Dogs can detect covid-19 with 90% accuracy even in asymptomatic individuals

Specially trained dogs can detect covid-19 with high accuracy even in asymptomatic individuals. At airports, their deployment would bring significant clarification and speed up controls. It has previously been shown that dogs can detect, for example, some tumors, malaria or epilepsy. New research by experts from the British London School of Tropical Medicine has now confirmed that dogs can also detect covid-19.
Claire Guest and her colleagues wanted to see if dogs could detect patients with pandemic coronavirus who did not show signs of the disease. These asymptomatic patients pose a high risk in a pandemic because they can unknowingly spread the disease without anyone noticing. Researchers collected sock samples from 200 people with covid-19 who had either asymptomatic disease or symptoms of the disease. The samples were then used in tests, which were attended by a total of 6 dogs with special training.
Dogs were generally very successful in the experiments, even in samples from people with asymptomatic disease. They were able to detect 82 to 94 percent of those infected with covid-19.


How much drugs use people during a pandemic? The answer lies in the wastewater…

The coronavirus pandemic has affected club drug use, which has declined in a number of monitored sites in Europe. However, it seems to have no significant effect on marijuana use When Europe was hit by a coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020, it affected virtually every aspect of life. Drug use was no exception, although information on these activities is harder to find than in other cases. Wastewater analyzes are very useful in this regard, which reveals not only what drugs are used in a given area, but also in what amounts.
The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) recently carried out such an analysis in 82 European cities. Experts analyzed wastewater samples taken between March and May 2020, ie during the initial phase of the pandemic. They focused on the detection of MDMA, amphetamines, methamphetamine and metabolites of cocaine and marijuana.
These analyzes have been going on for ten years now, so it is possible to monitor trends in drug use, and now also how the pandemic affected them. MDMA or ecstasy is often used as a “club” drug. It was therefore no surprise that the amount of ecstasy used decreased in about half of the monitored sites. However, even the pandemic did not change the fact that the Netherlands remains a champion in ecstasy consumption.


Sophisticated enzymatic treatment could prevent tooth decay in children

Dental plaques form a coalition of bacteria and yeast that are linked by sugar chains. It is on these sugars that the new treatment is aimed. Resisting sugar is not easy, as well as following the right procedures when brushing your teeth. Therefore, people, especially children, are often prone to tooth decay. A new treatment that uses enzymes to weaken dental plaque, a biofilm that constantly forms on the teeth and leads to tooth decay, could now help.
According to experts from the American University of Pennsylvania, dental plaque usually consists of the bacteria streptococci Streptococcus mutans and the yeast Candida albicans. Streptococci support each other with yeast. They even connect to each other, using mannan polysaccharide molecules from the yeast cell wall, which associate with glycosyltransferase enzyme molecules produced by streptococci.
Attack on dental plaques
Today, there are drugs that target streptococci in the oral cavity. But they usually also kill useful bacteria without affecting the plaque itself. Geelsu Hwang and his team therefore came up with a new approach. Instead of the bacteria or yeast themselves, they attack their joints, ie the mannan molecules.

In experiments, they tried three different enzymes that break down mannan. They let them act on biofilms placed on a tooth-like surface. After only 5 minutes of exposure to the enzymes, the biofilm was significantly weakened, which was then much easier to remove by brushing teeth and similar procedures. The advantage of such treatment is that resistance to it develops worse. In the future, similar enzymes could appear, for example, in children’s mouthwashes and similar preparations.


Czechoslovakia under the Spanish flu: How did the virus fight and how many people died?

While on October 28, 1918, Prague and other cities danced and sang enthusiastically, tens of thousands of people lost their lives. They got the so-called Spanish flu. According to the latest findings, the epidemic claimed up to 80,000 victims in the Czech lands alone, which is much more than previously thought … already in April 1918, MUDr. Ernst Guth, occupational physician of the Kladno Poldovka, indications of a strong influenza epidemic. At that time, little was naturally known about the fatal cases of influenza on the Western Front and in American camps, where tens of thousands of recruits were waiting in a cramped space for their deployment in Europe. A mysterious disease spread on the fronts, but practically no one heard about it in Prague, the censors of the military administration did not suffer such a report in the newspapers. There was talk among the soldiers outside in the trenches about the Flemish fever, but also about the flu from hunger …

There is not much that doctors could do against the so-called Spanish flu. Most were convinced that the causative agent of the disease was Pfeiffer’s bacillus – however, numerous Czech doctors, such as Vladislav Švestka, Ivan Honl or Assistant Professor Hlavín Antonín Spilka, doubted this. No special remedy for influenza was known, but many have been tested – urotropin, neosalvarsan or creosote. MUDr. Jan Šimsa promoted collargol in the sanatorium in Krč. However, all these flu drugs eventually disappointed. Particularly complicated treatment occurred when pneumonia was added to the influenza, then patients had to be kept alive, for example by cardiac preparations such as digitalis, strofantin, caffeine, strychnine or camphor.

Professor Wagner from the Prague Obstetrics Clinic watched as many pregnant women and puerperiums died at the height of the pandemic. He hoped to save young women by injecting adrenaline into their muscles. Professor Rudolf Jaksch von Wartenhorst, Head of II. medical clinic of the Prague German Medical Faculty, he had only scolding words for this action – this hormone was too dangerous for use in everyday practice. But as early as February 1919, a chemical plant in Chrást near Chrudim began producing ampoules against influenza pneumonia according to Wagner’s design.

The vast majority of all patients received no help at all because there were too few doctors and medicines available. Between 1915 and 1918, the number of physicians in Prague decreased from 792 to only 494 due to the war. In many places, as was the case in Košíře, there were one physician per 10,000 patients. In the end, many doctors succumbed to the flu, such as the head of the Klatovy hospital, Bohumil Tyll, and the general practitioner, Michael Horníček from Smíchov.

The cure for all’s hopes, aspirin, was almost unavailable, and black marketers sold it for exorbitant sums. At the same time, in life-threatening cases, this drug did not help practically anything. And against terrible pain, for example in the case of pneumonic complications, morphine or the heroin or pantopone, which was still in use at the time, an opium preparation from Switzerland, worked much better.


People and also cities have a characteristic staff of microbes

Recently, we often hear about microbiomes – specific communities of bacteria and viruses that animals, including humans, have in their intestines. It turns out that they have a surprising effect on human health and participate in the functioning of organs to which one would not say it at first glance. According to a new study by an international team of experts, this is basically the same for cities.
Research leader Christopher Mason of Cornell University in the United States and colleagues collected samples with microbes on surfaces in public transportation and hospitals from 60 cities in 32 countries around the world. In the period between 2015 and 2017, there were a total of 4,728 samples.
When the researchers analyzed the samples and read the discovered genome sequences, they came across 4,246 known species of viruses, bacteria and archaea. In addition, they also discovered 10,928 species of viruses and 748 species of bacteria, which they did not find in any available database and are therefore new to science. The 31 species discovered were common to 97 percent of cities, and the remaining thousands of species formed specific microbiomes of each city. The results of research could be used in epidemiology, in the development of new drugs, and also in forensic medicine.