Some common cold antibodies can help fight COVID-19; vaccine side effects could hamper mammograms

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a summary of some of the most recent scientific studies on the new coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Some Common Cold Antibodies May Help Fight COVID-19

Antibodies to the six coronaviruses that cause common colds cannot “neutralize” the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but antibodies to two of them could at least help the body defend itself against the serious illness of the new virus, a small study suggests. preliminary. German researchers studied 60 COVID-19 patients, including 25 who were hospitalized but not seriously ill, 19 who required admission to the intensive care unit, and 25 who did not get sick enough to be hospitalized. All the patients in need of intensive care had significantly lower levels of antibodies against two seasonal coronaviruses, HCoV OC43 and HCoV HKU1, which the authors say are more closely related to the COVID-19 virus compared to the other human coronaviruses. While observation does not prove that these antibodies are responsible, “it is notable that the effect of HCoV OC43 and HKU1 specific antibody levels reached statistical significance with respect to the need for intensive care therapy” in such a small study. the researchers said in an article. published Tuesday in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. “More studies should validate this finding and explore the potential to identify people at risk for a severe disease course prior to a SARS-CoV-2 infection,” they said. (

Vaccine Side Effects May Affect Mammograms

Routine mammograms should be done before the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or four to six weeks after the second dose, advises the Society for Breast Imaging. Temporary side effects of vaccines can include swollen lymph nodes around the armpits, which could be misinterpreted as a possible sign of breast cancer if it shows up on a mammogram. So-called axillary lymphadenopathy is generally seen in only 0.02% -0.04% of screening mammograms, according to the Society’s guidelines. In the Moderna vaccine trials, the condition developed in 11.6% of participants after the first dose and in 16% after the second dose. Researchers who tested the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine did not routinely ask participants about tenderness in the armpits and swollen lymph nodes, but some people reported this side effect, which lasted an average of 10 days. The more subtle effects on lymph nodes that are apparent only on X-rays are likely to last longer, the Society said, although it is not yet clear what the vaccine-related lymph node changes would look like. “As more information becomes available on the incidence and occurrence of axillary lymphadenopathy after vaccination with COVID-19, it may be appropriate to change the length of follow-up or the recommendations of the final evaluation,” the Society said. (

Nursing Home Staff Left Behind on COVID-19 Vaccines

Nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable to severe COVID-19, but vaccinations appear to lag among the staff who care for them. As of mid-January, approximately 714,000 U.S. nursing home residents and 582,000 staff members had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated. ) of the U.S. When nursing homes were grouped by state, the average percentage of residents vaccinated ranged from 68% to 100%, while the average proportions of staff vaccinated ranged from just 19% to 67%, the CDC said . In a comment published Wednesday in JAMA, CDC researchers said that, on average, nationwide, no more than about a third of nursing home staff had been vaccinated, which “is concerning because this population has occupational risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. “They said barriers to staff vaccinations, including shift work schedules and lack of paid sick leave due to the side effects of vaccination, need to be addressed. “Communication and outreach strategies are needed to improve vaccination coverage among this priority population,” they said. (;

Celiac disease does not increase COVID-19 risks

Celiac disease does not increase the risk of infection or serious illness in patients from the new coronavirus, new data shows. People with celiac disease have faulty immune activity and are known to be more vulnerable to a variety of viral infections, raising concerns that they could also be more vulnerable to COVID-19. But when the researchers used national databases in Sweden to compare 40,963 people with celiac disease to 183,892 similar people without it, they found no difference in the risks of infection, COVID-19-related hospitalization, critical illness requiring intensive care, or death from the illness. In a report published Thursday in Clinical Epidemiology, the authors note that Sweden has imposed only limited social distancing regulations, and “the lack of a widespread lockdown has likely increased the number of people exposed to COVID-19.” In this context, they report, the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 was approximately 1 in 1000 and the risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19 was approximately 1%. “There was no difference in these results when comparing celiac disease patients to controls.” (

Open in an external browser to see a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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