch Minister of Health, occurred on Wednesday near a Covid-19 screening center without causing injuries in the Netherlands, according to police.
The homemade device exploded in the village of Bovenkarspel in North Holland, 60 kilometers north of Amsterdam, causing material damage, including shattered windows, and whose target appears to have been a screening center, according to the Premier. Minister Mark Rutte.
The incident took place in an area close to where a screening center was burnt down last January, in the village of Urk, when a curfew came into effect to fight against the Covid-19 epidemic.
The introduction of this measure had caused the most serious riots in the Netherlands for several decades.
“Police were called at 06:55 am (05.55 GMT) by a security officer from the Covid-19 screening center to report that an explosion had taken place. He heard a loud bang and then saw that several windows in the building were ‘were broken, “police said in a statement.
“Outside the building was a metal cylinder which exploded,” she added.
According to North Holland Police spokesman Menno Hartenberg, this appears to be a deliberate act.
“It is not possible that it is an accident, the object was placed there and exploded near the facade of the screening center,” he told AFP on the phone. .
“For the moment, we do not rule out any leads and can not yet say anything about the mobiles, an investigation is underway”, added Menno Hartenberg.
The forensic police were conducting a search of the perimeter on Wednesday, which was cordoned off, according to an AFP journalist present at the scene.
– “Insane” attack –
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the workers at the testing center who “work very hard to keep us safe” appeared to have been the target of the attack, calling it “really terrible, really scandalous”, according to the agency. Dutch press ANP.
Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge condemned a “demented” attack.
The local health service, GGD, said it was “horrified” by the “aggressive and intimidating” incident.
“This cowardly act of destruction concerns us all,” GGD National President André Rouvoet said on Twitter.
The region in which Bovenkarspel is located is currently one of the parts of the Netherlands most severely affected by the outbreak, with 81 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to a national average of 27.2, NOS said.
The Covid-19 has killed 15,649 people in this country, which has a little over 17 million inhabitants.
Since the start of the vaccination campaign on January 6, more than 1.3 million doses have been administered, according to the government.
In January, a Covid test center was set on fire in the fishing village of Urk, before several nights of riots on Dutch territory.
The Bovenkarspel explosion came as the Dutch government on Wednesday began to relax health measures, the most stringent since the start of the pandemic. Legislative elections are also due to take place in two weeks.
– Legal battle –
The curfew has found itself in the last two weeks at the heart of a legal battle started by a group opposed to health restrictions, pushing the government to pass a new law to ensure the maintenance of the measure.
A lower court confused the Netherlands by ordering the government to lift the curfew immediately.
The latter was however maintained, the government having immediately appealed and the Court of Appeal having suspended the first judgment pending its decision.
During this epidemic season, the incidence of influenza is extremely low worldwide.
A photo: Shutterstock
– During this epidemic season, the incidence of influenza is extremely low worldwide. The trend began last spring, when the flu infection in Russia ended rather quickly against the backdrop of the emergence of COVID-19. The situation was the same in China, where the incidence of influenza in early 2020 quickly declined. And then it became obvious in our country that last year was different from all previous ones – the spread of the flu came to naught, – says and about. Director of the N.I. A.A. Smorodintseva, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, St. I.P. Pavlova, Doctor of Medical Sciences Dmitry Lioznov.
Why this happened, what role could the coronavirus have played in the disappearance of influenza and what may await us further – one of the leading experts on influenza told about this in an interview with KP.
WHERE IS INFLUENZA GONE
– In the southern hemisphere, late spring – early summer is the peak of the epidemic season for influenza and SARS, – explains Dmitry Lioznov. – And suddenly in 2020 it turned out that there was practically no flu infection there. In the beginning, there was a version that this was due to the insufficient number of tests for influenza – after all, most laboratories focused on identifying the causative agent of COVID-19. But, when analyzed, it turned out: quite a lot of research is being carried out, but there really is no influenza virus.
Now we see this already in the northern hemisphere, where the flu was supposed to appear, starting last fall.
– Why is this happening?
– There can be several explanations. The first is changing our behavior. Decrease in migration: tourist trips, business trips, etc. We see this happening all over the world. Population flows that used to actively move from one region to another, carrying the influenza virus, are now sharply reduced.
Second: we are using anti-epidemic measures that were not in such a strict regime in any of the influenza epidemic seasons. These are distancing, the use of masks, the distribution of patient flows in medical institutions.
Undoubtedly, these factors played a role. There is such a concept – the base reproductive number. It shows how many healthy people one sick person can potentially infect. For influenza, this number is 1.3 – 1.5. And for Covid it reaches 3.5, that is, more than two times higher. Therefore, with the observance of certain anti-epidemic measures, the risk of contracting the flu becomes lower. But this is not enough to prevent covid, as we can see.
And, of course, it is important to take into account that this year almost 60% of the country’s population was vaccinated against influenza. This is also of great importance.
WHEN ONE VIRUS CAN SUPPLY ANOTHER
– Dmitry Anatolyevich, what do you think about the version “covid has replaced the flu” – from a scientific point of view, is this even possible?
– We do not yet have confirmed data on the interaction between influenza and COVID-19 pathogens in the human body. But in principle, such a mechanism is known, it is called “interference of viruses” – when one suppresses the other. It is impossible to deny that this is possible in this case.
– And what are the examples of viruses’ “hardiness”?
– If a person has contracted the hepatitis B and C viruses, then the hepatitis C virus usually dominates. But I repeat: so far there is no such data about the suppression of the influenza virus by the causative agent of Covid.
On the other hand, there are observations in the world about co-infection – when patients are infected with COVID-19 pathogens and influenza at the same time. It is known that, in particular, in the elderly, this combination is more severe and leads to worse consequences.
Head of the Research Institute of Influenza Dmitry Lioznov
WHY THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE FLU IS WORRY OF THE EXPERTS
– You have been studying influenza for many years. The current situation, when he is not with us, what feelings does it evoke in you as a researcher? Is this something extraordinary?
– Of course, the overall situation is unique. It has its advantages, but at the same time, it raises some concerns.
– The pros are clear: people don’t get the flu, that’s good. Do not get sick with two infections at the same time (flu and Covid). As I have already mentioned, this year in our country the maximum number of the population in the entire history has been vaccinated against influenza.
What is the difficulty of not detecting influenza or detecting in relatively small numbers? The question arises about vaccinations next year. The fact is that the World Health Organization is studying viruses in the interepidemic period in our country and during the epidemic season in the southern hemisphere. This is necessary in order to develop recommendations: what vaccine strains will need to be used for the next season.
Traditionally, in late February – early March each year, WHO announces to manufacturers which strains should be used to produce influenza vaccines. And it does so based on estimates of thousands of influenza viruses.
This year the situation is different, there were few influenza viruses. And, of course, this complicates the development of the recommendations that WHO experts will have to make on vaccine strains.
CAN VACCINES AGAINST COVID, POLIOMIELITIS AND BCG HELP TO PROTECT AGAINST COVID?
– Dmitry Anatolyevich, at the dawn of the pandemic, the hypothesis was discussed that the flu vaccine can somehow help protect against covid. This point of view has already been completely swept aside, is it considered untenable?
– This applies to any vaccines. Vaccinations that are not specific to a given pathogen do not protect. It doesn’t matter if they are influenza vaccines or other vaccines – they, of course, do not work against infections that are not targeted.
On the other hand, influenza vaccination is good in that it at least prevents the development of influenza infection and the risk of influenza + Covid co-infection.
And it is also known that influenza vaccination or other vaccines can stimulate nonspecific immunity, that is, in general, increase the protection of a person. But it is important to understand that, unlike vaccination against a specific pathogen, this may not work for everyone and not always. Therefore, for example, there is still no convincing evidence that BCG or polio vaccine makes a significant contribution to protection against COVID-19.
TO THE POINT
Two vaccinations in one ampoule
– Do we need a combined flu and coronavirus vaccine?
– The fate of the coronavirus infection is not yet clear. Will it become seasonal, permanent? Or is it that the stages of high morbidity and vaccination of the population will pass now, and a fairly stable immunity will form in us? If we proceed from the fact that this pathogen will constantly live with us, then, of course, we need a vaccine that will protect both from the flu and from the coronavirus at the same time.
Our institute is now developing a vaccine of this kind based on an influenza vector. We hope it will provide immune protection against both coronavirus and influenza infections.
– When can such a vaccine appear?
“If all goes well, we will be able to start clinical trials at the beginning of autumn in order to get the results of the first and second phases of vaccine use in healthy volunteers by the New Year.
To be continued. In the second part of the material, read about how the flu and COVID-19 are actually similar and different, and also why most people tolerate covid easily or asymptomatically.
What does flu have in common with coronavirus and will COVID-19 repeat the fate of the Spanish flu?
And also about whether covid actually has characteristic symptoms for which it cannot be confused with anything [часть 2]
Scientists have found a genetic predisposition to Covid: what will it give us and whether it is necessary to take a test
How this mechanism works, kp.ru was told by an expert immunologist Nikolai Kryuchkov (details).
Virologist Altstein explained why the coronavirus pandemic will end by 2022
“Komsomolskaya Pravda” discussed the statement of the WHO Director Hans Kluge with the professor-virologist (details).
The incidence of influenza began to fall very noticeably
A photo: Maria LENTZ
After the arrival of a new coronavirus infection, the incidence of influenza began to fall very noticeably. And by the current epidemic season, it has practically disappeared – both in Russia and around the world, said “KP” and about. Director of the N.I. A.A. Smorodintseva, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, St. I.P. Pavlova, Doctor of Medical Sciences Dmitry Lioznov. Why this could happen, the expert explained in the first part of the interview. We continue the conversation.
“IN THE MOST OF ARVI, IT IS NOT PRINCIPLE FOR DOCTORS TO RECOGNIZE THE AGENT”
– Dmitry Anatolyevich, since the appearance of COVID-19 to this day, discussions have not ended: what are the similarities and differences between influenza and covid. What would you say as an infectious disease specialist and head of the Influenza Research Institute?
– In general, acute respiratory infections caused by different pathogens (influenza, covid, and other acute respiratory viral infections) appear very similar. If we are talking about mild forms, then it is often very difficult to distinguish them from each other without laboratory research. That is why we take a smear to determine if it is flu, rhinovirus, adenovirus, etc. But such studies are needed rather for epidemiological purposes, monitoring the spread of infections. For doctors, with most respiratory infections, it does not matter what caused a particular ARVI – because the treatment is mainly symptomatic: antipyretics and drugs, depending on the lesion of the upper respiratory tract.
The exception is influenza and covid. Because there are direct antiviral drugs with proven effectiveness to treat influenza. And covid is a disease that requires special vigilance: both in terms of treatment and anti-epidemic measures.
Today, if we see symptoms of ARVI in a patient, then first of all, of course, we think about Covid. And only after excluding it after research, one should assume another respiratory infection.
IS THERE A “SPECIAL” COUGH WITH COVID-19
– Does the covid still have characteristic symptoms that cannot be confused with anything? Or is it a delusion?
– They often talk about the loss of smell. In fact, it is seen in many respiratory viral infections. But with Covid, undoubtedly, more often than with other acute respiratory viral infections.
– Is there any special cough that sets off covid patients?
– More likely no than yes. With a mild and moderate form of COVID-19, it is quite difficult to distinguish between the clinical picture.
– Cardiologists say that with coronavirus infection, the inner lining of the blood vessels is affected. Is this even possible with other respiratory infections, or is it a unique complication?
– Yes, this is typical, for example, for a severe course of influenza, especially in older patients,
Head of the Research Institute of Influenza Dmitry Lioznov
WHY MORE THAN HALF OF PEOPLE TAKE COVID EASILY
– It is also often discussed: can COVID-19 become chronic? Influenza surely can’t?
– Influenza, of course not. We have known the coronavirus infection for a year already, but it still remains a lot of mysteries for us. So, we see that in some cases, the patient may have a long-term isolation of the pathogen COVID-19. The question is – is it a chronic form?
In general, respiratory viruses, pathogens of ARVI, are not characterized by a chronic course. These are acute infections, with elimination (destruction – Ed.) Of the pathogen. For some of them, re-infection is possible, even several times during the year. For example, the same rhinoviruses, since there are many of them, dozens of serotypes. For covid, there is no data on the chronic course.
– According to international data, at least 45-50% of people tolerate covid asymptomatically, and another 30-35% – in mild and moderate form. Why, in your opinion, is this happening?
– Why do all other respiratory infections in the vast majority of cases proceed easily? This means that the body can cope with the pathogen. It should be so. There are potentially fatal infections like rabies, for example. If the vaccination is not done in time, the person will inevitably die. With regard to all other infections, we see, if this is not a plague, not a particularly dangerous disease, then in most patients they proceed mildly and in a moderate form. And for a smaller part it is difficult and extremely difficult.
DO I NEED ANTI-VIRAL TABLETS FOR Mild INFLUENZA AND COVID-INFECTION
– Also, if we compare covid and flu, we know that there are direct-acting medications for the second, as you already mentioned. But flu medications are said to become less effective over time. It’s true?
– With regard to antiviral drugs, as well as antibiotics, the pathogen can develop resistance (resistance to the drug. – Ed.). If we talk about the drugs used today against influenza, domestic and foreign, then the resistance to them is insignificant. That is, fortunately, all the drugs that are available today for the treatment of influenza are effective. In addition, new drugs are being developed. Recently, the drug baloxavir for a single dose was registered in our country (“KP” told about this invention of Japanese scientists). Thus, we have a sufficient arsenal of anti-influenza drugs.
– Are they generally needed in case of a mild form?
– If a person is not included in the risk group (age 60+, people with chronic diseases, etc. – Ed.) And the disease proceeds easily, then antivirals can often be dispensed with. Patients at risk of such drugs are needed to prevent the development of a severe form of the disease and complications.
– For a mild form of COVID-19, how relevant are antiviral drugs?
– Today there are no antiviral drugs with proven efficacy against the pathogen COVID-19. Therefore, of course, with a mild form of the disease, if there are no aggravating factors, therapy can take place with the help of symptomatic and pathogenetic agents (that is, they affect not the virus itself, but the painful processes that the infection causes – Ed.).
QUESTION IN THE TOPIC
Will COVID-19 repeat the fate of the Spanish flu?
– Dmitry Anatolyevich, what do you think: why none of the flu strains since the “Spanish” did not lead to such a large-scale pandemic and to as many victims as COVID-19?
– Because before there was no such pathogen. We know the rest. The last influenza pandemic of 2009, according to estimates, led to the death of 200 thousand people (the number of victims of COVID-19 according to statistics is already over 2.5 million – Ed.) Then vaccines against the pandemic virus were quickly developed. In addition, part of the population was immune to the new influenza virus.
And now there are practically no immune people. And the new virus naturally spreads well.
– The Spanish flu had three waves. Is there a pattern in this? Can we assume that it will be so with COVID-19?
– I would not like, of course. During the 2009 pandemic, we had two waves. And then the causative agent of pandemic influenza became seasonal. And this is quite natural. Conditions change, in certain seasons of the year it is more difficult for the pathogen to be transmitted, spread. All of this matters.
It’s hard to say if COVID-19 will have a third wave. We see that not all of them have recovered yet. There are people who avoid infection, competently observe anti-epidemic measures. If we do not comply with certain measures, we do not vaccinate those who need vaccination first of all, then, of course, the risks of an increase in morbidity remain. That is why it is necessary to take a responsible attitude to the vaccination campaign against coronavirus infection.
MORE ON THE TOPIC
Head of the Research Institute of Influenza Dmitry Lioznov: “After the appearance of COVID-19, the flu almost disappeared”
Why our longtime satellite seemed to disappear from the face of the earth after the arrival of covid and this is not only good, but also causes concern of experts (details)
Public health experts explain whether it is necessary to continue wearing a mask even after receiving the coronavirus vaccine
The coronavirus vaccine raised little hope that we can back to normal and stop wearing a mask, but experts estimate that this will not happen so quickly. Although isolation will not be necessary, some of the preventive measures will need to be maintained for a long time.
One of the new customs to which we have had to adapt is to wear a mask or mask. To go out on the street, or when we are with other people, it is necessary to cover the mouth to avoid contagion.
But those who have already received the vaccine wonder, logically, why they should continue to wear a mask. And the scientists explain in detail the reasons why this custom will be with us for a long time.
The recommendation to wear a chinstrap will remain in effect for some more time
Vaccines have a high percentage of effectiveness: most of those who have received them are protected from the coronavirus. But even if they do not show symptoms and do not get sick, those vaccinated can still transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for the disease.
This virus, after vaccination, can still colonize the respiratory tract, even with the protection of systemic immune cells, which protect the body from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
According to Avery August, Professor of Immunology at Cornell University in the United States, “we now know that vaccines can protect, but what we haven’t had enough time to really understand is: does it protect from spread?” Since it is also not known how long the vaccine provides immunity, they should carefully study the effects before allowing those vaccinated to leave the mask.
You also have to take into account the constant mutations coronavirus: Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was not as effective in South Africa, because the B1351 variant is present there. But as more people get vaccinated, the prevalence of the virus will decrease.
The virus can still colonize the respiratory tract after vaccination
Although some prevention measures may be made more flexible from mass vaccination, such as the number of people in social gatherings, preventive distancing and the use of masks will continue to be necessary to prevent further infections. But there is no date to drop these precautions.
“We will probably find out as more and more people get vaccinated, somewhere in mid-September,” August said. “If everyone is vaccinated, there will be less virus,” said the scientist.
News about Sputnik Light
The developers of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V applied for the registration of the drug Sputnik Light, for application in a single dose. “Sputnik V has already submitted the request for urgent registration in Russia and other countries of its single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine,” reported the producers in the drug’s official Twitter account, adding that it “goes out to the world in March.”
Unlike Sputnik V from Centro Gamaleya, which requires two injections with a 21-day hiatus, Sputnik Light It consists of a single dose.
The director of Gamaleya, Alexandr Gintsburg, explained that the safety of the single-dose vaccine is “proven”, but its efficacy for use in the elderly has yet to be studied. In his opinion, Sputnik Light will serve to reduce mortality in situations where it is impossible to inoculate the two doses necessary to boost immunity.
They assure that in March the “Sputnik Light” goes on the market
Vladimir Putin, presented in mid-December at the annual press conference the “Sputnik Light”, the efficiency of which he estimated at 85%.
The president of the Fund for Direct Investments of Russia (FIDR), Kiril Dmitriev, explained that Sputnik Light is aimed at the foreign market and “can become an interim and effective solution for many countries that are at the peak of the disease and want to save as many lives as possible. ”
“The first participants in the Sputnik Light vaccine research have already been vaccinated. As volunteers pass the checks, the number of vaccinated will increase,” Moscow Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rákova said yesterday, quoted by the Russian news agency Interfax . According to the official, at the moment there is an active process of registration of requests from volunteers, of which 490 they passed medical check-ups in the last two days and were vaccinated this Saturday.
Coronavirus: when would the Sputnik V vaccine produced in Argentina be ready
Richmond Laboratory announced that signed an agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to produce the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in Argentina.
“It is a one year processAt least, with which it is not to create expectations now but tomorrow not to fall back on waiting for vaccines to arrive from abroad and to have a local production “, clarified Marcelo Figueiras, director of the laboratory.
Figueiras explained in radio statements that the production “will be carried out with the participation of Hetero Labs Limited, laboratory established in the Republic of India, with whom Laboratorios Richmond SACIF has had a strategic alliance for more than 25 years “.
“We made developments together such as the HIV products, our latest launches were in combination with them with raw materials from there and a finished product in Argentina and now with biotechnology products,” said Figueiras, while celebrating that this alliance paved the way with Gamaleya that “it is doomed to the scale of production and they cannot be dealing with the transfer of technology.”
Coronavirus: when would the Sputnik V vaccine produced in Argentina be ready
For the production of the Sputnik V in Argentina, Richmond will build a new plant in the Buenos Aires town of Pilar, which will take about a year.
On the financing to achieve this agreement and the construction of a new plant, Figueiras explained that it is “a mix of their own capital and local partners who are willing to bet on this great cause.It is a very expensive project between 60 and 90 million dollars “and that” there is no state money. ”
The changes in the process between the agreement and the materialization of the vaccines manufactured in Argentina, clarify from Richmond, They will depend “on how the discussions are approached and continue” and they expanded: “That is why there is the partner from India to whom the technology transfer has already been made to manufacture there and has been solving all these months the problems surrounding the transfers If we do the final process it will be faster, if we have to ferment there it will be a little slower. ”
“We are talking about biological products that have a very great complexity and great care, that is why we decided to work together with experienced partners “, figured Figueiras.
Asked about the commercialization and distribution in Argentina of the Sputnik V doses, he pointed out: “We are going to have to determine the commercialization over time. My dream is to manufacture the vaccine for Argentina at an adequate cost, as low as possible. ”
The Richmond laboratory announced that it has signed an agreement with the Russian Fund for Direct Investment
“It is being said that 70% of the world’s population must be vaccinated, Although industry and science were at the height of the circumstances, the production capacity is not enough, the glass is not enough to make this amount of vaccines, so it is important that we have our own production and local development to face this pandemic “he added.
Regarding the new Richmond plant, he explained that they expect to manufacture “100 million doses” although he clarified: “If you have to ferment it will be 22 million doses at the beginning it is always scalable because they are plants that adapt”.
“We want to have the capacity to supply other countries,” concluded the president of the laboratory.
Almost four million Portuguese people took to the streets this Saturday, a number that should also have been repeated yesterday, says the consultancy PSE, which has been measuring the mobility of the Portuguese. It is the busiest Saturday so far since the year 2021 began, and it corresponds to an increasing tendency of deflation to this as time goes by. The spring weather that was felt at the weekend, in contrast to the previous Saturday’s storm, may also help explain the phenomenon, which affects more men than women – they stay more at home – and which is more frequent in the lower classes than in the upper classes. This and also the growing feeling that the danger was already greater, due to the decrease in the number of deaths and hospitalizations caused by the pandemic.
“The increase in mobility is a growing trend that has been observed since the closure of schools”, on January 21st, observes the specialist in data analysis of PSE Nuno Santos. The consultant accounts for all types of travel, whether on foot or in transport. And after an initial period in which home departures suffered a significant decrease, precisely because of the closure of schools, the Portuguese are not only returning to the street, but also doing it more often and for longer periods of time. because they started to risk going further.
On the first Saturday after the schools closed, there were three million Portuguese on the street. It is the day of the week that people take the opportunity to shop, and that is why it has always registered, even before the pandemic, more movement than Sundays, even though it falls far below the profile of weekdays.
Last Friday, almost six million people went to the street, which is equivalent to 75% of those that were usually on this day of the week before the covid-19 appeared. In other words, there was only a 25% reduction compared to normal times, when international studies point to a need to lower at least 40% of trips to cause an impact on the pandemic, points out the same responsible.
The gradual increase in displacements recorded over the past few weeks – what PSE calls confinement erosion – has not discriminated against regions or ages. It is true that the elderly continue to spend more time at home, as do women, regardless of age, but all age groups have seen an increase in the number of people leaving home. “There are an average of more than one million people per day on the street, either at weekends or on weekdays, compared to the time when schools closed,” says Nuno Santos, for whom the week’s figures coming up will be crucial for policy makers to make choices.
There are two hypotheses, he explains: either this lack of stability stabilizes or increases. And it will be based on that that decisions will have to be taken, in a scenario in which domestic recollection had much less adherence than in 2020. “The challenge will be to design rules that allow to control the number of people we want to circulate, managing at the same time people’s expectations ”, considers the same specialist.
From a gender perspective, men have been the first to jump out onto the street as soon as they can. The difference in behaviors depending on social strata has some obvious explanations: on the one hand, there are professions where telecommuting is not possible; on the other hand, more precarious living conditions make life outside the door more appealing.
The data analyst is, in any case, optimistic: “Despite this erosion of confinement, the Portuguese have shown exemplary behavior since the beginning of the pandemic, respecting what is asked or imposed on them.”
The PUBLIC tried to find out from the PSP if the increase in the number of people walking during the weekend increased violations of the rules of the state of emergency, such as the ban on changing the county on Saturday and Sunday or the mandatory use of mask on the street when social distance turns out to be insufficient. But those numbers were not yet available.
Most of the emerging infectious diseases in the world are caused by zoonoses, vertebrate animals then transmitting their disease to humans. Among the group of mammals, bats are the animals that transmit zoonotic viruses the most. Coronaviruses (CoVs) that infect humans, such as SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, which bats carry, have caused large-scale epidemics in recent times.
A survey conducted by experts from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) offers a possible explanation for the spread of these viruses. And climate change plays a key role in this theory: Global greenhouse gas emissions over the past century have made southern China a hotspot for coronaviruses, fueling the growth of forest habitat favored by bats, the authors say.
In the image above, a graphic description of the phenomenon is made. There has been a shift in the global distribution of bats, mainly in Yunnan province in southern China and neighboring regions of Myanmar and Laos: climatic conditions have increased the number of species in an area. The mentioned region coincides with the possible spatial focus of carriers of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2.
Changing the distribution of bats: a new habitat
Among the consequences of climate change in China is the growth of plants and trees in places that shouldn’t be. Rising temperatures, sunlight and carbon dioxide have changed southern China’s natural habitats. Where there used to be tropical scrubland, there are now tropical savannas and deciduous forests. At present, many species of bats are lodged in this environment which have found a suitable place for their vital development.
About 40 species of bats moved to Yunnan Province, leading to the creation of about 100 other types of coronaviruses transmitted by bats.
As a result, the study authors constructed a map of global vegetation from a century ago, using data on temperature, precipitation, and cloud cover. Later, they worked with information on the adaptation of bat species in different types of vegetation to be able to calculate the global distribution at the beginning of the 20th century. Comparing this with the current distributions, they realized the great richness in species and the increase in the number of species that has occurred over the last century.
Read also: With global warming, our forests will be set ablaze !.
“Understanding how the global distribution of bat species has changed due to climate change may be an important step in reconstructing the origin of the COVID-19 outbreak“, explains Dr Robert Beyer, researcher in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge and first author of the study.
The coronavirus epidemic is inexorably continuing its progression in France. While an outbreak of contamination cases has prompted the authorities to place 20 departments under enhanced surveillance, the number of patients in the hospital is around 25,000, including some 3,400 in intensive care, according to data published by Public Health France, Saturday February 26. The positivity rate continues to increase and now reaches 7.2%.
We now count 24,995 people infected with the coronavirus in hospitals, against 25,130 Friday. A week earlier, they were 25,269. Of these nearly 25,000 patients, 1,007 have been admitted to hospital in the past 24 hours, against 1,634 on Friday. As regards the most severe cases of the disease, 3,445 patients (including 208 transferred in the last 24 hours), are placed in intensive care units, against 3,445 on Friday.
Some 24,000 (23,996) people have been diagnosed positive for the virus (compared to 25,207 on Friday) and the positivity rate (the number of positive people out of all those tested) continues to increase, at 7.2%, against 7.1% on Friday and 6.1% on Saturday, February 20.
In total, the epidemic caused 186 deaths on Saturday out of a total of 86,332 victims in France since the start of the spread of the virus. More than 3 million people will soon have received at least one dose of vaccine: there were 2.918 million on Friday. Among those vaccinated, 1.561 million received the two doses of the anti-Covid serum, as part of the vaccination campaign.
Scientists have identified a genetic predisposition to a severe form of Covid-19 disease.
A photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN
Why do some people get sick with coronavirus and do not even notice it, while for others, meeting with COVID-19 is associated with a deadly risk? Russian scientists from several of the country’s best research centers, including the Higher School of Economics and the Pirogov Medical University, as well as the Moscow State University and the Filatov City Clinical Hospital, have discovered a genetic predisposition to the severe form of COVID-19. What is the essence of research? Do we urgently need to be examined for a genetic predisposition to the severe course of covid, “Komsomolskaya Pravda” deals with immunologist, candidate of medical sciences and general director of the contract research company Nikolai Kryuchkov.
How does a showcase for immunity work?
In our body there are special HLA molecules of the first type (HLA 1). They show the surrounding cells, primarily the cells of the immune system, information about what is happening inside the cell itself. These can be any changes, for example, oncological, or autoimmune, as well as infection of the cell with an infection.
– If we try to explain this mechanism, even if approximately, but clearly, then it resembles a showcase. On this showcase, with the help of HLA 1 molecules, information is laid out about everything that is out of order in the cells and requires a response, says Nikolai Kryuchkov.
Expert in the development, registration and research of drugs, candidate of medical sciences Nikolay Kryuchkov.
SARS-CoV-2 launched an invasion: what is happening inside us
For example, mucosal cells become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This means that the virus has picked up the receptors, a cascade of reactions has occurred, and it has penetrated into the cell.
“The next task of this dangerous virus is to copy itself, and it does this using the resources of the cell,” explains Nikolai Kryuchkov.
While this synthesis of viral proteins is taking place, the cell uses a “showcase” mechanism to signal SOS: to show “problems” to cells of the immune system, namely CD8 cells, the so-called T-lymphocytes – killers.
The trick is that a CD8 cell can read a foreign structure only if it is combined with HLA 1. Then, the immune system selects and reproduces exactly those killer cells that are suitable for destroying a specific infection, for example, coronavirus.
Protection against coronavirus is passed on from mom and dad
The first class HLA molecules themselves are of three types – A, B and C, and have many genetic variants that are inherited from the mother and from the father.
“This legacy forms the individual genetic profile of a person, and in some people this profile is formed in such a way that it is most effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” says Nikolai Kryuchkov. – They, relatively speaking, were lucky and their immune system reacts more effectively to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as a result – people carry this infection in a milder form. The researchers then tried to develop a risk scale that shows how much a personal genetic profile contributes to a propensity for a milder or more severe COVID-19 course.
Is it time for us to use gene therapy to prevent severe covid?
This research is exploratory, that is, this is a very early stage in the study of the issue, it only formulates a hypothesis.
– Scientists make an educated assumption that the structure of HLA 1 really affects how a person carries a coronavirus infection, but it is impossible to say with certainty whether this is so or not until the hypothesis is tested by other studies, says Nikolai Kryuchkov. – Similar scientific research was carried out in relation to many infections, for example, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV. And it is likely that there really is such an effect. Another thing is that this is not the main factor that determines the effectiveness of the immune system’s fight against infection. This does not mean that if you are lucky with the genotype, then you will not get sick with covid or guaranteed not to die. The risks are simply reduced.
Running to the laboratory and doing a study of your genetic profile is completely pointless, the expert is sure. In addition, it is still impossible to change the genotype.
– Gene therapy drugs, of course, are already appearing. But even in the case of orphan (rare, – ed.) Diseases caused by a defect in one specific gene, such drugs do not always work and do not always provide a lifelong effect, ”recalls Nikolai Kryuchkov. – However, the scientists have done serious work and it is very good that similar studies are being carried out in Russia and other countries. They do not bear fruit immediately, it is a gradual process of obtaining knowledge from the mass of the unknown. The purpose of this research is to understand how specific immunity works in general and with COVID-19 in particular. Over time, all this can bring practical benefits for the prevention and treatment of coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
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