The COVID Omicron Variant Increases Mental Health Problems But Does Not Worsen Conditions

Covid Omicron Variant Increases Mental Health Problems But Does Not Worsen Condition

Although psychological stress from the pandemic is common, people who have had COVID-19 are far more likely to develop new mental health issues than those who have avoided the virus, according to recent research.


Covid Omicron Variant Increases Mental Health Problems But Does Not Worsen Condition

The following is an overview of several recent COVID-19 studies. They contain research that requires more study to substantiate the results and has not yet been validated by peer review.

Coronavirus infection increases the chance of mental health problems.

Although psychological stress from the pandemic is common, people who have had COVID-19 are far more likely to develop new mental health issues than those who have avoided the virus, according to recent research.

Researchers compared approximately 154,000 people who survived at least a month after being diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 to more than 5.6 million peers who had never been infected with a COVID. Over the course of a year, infection survivors were 35% more likely to develop new anxiety disorders, 39% more likely to develop new depressive disorders, 55% more likely to develop new antidepressant use, 34% more likely to develop a new opioid use disorder, and 20% more likely to develop a new non-opioid substance use disorder. They were also 80 percent more likely to have newly identified neurocognitive deterioration and 41 percent more likely to have a new diagnosis of sleep disturbances. According to the researchers, the odds for these disorders “were increased even among individuals who were not admitted to hospital," but were highest among those who had been hospitalised for COVID-19.

To all the people who are suffering from one or more of these conditions: you are not alone," said research leader Ziyad Al-Aly of Washington University in St. Louis. “Seek help. It is always better to get these things identified and treated early." Policymakers and governments must address the issue “before it balloons into a much larger crisis," he said.

Source - Everyday Health

In South Africa, the Omicron subvariant is not making people ill

Researchers have found that the BA.2 form of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, although theoretically more transmissible than its BA.1 predecessor, has not resulted in more hospitalisations or more severe diseases in South Africa.

Using national databases to monitor patients diagnosed with COVID-19 from December 1 to January 20, researchers reported on Saturday on medRxiv ahead of peer review that hospitalisation rates for those infected with original Omicron were 3.4 percent and 3.6 percent for those infected with BA.2. Severe illness was detected in 33.5 percent of original-Omicron patients and 30.5 percent of BA.2 patients among the 3,058 patients who needed hospitalisation for COVID-19. “By the end of January 2022, most COVID-19 infections were due to BA.2," said Dr. Nicole Wolter of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Gauteng. “We found that individuals that were infected with BA.2 did not have a higher risk of being admitted to hospital," she said.

While BA.2 may have a competitive advantage over BA.1 in some settings, the clinical profile of illness remains similar," the researchers concluded. They did add, however, that since many individuals in South Africa had already been infected with earlier variants, their results may not be typical or readily transferable to other nations.

PCR precision is achieved by using experimental lasers to identify viruses in saliva

According to Spanish researchers, an affordable, compact version of the equipment that is normally large and expensive may detect the coronavirus in saliva with the precision of a PCR test and the speed of quick antigen testing.

Flow cytometry, which utilises lasers to count and sort cells and particles in liquid as it passes through a very narrow tube, is used in the experimental device. The saliva is combined with a solution containing fluorescent antibodies that bind to any coronavirus particles present. After around 20 minutes, the liquid is passed through the tube, where lasers detect any fluorescence and trigger a positive reading, according to the researchers, who published their findings in Biomedical Optics Express on Tuesday. When scientists examined saliva samples from 34 persons with SARS-CoV-2 illnesses and 20 uninfected people, the device detected the virus 91.2 percent of the time and identified uninfected people 90% of the time. According to the study, it was also able to identify the virus in considerably lower quantities than rapid antigen testing. “Given the results, we believe that our (equipment) in conjunction with saliva samples has great potential for becoming a fast, portable, user-friendly point-of-care device, able to perform up to 2000 tests per day," the researchers concluded.

By selecting proper antibodies, this technology could also be adapted for the detection of other viruses, such as … influenza virus, or even microorganisms in water, such as Legionella and E-coli," coauthor Ewelina Wajs of The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, said in a statement.

Source – Reuters

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