ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Mayo Clinic researchers and colleagues at the University of Minnesota showed that COVID-19 exacerbates the damaging impact of senescent cells in the body. In preclinical studies, the senolytic drugs discovered at Mayo significantly reduced inflammation, illness, and mortality from COVID infection in older mice. The findings appear in the journal Science.
Senescent cells (damaged or non-functioning cells that persist in the body) contribute to many aspects of aging and illness, including inflammation and multiple chronic diseases. Based on the "Amplifier/Rheostat Hypothesis" of senescent cells developed at Mayo, the researchers sought to discover how COVID-19 causes much higher mortality in the elderly and chronically-ill. They showed that human senescent cells have an amplified response to the SARS spike protein, provoking increased production of factors causing inflammation and tissue damage by senescent cells.
The researchers also found that older mice infected with viruses, including a coronavirus related to SARS-CoV-2 using a model developed at University of Minnesota, showed an amplified reaction, with increased senescent cells, inflammation, and nearly 100 % mortality. When the researchers treated similar mice - before or after the infection - with senolytics, drugs that selectively remove senescent cells from the body, the result was the opposite. Anti-viral antibodies increased, while signs of inflammation and senescent cells significantly decreased along with mortality, so survival of the old, infected mice became more like that of younger mice.
Some 3,000 junior doctors in India who resigned last week amid the country's ongoing COVID-19 crisis are now back on the job after reaching an agreement with the state government to increase their pay.
The junior doctors -- a position equivalent to resident physicians in the U.S. -- announced on Twitter that their state government has promised to meet their demands, including a raise in stipends. Originally, the physicians from Madhya Pradesh, a central Indian state, demanded their stipends increase by 24%; after negotiations, they agreed to a 17% hike.
The victory marks the first pay increase junior doctors from Madhya Pradesh have received in 3 years, despite earlier promises from the government.
The strike began on May 31. Four days later, a court ordered the physicians back to work, but some 3,000 of them quit instead, according to reports. After a meeting with the medical education minister of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday evening, the junior doctors ended their strike this past Monday, June 7.
In a bid to spread awareness about COVID-19 vaccinations in a district in India's Madhya Pradesh state, police have started publicly shaming individuals by putting stickers on their body if they haven't been vaccinated.
The police in Niwari District have settled on this method of warning everyone around, while they carry out their roadside checks.
Those, who have not been vaccinated are made to wear stickers with the sign of a skull on and the message which reads "Mujhse Dur Rahein, Maine Abhi Tak Corona Ka Tika Nahi Lagwaya” (Stay away from me, I haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet.)
The individuals are also made to read the message aloud and pledge that they will get vaccinated within two days.
Officials are also rewarding those who have been vaccinated by giving them an Indian tricolour badge and a message in the Hindi language which reads: "I am a true patriot because I have been vaccinated."
This is the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths expected to top 3 million for the first time — due mainly to the coronavirus pandemic.
Final mortality data for this year will not be available for months. But preliminary numbers suggest that the United States is on track to see more than 3.2 million deaths this year, or at least 400,000 more than in 2019.
U.S. deaths increase most years, so some annual rise in fatalities is expected. But the 2020 numbers amount to a jump of about 15 percent, and could go higher once all the deaths from this month are counted.
That would mark the largest single-year percentage leap since 1918, when tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers died in World War I and hundreds of thousands of Americans died in a flu pandemic. Deaths rose 46 percent that year, compared with 1917.
After more than a year of living through the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, last weekend thousands of Bitcoin fans descended on Miami for Bitcoin 2021, a massive conference celebrating the cryptocurrency that was attended by big names such as Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey.
The lavish event was the first major in-person conference in the US since the start of the pandemic. It was a signal that Bitcoin hasn't gone away, the good life in America hasn't gone away, and as numerous attendees may have discovered, COVID-19 hasn't gone away, either. On Thursday, Twitter was flooded with tweets from people saying they contracted COVID-19 while attending the conference in Miami, or know people who did, or wishing the sick to get well soon. Others advised that any attendees get tested. In short, people are freaking out.
“Looks like I’m joining the BTC Miami covid list,” tweeted Luke Martin, host of the Profit Maximalist Podcast. “It turns out that attending packed events to discuss number-go-up technology does increase the chance of getting sick.” Martin blocked a Motherboard reporter who requested comment via Twitter DM, and deleted his initial tweets about contracting COVID-19 at the conference.
As demand for Covid-19 vaccines declines across the country, unused Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses are piling up on state shelves, leaving state officials increasingly concerned that the lack of a coordinated federal plan to redistribute them means hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of doses will go to waste.
The buildup of doses is largely a result of the Food and Drug Administration's order in early April pausing distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of safety concerns. Enthusiasm for the one-dose shot was dampened after the 11-day pause, according to state officials.
State officials are aware that people in other countries are eager to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, said Dr. Marcus Plescia, medical director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Plescia described a growing fear among his members that Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, which are coveted in the developing world, could go to waste if no national effort emerges.
"I think people feel ethically that you've got other countries with no vaccines and in dire shape," Plescia said.