Omicron is better at capturing young noses than other options; Loss of smell can predict memory problems

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – 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 They include studies that require further research to confirm their findings and have not yet been peer-reviewed.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 that mixed 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,” the researchers reported Monday in PLOS Biology https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/ article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3001728. 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.

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 researchers presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2022 https:// aaic.alz.org/overview.asp, online and held 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 in JAMA Health Forum https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama-health-forum/fullarticle/2794727 . 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.”

For the Reuters global COVID-19 tracker, click https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/index.html and for the Reuters COVID-19 vaccination tracker https://graphics.reuters.com/world -coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/vaccination-rollout-and-access.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid and Shawana Alleyne-Morris; Editing by Bill Burkrot)

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