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Coronavirus update: Researchers uncover possible cause of neurological symptoms

An antibacterial drug has shown initial promise as a COVID-19 treatment

COVID-19 and brain concept
Photo (c) VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY - Getty Images
COVID-19 ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 83,745,827 (83,518,205)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 1,003,858 (1,002,780)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 527,529,231 (526,849,172)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 6,283,923 (6,280,942)‌

Experts discover possible cause of neurological symptoms

COVID-19 infections have often been linked to certain neurological symptoms, such as problems with memory, concentration, and headaches. In a recent study, researchers say the formation of amyloids in the brain could be to blame. 

Amyloids are abnormal proteins found in the body that experts have long linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the research team says their findings show that they could also be formed during a COVID-19 infection. Infectious disease expert Dr. Arturo Casadevall said the study may provide another clue about how the virus affects our bodies.

“This is a very interesting study showing that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein has domains that could promote aggregation to form amyloid fibrils. Such fibrils have been associated with cellular dysfunction, and if this happened during COVID-19, it would suggest yet another mechanism by which the virus can damage organs,” he said.

Antibacterial drug may be a potential treatment

Researchers around the world are continuously working on new treatments to fight COVID-19 and all its subvariants. But experts from the Pasteur Institute in France say an antibacterial drug that already exists shows some promise.

The researchers say clofoctol, a drug that is used to treat respiratory tract infections, could be repurposed as a potential COVID-19 treatment. After seeing initial success in a mouse model, the team wants to move to a stage 3 clinical trial that will involve human subjects.

“Drug repurposing can accelerate the time for using it in humans since such a drug has already been tested for its toxicity and tolerability in humans,” explained researcher Dr. Jean Dubuisson. “Developing…a new drug takes much more time because it needs chemical optimization, with a lot of preclinical validations, and it can take 10-15 years for such a development.”

Jeff Bridges says COVID-19 nearly took his life

Well-known American actor Jeff Bridges recently opened up about his personal battle with COVID-19. He stated that the virus nearly ended his life while he was receiving chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

“I had no defenses. That’s what chemo does – it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it,” he said. “COVID made my cancer look like nothing.”

Bridges certainly had a lot to overcome while battling cancer and his COVID-19 infection. Researchers from Case Western University recently found that breakthrough cases of the virus are much more common among consumers who have cancer or Alzheimer’s. They also said these consumers have a much higher chance of being hospitalized or dying.

Around the nation

  • Michigan: New cases and deaths linked to COVID-19 continue to rack up in the state. On Wednesday, officials reported an additional 25,968 cases and 139 deaths from the virus over the previous six days. Despite the high totals, the average number of daily cases decreased over the last seven days from 4,181 to 3,710.

  • Tennessee: Data from the State Department of Health shows that cases in Tennessee rose sharply over the last week. After remaining flat for months, hospitalizations spiked upwards over the same time period – rising by 44% to 270.

  • New Jersey: Officials say “long hauler” illnesses in the Garden State now represent one-third of all cases. The CDC currently lists 10 New Jersey counties as having “high” transmission rates for COVID-19. Included in that list are Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, and Sussex counties.

  • Arizona: A recent report reveals just how many lives may have been lost due to vaccination resistance. Researchers say 9,000 Arizonan COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented if vaccination rates were higher.

  • Iowa: The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that 4,739 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week. That’s around 200 more cases than last week.

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