Recombination occurs when two different variants infect the same cell, in the same person, at the same time. From there, they can combine their genetic material, resulting in a virus that possesses a mix of genes from both infecting “parent” viruses. This recombinant variant may then spread to other people – as has been the case with omicron XE.
We sought out scholars who could take our readers on deep dives into immunology and virology to help demystify these sometimes confusing, conflicting and taxing science-based questions. Here are five stories from The Conversation’s archives that highlight critical insights that we as editors and readers have gained thanks to COVID-19, and that will no doubt continue to be an important part of our pandemic lexicon.
Upon vaccination or infection with COVID-19, your body produces two types of protective immune responses. The first type involves B cells, which produce antibodies, the second involves T cells, your second line of defense.
We’re starting to get a more detailed understanding of COVID immunity across variants. Here’s what we know so far . . .
The two most successful coronavirus vaccines developed in the U.S. – the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines – are both mRNA vaccines. The idea of using genetic material to produce an immune response has opened up a world of research and potential medical uses far out of reach of traditional vaccines.
What do the numbers tell us about COVID-19, vaccines and myocarditis?
On Friday, January 7 2022, David Bennett became the world’s first person to successfully receive a transplant of a pig’s heart. The eight-hour-long operation by surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, USA, was no doubt arduous. But it was a short final step in a 60-year-long journey to genetically alter the pig’s heart so that it would not be immediately rejected – a journey that began with a plane crash in Oxford in the summer of 1940.
T cells designed to fight COVID also appear to be much longer lasting in the human body than antibodies.
The bad news isn’t as bad as it could be, but the good news also needs to be treated with caution. Here’s why.
I encourage people to do all they can to improve the health and functioning of their immune system, naturally. Then, seriously consider what additional protection would be gained from vaccination against COVID-19. When people make decisions based on the latest science – which is always evolving – rather than on emotions and misinformation, the decision should become much clearer.
Long COVID-19 often involves a constellation of symptoms affecting many parts of the body, but the most commonly reported are fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pains, cognitive changes, headaches, sensory changes and pain.
“A third dose of Pfizer or Moderna will provide those who need it extra protection and help shield some of our most vulnerable from the highly contagious delta variant,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH
Many people know the story of Edward Jenner’s discovery of vaccination against smallpox. but far fewer have heard of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
Studies are ongoing, but for now, lambda remains a variant of interest rather than a variant of concern.
Women in their teens and early 20s now report drinking and getting drunk at higher rates than their male peers