Earthen lamps (diyas) being made in Gujarat's Surat ahead of Diwali amid the coronavirus pandemic. Potters, who normally have good business during the festive season, especially during Diwali, might get adversely affected due to COVID-19 pandemic this year. They do not expect much footfall this time as compared to last year. They generally make 30,000 to 40,000 earthen lamps every year, and this year too they have made the same quantities and are hoping for business but with a meagre profit margin during the Diwali festivities. The other reason for their business being affected is the machine-made 'diyas' which are being made easily and sold in the market. This has also impacted the sale of the old traditional earthen lamps. There are only a few customers who buy the old traditional earthen lamps, but the potters are hoping to do some business. Speaking to ANI, a potter Paresh, said, "People prefer to buy handmade diyas. I make over 10,000 pieces every year. I am hopeful that my diyas will be sold this year too."
Dementia and other cognitive disorders are likely to be risk factors for developing severe COVID-19, according to research from the University of Georgia. The findings highlight the need for special care for populations with these pre-existing conditions during the pandemic. The study was published online in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. In the study, the researchers analysed data from nearly 1,000 diseases and two specific genes to compare the health profiles of COVID-19 patients with those testing negative, looking for commonalities in COVID-19 patients. The study relied on data from UK Biobank, a long-term study of more than 500,000 participants investigating the respective contributions of genetic predisposition and environmental exposure to the development of the disease. Beginning in March, the UK Biobank started to report the COVID-19 status of its participants. The team in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of genetics, led by assistant professor Kaixiong Ye and his postdoc, Jingqi Zhou, promptly connected the COVID-19 status to the electronic health data. "We took a hypothesis-free approach and the most statistically significant ones are the cognitive disorders and Type 2 diabetes," said Ye, the senior author of the study. "Right now, we do no know the mechanisms behind these associations, we only know these are more common in COVID-19 patients." Analysing the genetic factors that make some individuals at higher risk for severe COVID-19, the team focused on two genes: ACE2 and TPMPRSS2, known to be critical for the virus to enter into human cells. "In the TMPRSS2 gene we found that a specific genetic variation is more common in the COVID-19 patient," he said. The research team also found that variations in genes related to SARS-CoV-2 infection may be associated with severe COVID-19 that requires hospitalisation.