It happens that people live under one roof and one of them becomes infected with SARS-CoV-2. The incubation period passes, symptoms appear, and after a few days the person enters the intensive care unit. But the second did not even cough during this time. Moreover, tests show that he never got infected, although he had all the possibilities. STAT writes about resistance to the virus.
When people talk about resistance to viruses, they mean that the pathogen cannot enter the host's cells. This is not the same as an asymptomatic infection. In 1994, a case was described of a man who had sexual partners with HIV, but he did not get infected from them. Scientists found a delta 32 mutation in him (talking about a missing region in the CCR5 gene; the Chinese biologist He Jiankui tried to add the same mutation in a scandalous experiment with "GM children" - TASS note). True, further research has shown that resistance to HIV may be due to not one, but several genes and proteins.
The resistance of some people to the coronavirus is probably also due to genetic characteristics. In January 2021, American scientists announced that they had found the most suitable candidate - the RAB7A gene, which is responsible for cell transport. If you turn it off, the ACE2 receptor does not reach the cell surface, and the coronavirus needs this receptor to infect.
Mutations in RAB7A are rare, but theoretically, it or some other gene important for SARS-CoV-2 (American scientists have identified other candidates) can be "turned off" by drugs. However, such a drug has never appeared for HIV prevention.
Another study in Brazil tested couples where only one spouse got sick. After rechecking the data, 46 variants of the MICA and MICB genes were found, which affect the activity of immune cells. In the presence of these options, the infection proceeded with symptoms. Something similar to the situation with HIV looms: several genes in a bundle can give resistance to the virus. Perhaps this will help find a cure for COVID-19.
Or maybe SARS-CoV-2 can even be adapted for our needs. Earlier, Brazilian scientists, studying susceptibility to the Zika virus, figured out how to kill cancer cells with it (two scientific groups from the United States also used the Zika virus to fight brain tumors).
There is little time left to investigate the emergence of SARS-CoV-2
90 days have elapsed that US President Joe Biden took intelligence to investigate the origins of the coronavirus. In the near future, part of the report should be declassified and published, but the journalists have already learned the main thing: as expected, none of the hypotheses could be confirmed or refuted. Meanwhile, scientists who were sent to China by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the winter and soon prepared their own - controversial - report, warned that time was running out. The BBC tells about their new letter.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was speculated that SARS-CoV-2 was artificially created and accidentally escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, where there is a virology institute and a coronavirus laboratory. The arguments in favor of this hypothesis were quickly refuted, it itself began to be considered a conspiracy theory, and most scientists were inclined to believe that SARS-CoV-2 spread to humans from bats through an intermediate host - an animal that, however, has not yet been found.
In early 2021, a WHO mission went to China and concluded that a leak from the laboratory was "highly unlikely" and that the virus was most likely of natural origin. This angered many: in the report, the conclusion is not really reasoned.In addition, it is known that the Chinese side did not provide all the data and agreed on the final text.
After that, several open letters appeared with a call to conduct a new investigation and test the hypothesis of the leak: it is possible that the virus appeared in nature and entered the laboratory along with samples from expeditions. WHO was also about to send another mission, but China is reluctant to cooperate and is calling for investigations in other countries.
Now the participants of the first mission have published a long article in the scientific journal Nature, where they write that the window of opportunity is closing. If you hesitate further, some research will simply be impossible to carry out. Even in their report, they advised checking blood banks (to find donors who had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 even before the pandemic) and wild animals raised on farms (as possible intermediate hosts of the virus). But blood banks store biological materials for a limited time, and animals do not live long. Because of this, important information will soon be lost forever.
One of the members of the mission, Marion Kopmans, admitted in a conversation with the BBC that the wording "extremely unlikely" is unfortunate. She and her colleagues meant that further this hypothesis should be given low priority and concentrated on others. She believes that it is unlikely that it will ever be possible to find the first people infected with SARS-CoV-2. But you need to do everything possible to understand the circumstances of the interspecific transition. This will identify other dangerous viruses that circulate in nature and can start the next pandemic.
Ivermectin and other "miracle drugs" for COVID-19
During the pandemic, several drugs were called miracles for COVID-19. First it was hydroxychloroquine, now it is the antiparasitic drug ivermectin. The STAT explains why such promises should not be fooled and the harm they do.
Ivermectin is praised not only on the Internet and not only by people whose qualifications are in doubt - in December 2020, this drug was extolled even at hearings in the US Congress: supposedly, in all studies, the drug gave excellent results. But this is an exaggeration.
Research mentioned in Congress is far from the gold standard. One of them, held in Egypt, stands out in particular. In it, ivermectin reduced mortality from COVID-19 by 90%. If this were indeed the case, then ivermectin would be many times superior to any other medicine. But in the course of independent verification, the study found plagiarism and data fraud. The site where the article was published with the results has withdrawn.
To make more reliable conclusions, scientists analyze all similar studies. Egyptian aside, ivermectin doesn't look like a good COVID-19 remedy. Other studies are also not conducted in the best way, so at the moment the safety and efficacy of ivermectin in COVID-19 remains questionable, and it should only be used in new clinical trials. Even the drug manufacturer, Merck, doubts it's worth it.
But many have already believed in ivermectin. Because of this, patients refuse to participate in studies of other potentially effective drugs, and in some places there has been a deficiency of ivermectin intended for animals, and the number of poisonings with the veterinary form of the drug has increased.
Ivermectin is now being tested in a major UK study called PRINCIPLE. Until it ends, you should not believe speculation. The same is true of other supposedly miraculous drugs.