blog-mindfullcovid19

Mindful COVID-19

Scientists discovered the traces of SARS-CoV2 Spike protein in Brain

Brain fog, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction are some of the severe complications seen in COVID19. It is surprising to my brain that scientists discovered the traces of SARS-CoV2 spike protein now when our brain is already full of COVID 19. 

COVID19 is the most talked-about and investigated health condition in the past year. 

It creates more anxiety, especially after hearing about: 

·       New variants (B.1.1.7) of SARS-COV2 which spreads faster than the existing one 

·       A potential new wave of lockdown 

·       Possibility of not seeing friends/colleagues for another nine months 

·       Doubts on the efficacy of vaccines on the new strains 

·       One more long year of Ph.D. – who are waiting to wind up the last wet-lab experiment 

·       One more year of long office hours and more than 60% of the time on virtual meetings 

·       Degrowth in business and so the incentives – Increased frequency of updates (sales, calls, complaints, strategy, learning, and development)

COVID19 is not letting us relax a bit and chill with friends during the new year. The scientists often saying be “Mindful of COVID-19″. The SARS-CoV2 could shed the spike proteins in the brain, which may eventually spark the cytokine storm (immune cells release cytokines and inflammatory products). 

Our body will overreact to these spike proteins to kill them in the brain, causing cognitive issues. This condition is also seen in HIV. Like Spike proteins of SARS-CoV2, the GP120 of HIV gets released in the brain.

Consider, the virus enters the brain and creates some disturbance at the respiratory centers. Don’t you think that it impacts lung function? Another striking thing is that COVID complications are seen higher in males. The evidence shows that spike proteins have more attraction towards olfactory bulbs and kidneys of males than females. So males should be more Mindful of COVID19

Reference: DOI: 10.1038/s41593-020-00771-8

breath, lungs, respiratory

Mindful Mutations

B.1.1.7 variant, identified in the UK (potentially originated from immunocompromised patients) – Spread faster than others. Usually, SARS-CoV2 acquires only one or two mutations in a month. But, here, in the case of B.1.1.7 it has accumulated a lot many mutations. Although it is a rare phenomenon, it is very much possible if the virus survives in the host for an extended period. The immunocompromised individuals are the fertile ground for viruses to stay longer and to accumulate mutations.  

We understand now that the new variant differs in 17 amino acids, out of which 8 are on spike protein. Three of them are a bit critical to know:

  • Mutation 69-70 deletion – loss of two amino acids on spike proteins. This mutant is twice infectious as the original one because it evades the immune system
  • Mutation N501Y – aid in binding tightly to the ACE2 receptor
  • Mutation P681H – protease cleavage site on spike protein

Now the questions raised on the efficacy of vaccines (that are already developed )against the new variant. Is it still good to use in the countries where a new variant of SARS-CoV2 is prevalent? or will it be obsolete?

The good news is that only nine amino acids differ from 1270 amino acids of spike protein encoded by the messenger RNA (BioNtech – Pfizer vaccine). In the past, the vaccines which are developed against Polio and Rabies are still effective against new strains of the virus.

Reference: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/12/uk-variant-puts-spotlight-immunocompromised-patients-role-covid-19-pandemic

Although, our entire mind and heart filled with fear of COVID19. We got to follow the necessary precautions given by our health department to make sure our brain remains sharp and focus. Let us be mindful of COVID19 and enter into the new year with better awareness.