Long-Term Immunity and Covid-19 in Cats: 5 Important New Findings
A roundup of Covid-19 research we’re following
- Covid-19 confirmed in cats: After months of speculation and anecdotal cases, scientists have confirmed that domestic cats can become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and can pass the virus to other cats. The results of their laboratory study on cats were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.
- A rare disease in children: A rare inflammatory disease has been detected in 10 young children who contracted Covid-19 in Bergamo, Italy, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, doctors reported in The Lancet on Wednesday. The disease, which is being compared to Kawasaki disease, causes inflammation and swelling in blood vessels in children under the age of five. This finding is consistent with symptoms reported in some young children who contracted Covid-19 in the United States and England.
- 28 million cancelled surgeries: A modeling study published Tuesday in the British Journal of Surgery estimates that over 28 million elective surgeries worldwide will be canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Researchers from the University of Birmingham in England based their estimations on a 12-week period of peak pandemic-induced disruption of hospital services at 359 hospitals in 71 countries.
- Underestimating death count: The official Covid-19 death count in Nembro, an Italian city hit exceptionally hard by the Covid-19 outbreak, may be a “substantial underestimation,” according to research published in The BMJ on Thursday. The authors of the study found that, even though more residents of the region died in March 2020 than any single year since 2012, only about half of those deaths were officially attributed to Covid-19. Counting deaths from all causes, they write, would create a more complete picture of the pandemic’s toll, since factors like a lack of testing and causes of death indirectly related to Covid-19 could have contributed to underreporting.
- Long-term immunity: Two studies on the role of T cells in Covid-19 recovery are helping researchers understand how the immune system responds to the virus. The studies, one published in Cell on Thursday and the other in a medRxiv preprint on April 22, show how helper T cells activate B cells and other immune functions to fight the virus and report that killer T cells find and destroy cells infected by the virus.