Coronavirus Tidbits #139 5/10/21

Announcements:

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

Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit.

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

New post: Wearing A Mask For Covid-19 Protection Is Scientific And Perfectly Normal

I was really angry about @emmaogreen's post in @TheAtlantic, so I wrote a response:  forbes.com/sites/judyston Some of us face the realities of what is now and is likely to happen w opening up too soon.

News 

SARS-CoV-2 reinfection generally milder than primary infection in US study

uncommon...but was associated with two deaths, according to findings from a U.S. study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“Therefore, policies regarding face masks, social distancing and vaccination apply to survivors of initial SARS-CoV-2 infection as well,” Qureshi said. “The results also indirectly suggest that vaccination may not provide complete immunity over a long period of time and periodic boosters may be necessary.”

Qureshi and colleagues analyzed data from 9,119 patients with SARS-CoV-2 in 62 U.S. health care facilities between Dec. 1, 2019, and Nov. 13, 2020. ...

reinfection occurred in 0.7% (95% CI, 0.15%-0.9%) of patients, with an average gap between positive tests of 116 ± 21 days. They found that asthma (OR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1-3.2) and nicotine dependence or tobacco use (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 1.6-4.5) were associated with reinfection.

Two deaths were associated with reinfection, but significantly lower rates of heart failure, pneumonia and acute kidney injury occurred with reinfection compared with primary infection.

https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20210504/sarscov2-reinfection-milder-than-primary-infection-in-us-study

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In shock move, US backs waiving patents on COVID vaccines

Nature- Amy Maxman

The development from the Biden administration draws cheers from public-health researchers and ire from drugmakers.

In a historic move, the US government has announced that it supports waiving patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines, a measure aimed at boosting supplies so that people around the world can get the shots. “The extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” said US trade representative Katherine Tai in a statement.

The move came on 5 May, the first of a two-day meeting of the general council of the World Trade Organization, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Until now, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Japan have blocked efforts brought by India and South Africa to make it legal to manufacture generic versions of COVID-19 vaccines.

Former US presidents from both the Republican and the Democratic parties have staunchly defended intellectual-property rights, so the move by the administration of President Joe Biden has shocked people on both sides of the debate. “This marks a major shift in US policy in a pro-public-health way,” says Matthew Kavanagh, a global-health researcher at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Kavanagh is part of the growing chorus of health-policy and global-health researchers advocating patent waivers, as the gap between vaccination rates in rich and poor nations grows larger every day. Fewer than 1% of people in low-income countries have received COVID-19 vaccines. The researchers are quick to note, however, that a waiver on patents covering all aspects of COVID-19 vaccines would be just the first step in ramping up vaccine supply.

First step of three

“It’s a one-two-three,” explains Rachel Cohen, US director for the non-profit Drugs and Neglected Diseases initiative in New York City. “First we need to remove patent obstacles, second we need to transfer the knowledge on how to make them, and step three is a massive investment in manufacturing capacity.”

And at the moment, step one is far from complete.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01224-3

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Big news as WHO and CDC update their pages to emphasize aerosol transmission of Covid:

If you want to read more, Zeynep Tufecki and Linsey Marr are the gurus in this arena to Google and read.

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

Last year, three in 10 adults worldwide said they wouldn't get a Covid-19 vaccine, Gallup poll finds

(CNN)Nearly 1.3 billion adults globally in 2020 said they would not get a Covid-19 vaccine if one were offered to them at no cost, according to a new Gallup poll released on Monday.

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CVS and Walgreens Have Wasted More Vaccine Doses Than Most States Combined

 according to government data obtained by KHN.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 182,874 wasted doses as of late March, three months into the country’s effort to vaccinate the masses against the coronavirus. Of those, CVS was responsible for nearly half, and Walgreens for 21%, or nearly 128,500 wasted shots combined.

the CDC has a limited view of how much vaccine is going to waste, where it’s wasted and who is wasting it,

https://khn.org/news/article/cvs-and-walgreens-have-wasted-more-vaccine-doses-than-most-states-combined/?

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Moderna Says Its Covid-19 Booster Shots Show Promise Against Variants

WSJ: Booster shots under development by Moderna Inc. helped improve immune responses against some variants among people given the company’s Covid-19 vaccine in an early study, the biotech company said Wednesday.

The results, though preliminary, are a sign that adding booster shots several months after original vaccinations could bolster people’s immunity against more contagious strains of the virus.

The company tested giving people boosts with either a single dose of its original vaccine, mRNA-1273, or a new vaccine, mRNA-1273.351, which was modified to better match a virus variant first identified in South Africa and known as B.1.351.

The subjects received the booster shots about six to eight months after they had received the second dose of the original vaccine as part of a midstage, Phase 2 study that started last year.

Both booster shots increased immune-system agents known as neutralizing antibodies against two variants of concern: B.1.351 and P.1, which was first identified in Brazil, according to Moderna.

The immune responses were measured 15 days following the booster doses, the company said.

A booster dose of the variant-targeted vaccine induced higher neutralizing antibody concentrations against the B.1.351 variant than a booster dose of Moderna’s original vaccine, Moderna said.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/health-news/moderna-says-its-covid-19-booster-shots-show-promise-against-variants/ar-BB1goD7W?ocid=msedgdhp

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https://twitter.com/KindrachukJason/status/1390145418814623749?s=20

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Kerfuffle Over NSAIDs in COVID Finally Resolved?

There was no association between use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and increased disease severity or mortality among patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization, a U.K. cohort study found.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/92494?

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Vaccinate those at risk worldwide before children: WHO

The World Health Organization on Friday urged governments to refrain from vaccinating children against coronavirus until the elderly and at-risk worldwide have received the vaccine.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-vaccinate-worldwide-children.html?

Devices:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Screening healthcare workers could serve as early warning system for future viruses

New research has shown that COVID-19 infections in healthcare workers during the first wave of the pandemic provided an accurate sample of the general population, suggesting that data from healthcare workers could be used to estimate the severity of future viruses more quickly.

The study, led by researchers from RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences in collaboration with IBM Research, is published in PLOS ONE.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-05/r-shw043021.php

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An explainer on evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and mutations:

https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/92454?

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New analysis finds global Covid death toll is double official estimates

https://www.statnews.com/2021/05/06/new-analysis-finds-global-covid-death-toll-is-double-official-estimates/?

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Impact of vaccination modeled:

The study showed that going from a 30 percent vaccination coverage to a 40 percent coverage could save 24.3 million cases and $33.1 billion in direct medical costs and productivity losses. Going from a 50 percent to 70 percent coverage could save 9.5 million cases and 10.8 billion in direct medical costs and productivity losses.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-05/cgso-ahc050521.php

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Long haulers/PASC

Image

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

Voter suppression 

Florida joined Iowa, Georgia and Montana in passing voter suppression bills. Hundreds are pending in other states. Focus on your state legislatures to stop this in your state, as well as national pressure to enact voting rights laws. 

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Feel good du jour:

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https://twitter.com/FeelGoodPage11/status/1390135993915822081?s=20

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Comic relief:

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https://twitter.com/OdedRechavi/status/1388340296916901896?s=20

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Perspective/Poem

Bits of beauty:

 

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