(CNN) – As US leaders work to control the spread of the coronavirus, researchers across the country – and the globe – are working to answer the mysteries that remain about infections.
One of those mysteries: why the experience can be so different from person to person. One expert says the answer may include looking at previous vaccines that individuals have had.
“When we looked at the Covid disease assignment, we found that people who had previous vaccinations with a variety of vaccines ̵1; for pneumococcus, influenza, hepatitis and others – seemed to have a lower risk of getting Covid disease,” said Dr. Andrew Badley, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic, told CNN Anderson Cooper on Monday night.
What immunologists call immune training: how your immune system creates an effective response to fight infections, says Badley.
“A good analogy is to think of your immune system as a muscle,” he said. “The more you exercise that muscle, the stronger it will be when you need it.”
There is no definitive evidence for any other immunization-enhancing vaccine against Covid-19. But some researchers have suggested it is possible.
In June, a team of researchers in the U.S. proposed giving a booster dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) to see if it helps prevent the more severe effects of coronavirus infections. And last month, researchers found that countries where many people were given the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) tuberculosis vaccine had lower mortality from the coronavirus, a finding consistent with other research suggesting the vaccine could boost people’s immunity. in general.
But once you are infected, how much of the virus made it into your body can also affect what your experience is, another expert told CNN on Monday.
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, has been working with a team of researchers to understand how more people could go through their infections with minimal or no symptoms. About 40% of people infected with the virus have no symptoms, according to an estimate last month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Gandhi team that found the masks makes a difference.
“What makes the mask really is the reduction in the amount of virus you get, if you get infected,” she said. “And by reducing it … you have a lower dose, you are able to manage it, you are able to have a calm response and you have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.”
To date, more than 5 million Americans have tested positive for the virus and at least 163,473 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The average number of new daily cases in the U.S. is more than 54,000, up from more than 65,000 per day between mid-July.
However, the average daily deaths of Covid-19 have been over 1,000 for more than two weeks. The country had been below that level for seven weeks before that.
90% increase in cases of children in one month
More research is also emerging about children and coronavirus in the middle of the school season.
The number of coronavirus cases among children in the U.S. rose by 90% over four weeks this summer, according to a report released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
The report, which is expected to be updated weekly, says 179,990 new cases of Covid-19 have been registered among American children from July 9 through August 6.
More than 380,000 children had been infected since Aug. 6, according to the report, accounting for just over 9% of total cases in states reporting cases by age.
The report comes as recent studies suggest that children may have played an important role in transmitting the virus. One study said older children could transmit coronavirus the same way as adults, and another found children younger than 5 years old had a higher load of the virus, which also raised questions about their role in its spread.
And while some U.S. officials, including the President, have said the virus does not pose a major risk to children, experts say it does not.
“It is not fair to say that this virus is completely benign in children,” Dr. said on Monday. Sean O’Leary, Vice President of the American Pediatric Committee on Infectious Diseases. “We have had 90 child deaths in the US already, in just a few months. Every year we worry about the flu in children and there are about 100 deaths from children from the flu every year.”
However, many schools and universities across the country are moving forward with plans to start private lessons, despite nationwide protests by teachers who say a return to the classroom could be deadly.
In Georgia, numerous school districts have reported cases of the virus after reopening. In the Cherokee County School District, more than 480 students have been quarantined since school began earlier this month. The district has reported at least 25 positive cases among students and six cases among staff.
In Mississippi, at least 22 schools across the state have reported positive cases, said the State Director of Health, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, this week. There were 19 reported cases among students and 15 cases among staff.
More volunteers were added to the antibody therapy trials
Two clinical trials of late-stage antibody therapy are enrolling more volunteers through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Covid-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), giving studies a wider number of sites and a wider range of great people.
These therapies are antibodies created in the laboratory to target a specific infection or toxin. If they work, treatments can provide protection against the virus immediately, as opposed to a vaccine, which can take several weeks before it starts to provide protection and may not provide protection after someone is already infected. But antibody therapies usually only work for a couple of months, while vaccines offer long-term protection.
In the first trial, volunteers are given a placebo or a dose of REGN-COV-2, an antibody treatment made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals that has shown success in laboratory and animal studies and has been shown to be safe in human trials.
The trial will try to see if the antibody cocktail provides protection against the disease and if someone is infected, if the treatment limits the number of symptoms and if it helps to keep people out of the hospital.
Scientists hope to record 2,000 asymptomatic adults who have had contact with someone in their family who has an infection. Volunteers will receive the treatment within a 96-hour window after coming into contact with the infected person, and scientists will check with them again for seven months to ensure the treatment was safe and effective.
The second trial will test to see how Eli Lilly and Co. antibody treatment works. LY-CoV555 with people working or living in a nursing home or assisted living institution who has had a positive case.
That trial, requiring 2,400 volunteers, will test whether therapy prevents infections in this vulnerable population and will also test whether therapy prevents symptoms or reduces the severity of the disease.
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