Common cold antibodies contain clues to COVID-19’s behavior


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Pulmonary CT accelerates COVID-19 diagnosis in stroke patients

In ER patients with stroke, lung imaging studies can help detect COVID-19 before nasal and pharyngeal swab test results come back, the researchers say. Stroke can be a sign of COVID-19, but swab results can take days to become available. At three New York City hospitals in March and April, doctors ordered computed tomography (CTA) angiograms of 57 stroke patients within 24 hours of hospital admission to look for COVID-19-related pneumonia. Thirty patients were found to have COVID-19, based on the results of their nasal swabs. But CTA scans, combined with patient symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath, allowed COVID-19 to be diagnosed with 83% accuracy before receiving swab test results. Screening stroke patients for possible COVID-19 based on symptoms alone is unreliable, because they may have no symptoms or may not be able to speak, the researchers point out in their report in the American Heart Association’s Stroke journal. “Early detection via CT scans has helped our center protect other patients and staff through early isolation and also allowed us to initiate early supportive care for those suspected of having strokes who are COVID-19 positive,” Co-author Dr. Charles Esenwa said the Montefiore Medical Center in a statement.

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The new coronavirus sneaks out of cells “with garbage”

The new coronavirus uses a surprising path to exit infected cells and continue to infect others, the researchers found. It hijacks a cellular structure called a lysosome, which is normally where cellular waste is destroyed. But the virus uses lysosomes as escape hatches, researchers report on Cell. “As far as I know, the coronavirus is one of 2 or 3 viruses capable of doing this, and certainly the only enveloped virus,” the said. coauthor Nihal Altan-Bonnet of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, referring to viruses that have a membrane surrounding their genetic material. “All other enveloped viruses … use other pathways for cell-to-cell spread,” added Altan-Bonnet. These include influenza, hepatitis C, dengue, Zika, West Nile, and Ebola. When lysosomes break down bacteria and viruses into small pieces, he explained, “these small pieces are presented on the surface of the cell to alert the immune system” to the presence of invaders. By using the cell’s waste disposal system to get out, the new coronavirus disables the lysosome and stops the immune system’s alarm, he said. “We believe our discovery of the path coronaviruses use to exit cells will be critical to our understanding of how these viruses devastate our bodies, particularly our immune systems.”

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