Are these Cocoa Krispies-loving hamsters a key to cracking long COVID?

In addition to infecting 30 hamsters with Covid, Frere gave another 30 hamsters nothing and infected still another 30 hamsters with virus from the 2009 swine flu pandemic. In theory, the twin controls would allow researchers to determine which changes were the result of any infection and which changes were unique to coronavirus.

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Early on, some differences were clear: The Covid hamsters that were examined after three days lost their smell, unlike the flu-infected or uninfected ones. Researchers showed this by putting hamsters in a new cage with buried Cocoa Krispies.

The influenza and uninfected hamsters dug the treats straight up. The coronavirus hamsters “would kind of just wander and be like, why am I here?” said Frere.

There were many similarities, though. Both coronavirus and flu triggered inflammation in the lungs and throughout the body, though the coronavirus’s impact was more severe.

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