New Delhi: Over 6.7 lakh people around the world have succumbed to Covid-19, but six months into the global pandemic, scientists continue to get new insights into the virus and the infection.
Here are some of the recent scientific finding around Covid-19.
Pregnant women at higher risk of developing blood clots from Covid-19
Women who are pregnant, take oestrogen with birth control or are undergoing hormone replacement therapy are at higher risk of developing deadly blood clots linked to the Covid-19 infection, a study warns.
One of the many complications of Covid-19 is the formation of blood clots in people who were previously healthy.
The hormone oestrogen increases the chance of blood clots during pregnancy and in women taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
The study, published in the journal Endocrinology, suggests that if infected with Covid-19, these women are at even higher risk of developing blood clots.
Such patients may need to undergo anti-coagulation therapy or to discontinue their oestrogen medicines.
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Study identifies how SARS-CoV-2 evolved
The lineage that gave rise to SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating in bats for decades and likely includes other viruses with the ability to infect humans, a new study has found.
A team of researchers from China, Europe and the US reconstructed the evolutionary history of SARS-CoV-2. The findings may have implications for the prevention of future pandemics stemming from this lineage.
Coronaviruses have genetic material that is highly recombinant. This means that different regions of the virus’ genome can be derived from multiple sources. This has made it difficult to trace the SARS-CoV-2’s origins.
Using different bioinformatic approaches the team was able to reconstruct the evolutionary relationships between SARS-CoV-2 and its closest known bat and pangolin viruses.
The research, published in Nature Microbiology, found that the lineage of viruses to which SARS-CoV-2 belongs diverged from other bat viruses about 40-70 years ago.
The team also found that SARS-CoV-2 is genetically similar to the RaTG13 coronavirus, which was sampled from a Rhinolophus affinis horseshoe bat in 2013 in the Yunnan province in China.
Wearing masks reduced face touching behaviour
The mandate to wear masks in public in the wake of the global pandemic may have reduced people’s tendency to touch their faces regularly, which may have helped prevent transmission of Covid-19, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association.
The researchers used videos recorded in public transportation stations, streets and parks among the general population in China, Japan, South Korea, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the US to analyse mask-wearing and face-touching behaviour in public areas.
Data from 4,699 individuals before the pandemic and 2,887 individuals during the pandemic showed that wearing masks, either medical or fabric, was associated with a reduction in face-touching, especially touching of the eyes, nose, and mouth,.
The findings suggest that mandatory mask-wearing policies were linked to behaviour change among the general population in public areas, which may have helped to prevent contact transmission of Covid-19.
Covid-19 pandemic has reduced people’s satisfaction in life and positive feelings
Apart from posing challenges to the healthcare sector and the economy, Covid-19 pandemic has also affected many people’s subjective well-being.
A long-term study by psychologists from Leipzig University in Germany and Saint Louis University in the US, examined changes in subjective well-being between December 2019 and May 2020.
The team found that between March and May 2020, that is the early stage of the pandemic, average life satisfaction and the experience of positive feelings decreased significantly.
Subjective well-being was defined and measured as high levels of life satisfaction and the frequent experience of positive feelings such as joy, as well as the rare experience of negative feelings such as anger or fear.