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Western researchers use MRI to learn cause of long-COVID symptoms – BlackburnNews.com

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Western researchers use MRI to learn cause of long-COVID symptoms

File photo of woman coughing. Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / HighwayStarz


A study led by researchers at Western University has revealed the cause of long-COVID symptoms.

New data published by Western professor Grace Parraga and the LIVECOVIDFREE study, based out of five centres in Ontario, is the largest MRI study of patients with long-COVID. The term long-COVID refers to symptoms of brain fog, breathlessness, fatigue and feeling limited while doing everyday things, often lasting weeks and months post-infection.

This is the first study to show a potential cause of long-COVID, which has helped physicians in the study target treatment for the patients.

“I think it is always a conundrum when someone has symptoms, but you can’t identify the problem,” said Parraga, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Lung Imaging to Transform Outcomes at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. “If you can’t identify the problem, you can’t identify solutions.”

By using MRI imaging with inhaled xenon gas, researchers have identified that the symptoms are caused by microscopic abnormalities that affect how oxygen is exchanged from the lungs to the red blood cells.

Researchers used the technology to watch the function of the 300-500 million tiny alveolar sacs, which are about 1/5 of a millimetre in diameter and responsible for bringing oxygen to the blood.

“What we saw on the MRI was that the transition of the oxygen into the red blood cells was depressed in these symptomatic patients who had had COVID-19, compared to healthy volunteers,” Parraga said.

Further CT scans pointed to ‘abnormal trimming’ of the vascular tree, which indicated an impact on the tiny blood vessels that deliver red blood cells to the alveoli to be oxygenated.

Parraga said the study showed no difference in severity between patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and those who recovered without hospitalization. She said this is an important finding as the latest wave of COVID-19 has affected many people who did not receive hospital-based care.

To conduct the study, researchers recruited patients suspected to be suffering from long-COVID from London Health Sciences Centre’s Urgent COVID-19 Care Clinic and St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s Post-Acute COVID-19 Program. Some participants experienced persistent shortness of breath more than six weeks post-infection, while others were still symptomatic after 35 weeks.

One of the participants is Alex Kopacz, a London-native and Canadian Olympic bobsleigh gold-medalist, who called his experience with COVID-19 “harrowing” and believed the virus would not affect him long-term as he is a young athlete.

“I was on oxygen for almost two months after COVID, and it took me almost three months to get to a place where I could go for a walk without gasping for air,” Kopacz said. “The take home message for me is that we have to remember that this virus can have very serious long-term consequences, which are not trivial.”

Researchers are now conducting a one-year follow-up to better understand these results.

The study was done in collaboration with researchers outside of London at Lakehead University, McMaster University, Toronto Metropolitan University and Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

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Monkeypox call seen as catch-up bid – World – Chinadaily.com.cn – China Daily

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US’ health emergency declaration may come too late to halt spread, experts say

Microbiologists with the Aegis Sciences Corporation process COVID-19 and monkeypox tests at its facility in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday. ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

The administration of US President Joe Biden on Thursday declared the country’s monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency, but many health experts fear that it may be too late to contain the spread of infections.

Criticism of the White House’s response to the disease outbreak has been building, with experts saying the authorities have been slow off the mark in distributing treatments and vaccines.

The White House’s declaration signals that the monkeypox virus now represents a significant risk to citizens. The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, is considering a second declaration that would empower federal officials to expedite medical countermeasures, such as other potential treatments and vaccines, without going through comprehensive federal reviews.

That also would allow for greater flexibility in how the current supply of vaccines is administered, Becerra said.

Some 6,600 monkeypox infections have been reported in the United States, a number that has risen sharply over the past weeks.

Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University, said the declaration of the health emergency “signals the US government’s seriousness and purpose, and sounds a global alarm”. But he told The Associated Press that the action was overdue.

Gostin said the government has been too cautious and should have declared a nationwide emergency earlier.

On July 23, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the outbreak, with cases in more than 70 countries.

California, Illinois and New York have all made declarations recently, as have New York City, San Francisco and San Diego County.

Since doctors diagnosed the first US case on May 27, the virus has been spreading rapidly in the country, with the highest rates per capita reported in Washington, New York and Georgia.

More than 99 percent of the infections are among men who have sex with men.

The virus is transmitted mostly during close physical contact. So far, no deaths from the disease have been reported in the US.

The country now has the highest case count among nonendemic countries, and the number is expected to rise as surveillance and testing improve.

Monkeypox is endemic in parts of Africa, where people have been infected through bites from rodents or small animals. Classification as endemic means a disease has a constant presence in a population but is not affecting an alarmingly large number of people, as typically seen in a pandemic.

‘Rarely fatal’

On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says of the virus: “Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.”

There is increasing concern that the US may have lost its chance to contain the monkeypox virus. Some public health experts have pointed fingers at the administration for its slowness in rolling out vaccines and treatments.

“The window for containing monkeypox is rapidly closing,” Gostin warned in an interview with CNN late last month. He had called for the US to declare a national public health emergency and make more vaccine doses available.

“I do think it’s still possible to contain, but it’s also equally possible that this may become endemic in the United States,” he said.

Supplies of a monkeypox vaccine called Jynneos have been limited even as demand surges. The administration has been criticized for moving too slowly to expand the number of doses.

Federal officials have identified about 1.6 million people as being at the highest risk for monkeypox, but the US has received enough Jynneos doses to fully cover only about 550,000 people.

The shortage of vaccines was caused in part because the Department of Health and Human Services failed early on to ask that bulk stocks of the vaccine it already owned be bottled for distribution, reported The New York Times, citing multiple unnamed administration officials familiar with the matter.

The government is now distributing about 1.1 million vaccine doses, less than a third of the 3.5 million that health officials now estimate are needed to fight the outbreak. It does not expect the next delivery, of 500,000 doses, until October.

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Monkeypox call seen as catch-up bid – Chinadaily.com.cn – China Daily

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US’ health emergency declaration may come too late to halt spread, experts say

Microbiologists with the Aegis Sciences Corporation process COVID-19 and monkeypox tests at its facility in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday. ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

The administration of US President Joe Biden on Thursday declared the country’s monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency, but many health experts fear that it may be too late to contain the spread of infections.

Criticism of the White House’s response to the disease outbreak has been building, with experts saying the authorities have been slow off the mark in distributing treatments and vaccines.

The White House’s declaration signals that the monkeypox virus now represents a significant risk to citizens. The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, is considering a second declaration that would empower federal officials to expedite medical countermeasures, such as other potential treatments and vaccines, without going through comprehensive federal reviews.

That also would allow for greater flexibility in how the current supply of vaccines is administered, Becerra said.

Some 6,600 monkeypox infections have been reported in the United States, a number that has risen sharply over the past weeks.

Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University, said the declaration of the health emergency “signals the US government’s seriousness and purpose, and sounds a global alarm”. But he told The Associated Press that the action was overdue.

Gostin said the government has been too cautious and should have declared a nationwide emergency earlier.

On July 23, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the outbreak, with cases in more than 70 countries.

California, Illinois and New York have all made declarations recently, as have New York City, San Francisco and San Diego County.

Since doctors diagnosed the first US case on May 27, the virus has been spreading rapidly in the country, with the highest rates per capita reported in Washington, New York and Georgia.

More than 99 percent of the infections are among men who have sex with men.

The virus is transmitted mostly during close physical contact. So far, no deaths from the disease have been reported in the US.

The country now has the highest case count among nonendemic countries, and the number is expected to rise as surveillance and testing improve.

Monkeypox is endemic in parts of Africa, where people have been infected through bites from rodents or small animals. Classification as endemic means a disease has a constant presence in a population but is not affecting an alarmingly large number of people, as typically seen in a pandemic.

‘Rarely fatal’

On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says of the virus: “Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.”

There is increasing concern that the US may have lost its chance to contain the monkeypox virus. Some public health experts have pointed fingers at the administration for its slowness in rolling out vaccines and treatments.

“The window for containing monkeypox is rapidly closing,” Gostin warned in an interview with CNN late last month. He had called for the US to declare a national public health emergency and make more vaccine doses available.

“I do think it’s still possible to contain, but it’s also equally possible that this may become endemic in the United States,” he said.

Supplies of a monkeypox vaccine called Jynneos have been limited even as demand surges. The administration has been criticized for moving too slowly to expand the number of doses.

Federal officials have identified about 1.6 million people as being at the highest risk for monkeypox, but the US has received enough Jynneos doses to fully cover only about 550,000 people.

The shortage of vaccines was caused in part because the Department of Health and Human Services failed early on to ask that bulk stocks of the vaccine it already owned be bottled for distribution, reported The New York Times, citing multiple unnamed administration officials familiar with the matter.

The government is now distributing about 1.1 million vaccine doses, less than a third of the 3.5 million that health officials now estimate are needed to fight the outbreak. It does not expect the next delivery, of 500,000 doses, until October.

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Health unit to host monkeypox clinic Sunday – BlackburnNews.com

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Health unit to host monkeypox clinic Sunday

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / jbruiz


The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is making a limited supply of the monkeypox vaccine available.

The health unit will set up a monkeypox vaccine clinic on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Windsor-Essex PrideFest, centred at Lanspeary Park. Acting Medical Officer of Health Doctor Shanker Nesathurai said the clinic will be geared toward high-risk individuals.

“The term is sometimes described as ‘pre-exposure prophylaxis’, and that will be offered at the Pride event this coming weekend,” Nesathurai said during a media briefing Friday morning.

Chief Nursing Officer Felicia Lawal said the health unit will work with PrideFest and Pozitive Pathways to operate the mobile clinic.

“Public health nurses will be available to provide health information and resources on monkeypox, as well as pre-exposure vaccination for those who meet criteria and qualify,” said Lawal.

Nesathurai said the health unit will have about a hundred doses available at the clinic, and that the unit had distributed monkeypox vaccines in the past.

The health unit also emphasized that even though the biggest risk group continues to be men who have sex with men, anyone can get the virus, which can be transmitted through close contact. Nesathurai added that the PrideFest clinic will be the best way to raise as much awareness of the virus as possible, but the health unit is working not to stigmatize any segment of the population.

So far, there has been just one confirmed case of monkeypox in Windsor-Essex.

Complete information about monkeypox and vaccines can be found on the health unit’s official website.

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