Coronavirus Tidbits #133 4/3/21

Announcements:

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

Tidbits will likely be less frequent for the next little bit, down to weekly. I have been immersed in it and I need to spend a little more time on self-care, which for me means seeing the spring flowers emerge and digging in the dirt.

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

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/03/31/how-counterfeit-covid-19-vaccines-and-vaccination-cards-endanger-us-all/?sh=6f3d42b73649

News 

Pfizer-BioNTech Vax in Adolescents

in a Phase 3 trial in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age with or without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses (better than earlier results)

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COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant on its way to becoming the dominant variant in the United States

it is 40-50 percent more transmissible and about 50 percent more likely to cause fatal COVID-19

http://outbreaknewstoday.com/covid-19-b-1-1-7-variant-on-its-way-to-becoming-the-dominant-variant-in-the-united-states-23689/

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Nice seeing companies working together to make vaccines.

Catalent will produce millions of extra doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine at its recently expanded Bloomington, Ind. facility, according to a statement posted on LinkedIn.

Catalent announced late last year that it would spend $50 million to install an additional high-speed vial filling line in Bloomington. The company last year also agreed to make Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

... a string of partnerships meant to boost vaccine development and enable the U.S. to reach President Joe Biden’s goal of some post-pandemic normalcy by July Fourth. Other recent announcements include:

https://www.pharmaceuticalprocessingworld.com/catalent-to-produce-jjs-covid-19-vaccine-in-indiana/?

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Datassential: 10% of U.S. Restaurants Have Closed Permanently

Food trucks have suffered the most of any category, with 22.5 percent of them permanently shuttered. Chains with less than 501 units have also seen high rates of permanent closures, and the report finds that chains with between 51 and 100 units have see the highest closure rate (16.2 percent).

https://thespoon.tech/dataessential-10-of-u-s-restaurants-have-closed-permanently/

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of accurate, rapid testing...but getting better.

the FDA has authorized three tests with serial screening claims (testing asymptomatic individuals multiple times on a routine basis). Specific tests authorized this week:

  • Quidel QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 test - authorized for OTC at-home serial screening
  • Abbott BinaxNOW (multiple configurations)
    • Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test – authorized for OTC at-home serial screening
    • Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card 2 Home Test - authorized for OTC at-home serial screening with telehealth proctor
    • Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag 2 Card – authorized for POC serial screening without a prescription
  • BD Veritor System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2 – authorized for POC serial screening with a prescription

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-continues-advance-over-counter-and-other-screening-test-development

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Scientists develop diagnostic test that can detect the virus that causes COVID-19 even when it mutates

A team of scientists led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed a diagnostic test that can detect the virus that causes COVID-19 even after it has gone through mutations.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-03-scientists-diagnostic-virus-covid-mutates.html?

Drugs and Vaccines:

What can you do after you are vaccinated? Neat interactive by @TaraHaelle

A New York Times interactive quiz on what how to assess risk once you are vaccinated: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/03/30/opinion/coronavirus-vaccine-risks.html

and AMA Reddit w Linsey Marr, Caitlin Rivers, Juliet Morrison

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/mgitt2/we_are_linsey_marr_juliet_morrison_and_caitlin/

 

From U. Texas experience: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2102153

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Income of countries vs type of vaccine given:

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Countries halting rollout of AstraZeneca vaccine is irrational:

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A lab study found the Pfizer vaccine appears to provide some antibody protection against the U.K. variant, B.1.1.7; not so much against the South African variant, B.1.351. (Nature Medicine)

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AstraZeneca COVID vaccine 70% effective vs symptomatic B117 variant

The data, published in The Lancet yesterday, also showed it was 28.9% effective at preventing asymptomatic infections or cases with unknown symptoms.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/03/astrazeneca-covid-vaccine-70-effective-vs-b117-variant

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China Biotech to Produce Russian COVID-19 Vaccine

-- more than 60 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2021/03/29/china-biotech-produce-russian-covid-19-vaccine

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Hayat-Vax Becomes First COVID-19 Vaccine Produced in the Arab World

will be manufactured by a newly created JV between Sinopharm China National Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. (CNBG) and G42, the leading technology company based in Abu Dhabi.

This announcement also launched a purpose-built research and development hub for life sciences, biotechnology, and vaccine production in KIZAD, Abu Dhabi.

Hayat-Vax is the same Sinopharm CNBG’s BiBP inactivated vaccine...

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2021/03/29/hayat-vax-becomes-first-covid-19-vaccine-produced-arab-world

Vaccine efficacy

In Sweden-Only about 200 people were found to have been infected with covid-19 more than two weeks after the second dose. This corresponds to 0.07 percent of the total number of covid-19 cases since the turn of the year, and 0.06 percent of all those vaccinated with two doses.

http://outbreaknewstoday.com/sweden-200-people-have-tested-positive-for-covid-19-post-two-dose-vaccine-34510/

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Johnson & Johnson to give Africa 400 million vaccines

Johnson & Johnson (J & J) says it has agreed to provide up to 400 million doses of its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine to African countries, starting this summer.

The drugmaker said under its agreement with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, the company will provide up to 220 million vaccine doses for the African Union's 55 member countries, with delivery beginning in the July-to-September quarter. The trust will be able to order 180 million additional doses from J&J, for a total of up to 400 million shots through 2022.

J&J also has a tentative agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help support the WHO-backed COVAX programme to get COVID-19 vaccines to 190 low- and middle-income countries, many of them in Africa. Johnson & Johnson and Gavi still need to sign an advance purchase agreement to provide up to 500 million doses of J&J's vaccine to that programme through 2022.

https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/johnson-johnson-to-give-africa-400-million-vaccines_218165?profile=1373

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In a small observational study, aspirin was able to ameliorate some of the thrombosis that we've seen associated with people who have really bad COVID-19 disease and independently associated with a decreased risk of mechanical ventilation. No differences in major bleeding or overt thrombosis between those aspirin users and the non-aspirin users.  Also, the patients who received the aspirin had significantly higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and renal disease.

(Others are planning to study aspirin in randomized clinical trials.)

https://www.medpagetoday.com/podcasts/healthwatch/91834?

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"[I]t's absolutely critical to vaccinate them, and I think they should be moved to the top of the list in terms of priority." -- Justin Gainor, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, speaking of cancer patients, following a study that found the subgroup responded poorly to the first COVID mRNA vaccine. [argument coud be reversed...but how did they respond to the 2nd, or even perhaps a 3rd booster]

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Vaccine response is poor in immunosuppressed patients

only 17% of transplant patients mounted detectable antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. This is in stark contrast to immunocompetent people who were vaccinated, of whom 100% mounted detectable antibody

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/vaccines/91631

A very poor response was also seen in patients on chemotherapy.

DO NOT ASSUME YOU ARE PROTECTED JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE VACCINATED.

Devices:

New research shows risk of COVID-19 from aerosols to healthcare workers

Analysis shows coughing, deep breathing and shouting creates more than 100-fold greater amounts of aerosols than oxygen therapies, potentially increasing risk to frontline staff who wear only surgical masks

the authors make clear that this study used 10 healthy volunteers to produce the aerosols measured, not patients infected with SARS-CoV-

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/a-nrs033021.php

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Epidemiology/Infection control:

Universities and vaccines

Rutgers will require on-campus students to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the first university in the country to do so. Many others require meningococcal and MMR vaccines, so why not this one, as well?

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CDC extends eviction moratorium through June to help slow COVID-19 spread

The moratorium was set to expire on March 31.

https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20210329/cdc-extends-eviction-moratorium-through-june-to-help-slow-covid19-spread

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Undetected coronavirus variant was in at least 15 countries before its discovery

coronavirus variant B117 (501Y) had spread across the globe undetected for months when scientists discovered it.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-04/uota-ucv040121.php

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https://twitter.com/Vaccinologist/status/1378351184587714561?s=20

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Benzene Found in Multiple Hand Sanitizer Brands

Known human carcinogen can be absorbed through the skin

Politics:

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Democracy inaction: Missouri legislators refuse to allow Medicaid expansion, despite its approval from voters last fall.

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"Food Freedom" Colorado animal share scheme will circumvent USDA inspections

If dividing the cow works to share the milk, why not divide the animal to share the meat outside concern about any niceties about regulations or inspections?

Colorado Senate Bill 21-079 will do just that once the state’s “Food Freedom” Gov. Jared Polis signs it into law. Any notion that all meat sold in Colorado is licensed and inspected will be a thing of the past.

People, instead, will get to buy shares of animals to be butchered at facilities not inspected by the USDA. Purchase of animal shares will require money upfront. And if deadly pathogens like E. coli )157:H7 make you sick or dead, SB 21-079 eliminated rights to sue under the program.

Polis, who began his partisan political career in Congress as a member of the “Food Freedom” caucus, says deregulation will make locally sourced meat more available.

https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2021/04/colorado-animal-share-scheme-will-circumvent-usda-inspections/

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From Election Fraud to Anti-Vax

Right-wing groups that once railed against Donald Trump's election defeat have now switched to opposing COVID vaccination, the New York Times reports.

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Feel good du jour:

https://twitter.com/RepKatiePorter/status/1377272971983609856?s=20

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https://twitter.com/AudreyStJames1/status/1378073640302997508?s=20

Comic relief:

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https://twitter.com/CerebralNurse/status/1377401006506450949?s=20

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Perspective/Poem

https://twitter.com/ThatEricAlper/status/1378346453492457477?s=20

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Bits of beauty:

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