Prior to Covid, the world had seen outbreaks from SARC, MERS and EBOLA virus. However, the Covid spread was much more perplexing and chaotic, as it affected different people differently. The older adults were at a higher risk of infection, from having a slowed down immune response.
There have been critically ill younger adults, requiring hospitalization and intensive care. This observation has raised some very important question for the scientific community. What factors determine the severity of infection? Does genetic makeup play a role in how an individual reacts to this virus?
Population-based GWAS - is an approach used in genetics research to associate genetic variations with diseases. The method involves comparing the entire DNA(genomes) from large groups of sick and healthy individuals, and looking for genetic changes that can be used to predict the presence of a disease.
One such study is Genetics of Mortality in Critical Care (GenOMICC), that compared genomes of critically ill and healthy individuals, to find the underlying reason/mechanism of the diseases. For this Covid-19 study, scientists compared approximately 8000 sick patients’ DNA with about 48000 healthy people’s DNA. They identified 23 regions in the DNA with roles in immune cell development, signaling, and blood type antigens. All these genetic differences can make people more prone to life-threatening diseases due to the failure to control viral replication, enhanced tendency for lung inflammation, and coagulation inside vital organs.
Read more Nature
Arrhythmia is a problem with the heartbeat rhythm or rate. In other words - either the heart beats too quickly or too slowly or with an irregular pattern. These problems occur when the electrical signals that coordinate the heartbeat do not work correctly. Electrical misfiring and signal transduction problems also trigger heart attacks and strokes.
After a heart attack or other injury, scar tissue in cardiac muscle can prevent the needed electrical signals from propagating efficiently. The result is often arrhythmias that can either cause the heart to flutter quickly or beat too slowly, leading to a stroke or heart attack. Arrhythmia is treated by medications, surgery or other recommended procedures based on the specific type of arrhythmia.
The cells that create rhythmic heart impulses, setting the pace for blood pumping, are called pacemaker cells and they directly control the heart rate.
These are battery powered devices that can detect arrhythmia, and help heart to regain its rhythm. They can be put into the heart via surgery if there is a high risk of developing dangerously fast or irregular heartbeat in the lower heart chambers. The implantation is done under the skin near the collarbone(just like the real pacemaker of the heart).
Now, researchers have created a “liquid wire” that can guide the organs to a normal rhythm. It would be ideal to use an electrode that delivers a milder and potentially less painful pulse to the top and the lower chambers. One option is to thread a thin metal electrode through a coronary vein on the outside of the heart to reach the middle regions of the heart, where it can stimulate the heart’s lower chambers. But the coronary veins of many patients can be too narrow or have partial occlusions, making that impossible.
Read More Science.org