© 2020 Google LLC
Daily deaths due to Covid-19 on Tuesday surpassed 1,000 for the first time in the US since the start of June, as Donald Trump admitted the crisis would “get worse” before it got better.
The seven-day average for the number of deaths in the country has been slowly rising this month, according to multiple data analyses, and went past the 1,000 mark on Tuesday, taking US fatalities to more than 142,000. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has forecasted that the country will reach 150,000 deaths by early August.
The peak number of people hospitalized at once was 59,000 on Tuesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, reaching numbers that were last seen in April when the virus was spreading rapidly in the US north-east.
At the White House’s renewed coronavirus daily press briefing late on Tuesday, the president said that the virus “will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better”, an admission in line with what public health experts have been saying for months. Trump still praised the US response to the pandemic, saying it has been “better than most”.
Trump also acknowledged in his prepared remarks that “whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact”. But when taking a question from a reporter, Trump took a softer stance, saying “in theory, you don’t need the mask” but implied he was getting more comfortable wearing them.
While Trump took an unusually sober tone during the press briefing, which are slated to continue daily, Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious diseases expert told CNN he was not invited to the briefing. Fauci was once a praised fixture of the daily briefings but has recently been under attack by Trump and his allies, seemingly for taking the president’s spotlight.
Public health experts such as Fauci have warned for weeks that the US will see the consequences of ending shutdown orders too soon. As states along the south saw surges in new infections, experts said those states will ultimately see an uptick in deaths.
That fear is becoming a reality as deaths in those states reached almost record highs on Tuesday. Texas saw 131 deaths while Florida and Arizona both saw 134 deaths – the second-highest numbers yet seen for the states. Public health officials said that ICU beds in those states are nearly at capacity with a surge in hospitalizations amid the spikes.
The capacity of Florida hospitals has been particularly alarming. Some counties have completely run out of intensive care unit beds because of the influx of Covid-19 patients. The state’s daily infection rate has hovered around 10,000 over the past two weeks with the number of deaths reaching past 100 on some days over the last two weeks.
Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has been criticized for his handling of the virus in the state. The governor has repeatedly refused to implement a mask mandate and is being sued by the state’s teachers union for plowing forward with plans to reopen all schools for in-person learning in August. DeSantis said on Tuesday that despite the alarming numbers, the state is “turning this thing back in a good direction”.
On the opposite end of the Gulf coast, Greg Abbott, the Texas governor, has issued a mask mandate and paused the state’s reopening phases earlier this month. Hospitalizations in the state have seen small drops, though the state is still seeing a high number of new cases. Daily increases in the state peaked at 14,900 on 17 July and have ranged between 7,000 and 10,000 new cases a day since.
California‘s confirmed coronavirus cases have topped 409,000, surpassing New York for most in the nation, according to data from Johns Hopkins University showing on Wednesday that California now has about 1,200 more cases than New York.
However, New York’s 32,520 deaths are by far the highest total in the country and four times more than California‘s tally, and its rate of confirmed infections of about 2,100 per 100,000 people is twice California‘s rate.
California is the most populous US state, with nearly 40 million people, while New York has about 19.5 million.
In other developments on Wednesday, it was announced that the Trump administration will pay Pfizer nearly $2bn for a December delivery of 100m doses of a Covid-19 vaccine the pharmaceutical company is developing.
The health and human services secretary, Alex Azar, announced the agreement and said the US could buy another 500m doses under the agreement.
“Now those would, of course, have to be safe and effective” and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Azar said during an appearance on Fox News.
Numerous potential vaccines are under development in the US and around the world.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told “Fox News Rundown” podcast on Wednesday that he thinks coronavirus lockdowns were “a big mistake,” adding that they led to a crippling of the economy and haven’t “done much to the virus.”
Paul made the comments as several states across the country, including Florida and Texas, are experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases after the states reopened their economies. While some areas, including New York City, which stayed shut down for longer, are experiencing low numbers of new cases.
New York City recorded no coronavirus deaths on Monday in what would be the first day without deaths in the city since the pandemic began to devastate the city in March, the New York Post reported on Wednesday, citing state health data.
“We’ve seen surges in coronaviruses in the midst of lockdown,” Paul noted on Wednesday, adding that “New York had a lockdown and had 30,000 people die.”
“New York had the worst death rate of any place in the world amid a lockdown so perhaps a lockdown didn’t do any good and perhaps a lockdown killed our economy, but didn’t do anything to stem the tide of the virus,” he said. “So I see nothing to be admired in New York’s lockdown.”
“I see a mountain of people who died, particularly in the nursing homes,” Paul continued. “I don’t think the lockdown did them any good. I think it killed the economy, but didn’t do any good for trying to contain the virus.”
He went on to say that he thinks that as states continue the reopening process, “each individual needs to assess their own risks with regard to the virus.”
“We need to put it in context [that] under age 45 this disease [COVID-19] we’re looking at is less dangerous than the seasonal flu,” Paul said. “Above age 45, it’s more dangerous than the seasonal flu.”
“If you’re in your 80s and you’re in a nursing home, we need to do all kinds of things to try to protect you, but I don’t think that involves shutting down the economy,” he continued. “I think that involves other precautions.”
He then pointed out that “we typically have among us tens of thousands of people who are on chemotherapy, but we don’t tell the whole country to wear masks because you might give a virus to people who are in chemotherapy.”
“What we do is people on chemotherapy try to be very cautious, to stay away from children with infectious diseases or others who might transmit it, but we don’t shut the entire economy down, even though there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people with depressed immune systems,” Paul went on to explain.
“So I think we’ve made a big mistake in the lockdown. We’ve crippled the economy, but I don’t know that we’ve done much to the virus.”
Paul explained what he thinks happened in New York that worked to tame COVID-19.
“The interesting story that most people aren’t reporting, is that New York … doesn’t have many deaths at this point and doesn’t have many new cases and people say, ‘Oh, that’s because Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo is such a great governor.’ No, it has nothing to do with him,” Paul said.
“I think it has to do with New York City, in particular, has now achieved a level of immunity, that there is somewhat of a tamping down of the virus because of the level of immunity,” he continued, adding that he believes the same thing is taking place in Stockholm, Sweden.
He went on to say that he thinks it also happened in “northern Italy, where a huge number of people have gotten it and the virus has run its course and probably won’t come back in as significant a fashion as it did the first time.”
Last month, the head of a hospital in Milan, Italy, claimed the novel coronavirus no longer exists in the country — clinically speaking, that is.
Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, told RAI television that the disease has weakened in Italy, the New York Post reported, adding another doctor, the head of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital in Genoa, echoed Zangrillo.
Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report.
As the United States marks its sixth month since the arrival of the virus, Cunningham’s story is among a growing number of reports of people getting covid-19, recovering and then falling sick again — assertions, that if proved, could complicate efforts to make a long-lasting vaccine, or to achieve herd immunity where most of the population has become immune to the virus.
Doctors emphasize there is no evidence of widespread vulnerability to reinfection and that it is difficult to know what to make of these cases in the absence of detailed lab work, or medical studies documenting reinfections. Some people could be suffering from a reemergence of the same illness from virus that had been lurking somewhere in their body, or they could have been hit with a different virus with similar symptoms. Their positive covid-19 tests could have been false positives — a not-insignificant possibility given accuracy issues with some tests — or picked up dead remnants of virus, as authorities believe happened in hundreds of people who tested positive after recovering in South Korea.
“You can’t extrapolate those anecdotal, first-person observations to the entire population and make sweeping conclusions about how the virus works,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University.
There is still not enough evidence or sufficient time since the virus first struck to draw firm conclusions about how people develop immunity to covid-19, how long it might last — or what might make it less robust in some individuals than in others.
When the outbreak first hit, many experts including the National Institutes of Health’s Anthony S. Fauci said they hoped protection from reinfection might last at least through the expected second wave in the fall, or into the next year. For severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), the antibodies seem to last for a year or longer. But other coronaviruses, such as the four that cause the common cold, act differently. People seem to be able to get them each season, over and over again.
Daniel Griffin, an infectious diseases doctor and researcher at Columbia University Medical Center, said that with every virus — including chickenpox, for which antibodies are supposed to last a lifetime — there are cases of people who become sick again after recovering from the initial illness. When it comes to Ebola, American doctor Ian Crozier was declared free of the virus but then doctors found it lurking in his eye. In HIV/AIDS, a baby in Mississippi born to an HIV-positive mother was thought to be cured but then the virus reemerged 27 months after therapy was stopped.
So in a world where 14.5 million people have had the coronavirus, a small number with resurgent sickness should not be cause for alarm.
“The big question is: Is that a rare situation, or is that going to be the rule?” Griffin said.
Based on what we know about the novel coronavirus, physicians and public health officials say reinfection is certainly a theoretical possibility. But they disagree over whether there is convincing evidence that that is happening and if so, what the implications might be for vaccines.
“No one is yet believing in reinfection since there is no good scientific report on it,” Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine and associate chief of infectious diseases at the University of California-San Francisco, said. “On the other hand, no one wants to dismiss the possibility.”
Gandhi and others exhort their colleagues to share data and detailed case reports, so the reported cases can be corroborated as reinfections or disproved. .
Better or worse
Last week, a British study posted to a preprint server added to the body of evidence that virus-fighting antibodies drop off steeply two to three months after infection — setting off dire news stories asserting that surviving covid-19 would offer little protection against future infection and that billions of dollars gushing into the vaccine race might be for naught.
It was quickly followed by another study, also not peer-reviewed, of antibodies in nearly 20,000 New Yorkers with mild or moderate covid-19 symptoms. After retesting 120 of those people three months later, researchers at Mount Sinai Health System found virus-fighting antibodies were largely stable and had even increased in people that started with lower levels right after their infections. The Mount Sinai researchers speculated that the antibody test they used, which has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, may have been more sensitive than the ones used in other studies. The researcher who led the British study did not respond to an interview request.
“When you look at other respiratory viruses, you see what we are seeing,” said Ania Wajnberg, an internist at Mount Sinai Health System who led the study. “You expect these antibodies to form, and you don’t expect them to drop off after two weeks. That would be strange. Generally, they take some time to decrease.”
Virologists and immunologists have also been quick to point out that the body’s immune system also uses an array of tools to fight infections. Antibodies, a blood protein, have gotten the most attention because they are relatively easy to measure and work in a simple and graspable way — they block viruses from entering cells and rout the infection.
But there are also memory B cells, a type of white blood cell, which create antibodies based on past skirmishes with pathogens. T cells, another type of white blood cell, also play crucial roles — orchestrating the entire immune response, instructing the body to create more antibodies and even actively fighting the virus by killing infected cells.
Scientists are unclear which components of the immune response are most important to fight off the coronavirus. Seeing antibody levels drop off is a concerning sign, but the data is still provisional and conflicting. Even if antibodies decrease, it does not necessarily mean people are just as susceptible if they encounter the virus again.
“Even if you don’t have a very high level of antibodies, you may be able to respond very rapidly to a challenge and nip it in the bud — and that’s because you have memory cells that remember,” said Michel Nussenzweig, head of the laboratory for molecular immunology at Rockefeller University. “You may be able to produce a better response the second time around, a faster response the second time around. So even if you’re exposed to the virus, you may have an aborted infection or something that is very mild.”
In a review of 40 studies published in the Journal of General Virology, British researchers Paul Kellam and Wendy Barclay warned that “reinfection of previously mild SARS-CoV-2 cases is a realistic possibility that should be considered in models of a second wave and The Post-pandemic era.”
But what “reinfection” means also needs to be studied. A small study of human volunteers who had a common cold coronavirus squirted up their nose — and then came back for a repeat dose a year later — showed that antibodies in their blood declined and people were able to be reinfected with the virus. But they did not develop colds and were less contagious, shedding virus for shorter periods.
Other infections, such as dengue, however, can be more severe the second time around.
Larry Luchsinger, a principal investigator at the New York Blood Center, said the variability in immune responses among people who have been infected — including the finding that some do not develop antibodies at all — suggests people may fall on a spectrum where some have complete immunity, while others are vulnerable to a second infection.
“We wish that everybody that got covid-19 would be protected in the future, but that probably isn’t a reality,” Luchsinger said. But he argues that it is the degree of sickness that matters.
“If we’re finding people who are at-risk, 65-year-olds, get very sick, come out of the hospital and they’re back in — we have a problem,” Luchsinger said. “If 30- to 40-something people [come down] with flu-like symptoms and their immune response wasn’t strong enough and they get it again, that … is terrible, but … we, from a public health policy point of view, want to reduce mortality.”
Kamran Kadkhoda, medical director of immunopathology at the Cleveland Clinic, said the question of what happens when people are re-exposed to the virus is a critical one. If protection tends to be short-lived, he said, it would make masking and social distancing even more important.
“It would definitely be a predicament for public health, there’s no question about that,” he said. “In the absence of a vaccine, the main thing that we’d have against reinfection are these prevention measures.”
But in an interview, Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said short-term immunity is a solvable problem.
“How long it [antibody response] lasts is an important question, but as long as you get it, that’s a good first step,” he said. “We’ll find out and when we find out — and if you need to — we’ll give [you] a boost” with another vaccine.
Robert Glatter, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital and Northwell Health, the largest medical system in New York State, said if widespread reinfection is a possibility, people may have to be vaccinated over and over again, leading to logistical and supply challenges.
“We may find ourselves confronted with continued seasonal outbreaks having to provide multiple booster shots throughout the year, to ensure more robust immunity,” he speculated.
There is no data on how many U.S. patients report being reinfected. But doctors say they began seeing a trickle of relapsed patients in June and July. Those patients ran the gamut, including both men and women in their 20s to 60s, who are distinct from the “long-haulers” and who had complained of symptoms for months. These were people who had tested positive way back when and seemed to be recovered.
At the University of Pennsylvania, there was the pregnant woman infected in March who was fine for two months and then became so sick during childbirth she had to be put on a ventilator. At Cleveland Clinic, there was a patient with very mild symptoms in February — just a loss of smell and taste — who was well for two months, but then needed to be hospitalized in early May and was confirmed to have the virus again.
And at ProHealth Care in Long Island, there was a man infected at the end of March who was never sick enough to be hospitalized. He showed up again in July, this time very ill.
“He thought he had an immunity shield, so he took care of his son when he got covid,” Griffin said. “Two weeks later, he was in the ER.”
The man, who had a very high antibody response the first time and donated his plasma so it could be used to treat other coronavirus patients, had barely any when doctors recently tested his blood in the hospital. Griffin said that while he finds this case very “compelling” and knows of five similar cases, he cautions that it was premature to draw conclusions about reinfection.
To confirm actual reinfection, scientists say, researchers would need to sequence the genetic code and the virus in a person’s body and find two distinct versions — something no one is known to have done.
“This is one of those things I really don’t want to be true,” Griffin said. “But a lot of us are starting to say, ‘I’m willing to entertain it as a possibility. Let’s keep our eyes out and start watching.’”
Glatter, from Lenox Hill Hospital, said he has been surprised that he is seeing with “relative frequency” patients who had covid-19 infections, cleared the virus for six to eight weeks and who come back with a relapse. Their tests with a nasal swab have come back positive.
In the case of Cunningham, the WNBA player, she said during a preseason news briefing last week that in early March, she suffered headaches and lost her sense of taste and smell for four to five days. At the time, she said, doctors assumed she had covid-19 but did not test her because her illness was mild, and the kits were not widely available. They asked her to quarantine for 14 days, which she did.
She described spending subsequent weeks, while most of the nation was under stay-at-home orders, on her family’s farm. But she did venture out to the gym — where she fears she caught the virus again.
She tested positive on June 18, and her condition this time was more worrisome — shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches and fatigue — and she was isolated for 32 days.
“I’m not going to lie to you — it was a struggle,” she said. “My breathing was weird.”
Cunningham has recovered, and she is expected to be able to resume playing when the season opens later this month. Reached by phone, her father James Cunningham said he considers her very lucky because she is young and healthy:
“If it happened to me, I would be sick still,” he said.
Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.
<!– Governor Gavin Newsom of California working counterparts in Oregon and Washington –>
California on Wednesday became hardest-hit U.S. state by the coronavirus disease after tally showed over 400,000 cases.
According to data compiled by John Hopkins University, no fewer than 409,000 confirmed cases were recorded in the state as of Wednesday morning.
This is 1,000 cases higher than those of New York, the former national epicentre, which had no fewer than 408,000 infections since the outbreak of the virus.
The U.S. is the worst-affected country, with no fewer than 3.9 million confirmed cases and 142,090 fatalities.
For the first time on Tuesday, President Donald Trump acknowledged the severity of the pandemic, warning that it “will probably get worse before it gets better”.
“It is something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is,” Trump said at a White House news briefing.
He canvassed the use of masks, especially by young people, where physical distancing is impossible.
Drinking apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a wellness elixir is becoming increasingly popular, and the health trend has recently gained even more momentum, thanks to celebs who swear by it — like Jennifer Aniston and Katy Perry (who’s also an investor in a leading ACV brand). Influencers and producers of the product rave about purported health benefits of apple cider vinegar like increased weight loss, better blood sugar control and a stronger immune system. Sales of ACV have also spiked in the months since the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping the nation. But is ACV really a cure-all that can jump-start health and wellness in the ways that devotees claim?
Here’s what apple cider vinegar can and can’t do, according to the scientific evidence.
Apple cider vinegar won’t prevent you from getting COVID-19 or another virus
There is a small amount of preliminary research that suggests ACV might enhance the work of certain immune-system cells, including bacteria-engulfing cells, but it’s a big leap to say that ACV — or any other single food or supplement — can prevent you from getting sick. Your immune system is very sophisticated and it relies on a number of healthful substances — primarily from plant-based foods — to keep it operating well. In addition to eating a balanced diet, another well-documented, immune-enhancing habit is to sleep for the recommended seven to nine hours each night.
Apple cider vinegar may prevent blood sugar spikes
Though there are better ways to control blood sugar — for example, by modifying your carb intake, eating meals at consistent times and staying active — this ACV claim has some supporting evidence to back it up. One small study suggested that vinegar may improve insulin sensitivity, which means that your body may be more sensitive to the way insulin is transporting glucose from the bloodstream into your cells where it can be used for energy. Another small study suggested that drinking a two-tablespoon shot of ACV at bedtime resulted in better fasting blood sugar levels the following morning.
However, in both cases, the evidence is based on very small studies, and it’s unclear whether there is any long-term benefit from using ACV to control blood sugar levels. Plus, people with diabetes who are taking insulin or other medications to control blood sugar should be careful with ACV since, in theory, there may be an additive effect that would necessitate adjusting your meds.
Apple cider vinegar may improve your cholesterol levels
While it’s far from proven, results from a small study suggested that taking ACV every day for 12 weeks along with going on a reduced-calorie diet lowered triglyceride and total cholesterol levels and led to improvements in healthy HDL-cholesterol levels. Though these results are promising, there are other, more extensively studied habits that can lead to better cholesterol levels. For example, the American Heart Association stresses the importance of a healthy diet that’s rich in veggies, fruits, pulses, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish, seafood and low-fat dairy products. They also suggest getting about 30 minutes of physical movement on most days. If you smoke, quitting is another proven way to help improve cholesterol levels.
Apple cider vinegar might promote better gut health
ACV is produced by fermenting apples, and like other fermented foods, ACV contains gut-friendly probiotic bacteria. While, in theory, there’s a benefit to boosting your probiotic intake with ACV, this particular food source hasn’t been studied, so there’s no proof that you’ll get this benefit from using it. Vinegars derived from fruit are also said to contain antioxidants — in particular, a type of plant-based antioxidant known as polyphenols. These polyphenols get broken down in the body and then they become food for beneficial bacteria, allowing the good bacteria to thrive in your gut. However, one study found that while antioxidants are indeed present in ACV, the fermentation process reduces your body’s ability to absorb them. More research is needed in this area before concrete conclusions can be drawn.
In the meantime, you can amp up the polyphenol content of your diet by eating plant-based foods, like fruits, veggies, whole grains and pulses, along with spices, cocoa powder, tea and coffee, which are rich sources of these substances.
Apple cider vinegar can erode your tooth enamel
Any highly acidic food or drink, including oranges, grapefruits, soda, wine, fruit juice and ACV, can damage your protective tooth enamel. The more frequently you consume these foods and drinks, the higher the risk. Consuming them before bedtime is especially damaging because the mouth produces less saliva at night, which means the acids are likely to get less diluted. You can minimize the risk to your teeth by swishing your mouth with water after consuming drinks with apple cider vinegar in them (or consuming any another highly acidic substance) and waiting at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth.
Apple cider vinegar won’t help you lose much weight
ACV might help a little, but don’t expect miracles. In one study, 39 participants drank about a tablespoon of ACV twice a day and went on a reduced-calorie diet, which resulted in an 8.8-pound weight loss compared to a 5-pound weight loss among the calorie-restricted eaters who didn’t drink the ACV. That may seem like a significant difference, but it’s important to apply some common sense here. Supplements, including ACV and apple cider vinegar pills, haven’t been shown to produce meaningful weight loss over a long period of time. This study was over a 12-week period — and both groups reduced their calorie levels from their baseline diets. It’s unclear whether there would be any benefit for those who simply add ACV to their daily menu or whether this advantage holds up past the 12-week mark.
It is clear, however, that eating more whole foods and reducing your processed food consumption is helpful for managing your weight. There are also other science-backed habits you can rely on. For example, getting enough sleep, paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness sensations and developing tools to help navigate life’s curveballs without turning to food to cope can all help. Developing these skills is a better long-term bet than doing shots of ACV.
Apple cider vinegar can help you enjoy other healthful foods
Though it may have some promising health properties on its own, much of the evidence for ACV comes from small, short-term studies of homogenous populations or from animal research that’s far from definitive. However, there is one solid benefit: ACV enhances the taste of other health-promoting foods, like veggies and pulses, which are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Using it to dress up these types of foods is a top way to enjoy the potential health benefits of ACV, as well as the more established benefits of eating a plant-focused, mostly whole-food — or minimally processed foods — diet.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Ventura County has more than quadrupled in the last six weeks, but officials there said they are “fully capable” of handling a surge.
The region went from having an average of 20 patients in hospitals across the county, to peaking at 101 patients last week, Steve Caroll, the county’s emergency medical administrator, said at a briefing Wednesday.
“It is very serious. We’re very concerned about the hospitals, as this increases does tax their resources,” Carroll said. “However, they are fully capable of handling his current surge.”
He explained that the county’s hospitals have beds and intensive care unit beds available, and officials are not using surge capacity space that has been made available.
As of Wednesday, the county had a total of 6,049 coronavirus cases and 65 deaths. Currently there are 90 people hospitalized for the respiratory illness, with 22 in intensive care, a slight decrease since Tuesday.
Oxnard, the county’s most populous city, has the most cases to date, with 2,187.
More than 97,000 people have been tested in Ventura County, as capacity has increased significantly since the start of the pandemic.
County Executive Officer Mike Powers said officials are processing 10,000 to 15,000 tests a week, and with an automated system, residents are getting results back faster.
California on Wednesday surpassed New York for the most coronavirus cases in the country, with more than 409,000.
Gov. Gavin Newsom last week dialed back reopening measures in the state and required all counties on the state’s watchlist, including all in Southern California, to close indoor operations at restaurants, personal care facilities and other sectors.
Earlier this week, Newsom announced guidelines on how hair and nail salons, barbershops and other personal care services can do business outside.
Bars were ordered shut across the state, but in Ventura County, a modified health order made it OK for bars, breweries and other drinking establishments to operate outdoors, so long as food is served.
Suggest a Correction
apologies. An error occurred while setting your user cookie. Please set your
browser to accept cookies to continue.
session ID when you navigate from page to page. This cookie stores just a
session ID; no other information is captured. Accepting the NEJM cookie is
necessary to use the website.
1-800-843-6356 | [email protected]
Still, that may be a risk worth taking for children with stunting who are not helped by diet alone, Dr. Ahmed said.
To identify this population, the researchers recruited more than 500 children from an urban district in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 2016 to 2018; all were around 18 months old and at high risk of stunting. For three months, each child was given eggs, milk, vitamins and minerals, as well as antiparasitic medications to purge unwanted infections from their gut.
Most of the children in the study gained weight and grew, but just over one-fifth of them stayed obstinately small. Most of their small intestines showed signs of inflammation, the researchers found, a possible indicator of E.E.D.
An analysis of their gut contents also revealed that many of the children harbored several of the same types of bacteria in their small intestines. None of the microbial members of this “core group” of bugs was “what you’d call a classic pathogen,” Dr. Gordon said. And yet, “the more of these bacterial strains you had, the worse the stunting,” he said. “That to us was an amazing surprise.”
The team then transferred a subset of these bacteria into germ-free mice, each one bred without gut microbes of its own. Shortly after the microbes set up shop in the animals’ small intestines, the tissues began to deteriorate — an apparent mimicry of the inflammatory friendly fire seen in many children with signs of stunting.
That bacteria alone can give mice gut inflammation is “huge, in my mind,” said Honorine Ward, a microbiologist and immunologist at Tufts University who was not involved in the study.
Although it is still unclear whether these dynamics will play out the same way in people, “this is very convincing, and a really good start,” said Ana Maria Porras, a microbiologist and tissue engineer at Cornell University who also was not a part of the research team.