Researchers performed whole-genome sequencing of a house cat infected with coronavirus last year — ScienceDaily


Since being recognized in individuals in 2019, SARS-CoV-2 has gone on to contaminate a variety of animal species, wild and home. Issues abound that these species jumps might result in novel mutations and even dangerous new variants.

In a brand new report, researchers from the College of Pennsylvania’s College of Veterinary Drugs and Perelman College of Drugs discover that, for at the very least one instance of obvious interspecies transmission, this crossing the species boundary didn’t trigger the virus to achieve a major variety of mutations.

Writing within the journal Viruses, the scientists recognized a home home cat, handled at Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital, that was contaminated with the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 subsequent to an publicity from its proprietor. The total genome sequence of the virus was a detailed match to viral sequences circulating in individuals within the Philadelphia area on the time.

“SARS-CoV-2 has a extremely extremely extensive host vary,” says Elizabeth Lennon, senior writer on the work, a veterinarian, and assistant professor at Penn Vet. “What this implies to me is that, as SARS-CoV-2 continues to be prevalent within the human inhabitants, we have to watch what’s occurring in different animal species as effectively.”

The discover is the primary printed instance of the delta variant occurring in a home cat in the US. Notably, the cat’s an infection was solely recognized by testing its fecal matter. A nasal swab didn’t lead to a optimistic check.

“This did spotlight the significance of sampling at a number of physique websites,” says Lennon. “We would not have detected this if we had simply performed a nasal swab.”

Lennon and colleagues have been sampling canines and cats for SARS-CoV-2 since early within the pandemic. This specific pet cat, an 11-year-old feminine, was dropped at Ryan Hospital in September with gastrointestinal signs. It had been uncovered to an proprietor who had COVID-19 — although that proprietor had been isolating from the cat for 11 days previous to its hospitalization, one other family member doing the cat care within the interim.

Working via the Penn Middle for Analysis on Coronaviruses and Different Rising Pathogens and Perelman College of Drugs microbiologist Frederic Bushman’s laboratory, the group obtained a complete genome sequence of the cat’s virus.

Sequencing revealed the delta variant, extra particularly, the AY.3 lineage. The researchers didn’t have a pattern from the contaminated proprietor. Evaluating the sequence to the database stored by the Bushman laboratory, nevertheless, the cat’s virus was nothing out of the bizarre when it comes to the sequences of SARS-CoV-2 circulating within the Delaware Valley area on the time.

“Once we checked out a random sampling of human sequences from our geographic space, there wasn’t something dramatically completely different about our cat’s pattern,” Lennon says. “So, our takeaway was that the cat was not contaminated by a virus that was one way or the other extremely completely different.”

Not all variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been equally capable of infect a variety of hosts. For instance, the unique Wuhan pressure couldn’t naturally infect mice; later variants gained that capability. Scientists started seeing infections in cats and canines from the early days of the pandemic, presumably contaminated via shut contact with their homeowners.

“A essential takeaway right here is that as completely different variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge, they appear to be retaining the flexibility to contaminate a variety of species,” Lennon says.

Whereas this specific case doesn’t increase alarms for the virus buying vital numbers of mutations because it moved between species, Lennon and colleagues, together with Bushman and Susan Weiss of Penn’s medical college, hope to proceed learning different examples to see how SARS-CoV-2 evolves. Penn Vet’s Institute for Infectious and Zoonotic Illness will facilitate this take a look at human-animal interactions in the case of pathogen transmission.

“We all know that the SARS-CoV-2 is present process adjustments because it passes between to turn out to be increasingly more transmissible over time,” says Lennon. “We noticed that with the omicron variant. It is host-adapting to individuals. We additionally wish to know, when different animal species get contaminated, does the virus begin to adapt to these species? And for these viruses which will adapt to a distinct species, do they nonetheless infect people?”

Elizabeth Lennon is the Pamela Cole Assistant Professor of Inner Drugs on the College of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Drugs.

Lennon’s coauthors on the examine had been Penn Vet’s Oliva C. Lenz and Stephen D. Cole and the Perelman College of Drugs’s Andrew D. Marques, Brendan J. Kelly, Kyle G. Rodino, Ranawaka A. P. M. Perera, Susan R. Weiss, and Frederic D. Bushman.

Lenz and Marques had been co-first authors and Lennon is the corresponding writer.

Help for the examine got here from the Penn Vet COVID-19 Analysis Fund, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (grants BAA 200-2021-10986 and 75D30121C11102/000HCVL1-2021-55232), philanthropic donations to the Penn Middle for Analysis on Coronaviruses and Different Rising Pathogens, and the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (grants HL137063, AI140442, and AI121485).

Utah Department of Health reports 8 more coronavirus deaths, as case counts continue to fall


Hospitalizations and intensive-care occupancy charges are also declining.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Heath care staff administer coronavirus testing within the parking zone of the Maverik Heart in West Valley Metropolis, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. This web site, together with a number of different mass testing facilities within the state, ceased operation on Feb. 18.

Editor’s observe: The Salt Lake Tribune is offering free entry to essential tales concerning the coronavirus. Join our Prime Tales e-newsletter, despatched to your inbox each morning. To help journalism like this, please donate or turn out to be a subscriber.

The Utah Division of Well being reported Tuesday that coronavirus instances and hospitalizations maintain falling in Utah, following the winter omicron variant surge, whereas officers reported eight extra deaths.

The extra deaths brings Utah’s complete to 4,417, for the reason that first loss of life practically two years in the past. The youngest of the eight reported Tuesday was a Davis County girl, age 25-44.

The division additionally counted 278 new COVID-19 instances on Tuesday, a lot decrease than the 1000’s of instances per day reported in early February.

Officers additionally reported 314 COVID-19 sufferers in Utah hospitals, a dozen fewer than reported Monday, and 70 coronavirus sufferers in Utah’s intensive care items.

ICU occupancy charges are additionally declining. Officers reported that 68.3% of all Utah ICU beds have been occupied, in comparison with 71.2% the day earlier than. ICUs within the state’s bigger “referral” hospitals have been at 71.4% capability, decrease than Monday’s 73.9%.

Each Tuesday ICU figures have been properly under the 85% threshold that hospital directors have stated is important to go away room for unpredictable staffing ranges, new sufferers and availability of specialised gear and personnel.

A UDOH evaluation continues to point out that booster pictures considerably lower Utahns’ probabilities of dying of COVID-19. Over the previous 4 weeks:

• An unvaccinated one that contracts the virus is 4.9 instances extra more likely to die than a totally vaccinated individual, and 13.3 instances extra possible than a boosted individual.

• An unvaccinated one that contracts the virus is 2.4 instances extra more likely to be hospitalized than a totally vaccinated individual, and 6.4 instances extra possible than a boosted individual.

• An unvaccinated individual is twice as more likely to contract the virus than a totally vaccinated individual, and a couple of.5 instances extra possible than a boosted individual.

In response to state knowledge, 61% of Utahns have been totally vaccinated as of Thursday. Nonetheless, simply 26.8% of all Utahns have obtained a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Discover the place to get vaccinated at coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution. Discover the place to get examined at coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations.

———

Vaccine doses administered previously day/complete doses administered • 2,928 / 4,948,377.

Variety of Utahns totally vaccinated • 1,983,989 — 61% of Utah’s complete inhabitants. That is a rise of two,928 previously day.

Instances reported throughout the previous day • 278.

Vaccination standing • Well being officers don’t instantly have or launch the vaccination standing of people who take a look at constructive, who’re hospitalized or who die. They do calculate the general threat ratios of those outcomes relying on vaccination standing, which is listed under.

Checks reported previously day • A complete of three,756 folks have been examined.

Deaths reported previously day • 8.

Salt Lake County reported two deaths, each ladies, ages 45-64 and 65-84.

The youngest individual in Tuesday’s report was a Davis County girl, age 25-44.

5 different counties every reported one loss of life: a Duchesne County man age 65-84; a Tooele County man age 65-84; a Utah County man age 65-84; a Washington County man 85 or older; a Weber County girl age 65-84.

Hospitalizations reported previously day • 314. That’s 12 fewer than reported on Monday. Of these at present hospitalized, 70 are in intensive care, three fewer than Monday.

Share of constructive checks • Beneath the state’s authentic methodology, the speed was 7.4% previously day. That’s decrease than the seven-day common of 14.1%.

The state’s new methodology counts all take a look at outcomes, together with repeated checks of the identical particular person. Friday’s charge was 3.2%, decrease than the seven-day common of 8.4%.

[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]

Totals to this point • 923,130 instances; 4,417 deaths; 33,266 hospitalizations; 9,238,416 checks administered.

Hong Kong leader urges calm as lockdown fears cause panic buying | Coronavirus pandemic


Hong Kong’s chief has appealed for calm after residents stripped grocery store cabinets naked amid fears of obligatory mass COVID-19 testing and a rumoured city-wide lockdown.

Native media reported obligatory COVID testing would begin after March 17, prompting fears that folks can be pressured to isolate and households with members testing constructive can be separated.

Below a so-called “dynamic zero COVID” coverage, the Chinese language territory is imposing among the hardest pandemic restrictions on Earth, at the same time as the remainder of the world learns to dwell with the virus.

Hong Kong Chief Government Carrie Lam on Tuesday appealed to the general public “to not fall prey to rumours to keep away from pointless fears being stirred,” whereas insisting the availability of meals and items stays regular, based on a authorities assertion.

“There isn’t a want for members of the general public to fret, they need to keep vigilant and take note of the data disseminated by the federal government in order to keep away from being misled by rumours.”

Isabella Ng Fung-sheung, affiliate head of the Division of Asian and Coverage Research on the Training College of Hong Kong, described the town’s pandemic technique as a “catastrophe” that was fuelling worry and anxiousness among the many group.

“Bizarre residents are extraordinarily anxious,” Ng informed Al Jazeera. “Individuals are frantically seizing all meals accessible within the supermarkets.”

Ng mentioned an earlier announcement that the college summer time holidays can be moved to March and April had additionally prompted “chaos amongst colleges, lecturers, dad and mom and college students,” whereas strict journey and quarantine guidelines have been “scaring individuals and traders off”.

“Faculties should grapple on their very own to determine the right way to rearrange the curriculum,” Ng mentioned.

Metropolis-wide lockdown

Officers are planning to check the town’s 7.4 million individuals 3 times over 9 days, with the federal government recommending that folks keep dwelling in the course of the interval, the Sing Tao Each day newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.

Exemptions can be made for many who purchase meals, search medical therapy and keep societal operations. Hong Kong’s inventory market would proceed to function, the paper mentioned.

Lam had beforehand mentioned she was not contemplating a city-wide lockdown.

An expat resident informed Al Jazeera he had spent the final 4 days making an attempt to get groceries by way of a preferred grocery store’s on-line supply service with out success.

“Final night time we went to ParKnShop, traces have been 10-15 individuals deep at every register, provides of contemporary meat have been restricted to non-existent,” the resident mentioned, requesting anonymity resulting from concern over the town’s sweeping nationwide safety regulation, which has been used to quash most dissent within the metropolis. “Cabinets appeared decently stocked on most different objects.”

“I feel the federal government operated on the belief that ‘zero COVID’ was all the time going to work and didn’t develop any contingency plans in case it didn’t,” the resident mentioned. “Now they’re left scrambling to catch up.”

After maintaining coronavirus infections close to zero for a lot of the pandemic, the Chinese language-ruled metropolis has seen per capita instances surge above the peaks skilled in pandemic-ravaged international locations corresponding to the US and United Kingdom. On Monday, authorities reported greater than 34,000 instances, up from simply over 100 initially of February, and 87 deaths. Amenities for storing lifeless our bodies at hospitals and public mortuaries have reached most capability, leading to our bodies being saved in beds or trolleys in hallways.

Hong Kong has promised to stay with a COVID elimination coverage to align with mainland China, which prioritises curbing outbreaks in any respect price. Town’s present restrictions, together with closing companies corresponding to bars, magnificence salons and gymnasiums, are probably the most draconian because the begin of the pandemic in 2020.

The principles have exacerbated separation fears amongst many households, with many fleeing the town forward of the mass testing scheme and the constructing of tens of hundreds of isolation centres.

The worldwide monetary centre, lengthy branded as “Asia’s World Metropolis,” has been experiencing an exodus of expertise as among the world’s hardest border controls close to the two-year mark ad infinitum.

Lam, who inspected a mainland Chinese language-built isolation centre on Monday, mentioned the staff had raced in opposition to the clock to “create a miracle” within the metropolis’s building business.

The Tsing Yi facility, positioned within the northwest of the town, would supply about 3,900 rooms for contaminated individuals with delicate or no signs and others who must isolate, she mentioned.

New research reveals Neem-based drugs may help fight future coronavirus variants — ScienceDaily


Extract from the bark of the Neem tree could assist deal with and cut back the unfold of coronavirus, based on a brand new research led by scientists on the College of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the Indian Institute of Science Training and Analysis Kolkata.

The research, reported not too long ago within the journal Virology, exhibits that elements of Neem bark could goal a variety of viral proteins, suggesting its potential as an antiviral agent in opposition to rising variants of coronaviruses (together with SARS-CoV-2).

The Neem tree, indigenous to India, has been used for hundreds of years for its anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial and antiviral properties. The bark extract has helped deal with malaria, abdomen and intestinal ulcers, pores and skin ailments and lots of different ailments.

“The purpose of this analysis is to develop a Neem-based remedy that may cut back the danger of significant sickness when somebody is contaminated with coronaviruses,” mentioned research co-author Maria Nagel, MD, analysis professor within the division of neurology and ophthalmology on the College of Colorado Faculty of Drugs on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

“We hope that scientists will not should constantly develop new therapies each time a brand new SARS-CoV-2 variant emerges,” she mentioned. “Identical to how we take penicillin for strep throat, we envision taking the Neem-based drug for COVID, permitting us to renew our regular lives with out concern of hospitalization and dying.”

The scientists investigated the influence of the bark extract in opposition to coronaviruses of their laboratories. In India, researchers examined it in animal fashions and confirmed that it had antiviral properties in opposition to coronavirus. Utilizing pc modeling, the researchers predicted that Neem bark extract will bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at varied places, stopping virus entry to host cells.

At CU Anschutz, Nagel’s lab examined the Neem bark extract in SARS-CoV-2 human lung cells. It proved as efficient as a preventive drug for an infection and in addition decreased virus replication and unfold after an infection.

“The following step in our analysis is to determine the precise elements in Neem bark extract which are antiviral. As a result of these elements bind to numerous areas of SARS-CoV-2, we consider that it is going to be efficient on rising variants with spike mutations,” mentioned Nagel. “We are going to then decide the formulation of dosage for an antiviral drug to deal with coronavirus infections.”

The scientists mentioned this analysis may information new antiviral therapeutic efforts to fight the continued pandemic, whereas holding out the promise for treating new coronavirus strains.

Story Supply:

Supplies supplied by College of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Unique written by Julia Milzer. Observe: Content material could also be edited for type and size.

Scientist Uncovers Deleted Coronavirus Data From China


13 genetic sequences — remoted from folks with COVID-19 infections within the early days of the pandemic in China — have been mysteriously deleted from an internet database final yr however have now been recovered.

Jesse Bloom, a computational biologist and specialist in viral evolution on the Fred Hutchinson Most cancers Analysis Heart in Seattle, discovered that the sequences had been faraway from an internet database on the request of scientists in Wuhan, China. However with some web sleuthing, he was capable of recuperate copies of the information saved on Google Cloud.

The sequences don’t basically change scientists’ understanding of the origins of COVID-19 — together with the fraught query of whether or not the coronavirus unfold naturally from animals to folks or escaped in a laboratory accident. However their deletion provides to issues that secrecy from the Chinese language authorities has obstructed worldwide efforts to know how COVID-19 emerged.

Bloom’s outcomes have been printed in a preprint paper, not but peer-reviewed by different scientists, launched on Tuesday. “I feel it is actually in step with an try to cover the sequences,” he advised BuzzFeed Information.

Bloom discovered in regards to the deleted knowledge after studying a paper from a staff led by Carlos Farkas on the College of Manitoba in Canada about a number of the earliest genetic sequences of SARS-CoV-2. Farkas’s paper described sequences sampled from hospital outpatients in a undertaking by researchers in Wuhan who have been creating diagnostic checks for the virus. However when Bloom tried to obtain the sequences from the Sequence Learn Archive, an internet database run by the US Nationwide Institutes of Well being, he was given error messages exhibiting that they had been eliminated.

Bloom realized that the copies of SRA knowledge are additionally maintained on servers run by Google, and was capable of puzzle out the URLs the place the lacking sequences may very well be discovered within the cloud. On this method, he recovered 13 genetic sequences which will assist reply questions on how the coronavirus developed and the place it got here from.

Bloom discovered that the deleted sequences, like others collected at later dates outdoors town, have been extra much like bat coronaviruses — presumed to be the final word ancestors of the virus that causes COVID-19 — than sequences linked to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. This provides to earlier recommendations that the seafood market could have been an early sufferer of COVID-19, reasonably than the place the place the coronavirus first jumped over from animals into folks.

“This can be a very attention-grabbing research carried out by Dr. Bloom, and in my view the evaluation is completely right,” Farkas advised BuzzFeed Information by e-mail. Scott Gottlieb, previously head of the Meals and Drug Administration, additionally praised the findings on Twitter.

Coronavirus FAQ: I'm a one-way masker. What strategy will give me optimal protection?



Feeling awkward in your mask? Advice on how to stay cool.

Even because the CDC endorses the top of masks mandates in lots of areas, some people nonetheless wish to put on a masks in public locations to cut back the chance of a coronavirus an infection. This is a information to one-way masking.

(Picture credit score: Malaka Gharib/NPR)



New US COVID guidelines allow most Americans to go mask-free | Coronavirus pandemic News


New US coronavirus masking coverage is damaged down into three threat classes based mostly on hospital capability and circumstances.

The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) has dramatically eased its COVID-19 tips for when folks ought to put on masks indoors, a transfer meaning 72 p.c of the US inhabitants will reside in communities the place indoor face coverings are now not really helpful.

The brand new masking tips on Friday shift from a concentrate on the speed of COVID-19 transmission to native hospitalisations, hospital capability and an infection charges.

Below the prior tips, 95 p.c of US counties had been thought of to be experiencing excessive transmission, leaving simply 5 p.c underneath the company’s advice for abandoning indoor masks necessities.

The strikes come because the wave of coronavirus infections brought on by the simply unfold Omicron variant subsides considerably within the US, and states comparable to New Jersey have introduced plans to carry indoor masks mandates for faculties and different public locations within the coming days.

Two years into the pandemic, many People have uninterested in carrying masks. As well as, research have proven that for vaccinated folks, infections from the Omicron variant had been much less extreme and fewer prone to trigger hospitalisation and loss of life than earlier strains of the coronavirus.

“We’re in a stronger place in the present day as a nation with extra instruments to guard ourselves and our group from COVID-19,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky mentioned throughout a media briefing on Friday.

She cited the provision of vaccines and boosters, broader entry to testing, the provision of high-quality masks and the accessibility of latest therapies and improved air flow.

“With widespread inhabitants immunity, the general threat of extreme illness is now usually decrease,” Walensky mentioned.

The brand new coverage is damaged down into three classes – low, medium and excessive threat – based mostly on hospital capability and circumstances.

It advises folks in medium-risk communities who’re at elevated threat of issues from the illness, comparable to these with compromised immune programs, to ask their docs if they need to be carrying a masks.

Travellers will nonetheless must put on masks on plane, trains and buses in addition to in airports and prepare stations. These necessities expire on March 18, and the CDC will revisit them within the coming weeks, Walensky mentioned.

The brand new tips apply no matter vaccination standing.

Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious illness professional on the Johns Hopkins Middle for Well being Safety, mentioned the modifications made sense given transmission charges within the US are excessive, however hospitalisation charges remained low.

“Specializing in hospital capability is a significantly better metric and has at all times been the overriding concern,” he informed the Reuters information company in an e-mail.

The CDC mentioned common college masking would now be suggested solely in communities with a “excessive” degree of COVID-19. The sooner advice suggested masking in faculties regardless of the extent of transmission.

“We have to be versatile and to have the ability to say we have to loosen up our layers of preventive measures when issues are trying up,” Walensky mentioned. “After which we want to have the ability to dial them up once more, ought to now we have a brand new variant, throughout the surge.”

The CDC has come underneath fireplace for modifications in its stance on masking.

Final Could, Walensky informed vaccinated People it was protected to take off their masks indoors in low-transmission areas, however reversed course a number of months later when it turned clear that absolutely vaccinated folks may transmit the virus.