Coronavirus, bacteria together can lead to severity in some Covid patients

The body's own microbiota may also be influential in the progression of lung diseases.

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According to the scientists, humans carry more than 100 trillion bacteria in the body - outnumbering the number of our own cells.
Houston: The severity of COVID-19 in people with obesity and diabetes may be explained by the combined effects of the novel coronavirus and the body's natural community of bacteria - the microbiota - working together in the lungs, according to a new study.

The review research, published in the journal eLife, assessed mechanisms linking obesity and diabetes to COVID-19, and suggested that interactions between the novel coronavirus and existing bacterial conditions may explain why people with the co-morbid conditions may often require hospitalisation and ventilation.

"There is rapidly emerging evidence highlighting obesity and type 2 diabetes as key risk factors linked to severity of COVID-19 infections in all ethnic groups, but the detailed underlying connections with these risk factors remain largely unknown," said study co-author Philipp Scherer from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the US.


"There is a paradox that people with obesity and diabetes are generally known to recover better from lung conditions than others. So, what is it about COVID-19 that makes this group of people more susceptible," Scherer said.

In the research, the scientists revisited the factors and disease pathways that connect obesity and diabetes to the severity of COVID-19 infection.

They found that the mechanisms can be roughly divided into two groups - those connected with the human cells' ACE2 receptor, and those providing an interaction between COVID-19 and pre-existing bacterial conditions.
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The scientists explained that the ACE2 receptor resides on the surface of many cells in the human body, and is involved in regulating blood pressure and the function of blood vessels, and is also used by the virus to enter human cells.

They hypothesised that increased amounts of ACE2 in people with obesity or diabetes makes it easier for the virus to enter cells and increases the viral load -- an important factor in determining disease severity.

Alternatively, the researchers said, an increased shedding of ACE2 in people with obesity causes it to move to the lungs, where the virus could use it.

They believe the body's own microbiota may also be influential in the progression of lung diseases.
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According to the scientists, humans carry more than 100 trillion bacteria in the body - outnumbering the number of our own cells.


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They said people with obesity and diabetes are thought to suffer from a body-wide dissemination of bacteria and the substances they produce, which in turn causes low-level continuous inflammation in different tissues.

The scientists are currently assessing how host bacteria might influence COVID-19 severity.

They said one potential culprit could be the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) molecules that bacteria produce, which they said can cooperate with other coronaviruses to induce respiratory distress in pigs.

They noted in the study that the LPS molecules may likely join forces with COVID-19 in humans and trigger a chain of events that causes healthy tissue to transform into scarred tissue.

"While all of these potential mechanisms can contribute to the severity of COVID-19, we believe that one of them plays the predominant role, and that this must be present not only in obese and diabetic patients, but also in other groups of increased risk in COVID-19," Scherer explained.

The scientists said a combined deficiency in ACE2 caused by COVID-19, together with obesity or diabetes, may lead to impaired gut barrier function, allowing bacteria and their toxins to leak into the circulation.

They believe these bacteria and toxins may be working with the virus in the lungs to cause more severe injury than either would do alone.

"Our theory is supported by experiments showing that the combination of bacterial and viral infection can lead to a 'cytokine storm' -- an extreme inflammatory reaction -- which is a hallmark of COVID-19," Scherer said.

"Moreover, the involvement of viral-bacterial interactions can also explain the increased risk of severe COVID-19 seen in older people, those with heart disease and in some ethnic groups," he added.

Coronavirus Can Get Children Worried: Here's How To Have The Talk
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In the wake of coronavirus, several schools and colleges have been shut in many parts of the world to contain the spread of COVID-19. As public awareness and conversations around the novel virus increase, the situation can get the children anxious and worried for their family members and friends.



Parents, family members, teachers, healthcare professionals and trusted adults play a significant role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate and minimise their fear or anxiety.



Dr Sreenath Manikanti, Senior Consultant Neonatologist & HOD Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond Road, Bangalore shares a few tips to help make the corona conversation easier around children.

In the wake of coronavirus, several schools and colleges have been shut in many parts of the world to contain the spread of COVID-19. As public awareness and conversations around the novel virus incr..
Read More
- Remember that children react to how and what things are said

- Children pick up cues from conversations you have with them and others

- Patiently listen to what they say, and allow them to ask questions

- Avoid using words that might blame others and lead to stigma

- Remember that the virus can make anyone sick. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19

- Pay attention to what children see, hear or read on television, radio or online

- Reduce the amount of screen time for children focused on COVID-19. Too much information on any one topic can lead to anxiety and worry

- Provide information to kids that is honest and accurate. Give information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child

- Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the internet and social media may be based on rumours and inaccurate information

- Teach chilren everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs

- Stay calm and keep information simple

- Reassure children that health and school authorities are working very hard to keep everyone safe and healthy

- Teach dos and don'ts at home, schools and play areas
- Remember that children react to how and what things are said - Children pick up cues from conversations you have with them and others - Patiently listen to what they say, and allow them to ask qu..
Read More
- Stay 6 feet away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick

- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, and then throw the tissue into a closed bin

- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing nose, coughing or sneezing, after using restroom, and before eating or learning to prepare food

- If soap and water are not available, teach children to use hand sanitiser
- Stay 6 feet away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick - Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, and then throw the tissue into a closed bin - Wash hands with soap and water for a..
Read More
- Avoid touching mouth, nose, eyes and face with unclean hands

- Avoid coughing or sneezing into hands

- Avoid crowded places

- Avoid touching surfaces in public places and play areas unnecessarily
- Avoid touching mouth, nose, eyes and face with unclean hands - Avoid coughing or sneezing into hands - Avoid crowded places - Avoid touching surfaces in public places and play areas unnecessaril..
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What is COVID-19?

- COVID-19 is the short name for 'coronavirus disease 2019'

- It is a new virus. Doctors are still learning more about it

- Recently, this virus has made a lot of people sick

- Doctors and scientists think that most people will be alright, especially kids, but some people might get very sick

- Doctors and experts are working hard to help people stay healthy
What is COVID-19? - COVID-19 is the short name for 'coronavirus disease 2019' - It is a new virus. Doctors are still learning more about it - Recently, this virus has made a lot of people sick - ..
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- Practice healthy habits at home, school and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19

- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the dustbin right away

- Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose and eyes. This will help keep germs out of your body

- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have soap and water, use hand sanitiser to clean the germs

- Keep things clean and hygienic

- If you have cough & fever, stay home. Just like you don’t want to get other people’s germs in your body, other people don’t want to get your germs either

- If you are old enough, you can help adults at home and school clean the things we touch the most like desks, doorknobs, light switches and remote controls
- Practice healthy habits at home, school and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 - Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the..
Read More
- COVID-19 can look different in different people. From what doctors have seen so far, most kids don’t seem to get very sick

- Being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. Children may get a fever, cough or have a hard time taking deep breaths

- Most people who have contracted COVID-19 don't get very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems

- If you suspect your child may have COVID-19, call Government of India helpline +91-11-23978046 or contact nearest healthcare facility to let them know before you bring your child in to see them
- COVID-19 can look different in different people. From what doctors have seen so far, most kids don’t seem to get very sick - Being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. Chi..
Read More
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