5 Important New Findings
A roundup of Covid-19 research we’re following
- Covid-19 targets: Researchers have identified the cells that are likely targeted by the coronavirus when it’s entering the body. A subset of cells in the lung, nasal passage, and intestine express two proteins that help SARS-CoV-2 enter human cells, researchers report in a paper published on Wednesday in Cell. The researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard said in a press release that they hope the findings will help scientists develop new drug treatments for the coronavirus and test existing treatments.
- Covid-19 is not sexually transmitted: Doctors in China found no evidence of the coronavirus in the semen of 34 males who were being treated for the disease, suggesting that the virus cannot be transmitted sexually. The researchers, who published their findings in Fertility and Sterility on April 14, also reported that six of the patients expressed experiencing scrotal discomfort around the time they tested positive for the virus.
- Detecting the coronavirus in public: Environmental engineers in Zurich are working to develop biosensors that can detect the presence of the coronavirus in crowded public spaces, like train stations and hospitals. The device they are developing uses optical and thermal sensors. The engineers developing the technology published their work in ACS Nano, a journal of the American Chemical Society, on April 13.
- Loss of smell and taste: New data on loss of smell and taste was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday. It revealed that those symptoms are pretty common in people infected with the novel coronavirus. Researchers found that 64% of people with Covid-19 they surveyed reported an altered sense of smell or taste. This was the case for people who were mildly symptomatic and, researchers said, this was often the first apparent symptom in people who tested positive for the virus.
- Gender-based violence: Early research is showing an increase in gender-based violence and a decrease in essential services for women and girls who are experiencing gender-based violence due to the pandemic. Researchers from Columbia University’s School of Public Health published their findings on domestic violence since the pandemic began in Bioethics on April 8.