Coronavirus Tidbits #121 2/14/21

Announcements:

First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I'm getting.

Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don't be shy about that.

News 

Mutations

Did Convalescent Plasma for COVID-19 Unleash Viral Mutation?

https://link.broadcaster3.medpagetoday.com/click/22882587.131202/

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Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of rapid, accurate testing.

FDA Authorizes Use of SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Antibody Test in Convalescent Plasma Screening

the cPass™ kit can assess both prior exposure and the presence of neutralizing antibodies in convalescent [or vaccinated] patients

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Scent detection dogs can identify individuals infected w COVID-19

In a recent article in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, authors gathered previously published research to summarize current thinking on the feasibility and efficacy of using scent detection dogs to screen for the COVID-19 virus. The researchers report that sensitivity, specificity, and overall success rates reported by the canine scent detection studies are comparable or better than the standard RT-PCR and antigen testing procedures.

These findings indicate scent detection dogs can likely be used to effectively screen and identify individuals infected with the COVID-19 virus in hospitals, senior care facilities, schools, universities, airports, and even large public gatherings for sporting events and concerts.

“Accurate and rapid screening of individuals who may be carriers, symptomatic or asymptotic, of the COVID-19 virus will remain important for slowing and limiting the spread of infection,” said Tommy Dickey, PhD, professor, University of California, Santa Barbara. “These preliminary studies suggest the use of medical scent detection dogs offers a promising approach.”

Documented success detecting disease

Dogs can sense a broad range of molecules with extremely small concentrations: 1 part in a quadrillion compared with 1 part in 1 billion for humans. This capability is used for search and for identification of diseases with their individual chemistries and odors.

http://outbreaknewstoday.com/scent-detection-dogs-can-identify-individuals-infected-with-covid-19-30456/

Drugs and Vaccines

AstraZeneca vax has ~75-80% against severe disease in S. African variant (B1.351)

but minimal effect in preventing mild to moderate cases. COVAX urges continued studies. [COVAX = coalition co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO].

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One COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Provokes Immune Response in Those Previously Infected

Israeli researchers from Bar-Ilan University and Ziv Medical Center reported preliminary evidence that people previously infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus responded very strongly to one dose of the Pfizer - BioNTech SE vaccine (Comirnaty), regardless of when they were infected and whether or not they had detectable antibodies against COVID-19 before receiving the vaccine.

"It also offers reassurance that not having detectable antibodies after being infected does not necessarily mean that protection following infection is lost."

immune response was similar across multi-ethnic groups--Jews, Arabs, Druze, and others.

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2021/02/12/one-covid-19-vaccine-dose-provokes-immune-response-those-previously-infected

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France recommends single vaccine dose for people who have had COVID

France on Friday recommended that people who have already recovered from COVID-19 receive a single vaccine dose [not 2, because the infection acts as the first dose primer], becoming the first country to issue such advice.

They also recommended a gap of between three and six months after infection before individuals who had recovered from COVID-19 receive a jab.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-02-france-vaccine-dose-people-covid.html?

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Should you mix and match COVID-19 vaccines? 

With nine vaccines now showing they can powerfully prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19—and vaccines in short supply—researchers are mulling an issue that, even a few months ago, was only hypothetical: Should people mix and match vaccines that require two shots?

If some combinations work, they may provide needed flexibility whenever production of a vaccine falters, as often happens. And there’s even a chance that mixing doses of two different vaccines may boost the protection against COVID-19.

Read more...https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/02/should-you-mix-and-match-covid-19-vaccines-scientists-are-seeking-answers

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COVID Clot Prevention: Hit It Early

Early anticoagulation was associated with 27% lower relative risk of 30-day mortality than no anticoagulation.
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From A to Z, Supplements Fail for COVID-19

High-dose zinc and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) had no impact on the course of symptoms in patients with mild COVID-19, a randomized trial found.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/91185?

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Devices:

Millions of counterfeit N95 face masks sold to Americans

Sales of foreign-made counterfeit N95 face masks in at least five states are being investigated by U.S. officials.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-02-millions-counterfeit-n95-masks-sold.html?

Epidemiology/Infection control:

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CDC: Fully vaccinated people do not have to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure...BUT

[and most people probably don't go beyond the headline] This ONLY APPLIES IF they meet these criteria:

  • Are at least 2 weeks after their 2nd vaccine dose
  • Got the 2nd dose of vaccine within the past 3 months
  • Are asymptomatic

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COVID-19 Death Rate at Veterans Admin Nursing Homes Is 13 Times Lower

Roughly one-third of the 1.4 million Americans living in a nursing home tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020, and the death rate was 6.5%, according to data published by AARP.

If you're in a nursing home operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, data shows you're about half as likely to contract COVID-19 as you are in a non-VA senior living facility, and 13 times less likely to die from the disease.

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New CDC guidelines on schools also only give lip service to ventilation, too--Open windows and doors if possible...

The new guidance was detailed in a 38-page report

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Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Tip for Tear Gas, going to protests, from a woman and journalist who lost an eye from police

Politics:

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Pharma money helped fuel a toxic political atmosphere in the U.S.

"During the previous two election cycles, the industry donated more than $2.4 million to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which made campaign contributions to the Texas attorney general who filed a lawsuit challenging results from the presidential election in several states. The association also funded attorneys general from 11 other states who supported the effort.

For good legal reasons, the suit never stood a chance, yet the attorneys general persisted. But in doing so, they unnecessarily contributed to a toxic climate in which political divisions are worsening across the U.S. and were on troubling display at the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C.

https://www.statnews.com/2021/02/12/trump-campaign-contributions-pharma/?

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Feel good du jour:

Lovely story:

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Comic relief:

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Perspective/Poem

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https://twitter.com/onisillos/status/1360488007917305857?s=20

Bits of beauty:

 

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Kittery snow - Michael Stone

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