Omicron infects young children more easily than other options; loss of smell can cause memory loss

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Below is a summary of the latest research on COVID-19. They include studies that require further research to confirm their findings and have not yet been peer-reviewed.

Children’s nose is less protected against Omicron

A small study suggests that the Omicron variant may be more effective at infecting children through the nose than earlier versions of the coronavirus.

Before the pandemic, children’s noses were less susceptible to the COVID-19 virus than adults. Studies of the original SARS-CoV-2 and some of its variants have shown that the virus has stronger immune responses in the cells lining the noses of young children and is less efficient at replicating itself in the kidneys of children than in the cells lining the noses of adults. n. But recent test-tube experiments mixing the virus with the nasal cells of 23 healthy children and 15 healthy adults found that antiviral defenses in the children’s noses “were less pronounced in the case of Omicron,” researchers reported Monday in PLOS Biology. They also say that compared to Omicron Delta and the original virus, it replicated more efficiently in the nasal lining cells of children.


“These data are consistent with the increase in pediatric infections observed during the Omicron wave,” the researchers wrote, calling for additional research.

Two young children wearing masks play in the snow in Bryant Park in the Manhattan borough of New York City on January. 14, 2022.
(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Smell problems may predict memory problems after COVID-19

The severity of olfactory dysfunction after contracting the coronavirus may be a better predictor of long-term cognitive impairment than the overall severity of COVID-19, according to an Argentinian study.

The researchers studied a random sample of 766 people over the age of 60, about 90% of whom were infected with the virus. Physical, cognitive, and neuropsychiatric tests performed three to six months after infection showed some degree of memory impairment in two-thirds of the infected participants. The loss of smell, known as anosmia, is “not a clinical condition, but a serious (presumed) cognitive impairment,” researchers said Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2022 International Conference, online and in San Diego.

“If we know what causes, or at least predicts, the long-term cognitive effects of COVID-19, we can start to better detect it and develop ways to prevent it,” said study leader Gabriela Gonzalez. In Alemán Statement of the Catholic Argentina of the Pontifical University of Buenos Aires.

Vaccine mandates are tied to nursing home staffing improvements

In US states that have mandated COVID-19 vaccines for nursing home workers, the rules have had the desired effect and have not led to mass layoffs or staff shortages, the study found.

In states without such a mandate, however, nursing home staffing shortages were observed during the study period, researchers reported Friday at the JAMA Health Forum. Between mid-June and mid-November 2021, data collected from the National Health Network Safety Network showed that staff vaccination coverage in the 12 states with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate ranged from 78.7% to 95.2%. According to the report, states without the mandate “consistently decreased staff vaccination coverage during the study window” and “had higher rates of staff shortages during the study period.”


“The association of mandates with higher vaccination coverage contrasts with previous efforts to increase uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among nursing home staff through education, outreach, and incentives,” the researchers said. They added that the data “may unfounded fears of mass staffing shortages due to vaccine mandates.”

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