Genetic profiles of lung samples from COVID patients helped in the tool’s creation.

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Australian researchers have developed a COVID-19 triaging tool that serves as a crystal ball for healthcare workers. Once flu-like symptoms start, they will be able to use the test to group patients into two categories: Milder cases that can go home and self-isolate, and those likely to have serious symptoms and require ventilation.

One of the test’s inventors, Arutha Kulasinghe from the Queensland University of Technology, said the test has the potential to ease the burden on healthcare facilities in the areas hardest hit by the pandemic.


They also speed up recovery times.

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For mild cases of COVID, doctors recommend the usual regimen for getting through a cold or flu: Staying hydrated and resting at home. For those experiencing severe COVID symptoms, receiving a hospital-administered dose of an approved therapy such as monoclonal antibodies is the best option.

But what if an over-the-counter drug could help reduce the need for hospitalization altogether? An international team of researchers has conducted a trial demonstrating that inhalers used to treat asthma can help patients avoid urgent care.

As part of the STOIC (STerOids In COVID-19) study, researchers tested the potential…


A distinct macrophage subpopulation could be the key to addressing inflammatory diseases in the brain such as Alzheimer’s

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Most organ systems are protected by a cavalry of immune cells present in the circulation-but not the brain. Considered an immune-privileged site, the brain is shielded from these immune cells in order to avoid any potentially dangerous immune reactions.

There are, however, particular cellular sentinels that play central roles in making sure neurological processes run like clockwork. These resident immune populations of the brain are macrophages. They survey baseline neuronal activity, leap to the rescue upon sensing tissue damage, and also play…


Researchers have developed a tiny diagnostic device with sniff sensors 200 times more powerful than a dog’s nose.

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We’ve heard of dogs sniffing out cancer -an unsurprising skill given that they have over 200 million scent receptors (40 times more than humans), each of which is 10,000 times more powerful than the ones in our noses. Dogs’ noses are so powerful that they can detect a single drop of liquid mixed in enough water to fill 20 Olympic-size swimming pools and trace amounts of cancer biomarkers in biological samples. …


Conscientious people have less inflammation and live longer.

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University of Limerick researchers have discovered direct links between the immune system, specific personality traits, and mortality. In a recent study, the scientists uncover novel biological mechanisms that explain why responsible and organized individuals capable of self-control tend to live longer.

“Personality is known to be associated with long-term risk of death, it is a well-replicated finding observed across numerous research studies internationally,” said study lead Páraic Ó Súilleabháin.

Together with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, Ó Súilleabháin set out to investigate the involvement of two immune factors, interleukin-6 and c-reactive protein…


Newborn babies may not need to be isolated from their COVID-positive mothers.

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“We only want to sequester a mother from her baby if it’s medically necessary.”

University of Rochester researchers analyzing breast milk samples from mothers with COVID-19 found that they didn’t contain the coronavirus-but they did have antibodies against it. Some of these milk-borne antibodies were capable of neutralizing SARS-CoV-2.

Samples from 37 mothers (18 of which were COVID-positive) were used in the study, with around two-thirds of them containing the beneficial antibodies. …


MyProstateScore could replace existing diagnostics that have high false positive rates.

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Researchers have created a urine test for prostate cancer that could make unnecessary biopsies a thing of the past. The high-performing diagnostic accurately detects prostate cancer, with very few false negatives (patients who actually have cancer but test negative).

The test, called MyProstateScore, was developed at the University of Michigan and validated in a cohort of over 1,500 patients. It works by detecting and quantifying levels of a cancer-specific biomarker-signature chromosomal relocations in which the TMPRSS2 and ERG genes combine, triggering the development of prostate tumors.

At present, screening…


Australian researchers discover a potential therapeutic to treat damaged muscles, inspired by interactions between macrophages and stem cells.

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Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

It’s a familiar feeling — that sharp pain, soreness, and long recovery periods after “pulling” a muscle. After a sprain, the muscle has been stretched or contracted beyond its limits, resulting in the tearing of the muscle fibers. For minor strains, there’s not much to do besides RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), while waiting for the body to heal itself.

Indeed, muscles have sophisticated built-in mechanisms to bounce back from wear and tear. Upon sensing injury, muscle stem cells are activated and come to the rescue, synthesizing a cocktail of biochemical factors that promote tissue growth and repair. …


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A patient is admitted to the hospital after experiencing chest pains. What are the right questions that hospital staff and healthcare providers can ask to assess the situation and report the severity of the patient’s symptoms? In such cases, standardized questionnaires can serve to monitor and adjust clinical interventions more effectively.

A team of researchers from Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine has developed a solution-a tool called SymTrak-8. This short questionnaire is derived from its longer predecessor, the SymTrak-23 caregiver report form. It features questions about a patient’s symptoms, including their pain levels, fatigue, sleep quality, cognitive…


Apple engineers team up with researchers to demonstrate how wearable technology can pick up subtle changes that caregivers miss.

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Individuals with Parkinson’s disease experience a slow, progressive worsening of symptoms. What can begin as barely perceptible tremors can end up becoming a complete inability to move around.

Though there is still no cure for the disease, clinical interventions can put the brakes on disease progression, especially when initiated early. Fine-tuning the treatment is also an important part of managing the condition, for which patients need to check in with doctors every few months. However, it’s difficult for patients to recount…

Tara Fernandez

Cat person, PhD-qualified Cell Biologist & Science Writer. Interested in trends and emerging technologies in the biopharma industry.

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