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COVID raises risk of mental health problems; new Omicron version not making people sicker in S. Africa -Breaking


© Reuters. A line of people wearing masks forms at a test centre for coronavirus (COVID-19), Hong Kong, China. February 23, 2022. REUTERS/Lam Yik

Nancy Lapid

(Reuters.) – Here is a list of recent COVID-19 studies. These include additional research to confirm the findings, and which has not yet been certified by peer review.

Coronavirus infection increases the chance of developing mental disorders

According to new research, psychological stress caused by the pandemic is widespread. But, those with COVID-19 have a higher chance of developing new mental disorders than people who are able to get the virus out.

Researchers looked at nearly 154,000 survivors of SARS-CoV-2 to compare them with more than 5.6 millions people not suffering from COVID. Infection survivors had a 35% greater risk of developing new anxiety disorders and 39% more risk for depressive disorders. They also faced 55% higher risks for the use of antidepressants. There was 34% less risk for an opioid abuse disorder. 20% of them were likely to develop a non-opioid substance misuse disorder. There was an 80% increase in the likelihood of a newly discovered neurocognitive disorder and a 41% greater risk of acquiring snoring disorders. These risks were higher among patients who weren’t admitted to hospital, but they were greater among COVID-19-infected people.

Ziyad Aly from Washington University in St. Louis, said: “To all people suffering from one of these conditions: they are not alone.” “Seek help. These things are better if they’re identified early. He said that policymakers and governments must address the problem “before it escalates into a larger crisis.”

Omicron subvariant does not make people more sick in South Africa

Researchers have discovered that the Omicron coronavirus variant BA.2 is not more transmittable than the BA.1 version. However, it hasn’t caused more serious disease or hospitalizations in South Africa.

Researchers had used national databases for COVID-19 patients from December 1 to Jan 20. Before peer review, they reported Saturday that hospitalization rates for original Omicron infected individuals were 3.4% and 3.6% respectively. Of the 3,058 COVID-19-infected patients, 33.5% were diagnosed with severe disease and 30.5% in patients with BA.2. “Most COVID-19 infection cases in South Africa were attributable to BA.2 by the beginning of January 2022,” Dr. Nicole Wolter from South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Gauteng. According to Wolter, “We discovered that those infected with BA.2 were not at greater risk of admission to the hospital.”

The researchers concluded that BA.2 might have an advantage over BA.1 for certain settings but the clinical profile is similar. Their findings could not necessarily be generalized or easily translated to other countries, as many South Africans have been infected previously with older variants.

With PCR accuracy, experimental lasers can detect viruses in saliva

Spanish researchers discovered that a small, affordable version of the expensive and bulky equipment used to detect the coronavirus can be found in saliva. This is because it uses the same accuracy and speed as PCR tests.

Flow cytometry is a method that uses lasers for sorting and counting cells within liquids as they flow through tubes. A solution with fluorescent antibodies is added to the saliva. These antibodies attach themselves directly to coronavirus particles. Researchers explained Tuesday that the liquid passes through the tube within 20 minutes. There, lasers can detect any fluorescence, triggering a positive reading. They tested the accuracy of the device in detecting SARS-CoV-2 viruses from saliva samples taken from 32 people and 20 healthy individuals. According to the report, it was also capable of detecting the virus in lower levels than what can be found with rapid antigen testing. According to the report, “Given these results, we believe our (equipment), in combination with saliva samples, has great potential to be a quick, portable, and user-friendly device that can perform up to 2000 test per day,” said the researcher.

Ewelina Wajis from The Institute of Photonic Sciences (Barcelona) stated in a statement that “by selecting the proper antibodies, this technique could be adapted for detection of other viruses like… influenza virus” and added, “This technology could also allow you to detect microorganisms such as Legionella or E-coli by adapting it for detection of these types of viruses.”

For a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development: