Study – Anti–SARS-CoV-2 and Autoantibody Profiles in the Cerebrospinal Fluid of 3 Teenaged Patients With COVID-19 and Subacute Neuropsychiatric Symptoms


Findings  In this case series of 3 pediatric patients with subacute neuropsychiatric impairment, 2 had intrathecal anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibodies as well as intrathecal antineural antibodies. Anti–transcription factor 4 (TCF4) autoantibodies in one patient who responded to immunotherapy were validated.

Meaning  A subset of pediatric patients with COVID-19 and subacute neuropsychiatric symptoms have intrathecal antineural autoantibodies, suggesting central nervous system autoimmunity in pediatric patients with COVID-19 and recent neuropsychiatric symptoms.Abstract

Importance  Neuropsychiatric manifestations of COVID-19 have been reported in the pediatric population.

Objective  To determine whether anti–SARS-CoV-2 and autoreactive antibodies are present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of pediatric patients with COVID-19 and subacute neuropsychiatric dysfunction.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This case series includes 3 patients with recent SARS-CoV-2 infection as confirmed by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction or IgG serology with recent exposure history who were hospitalized at the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital and for whom a neurology consultation was requested over a 5-month period in 2020. During this period, 18 total children were hospitalized and tested positive for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction or rapid antigen test.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Detection and characterization of CSF anti–SARS-CoV-2 IgG and antineural antibodies.

Results  Of 3 included teenaged patients, 2 patients had intrathecal anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. CSF IgG from these 2 patients also indicated antineural autoantibodies on anatomic immunostaining. Autoantibodies targeting transcription factor 4 (TCF4) in 1 patient who appeared to have a robust response to immunotherapy were also validated.

Conclusions and Relevance  Pediatric patients with COVID-19 and prominent subacute neuropsychiatric symptoms, ranging from severe anxiety to delusional psychosis, may have anti–SARS-CoV-2 and antineural antibodies in their CSF and may respond to immunotherapy.

Study – A self-assembling nanoparticle: Implications for the development of thermostable vaccine candidates



Effective controls on viral infections rely on the continuous development in vaccine technology. Nanoparticle (NP) antigens are highly immunogenic based on their unique physicochemical properties, making them molecular scaffolds to present soluble vaccine antigens. Here, viral targets (113–354 aas) were genetically fused to N terminal of mi3, a protein that self-assembles into nanoparticles composed of 60 subunits. With transmission electron microscopy, it was confirmed that target-mi3 fusion proteins which have insertions of up to 354 aas in N terminal form intact NPs. Moreover, viral targets are surface-displayed on NPs as indicated in dynamic light scattering. NPs exhibit perfect stability after long-term storage at room temperature. Moreover, SP-E2-mi3 NPs enhance antigen uptake and maturation in dendritic cells (DCs) via up-regulating marker molecules and immunostimulatory cytokines. Importantly, in a mouse model, SP-E2-mi3 nanovaccines against Classical swine fever virus (CSFV) remarkably improved CSFV-specific neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) and cellular immunity related cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-4) as compared to monomeric E2. Specially, improved NAb response with more than tenfold increase in NAb titer against both CSFV Shimen and HZ-08 strains indicated better cross-protection against different genotypes. Collectively, this structure-based, self-assembling NP provides an attractive platform to improve the potency of subunit vaccine for emerging pathogens.

COVID-19 vaccine benefits exaggerated, say experts


Safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2: an interim analysis of four randomized controlled trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK


By Maryanne Demasi, PhD

In February, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt boasted that AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine offered “100% protection” against death in the primary analysis of phase III trials. 

It was repeated by the CEO of AstraZeneca and uncritically reported by the mainstream media in what seemed to be an impressive achievement.

The published study in The Lancet, however, revealed a more nuanced picture. 

In the trial of 23,848 subjects across the UK, Brazil, and South Africa, there was one death in the placebo group and no deaths in the vaccinated group. 

One less death out of a total of one, indeed, was a relative reduction of 100% but the absolute reduction was 0.01%. (1/11,724 – 0/12,021)

Similarly, in February the CDC director Rochelle Walensky co-authored a publication in JAMA, which stated unequivocally:

“Clinical trials have shown that the vaccines authorized for use in the US are highly effective against COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death.” 

However, there were too few deaths recorded in the controlled trials at the time to arrive at such a conclusion.  

The 6 month follow up data from the blinded Pfizer trial found there were 15 deaths in the vaccine group and 14 deaths in the placebo group. (see table S4)

Last week, at a roundtable meeting in the US Capitol, Prof Peter Doshi, associate editor of The BMJ raised concerns about the statements made by the CDC director.

CDC Admits It Has No Record of an Unvaccinated Person Spreading Covid After Recovering From Covid

By Cristina Laila


The CDC admitted it has no record of an unvaccinated person spreading Covid after recovering from Covid in response to an attorney’s FOIA request.

A New York attorney filed a FOIA request in September asking for “documents reflecting any documented case of an individual who (1) never received a Covid-19 vaccine; (2) was infected with Covid-19 once, recovered, and then later became infected again; and (3) transmitted SARS CoV-2 to another person when reinfected.”

The CDC responded: “A search of our records failed to reveal any documents pertaining to your request. The CDC Emergency Operation Center (EOC) conveyed that this information is not collected.”


Study: CD8+ T cell responses in COVID-19 convalescent individuals target conserved epitopes from multiple prominent SARS-CoV-2 circulating variants


As previously described, 60% of individuals included in the analysis were male and samples were collected a median of 42.5 days (interquartile range 37.5–48.0) from their initial diagnosis[8]. The group was selected evenly from tertiles (10 each) according to their overall anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG titers[8,9]. Among the convalescent individuals, there were 132 SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cell responses corresponding to 52 unique epitope reactivities directed against several structural and non-structural target epitopes from the entire proteome.

Of all the mapped mutations, insertions, and deletions (n=45), only one mutation was found to fall within one of the 52 unique epitopes identified in the previous study (Fig 1S1). This mutation is the D80A mutation in the viral Spike protein, and occurs in the third residue of the RFDNPVLPF epitope. This is a HLA*A24:02-restricted epitope for which a CD8+ T cell response was detected in only one individual, and at a low frequency, indicating this is not a high-prevalence epitope within the studied cross-sectional sample.

Shocking microplastic pollution in the home: up to 100 times as bad as predicted! New research, 2021

by Conrad Scott


Exposure of Human Lung Cells to Polystyrene Microplastics Significantly Retards Cell Proliferation and Triggers Morphological Changes



Abstract Image

Microplastics in the environment produced by decomposition of globally increasing waste plastics have become a dominant component of both water and air pollution. To examine the potential toxicological effects of microplastics on human cells, the cultured human alveolar A549 cells were exposed to polystyrene microplastics (PS-MPs) of 1 and 10 μm diameter as a model of the environmental contaminants. Both sizes caused a significant reduction in cell proliferation but exhibited little cytotoxicity, as measured by the maintenance of cell viabilities determined by trypan blue staining and by Calcein-AM staining. The cell viabilities did not drop below 93% even at concentrations of PS-MPs as high as 100 μg/mL. Despite these high viabilities, further assays revealed a population level decrease in metabolic activity parallel in time with a dramatic decrease in proliferation rate in PS-MP exposed cells. Furthermore, phase contrast imaging of live cells at 72 h revealed major changes in the morphology of cells exposed to microplastics, as well as the uptake of multiple 1 μm PS-MPs into the cells. Confocal fluorescent microscopy at 24 h of exposure confirmed the incorporation of 1 μm PS-MPs. These disturbances at the proliferative and cytoskeletal levels of human cells lead us to propose that airborne polystyrene microplastics may have toxicologic consequences. This is the first report of exposure of human cells to an environmental contaminant resulting in the dual effects of inhibition of cell proliferation and major changes in cell morphology. Our results make clear that human exposure to microplastic pollution has significant consequence and potential for harm to humans.