Tag Archives: syndrome

Researchers conducted a SARS-CoV-2 serosurvey on blood donors in New Zealand | Instant News

Various strategies are being used around the world to curb the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new causative agent of COVID-19. The virus is highly contagious and is transmitted primarily by respiratory droplets from infected individuals.

New Zealand’s approach has reportedly been successful in reducing the incidence of COVID-19 effectively. In New Zealand, the first COVID-19 infection was reported on 26 February 2020. After a month from the first incident, the country implemented a strict 49 day lockdown. They follow difficult border controls, skillfully manage quarantine facilities for new arrivals, and also effectively manage isolation programs. As a result, New Zealand has remained largely free of COVID-19. However, it should be noted that at first, the diagnosis was limited reagent, rigorous PCR testing is not carried out. In addition, small community outbreaks and border intrusions were also reported.

Serological surveillance has been shown to be most effective and is used to determine the cumulative incidence and to assess the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. In the current scenario, due to national lockdowns and limited movement, blood donors have been used as population guards in many settings. New research has been released in medRxiv* preprint server, which focuses on SARS-CoV-2 transmission and prevalence in New Zealand, via blood donor serosurvey.

In the current study, samples were obtained through a static collection center and a mobile collection service run by the Blood Service of New Zealand. Samples were collected from 3 December 2020 to 6 January 2021, from individuals aged between 16 and 88 years. In total, 9,806 samples were analyzed. From the 2018 New Zealand census, scientists determined a detailed overview of the participants’ demographics. Spatially speaking, the participants were most likely to come from sixteen districts, out of the twenty, represented by the health council. This study was also evaluated by the Health and Disability Ethics Committee.

The researchers found that compared with antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein (N), specific antibodies to the Spike protein (S) and receptor binding domain (RBD) were maintained several months after COVID-19. Because of this, protein S-based assays are used in serosurveys. In this study, the serological testing algorithm was optimized for specificity due to the low number of COVID-19 cases reported in New Zealand. Furthermore, optimization is important because the prevalence of seropositive individuals is low (0.04%). This decreases the positive predictive value of the serologic test and also decreases the specificity.

In this study, samples were initially filtered using 2-step ELISA. This test is based on a one-point dilution test against RBD, after which a titration is performed against the trimeric S protein. Blood samples above the cut-off were then assessed using two immunoassays, namely, EuroImmun SARS-CoV-2 IgG ELISA (EuroImmun AG, Lübeck, Germany) and cPass replacement Viral Neutralization Test (sVNT) (GenScript, New Jersey, USA) . Samples were considered seropositive only after obtaining positive results in both commercial tests. The sensitivity and specificity of this test were evaluated using a Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curve, which is based on a previous analysis covering 413 pre-pandemic negatives, 99 confirmed cases of COVID-19 via PCR testing.

Investigators of this study have reported that among 9,806 samples studied, 18 were found to be positive for Spike IgG (EuroImmun) and antibodies that inhibit the RBD-hACE-2 (sVNT) interaction with a high degree of correlation (Pearson r 0.7993, p <0.0001). Furthermore, these 18 seropositive samples were analyzed using a multiplex bead-based assay. This test determines the reactivity of the antibody isotypes to the RBD, S, and N proteins, whose patterns are found to be similar to those of infections that occurred weeks or months earlier. Most of the samples showed high concentrations of RBD and S. IgG protein. However, very few samples reported the presence of N IgG, IgA, or IgM proteins against three antigens (S, N, and M).

The study reports that among 18 seropositive samples, six were associated with donors with previously confirmed COVID-19 infection. The other four seropositive samples were donors who had traveled to high-risk countries, such as the UK and Europe, in 2020. Thus, all four people were infected outside of New Zealand. The last eight seropositive samples came from seven different health districts, where the crude seroprevalence estimate was 0.082%. To estimate true prevalence, the Rogan-Gladen estimator was used with the CI Lang-Reiczigel method to assess the sensitivity of the test. In this study, it was estimated that the true seroprevalence was 0.103% (95% CI 0.09-0.12%). Furthermore, the research also revealed that during the study period, undiagnosed infections occurred.

Investigators from this study observed that the very low seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in New Zealand indicates reduced community transmission. Similar incidents have also been reported in Australia. This study is the first report to provide serological evidence of the success of New Zealand’s strategy to control COVID-19 before the vaccination program.

* Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be construed as conclusions, guidelines for health-related clinical / behavioral practice, or are treated as established information.


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Losing a long-term partner can be deadly, research shows | | Instant News

(CNN) – The world has joined Queen Elizabeth II in grief over the loss of her husband of seven decades on Friday, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, just two months before her 100th birthday.

The duo are a loving and close couple. Queen told guests at lunch on their 50th wedding anniversary the Phillip “simply put, been my strength and stayed all this time.”

With the loss of what the Queen calls “constant love and assistance,” attention is now turning to the Queen’s well-being. The death of a loved one is a blow every time, but losing a partner after years of being together can be very difficult.

Studies it has been shown that surviving partners may suffer from sleep disorders, depressive episodes, anxiety, impaired immune function, and poorer overall physical health.

For those concerned about the Queen at a time of great personal loss, many may wonder if there is medical evidence of grief affecting one’s health.

Broken heart syndrome is real

Known as stress cardiomyopathy, “broken heart” syndrome is a documented medical condition.

Broken heart syndrome occurs when the heart is suddenly stunned, is in acute stress, and the left ventricle is weakened. Instead of contracting into a normal arrow-like shape, the left ventricle fails to function, creating a rounder, pot-like shape.

First described in 1990 in Japan, heartbreak is so similar to a Japanese octopus trap called takotsubo that doctors have begun to refer to the condition as Takotsubo’s cardiomyopathy.

“The heart actually changes shape in response to acute emotional distress, such as following a break in a romantic relationship or the death of a loved one,” says New York cardiologist and author Dr. Sandeep Jauhar to CNN. in a previous interview.

In many cases, however, when the acute emotional stress disappears, the heart recovers and returns to its normal shape, Jauhar said.

“But I have had patients with acute congestive heart failure, life-threatening arrhythmias, and even death from this condition,” said Jauhar. “I think that is the clearest example of how our emotional life directly affects our hearts.”

This syndrome is most commonly experienced by women (90% of cases occur in women), by people with a history of neurological problems, such as seizures, and by people with a history of mental health problems.

The ‘widow effect’

There is another medical reality that can occur when a long relationship ends, research shows.

“The increased likelihood of a recently widowed death – often called the” widow effect “- is one of the best documented examples of the health effects of social relationships,” writes Dr. Nicholas Christakis, who runs The Human Nature Lab at Yale University and co-author Felix Elwert, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in a seminal 2008 study.

That risk of an elderly man or woman who died from any cause increased by between 30% and 90% in the first three months after the death of a partner, then fell to about 15% in the following months. The widow effect has been documented in all ages and races around the world.

Christakis and Elwert followed a representative sample of 373,189 older married couples in the United States from 1993 to 2002 and found that “being widowed did not uniformly increase the risk of all causes of death”.

When a partner dies from sudden death, such as an accident or infection, the risk of death by the surviving partner increases, the study found. The same is true for chronic diseases such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung or colon cancer that require careful patient care or prevention.

However, if a partner dies of Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, there is no impact on the surviving partner’s health – perhaps because the partner has had sufficient time to prepare for the loss of their partner.

Regardless, “the death of a partner, for whatever reason, is a significant threat to health and poses a substantial risk of death from any cause,” Christakis and Elwert wrote.

What can be done

Support is the key to how well a person can cope with their partner’s death. Many people find grief counseling helpful, according to US National Institute of Aging.

In Great Britain, people can get psychological therapy without reference from a general practitioner. The UK’s National Health Service recommends getting in touch if you have been in a bad mood for more than two weeks or a method you tried yourself didn’t help.

AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) also has this advice for survivors.

Don’t be bold: Surround yourself with people you don’t need to pretend to be okay with. “Grieving is a very brave and strong act; not for the weak,” said AARP.

Be kind to yourself: Get enough rest. “The more significant the loss, the deeper and longer the recovery process,” said AARP.

Expect a variety of emotions, not just sadness: According to the AARP, “your feelings can run as a whole from sad to angry to hopeless to the occasional look of happiness – and come back again. If you could only feel sad, you would be trapped in endless despair.”

Don’t hide from people: “Grief is a fairly lonely process without also isolating yourself,” says AARP. Try your best to connect with friends and family and let them help. “When caregivers accept the idea that seeing friends makes them tougher, they no longer feel guilty for having fun,” association word.


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Swiss research shows the SARS-CoV-2 cohort infection is rare in school classrooms | Instant News

The role played by school children in transmitting severe Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is a controversial issue in many countries. Although infection rates can be high in children, they rarely develop severe symptoms or health outcomes in the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Despite this, schools in many countries were closed during the first wave of the pandemic to contain the transmission of the virus, which resulted in disruption of education for more than 1.5 billion students worldwide.

Analyzing longitudinal changes in SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and clustering in Zurich schoolchildren during the first and second waves of the pandemic

Researchers from Switzerland recently presented the results of a longitudinal cohort study they conducted in the city of Zurich. The main objectives of this prospective cohort study were to analyze longitudinal changes in SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and assess seropositive groupings of children in school classes from June to November 2020 in Zurich, Switzerland.

Switzerland was one of the countries most affected by the second wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic during the fall of 2020 in Europe. Because schools in Switzerland remain open, they offer a moderate to high exposure environment for studying SARS-CoV-2 infection. Children were randomly selected from different schools and classes, stratified by district, and invited for SARS-CoV-2 serological testing. Parents of selected children completed questionnaires on health and questions related to sociodemography.

Research participants came from 275 classes in 55 schools. A total of 2,603 ​​children participated in the study in June-July 2020, and 2,552 children in October-November 2020. The age range of children was between 6 and 16 years. The main outcomes measured included SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in June-July and October-November 2020, seropositive grouping of children in classes, and presence of symptoms in children.

The seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 was 2.4% in summer and 4.5% in late fall

In June-July 2020, 74 seropositive children out of 2,496 children had serological results available. In October-November 2020 the number of seropositive children increased to 173 from 2,503 children. Overall, the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in summer was 2.4% and in late fall 4.5% in previously non-seropositive children. This resulted in a total of 7.8% of the children being seropositive. Seroprevalence varies across districts. In fall, it’s between 1.7 and 15.0%.

No significant differences were observed between lower, middle, and upper school levels or between children aged 6-9 years, 9-13 years, and 12-16 years. Of the 2,223 children tested in the summer and fall, 28/70 or 40% of previously seropositive children became seropositive, and 109 / 2,153 or 5% of previously seropositive children became seropositive. 22% of seronegative children and 29% of new seropositive children since summer showed symptoms. The ratio of children with SARS-CoV-2 infection to seropositive children was 1 in 8 between July and November 2020.

At least one child was detected in 47 of 55 schools and in 90 of 275 new seropositive classes. Of the 130 classes with high enrollment rates, no seropositive children were found in 73 or 56% of the classes; 1 or 2 seropositive children in 50 grades (38%), and at least 3 seropositive children in 7 classes (5%). In a stratified logistic regression model, the school level explains 8% and the grade level explains 24% the seropositive variant.

The findings indicated that the SARS-CoV-2 cohort infection was rare in school classrooms

With schools in Switzerland open since August 2020 and several prevention strategies in place, seropositive groupings of children occurred in only a few classes despite a spike in overall seroprevalence during the moderate to high period of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the community. Whether these findings will differ from the emergence of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant and the dynamic community transmission rates is uncertain.

“Future testing rounds of this study will provide insights into classroom transmission over extended periods during dynamic levels of community transmission and the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant.”

Journal reference:

  • Ulyte A, Radtke T, Abela IA, Haile SR, Berger C, Huber M et al. Longitudinal clustering and changes in SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in schoolchildren in the canton of Zurich, Switzerland: prospective cohort study of 55 BMJ 2021 schools; 372: n616 doi: 10.1136 / bmj.n616, https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n616


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‘I have a gun’: The woman with Tourette’s syndrome stops boarding an Air New Zealand plane | Instant News

A woman with Tourette syndrome is barred from boarding planes at Hamilton airport despite warning ground crew about her condition.

Destiny Te Whiu tries to catch a plane to Wellington on March 12, hoping to return home for his birthday the next day.

The 22-year-old man, who was only diagnosed with Tourette last year, warned Air New Zealand staff that he had the condition and was told there would be no problems. However, the captain stopped him from boarding the plane after hearing one of his tics.

This is the first time he has tried to board a plane since his diagnosis. Apart from that, Te Whiu also had a fear of heights, which always made flying a tense situation for him.

She’s been nervous ever since she arrived at the airport, worried that her stress is worsening her symptoms and tics getting her into trouble.

“I was very afraid of heights which could be the reason why I was stressed, plus I haven’t been flying in a while.

“It was very stressful,” he said.

Destiny Te Whiu details his experience trying to board a plane with Air New Zealand.  Photo / TikTok
Destiny Te Whiu details his experience trying to board a plane with Air New Zealand. Photo / TikTok

Because different stressful situations trigger different tic attacks, the young woman doesn’t know what symptoms she will experience at the airport.

As much as he tried to stay calm, to fend off the tic attacks, he started to become increasingly anxious – and then the poor tic appeared.

“I started hearing myself say I had a gun and I thought ‘oh no, this is not good’ and thought I should tell the crew – it’s my first time so I don’t know and I’m alone.”

He warns ground crews when dropping his bags at check-in, because tic attacks are unpredictable and, he added, he knows his tattoos can make him look even more threatening to some.

“They were like ‘okay cool’. I told them there is one thing I have said since I arrived at the airport and that is ‘I have a gun’, which I don’t have,” he said.

He said the crew alerted the captain and, moments later, he heard his name being called, just before he saw his bag being taken out again.

“A woman came five minutes later and sat next to me and apologized and said I couldn’t get on the plane, the captain didn’t let me get on because of my tics. I was crying,” she said.

“I just want to go home and see my family – it’s been a month and it’s my birthday the next day.

“Two hours later after the crying session, the woman asked if I wanted snacks and water. I had some. Then she explained that I would be given a hotel for the night, with free dinner, and they got me a driver to and from the hotel. “

Te Whiu was booked for a flight to Wellington the following morning.

“I was very worried. I couldn’t sleep the night before, which is obviously very bad for the tics. Luckily, I got on the plane and just fell asleep,” he said.

‘I won’t want this to anyone’

Tourette’s syndrome is a nervous system disorder that involves repetitive movements or unwanted sounds, known as tics.

“I was born like everyone else,” he said, explaining how he developed the syndrome as a result of stress.

Te Whiu is now learning to treat the condition, after initial shock diagnosis.

“It’s not something I would expect of anyone,” he said.

“When I was diagnosed, I had a really hard time,” he recalls, adding that he would be shut up indoors, away from the world.

“I cried continuously every time I tried to hang out with other people, even paying for gas was difficult. It was really hard for a month, then I got used to it and accepted it.

“I have doctor appointments constantly and I try to set it up and see where I am with it all the time,” he added.

He said no day was the same, as his symptoms varied depending on the level of stress he was under.

These days, Te Whiu is open about Tourette so that her tics don’t surprise the people she interacts with.

He said there is a community of Tourette sufferers in New Zealand, which he hopes Air New Zealand will listen to, to make sure this never happens again.

“I want to sit with people who are capable of making a difference so that we in the Tourette community can really speak up,” said Te Whiu.

He continues to be in close contact with Jade O’Connell, which last October stopped from boarding an Air New Zealand flight from Dunedin to Wellington, To attend Camp Twitch, a camp for those with Tourette’s syndrome.

Te Whiu said he hoped he, O’Connell and fellow sufferer Leighton Clarke, who all used social media to spread awareness about the condition, could sit down with Air New Zealand staff about the issue.

Air New Zealand apologizes for ‘misunderstanding’

Air New Zealand has since apologized to Te Whiu and admitted he should have been allowed to board the plane on March 12.

“While customers owning Tourette are not required to seek medical clearance before flying regretfully, misunderstanding of the procedure between staff members resulted in the decision being made not to allow these customers to board their aircraft as their verbal tic could potentially cause security issues, Chief Operational Integrity and Safety. Air New Zealand Captain David Morgan told the Herald.

“Medical clearance is only required if the customer is physically unable to complete the flight safely and requires permission from our in-flight medical team.”

Morgan said Te Whiu’s experience was “inconsistent” with airline policy and “not high standards of care / management. [Air New Zealand] likes to show customers “.

“The situation has highlighted areas that we can improve on. We have investigated our processes and made sure all relevant business areas are in line with the correct policies and procedures to prevent similar situations from occurring again, particularly with tourists with Tourette or accidental verbal harassment.

“We have reached out to customers to apologize for this experience and have been seeking feedback on how Air New Zealand can better support the Tourette community,” added Morgan.


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The Brazilian COVID variant is 2.5 times more contagious than the ancestral strain | Instant News

In early January 2021, a new variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was identified from travelers returning from Brazil. This variant, referred to as “P.1”, likely appeared in early to late November 2020, and then spread throughout Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, during the following December.

Researchers from Brazil modeled infection rates from ‘susceptible’ to individuals ‘exposed’ to variant P.1, and found that the transmission rate of the new variant was x2.5 times higher than the ancestral strain first identified from Wuhan. . They also found that there was a low risk of reinfection in individuals who had been infected with the original wave 1 variant (6.4%).

Pre-printed versions of the research paper are available for full reading at medRxiv* server.

Expansion diagram of the Deterministic Compartment (SEAIHRD) Model of Vulnerability, Exposure, Infection, and Recovery (SEIR). S: Vulnerable, E: Exposure (pre-symptomatic), H: Inpatient (severely infected individual), I: Infected (symptomatic individual, not hospitalized), A: Asymptomatic. D: Died, R: Recovered. The compartments are divided into 3 age classes, not represented here for simplicity. The compartment without sub-index corresponds to the wild-type variant, the compartment with sub-index 2 corresponds to VOC P.1. A continuous line represents the flux between each compartment. The dotted line shows the path of infection. The three parameters set by the model are indicated by small arrows.

Renato Coutinho and colleagues obtained data on inpatient cases of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Manaus using the Brazilian epidemiological syndrome surveillance system – SIVEP Gripe. Data for patients hospitalized between November 1st 2020 to 31 Januaryst 2021 was used to determine the rate of transmission and reinfection of variant P.1. In this three month period, the variant frequency has increased in Manaus from 0% of patients to 73%. The team also used the data that is now broadcast to calculate the time period from 31st Until January 15thth February, when the data was collected.

The investigators used a deterministic compartment model to observe infection rates across three categories: ‘hospitalized’, ‘infected’ (symptomatic but not hospitalized), and ‘asymptomatic’. Each category was then divided into three further plots according to age: ‘young’ (under 20 years), ‘adults’ (between 20 and 60 years), and ‘elderly’ (over 60 years). They compared the P.1 variant with the original variant to evaluate the rate of transmission and reinfection.

Their results are in agreement with findings from other studies that have estimated the transmissibility rate of P.1 to be higher than the original strain (x1.4-2.2).

Variant P.1 has been detected in at least 25 countries at present. Coutinho and colleagues note that P.1 transmission may be lower than they found if decreased immunity is an important aspect of COVID-19 and recognize that this study is somewhat limited by easy sampling and small sample sizes. However, they cautioned that serious mitigation measures and further immunological & pathogenicity studies are needed to fully understand the P.1 level.

* Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer reviewed and, therefore, should not be construed as conclusions, guidelines for health-related clinical / behavioral practice, or are treated as defined information.


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