• Everything we know about #coronavirus immunity, and plenty we still don’t

    It’s not just whether someone is immune themselves. The next assumption is that people who have antibodies cannot spread the virus to others. Again, that hasn’t been shown yet.

    “We don’t have nearly the immunological or biological data at this point to say that if someone has a strong enough immune response that they are protected from symptoms, … that they cannot be transmitters,” said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


    A number of countries have launched large serosurveys, so hopefully we’ll have a better sense soon of the levels of antibodies being generated by individuals who recover from Covid-19 and among the general population. For now, though, there have only been limited data released from a couple small studies.

    Scientists in Europe have pointed to strong antibody production in patients within a few weeks of infection. One study found that people were generally quick to form antibodies, which could help explain why the majority of people do not develop severe cases of Covid-19.

    But one preprint released this month complicated the landscape. (Preprints have not been peer-reviewed or published yet in a research journal.) Researchers in Shanghai reported that of 175 patients with confirmed #Covid-19, about a third had low antibody levels and some had no detectable antibodies. The findings suggest that the strength of the antibody response could correlate to the severity of infection, though that’s not known for sure. They also raised concerns that those with a weaker antibody response might not be immune from reinfection.

    But outside researchers have said that conclusions about immunity can’t be drawn from what the study found. For one, there are different kinds of antibodies, so some might exist that the test wasn’t looking for . Secondly, studies in other coronaviruses have shown that antibody responses vary from person to person, without clear implications for how protected someone is from another infection.

    And, researchers say, antibodies are not the only trick the body has to protect itself . Immune cells also form memories after an initial infection and can be rallied quickly should that same pathogen try to strike again, even without antibodies or after antibody levels fade.

    #immunité #anticorps #cellules

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  • Covid-19 ’immunity certificates’: practical and ethical conundrums - STAT

    The media’s understandable focus is now on the number of people hospitalized with and dying from Covid-19. Yet most Americans who develop this disease will recover from it on their own after experiencing flu-like symptoms. Some experts see them as a resource for restarting the economy and want to make their status official with the papers to prove it.

    We need to think them through first.

    German researchers have proposed testing 100,000 people for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and giving “immunity certificates” to those who have these antibodies, which presumably make them resistant to reinfection. The United Kingdom has floated the idea of “Covid passports,” Italy is discussing the idea, and it is being raised in the U.S. as well.

    Immunity certificates offer the enticing promise that an increasing number of people can stop sheltering in place and instead help the world revive. They could play an important role in the period before we have excellent treatments or an effective vaccine. But they raise issues about the science of Covid-19 immunity, about how such certificates would be provided and policed and, most important, about a country split between the free and the confined.

    But no test is perfect. Some detect antibodies that do not exist (false positives), others miss antibodies that do exist (false negatives). False positives may be a particular problem here, as a test might signal positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies when it is really detecting antibodies to cold-causing coronaviruses.

    In normal times, a test is not used until its accuracy and rates of false positives and false negatives have been carefully tested and optimized. But these are not normal times. Such optimization has not yet been done yet for any of the tests under development, and it is not clear how long such a process will take.

    Antibody tests are not the only way to decide that an individual is immune to SARS-CoV-2. We could assume that those who have had the disease are now immune and issue them immunity certificates. But how will we know they had Covid-19? Will an applicant need to show a positive virus test to justify a certificate? Without such testing, it can be difficult to know for sure if someone truly had Covid-19 or if they had something else, like the flu, with similar symptoms. But many people with Covid-19 symptoms have been unable to get coronavirus tests and have even been told not to try.

    Employers or governments might require that only people with immunity certificates be allowed to work in jobs involving substantial human contact, like health care, food, service, retail, transportation, and more. Restaurants, bars, sporting events, concerts, or other so-called public accommodations might admit only those with immunity certificates. Travel by public transportation or the privilege to attend classes in person might be limited to individuals with immunity certificates. But should they be so restricted?

    These certificates have appeal — unless you are one of the many people who end up locked out of the world due to no fault of your own. For you, it is discrimination: some people can work, play, or travel while you cannot.

    #Coronavirus #Carte_immunité #Segregation_sociale

    https://seenthis.net/messages/843384 via Articles repérés par Hervé Le Crosnier

  • China embraces a revolution in genetic testing, seeking answers on destiny and identity

    BEIJING — It was from the news of American actress Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy that Yang Yang learned it would be possible to have her DNA sequenced. A white-collar worker from Chongqing, a major city in southwest China, Yang admired her idol’s decision in 2013 to take her future into her own hands after a genetic test revealed a high risk of breast cancer. Five years later, Yang has discovered that genetic testing services are not only available to Hollywood stars, but also to the (...)

    #23Mofang #biométrie #génétique


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  • IBM pitched Watson as a revolution in cancer care. It’s nowhere close

    three years after IBM began selling Watson to recommend the best cancer treatments to doctors around the world, a STAT investigation has found that the supercomputer isn’t living up to the lofty expectations IBM created for it. It is still struggling with the basic step of learning about different forms of cancer. Only a few dozen hospitals have adopted the system, which is a long way from IBM’s goal of establishing dominance in a multibillion-dollar market. And at foreign hospitals, physicians complained its advice is biased toward American patients and methods of care.

    @anne #machine_learning #cancer #santé #IBM

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  • Broad Institute prevails in heated dispute over CRISPR patents

    The US patent office ruled on Wednesday that hotly disputed patents on the revolutionary genome-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 belong to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, dealing a blow to the University of California in its efforts to overturn those patents.

    In a one-sentence judgment by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the three judges decided that there is “no interference in fact.” In other words, key CRISPR patents awarded to the Broad beginning in 2014 are sufficiently different from patents applied for by UC that they can stand. (…)

    The ruling means that, in the eyes of the patent office, breakthrough work by UC biochemist Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues on CRISPR — an ancient bacterial immune system that they repurposed to easily and precisely edit DNA — was not so all-encompassing as to make later advances “obvious.” That is at odds with how much of the science world has viewed their work. Doudna and her chief collaborator, Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in the life sciences in 2015, the $500,000 Gruber Genetics Prize in 2015, and the $450,000 Japan Prize in 2017.

    #crispr-cas9 #brevets #recherche #génétique

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  • The fentanyl crisis is so deadly in Canada that even funeral directors need the antidote - The Washington Post

    Many public servants who work at the forefront of the crisis — particularly police officers — have begun issuing naloxone nasal spray to front-line officers and support staff who might come in contact with the drug while responding to overdoses. In Vancouver, clandestine lab teams in hazmat suits that once specialized in dismantling crystal meth labs are now being called in to handle fentanyl seizures, the CBC reported. Several police officers in the region have suffered overdose symptoms when seizing fentanyl powder.

    (…) such precautions are also being taken in far less expected realms in British Columbia, including funeral homes. The funeral association is urging funeral homes to obtain naloxone in part to protect the safety of embalmers, who often treat the bodies of drug overdose victims and could encounter a trace of a potentially lethal drug left undiscovered on a corpse or on personal items.

    Additionally, Charlotte Poncelet, executive director of the British Columbia Funeral Association, told the Vancouver Sun that by having naloxone kits on hand in funeral homes, staff can be better prepared to assist in case a grieving funeral attendee overdoses during services.

    et aussi : https://www.statnews.com/2016/12/06/fentanyl-drug-trafficking-texas

    #fentanyl #drogue #santé

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  • Cancer drugs are unaffordable in the developing world

    Goldstein and his colleagues from four countries calculated the prices of a month’s supply of 23 #cancer drugs in Australia, China, India, Israel, South Africa, Great Britain, and the United States.

    (...) “affordability” is calculated as a percentage of per capita gross domestic product required to pay for a month’s supply of the median-priced drug, the study found.


    #santé #inégalités #accès_aux_traitements

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