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Coronavirus may infect heart cells of Covid-19 patients: Study

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Heart Exercise

New York, July 1 : A team of US scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher revealed that SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus), the virus behind Covid-19, can infect heart cells in a lab dish.

This suggests it may be possible for heart cells in Covid-19 patients to be directly infected by the virus.

The discovery, published today in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, was made using heart muscle cells that were produced by stem cell technology.

“We not only uncovered that these stem cell-derived heart cells are susceptible to infection by a novel coronavirus, but that the virus can also quickly divide within the heart muscle cells,” said study researcher Arun Sharma from the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute in the US.

“Even more significant, the infected heart cells showed changes in their ability to beat after 72 hours of infection,” Sharma added.Although many COVID-19 patients experience heart problems, the reasons remain unclear. Pre-existing cardiac conditions or inflammation and oxygen deprivation resulting from the infection have all been implicated.

But there has until now been only limited evidence the SARS-CoV-2 virus directly infects the individual muscle cells of the heart.The study also demonstrated human stem cell-derived heart cells infected by SARS-CoV-2 change their gene expression profile.This offers further confirmation the cells can be actively infected by the virus and activate innate cellular ”defence mechanisms” in an effort to help clear-out the virus.

“This viral pandemic is predominately defined by respiratory symptoms, but there are also cardiac complications, including arrhythmia, heart failure and viral myocarditis,” said study co-author Clive Svendsen.

“While this could be the result of massive inflammation in response to the virus, our data suggest that the heart could also be directly affected by the virus in Covid-19,” Svendsen added.

Researchers also found that treatment with an ACE2 antibody was able to blunt viral replication on stem cell-derived heart cells, suggesting that the ACE2 receptor could be used by SARS-CoV-2 to enter human heart muscle cells.

“By blocking the ACE2 protein with an antibody, the virus is not as easily able to bind to the ACE2 protein, and thus cannot easily enter the cell,” said Sharma. “This not only helps us understand the mechanisms of how this virus functions, but also suggests therapeutic approaches that could be used as a potential treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection,” he explained.

The study used human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a type of stem cell that is created in the lab from a person”s blood or skin cells. IPSCs can make any cell type found in the body, each one carrying the DNA of the individual. “This work illustrates the power of being able to study human tissue in a dish,” the authors wrote.

Cities

Maharashtra scales new high with 400-plus Covid deaths, cases above 11K

The state registered 413 Covid deaths – surpassing the 390 fatalities reported on August 9, along with 11,813 new cases.

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Coronavirus Isolation ward

Maharashtra’s daily Covid-19 death toll crossed the 400 mark on Thursday while new cases again shot above the 11,000 mark, health officials said.

The state registered 413 Covid deaths – surpassing the 390 fatalities reported on August 9, along with 11,813 new cases.

The state death toll has now shot up to 19,063, while the total number of cases went up to 560,126 – both highest in the country.

According to Thursday’s figures, there was one death roughly every 3 minutes and 492 new cases every hour.

The state recovery rate dropped from 69.64 per cent to 69.08 per cent on Thursday, while the mortality rate stood stable at 3.04 per cent.

Meanwhile, a total of 9,115 recovered patients returned home, taking the total number of discharged patients to 390,958 – considerably higher than the 149,798 active cases currently.

Of the fresh fatalities, Pune again topped with 92 deaths, followed by 65 fatalities in Thane and 48 in Mumbai.

There were also 36 deaths in Kolhapur, 20 in Satara, 15 each in Raigad, Nashik, Jalgaon, and Nagpur, 12 in Palghar, 11 in Latur, 10 in Sangli, nine in Osmanabad, eight in Ahmednagar, six in Solapur, five in Dhule, four in Nanded, threee each in Parbhani and Beed, 2 each in Ratnagiri, Jalna, Hingoli, Akola, Amravati, Yavatmal, Buldhana, and Gondiya, and one each in Nandurbar, Sindhudurg, Aurangabad, Washim and Chandrapur.

Mumbai’s toll has now increased to 6,991 and the number of cases increased by 1,200 to 127,556.

The MMR (Thane division) has seen the toll shooting up by the highest – 140 – to reach 11,201 deaths, while fresh 3,395 new cases took its total to 278,969.

Pune district cases have reached 122,020 with the death toll increasing to 2,957, while Thane district has 109,703 cases with 3,190 fatalities.

With 118 more fatalities, the Pune division’s death toll reached 3,774 and the case tally zoomed up with 3,034 new cases to 141,727.

Nashik division has recorded 1,597 fatalities and 56,891 cases, followed by Aurangabad division with 730 deaths and 22,569 cases, Kolhapur division with 583 fatalities and 20,419 cases, Latur division with 435 fatalities and 13,591 cases, Akola division with 351 fatalities and 11,327 cases, and Nagpur division with 334 deaths and 14,047 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased to 10,25,660, while those in institutional quarantine increased to 36,450.

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5.5-magnitude earthquake rattles northern Philippines

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Earthquake

MANILA, Aug. 13 : An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.5 shook Batanes province in the northern Philippines on Thursday, the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology (Phivolcs) said.

The institute said the quake, which struck at 6:32 a.m. local time, hit at a depth of 14 kilometers, about 49 kilometers southwest of Sabtang town.

The institute said the quake, which was tectonic in origin, will trigger aftershocks but will not cause damage.

The Philippines has frequent seismic activity due to its location along the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”

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5.3-magnitude quake hits 62 km SW of Surab, Pakistan: USGS

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Earthquake Strong

NEW YORK, Aug. 12 : An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 jolted 62 km southwest of Surab, Pakistan at 22:40:45 GMT on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.96 km, was initially determined to be at 27.9781 degrees north latitude and 65.9996 degrees east longitude.

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