Medical Notes this week…


It’s not unusual for viruses to hide in the body and become activated again much later. That’s what causes shingles… a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. But now a study in the journal Viruses shows that the Covid-19 virus may do the same thing. Scientists say experiments on mice show that the Covid-19 virus can remain in the brain long after it’s cleared from the lungs. They say that could explain some long-haul cases of Covid… and serious relapses in patients who had appeared to be over the disease.

Scientists have engineered a killer T-cell in the blood that attacks other T-cells causing diabetes. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that in mice, the lab-made cells can track down harmful T-cells as they invade the pancreas, where they trigger diabetes. The discovery could lead to new immunotherapy treatments for type one diabetes. 

And finally… as the pandemic drags on, a new study is showing that people under age 30 aren’t weathering the strain as well as older people. The study in The Lancet Regional Health Europe finds that people under 30 and those with pre-existing mental health conditions are likely to suffer more from loneliness and anxiety than others. In fact, the researchers say the effects on younger people are “alarming…” and deserve tailored mental health interventions.

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