Covid-19 – Kids Have Better Immune Response, D614G Mutation and I Don’t Want to Live in an Assisted Living Facility

Saturday mornings are my time to catch up on news. Here are a few articles that caught my eye today.

Researchers studied 65 children and 60 adults with COVID-19 at a hospital system in New York City and found the children stayed in the hospital shorter periods of time, needed ventilators less often, and had a lower death rate, according to the study published in Science Translational Medicine. Those findings fell in line with what other scientists had noticed: Children don’t get as sick with coronavirus as adults do. The CDC, for instance, says around eight children per 100,000 were hospitalized with COVID-19, compared to 164.5 adults per 100,000. But scientists are not sure why this happens.

Citation: Children Have Better COVID Immune Response Than Adults – Medscape – Sep 25, 2020 —

The virus is mutating and appears to be more infectious.

The study, published as a preprint on the medRxiv server (, found that nearly all (99.9%) of the strains in the second wave had a mutation, known as D614G, which has been shown to increase the number of “spikes” on the crown-shaped virus, increasing its ability to infect cells.

Citation: Houston Study: More Contagious Coronavirus Strain Now Dominates – Medscape – Sep 24, 2020 —

And the first study I’ve stumbled upon on Covid-19 mortality in assisted living facilities.

In North Carolina and Connecticut, for example, the proportions of COVID-19 cases that were fatal across the state were 3.3% and 9.3%, respectively. In assisted living facilities in those states, the fatality rate climbed to 13% and 31.6%. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living communities are not subject to federal regulation and are not required to collect and report data on COVID-19, coauthor Helena Temkin-Greener of the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry said in a news release

Citation: High COVID-19 Mortality Seen in Assisted-Living Facilities – Medscape – Sep 24, 2020 —

We are learning there may be an underlying genetic and immunological basis in cases of severe Covid-19.

The researchers found that more than 10% of people who develop severe COVID-19 have misguided antibodies―autoantibodies―that attack the immune system rather than the virus that causes the disease. Another 3.5% or more of people who develop severe COVID-19 carry a specific kind of genetic mutation that impacts immunity. Consequently, both groups lack effective immune responses that depend on type I interferon, a set of 17 proteins crucial for protecting cells and the body from viruses. Whether these proteins have been neutralized by autoantibodies or―because of a faulty gene―were produced in insufficient amounts or induced an inadequate antiviral response, their absence appears to be a commonality among a subgroup of people who suffer from life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia.

Scientists discover genetic and immunologic underpinnings of some cases of severe COVID-19 —

Finally from my long read of the day is a quote from our Covid-19 rock star in the U.S. I’ve got the full article open in my browser to read later. Enjoy!

You know, you just do it: you tell things the way they are. Sometimes that’s not in agreement with what people would like to hear. But I learnt a long time ago that people will ultimately have sustained respect for you if you give them the information based on science and are not afraid to tell people things they do not want to hear. Whether they act on the things you tell them is beyond my power. The only thing that I can do is analyze the situation, look at the scientific data, and make whatever recommendation they ask me to make. But you can be assured that it will be always based on scientific evidence and data.

Citation: BMJ 2020;370:m3703 — The BMJ interview: Anthony Fauci on covid-19 —

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