The Children Never Had Covid. So Why Did They Have Coronavirus Antibodies?

first_imgThen why do we have a pandemic? Shouldn’t most of us be protected by memory cells left by other coronavirus infections? – Advertisement – Now the researchers are planning to expand their study to monitor thousands of children and adults. Some have antibodies that can block the new coronavirus in lab tests. Others do not.“If they have the pandemic strain, are they protected?” Dr. Kassiotis asked. Will they get sick, he wondered, or will the infection be all but undetectable?Dr. Elledge and his colleagues at Harvard developed their own highly specific, sensitive and exhaustive antibody test, VirScan. It is able to detect a diverse collection of antibodies with that are directed at any of more than 800 places on the new coronavirus, including the antibody that Dr. Kassiotis and his colleagues studied.After examining blood taken from 190 people before the pandemic emerged, Dr. Elledge and his colleagues concluded that many already had antibodies, including the one targeting the base of the spike — presumably from infections with related coronaviruses that cause colds.But while adults might get one or two colds a year, Dr. Elledge said, children may get up to a dozen. As a result, many develop floods of coronavirus antibodies that are present almost continuously; they may lessen cold symptoms, or even leave children with colds that are symptomless but still infectious.While adults may not have detectable coronavirus antibodies, many may be able to quickly make antibodies if they are infected with a coronavirus.In typical viral infections, the immune system pours out antibodies to fight the virus. When the infection is quelled, the antibodies, no longer needed, diminish in number. But the body is left with so-called memory cells that allow antibody production to soar rapidly if the virus tries to invade again. The Coronavirus Outbreak ›Words to Know About TestingConfused by the terms about coronavirus testing? Let us help: In a study published Friday in Science, the group, led by George Kassiotis, who heads the Retroviral Immunology Laboratory at the institute, reports that on average only 5 percent of adults had these antibodies, but 43 percent of children did.Researchers who did not participate in the study were intrigued by the finding. H. Benjamin Larman, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, called it a “well-done study that puts forward a compelling theory which is supported by their data.” While the tip of the spike is unique to the new coronavirus, the base is found in all coronaviruses, Dr. Kassiotis said. In lab tests, antibodies to the base of the spike prevented the new coronavirus from entering cells in order to reproduce. Stephen J. Elledge, a genetics professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, had a similar response. He and others have found many people have antibodies to common colds caused by other coronaviruses; in laboratory studies, these antibodies also block the new coronavirus.- Advertisement –center_img In March, as the pandemic was just beginning, Dr. Kassiotis and his colleagues decided to develop a highly sensitive antibody test. To assess it, they examined blood samples taken before the pandemic from over 300 adults and 48 children and adolescents, comparing them with samples from more than 170 people who had been infected with the new coronavirus.The scientists expected samples taken before the pandemic to have no antibodies that attacked the new coronavirus. Those were to be the controls for the test the scientists were developing.Instead, they found that many children, and some adults, carried one antibody in particular that can prevent coronaviruses, including the new one, from entering cells. This antibody attaches itself to a spike that pokes out of coronaviruses.- Advertisement – “It is quite possible that you lose your memory over time,” Dr. Elledge said. He suspects that the new coronavirus may interfere with the activation of the memory cells able to respond to the infection.An infection “might give you a hazy memory that fades over time,” he said. If so, a very recent infection with a common cold coronavirus would be needed to protect against the new coronavirus, and even then the protection might last only for a limited time.The new coronavirus would have hobbled the production of antibodies that specifically attack it. That might explain why children, with their seemingly continuous colds, are much better off than adults.Dr. Elledge said that if he is right about the loss of memory cells, that bodes well for vaccines. A vaccine boosts antibody production without the presence of a virus. So the virus “is not in the background, messing up memory cell formation,” he said.Another possibility is that most adults actually are protected by memory cells from previous infections with the common cold. Although few have enough antibodies in their blood to protect them at any given time, they may be able to quickly make antibodies to lessen the impact of the new coronavirus.That might explain why many adults who are infected recover quickly.“We focus on those who get really sick, but 95 to 98 percent of those who get the virus don’t have to go to the hospital,” Dr. Elledge said. “There are a lot of people who do get better.” Antibody: A protein produced by the immune system that can recognize and attach precisely to specific kinds of viruses, bacteria, or other invaders.Antibody test/serology test: A test that detects antibodies specific to the coronavirus. Antibodies begin to appear in the blood about a week after the coronavirus has infected the body. Because antibodies take so long to develop, an antibody test can’t reliably diagnose an ongoing infection. But it can identify people who have been exposed to the coronavirus in the past.Antigen test: This test detects bits of coronavirus proteins called antigens. Antigen tests are fast, taking as little as five minutes, but are less accurate than tests that detect genetic material from the virus.Coronavirus: Any virus that belongs to the Orthocoronavirinae family of viruses. The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is known as SARS-CoV-2. Covid-19: The disease caused by the new coronavirus. The name is short for coronavirus disease 2019.Isolation and quarantine: Isolation is the separation of people who know they are sick with a contagious disease from those who are not sick. Quarantine refers to restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a virus.Nasopharyngeal swab: A long, flexible stick, tipped with a soft swab, that is inserted deep into the nose to get samples from the space where the nasal cavity meets the throat. Samples for coronavirus tests can also be collected with swabs that do not go as deep into the nose — sometimes called nasal swabs — or oral or throat swabs.Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): Scientists use PCR to make millions of copies of genetic material in a sample. Tests that use PCR enable researchers to detect the coronavirus even when it is scarce.Viral load: The amount of virus in a person’s body. In people infected by the coronavirus, the viral load may peak before they start to show symptoms, if symptoms appear at all. That happened to Dr. Larman and his family of five. Four of them got sick with Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, in July. None were seriously ill, and his 4-year-old son was spared altogether.“My son was not isolated from us and therefore heavily exposed,” Dr. Larman said. “He tested negative twice, and so we certainly suspect that he had some form of pre-existing immunity.” It’s been a big puzzle of the pandemic: Why are children so much less likely than adults to become infected with the new coronavirus and, if infected, less likely to become ill?A possible reason may be that many children already have antibodies to other coronaviruses, according to researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London. About one in five of the colds that plague children are caused by viruses in this family. Antibodies to those viruses may also block SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus causing the pandemic.- Advertisement –last_img read more

PKA grabs chance for DKK1bn profit on German windfarm, exits early

first_imgDenmark’s PKA, which runs three labour-market pension funds in the social and healthcare sectors, says it has made an investment return of nearly DKK1bn (€134m) on the sale of its stake in the Butendiek German offshore windfarm.The DKK250m pensions administrator said it sold the 22.5% stake in the windfarm, located near the Danish-German border, 32km from the island of Sylt, which it bought in 2013 when the project was at the planning stage.It sold the stake to a consortium led by Japan’s ITOCHU group. Peter Damgaard Jensen, PKA’s chief executive, said: “Normally, we would remain in this kind of infrastructure investment for the entire duration, typically 25 years. But we had the opportunity to make a solid profit for our members, and we grabbed it.” He said it had also been important for PKA, which has invested in five offshore windfarms including Butendiek, to establish that this type of alternative investment gives PKA’s 275,000 members a good return.Without disclosing the amount received for the stake, PKA said the deal had given it a return of almost DKK1bn.“Altogether, PKA has more than doubled the sum invested in just three years, and the investment in Butendiek has therefore achieved an annual return of around 25% for PKA’s members,” the firm said.In February 2013, PKA said it was investing DKK750m in the project.Damgaard Jensen said the high return crystallised from the deal meant it would continue to pursue its strategy of investing in alternatives.“And that could very well be a new offshore windfarm, where we can combine a good return with making a positive difference for the climate,” he said.The sale is subject to approval from competition authorities, PKA said.PKA invested in Butendiek in 2013 alongside Industriens Pension – which took the same size of stake as PKA – Siemens Financial Services, Marguerite Infrastructure Fund and WPD.The total equity and bank financing of the facility was around DKK10bn, it said.PKA has said it aims to invest around 10% of its total assets in projects that reduce the use of fossil fuels by 2020.last_img read more

Dodgers break out of their bubble against Diamondbacks

first_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire “I can’t say enough about that outing and how much we needed it,” Roberts said.The Diamondbacks had won the teams’ first five meetings this year. The Dodgers had lost their last three games overall.Kershaw took a shutout into the seventh inning, when a home run by Paul Goldschmidt gave Arizona just its second hit against the Dodgers’ ace. By then the game was out of reach.The score was 7-0 after five innings. The Dodgers batted around in the third against Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley (2-1), who walked six batters in four innings. Godley began the day with the lowest earned-run average in the National League at 0.64. His 3.00 ERA now ranks 20th.Kershaw (1-2) lasted seven innings and struck out 12 batters, the most he’s struck out in a game since July 9 of last year. He did not walk a batter and was reasonably efficient, throwing 100 pitches. His strategy of throwing two-strike sliders seemed to pay off. Ten of his 12 strikeouts came via the pitch. “I mixed some shapes on it,” Kershaw said. “Threw it to the arm side a little bit more today. We face the Diamondbacks four times within the first two months. Same thing with the Giants. You … can’t be predictable.”Only Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling have more career games with 12 or more strikeouts and no walks than Kershaw (nine).After the Dodgers scored a total of four runs in Kershaw’s first three starts of the season, run support was not a problem on Sunday.Chris Taylor went 2 for 5 with a double, a home run and three RBIs. Cody Bellinger also went 2 for 5, while Austin Barnes and Chase Utley were on base three times, thanks in part to a pair of walks.The Dodgers (5-9) will travel to San Diego on Monday with a chance to escape the shallow National League West basement. The Padres (7-10) have won their past three games.Kershaw said that he doesn’t consider the April standings as important as the way the team is playing.“The whole ‘don’t panic it’s too early’ thing doesn’t work if you’re using that in the back of your mind as an excuse. ‘It’s early; we’ll figure it out’ doesn’t really work because then you have to figure it out some time,” Kershaw said. “I don’t really like that saying. There needs to be a sense of urgency every time out there.”The Dodgers scored a run in the second inning without the benefit of a hit. Yasiel Puig reached base on a ground ball that ate up Arizona shortstop Nick Ahmed. Godley walked Barnes and Utley to load the bases. Kiké Hernandez hit a fly ball to center field, and Puig tagged up and scored with a head-first slide and a tumble into home plate.In the third inning, the Dodgers scored three runs while batting around. Puig’s bases-loaded single drove in two. Godley walked Utley with the bases loaded, giving the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.Taylor led off the fourth inning with a solo home run to left field, his third home run of the season. Taylor’s double against Diamondbacks pitcher Silvio Bracho, who was recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, drove in Barnes and Utley. The damage was done.Related Articles Pedro Baez pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Ross Stripling allowed one run in the ninth.The Dodgers began the day with a 7.7 percent walk rate, lower than all but five major league teams. A year ago, when they won a pennant, the Dodgers’ 10.5 percent walk rate was the highest in baseball.Taylor said the team made a concerted effort to be more patient Sunday. It worked. The Dodgers’ seven walks doubled their total from four games prior this week.“I think we do a pretty good job building off each other,” Taylor said. “It also has to do with pitchers out there working; he gets tired. When he’s not in a groove that helps everybody else in the lineup as well.”Robinson finished each of his 10 major league seasons with more walks than strikeouts. Sunday, the Dodgers discovered a more fitting tribute to their most famous player than knee-high socks and No. 42 jerseys.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season center_img PreviousLos Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the second inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. Players wore No. 42 jerseys to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed can’t handle a ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig during the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. Puig made it to first on the play and Ahmed was charged with an error. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig stands on first while wearing the number 42 under his eyes to commemorate Jackie Robinson day during the third inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez ducks a close pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor, left, hits a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis watches Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, right, scores on a sacrifice fly hit by Enrique Hernandez during the second inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Godley throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, right, scores on a sacrifice fly hit by Enrique Hernandez as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis, left, awaits a late throw during the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Godley throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Godley throws to the plate during the second inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the second inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the second inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. Players wore No. 42 jerseys to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed can’t handle a ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig during the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. Puig made it to first on the play and Ahmed was charged with an error. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)NextShow Caption1 of 12Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed can’t handle a ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig during the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. Puig made it to first on the play and Ahmed was charged with an error. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)ExpandLOS ANGELES – Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was waxing philosophical about the meaning of Jackie Robinson Day on Sunday when he paused to remember the present.“As frustrating as things might be right now for us,” Roberts said, “it gives us a chance to get out of our little bubble.”That they did.Clayton Kershaw earned his first victory of the season, and the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first time in 2018, winning 7-2 in front of an announced crowd of 47,527 at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more