Do the “Healthy” Spread COVID? (Abstract Science, June 7 - 13)
Also: drugs to combat cytokine storm, genetic causes of ALS
(Catherine Pearson, HuffPost, 6/11/20)
The article discusses the knowns and unknowns of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19, after a week that saw confusing advice from the WHO. The author tries to define the terms “asymptomatic” and “pre-symptomatic,” discusses the role that children play in the spread of the disease, and stresses the importance of sticking with known safety measures like wearing masks and social distancing.
(Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times, 6/11/20)
“Cytokine storm” is a known factor in some COVID-19 related deaths, when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive and causes organ failure. The article discusses several drugs in development to combat this symptom, as well as medical machinery to “purify” the blood of excessive cytokines - similar to the function of kidney dialysis machines.
Researchers have published a study on the gene UBQLN2, which they claim may contribute to the disease ALS. The gene is responsible for cellular “garbage” disposal, and the mutation causes the gene to malfunction. Waste builds up in nerve cells, becoming toxic. The researchers also believe that the gene and its accompanying issues could be responsible for a form of dementia associated with ALS.
—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker