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Researchers link Covid virus inflammation to loss of sense of smell

The study, led by scientists at Johns Hopkins, found that the inflammation caused by the virus damages neurons in the olfactory bulb at the base of the brain. Additionally, drugmaker Moderna — after its success in developing a covid vaccination — is turning its sights to a flu vaccine.

CIDRAP: Inflammation linked to COVID-19, not SARS-CoV-2, may cause loss of smell

Local inflammation linked to COVID, rather than the virus itself, may cause the common early symptom of loss of smell, according to a postmortem study published yesterday in JAMA Neurology. The researchers used light and electron microscopy to search for any SARS-CoV-2 genetic material and assess cellular structures and characteristics as well as the blood vessels and neurons they contain. They also measured the number of axons in neurons, which inform sensory perception and movement. Information on smell and taste was taken from the medical records of three patients and from family interviews for the others. (4/12)

The Baltimore Sun: Johns Hopkins researchers probe the insane mystery of COVID: loss of smell

One of the most curious, as well as annoying and even most upsetting symptoms of COVID-19 has been the widespread loss of sense of smell. A team led by Johns Hopkins researchers took a very deep dive into some noses to find out why. It’s not something that happens with other respiratory diseases, said Dr. Cheng-Ying Ho, a neuropathologist and associate professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who joined researchers from several institutions, including the University of Maryland, and the State Medical Department. examiners office for the study. (Cohn, 04/13)

In other research on covid —

AP: Type 2 diabetes on the rise in Wisconsin children

New data shows a sharp rise in type 2 diabetes among Wisconsin children and doctors believe COVID-19 may be a factor. Figures from UW Health Kids show an almost 200% increase in the number of cases in recent years. (4/12)

KHN: When symptoms persist for weeks, is it long Covid?

Many Americans are finding that recovering from covid-19 can take weeks or even months longer than expected, leaving them with lingering symptoms like severe fatigue or a racing pulse. But does that mean they have what is called long covid? Although such cases do not always correspond to a long debilitating covid, which can leave people bedridden or unable to perform their daily tasks, it is common to take weeks to fully recover. (Feldman, 4/13)

And Moderna turns its attention to its mRNA flu vaccine –

Boston Herald: Moderna targets flu vaccine, begins giving shots to trial participants

The Cambridge-based biotech giant that created one of the oldest and most effective COVID-19 vaccines is now looking to develop a flu shot. Moderna announced on Monday that the first trial participants had been dosed in the Phase 1/2 study of the company’s seasonal flu vaccine candidates. The biotech applies its messenger RNA (mRNA) platform to the flu virus. This randomized Phase 1/2 study will evaluate the safety and immune response of a single dose of mRNA-1020 or mRNA-1030 in healthy adults over the age of 18 in the United States. The company intends to enroll approximately 560 participants in the study. (Sobey, 4/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.