Coronavirus News Roundup, June 5 to June 18



The objects under are highlights from the free e-newsletter, “Good, helpful, science stuff about COVID-19.” To obtain e-newsletter points each day in your inbox, enroll right here.

Novavax reviews that its two-dose protein-based vaccine in opposition to COVID-19 has been 100% efficient in stopping extreme sickness, hospitalization and demise attributable to COVID-19, in addition to 90.4% efficient in opposition to COVID-19 signs in large-scale human research. These research, which concerned 1000’s of individuals within the U.S. and Mexico, confirmed that the vaccine additionally was extremely efficient in opposition to “Alpha,” the SARS-CoV-2 variant first recognized in Nice Britain, reviews Carl Zimmer at The New York Occasions (6/14/21). “Novavax plans to use for authorization in UK, EU, India, South Korea, and probably the U.S.,” in accordance with an Unbiased SciPod put up (6/15/21).

A 6/17/21 story by Tanya Lewis at Scientific American describes a number of the incentives being provided to folks for getting vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 — together with lottery tickets, school scholarships, practice tickets, firearms, money pay-outs, hashish joints, doughnuts, free journeys, cruises, and present certificates. “Public well being specialists use incentives on a regular basis to get folks to give up smoking, train extra, and so forth,” the story describes the director of the Well being Resolution Sciences Heart at Massachusetts Normal Hospital’s basic medication division as saying. An unpublished examine by the Mass Normal researcher means that incentives would possibly successfully induce folks to get a COVID-19 vaccine, Lewis reviews. However for some folks one of the best inducement is a chance to cease sporting a masks and a basic return to normalcy, the story suggests.

Some constructive information for individuals who have transplanted organs and thus take immune-suppressing medicine: a 3rd dose of a mRNA vaccine in opposition to COVID-19 provoked a stronger immune response, at the least within the type of antibodies, in organ transplant sufferers than the usual two doses did, per varied reviews. The findings, from a small examine of sufferers who obtained a 3rd dose this spring, had been printed 6/15/21 in Annals of Inner Medication. The findings are “a part of a broader dialogue about whether or not and when to supply additional doses to susceptible people,” writes Jennifer Couzin-Frankel at Science (6/14/21). In previous research, organ transplant sufferers who received a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine had been far much less prone to make protecting antibodies in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 than the final inhabitants was. Some bigger three-dose research amongst folks with compromised immune techniques are beneath approach, Couzin-Frankel reviews. A medical oncologist on the College of Pennsylvania isn’t very apprehensive concerning the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines amongst folks with most cancers, the story states. The story then describes two current research of most cancers sufferers displaying that they produced antibodies in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Nevertheless, a 3rd examine discovered a lot decrease antibody ranges amongst vaccinated most cancers sufferers than it did amongst their wholesome relations who additionally had been vaccinated, Couzin-Frankel reviews.

The Unbiased SciPod posted some useful informational graphics about Pfizer’s ongoing research of its COVID-19 vaccine in kids beneath 12 (6/11/21). The put up states that dosages have been set primarily based on preliminary smaller research in kids (one-third the grownup dose for ages 5-11 and one-tenth the grownup dose for ages 6 months to five years), and that researchers will enroll 4,500 kids throughout 90 websites globally for the bigger security and effectiveness research. “Kids have immune system elements which can be stronger in comparison with adults. They could not want as excessive a dose for cover. Age standards are associated to immune system growth, not bodily dimension,” the put up states. The outcomes will probably turn into out there this fall for evaluate by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration, with a primary batch — from research in kids ages 5 to 11 — anticipated in early September, the put up states.

Almost one quarter of all folks within the U.S. who had been contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 final 12 months, together with 19% of those that by no means reported COVID-19 signs from their an infection, had new medical issues inside a month or extra of recovering from the virus, in accordance with a big examine coated by Pam Belluck at The New York Occasions (6/15/21). Belluck writes: “These affected had been all ages, together with kids. Their most typical new well being issues had been ache, together with in nerves and muscle groups; respiration difficulties; excessive ldl cholesterol; malaise and fatigue; and hypertension. Different points included intestinal signs; migraines; pores and skin issues; coronary heart abnormalities; sleep issues; and psychological well being circumstances like nervousness and despair.” The examine, performed by non-profit group FAIR Well being and never formally reviewed by specialists for flaws, concerned evaluating digital health-insurance data.

A 6/11/21 story by Emily Anthes at The New York Occasions runs down some evidence-based approaches that employers can take to scale back the danger of SARS-Cov-2 infections and different well being issues as employees return to places of work nationwide. Employers ought to flush unused faucets and different plumbing to clear any metals or Legionella micro organism colonies that collected, the story states. Employers additionally ought to improve their air flow and filtration techniques, the story states. The aim is 4 to 6 air modifications per hour, the story states, which is equal to utterly refreshing air each 10 to 15 minutes in a room. Moveable air purifiers and even “desktop stage HEPA filters” may help. And proceed to clean your fingers routinely, for at the least 20 seconds every time, advises a Northwestern College environmental microbiologist who’s quoted within the story. Not options: desk shields (plexiglass obstacles are a good suggestion in grocery shops although), foggers, fumigators, ionizers, ozone turbines and different ‘air cleansing’ gadgets,’ the story states. In most non-medical or non-lab settings, wiping down surfaces with bleach options or disinfectant options or wipes does little to forestall SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Moreover, inhaling these substances is dangerous. “The no. 1 factor is to get vaccinated,” the story quotes Joseph Allen on the Harvard Faculty of Public Well being as saying.

A debate amongst scientists about whether or not SARS-CoV-2 spreads primarily by fallen respiratory droplets on surfaces that individuals contact or spreads in air hampered public well being efforts to regulate the pandemic and to forestall deaths. The implications for this debate had been essential, as Megan Molteni at Wired writes (5/13/21) — officers have to know whether or not public-health messages ought to concentrate on hand washing or on masking and isolation or each, notably earlier than vaccines turn into out there. The overall debate is over, as you in all probability know — the virus is generally unfold in indoor air. However why did researchers disagree till lately? Partly, it’s as a result of the arguments in opposition to airborne SARS-CoV-2 all rested on an assumption that solely particles smaller than 5 microns might cling within the air; bigger ones, aka droplets, fall to surfaces. However in actuality, bigger particles can keep afloat and behave like aerosols, many scientists and engineers have identified, together with aerosols professional Linsey Marr of Virginia Tech, Molteni and others have written. Molteni’s story masterfully traces the occasions, conversations, and analysis that got here to show the “fallacy of the 5-micron boundary.” The hero of this partaking story is Katie Randall, a graduate scholar who focuses on detective work to determine how bits of data are handed alongside by means of printed analysis papers over time.

Steering from the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management in April said that worldwide and home journey are low-risk actions for folks vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 (so, this doesn’t pertain, sadly, to U.S. kids beneath 12, for whom COVID-19 vaccines should not but approved). In response to that replace, Ceylan Yeginsu at The New York Occasions has written up solutions to a number of the questions that vaccinated vacationers have as of late (6/15/21). A abstract of the solutions (once more, this data is all for vaccinated folks within the U.S.): 1) Sure, you could nonetheless put on a masks on the airport and on flights; 2) No, you don’t should quarantine or check if you happen to journey domestically, until it’s required by a state or territory; 3) No, you don’t should take a coronavirus check earlier than departure to worldwide locations — not for the U.S. at the least; test to your vacation spot; 4) Sure, it’s important to check, even when vaccinated, three days earlier than you come by air to the U.S.; 5) Verify lists of nations that can settle for folks from the U.S. beneath sure circumstances, together with some locations in Europe and the Caribbean.

Scientists on the Walter Reed Military Institute of Analysis in Maryland are engaged on a vaccine that might defend us in opposition to all coronaviruses. On this 6/9/21 podcast at Scientific American, Emily Mullins interviews Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad who’s main the hassle at Walter Reed to develop a so-called common coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine candidate that’s being examined “combines nanoparticles from a blood protein known as ferritin with coronavirus proteins.” (Sorry, I’m undecided what meaning both.) Modjarrad says 200 completely different mixtures of spike proteins (a sort of advanced molecules which can be discovered on the floor of all coronaviruses), kinds of ferritin, and methods to hyperlink them finally yielded a vaccine candidate that repeatedly provoked a powerful immune response in opposition to SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2 and three of its variants in a number of species of animals starting from rodents to sharks. The vaccine now’s being examined in a small group of people. “If it really works and is secure, it might present a basis for a common coronavirus vaccine,” Mullin says.

You would possibly take pleasure in, “A lexicon for the late pandemic,” by Jay Martel for The New Yorker (6/14/21).





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