Coronavirus Tidbits # 147 7/4/21

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 

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https://twitter.com/0bj3ctivity/status/1411337784565157896?s=20

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Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

If used every 3 days, rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 are about as accurate as RT-PCR testing

RTqPCR tests are more effective than antigen tests at identifying infected individuals prior to or early during the infectious period and thus for minimizing forward transmission (given timely results reporting). All tests showed >98% sensitivity for identifying infected individuals if used at least every three days. Daily screening using antigen tests can achieve ~90% sensitivity for identifying infected individuals while they are viral culture positive.

https://academic.oup.com/jid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/infdis/jiab337/6311835

Drugs and Vaccines:

COVID-19 Vaccine Found Safe for People with HIV

Preliminary data from a sub-study published by The Lancet on June 18, 2021, shows that the Vaxzevria COVID-19 Vaccine (AstraZeneca, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) vaccine given as prime-boost dosing given 4–6 weeks apart was found well tolerated and produced equivalent immune responses in people living with HIV who are well controlled on ART compared with a similar adult population without HIV.

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2021/06/28/covid-19-vaccine-found-safe-people-hiv

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Lottery-Based Incentive in Ohio did NOT increase COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-lottery-based-incentives-covid-vaccination.html?

Devices:

Face masks that can diagnose COVID-19

Wearable biosensors enable rapid, accurate detection of SARS-CoV-2 and many other pathogens and toxins

A team of researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found a way to embed synthetic biology reactions into fabrics, creating wearable biosensors that can be customized to detect pathogens and toxins and alert the wearer.

The team has integrated this technology into standard face masks to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a patient's breath. The button-activated mask gives results within 90 minutes at levels of accuracy comparable to standard nucleic acid-based diagnostic tests like polymerase chain reactions (PCR). The achievement is reported in Nature Biotechnology.

"We have essentially shrunk an entire diagnostic laboratory down into a small, synthetic biology-based sensor that works with any face mask, and combines the high accuracy of PCR tests with the speed and low cost of antigen tests," said co-first author Peter Nguyen, Ph.D., a Research Scientist at the Wyss Institute. "In addition to face masks, our programmable biosensors can be integrated into other garments to provide on-the-go detection of dangerous substances including viruses, bacteria, toxins, and chemical agents."

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-06/wifb-fmt062221.php

Epidemiology/Infection control:

The Gamma Variant's Rise in Washington State

— New data show COVID strain associated with the highest number of hospitalizations, deaths. Gamma (aka P1, Brazil variant) was detected in 17% of breakthrough infections after vaccination

https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/93415?

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Nearly all US COVID-19 deaths now preventable

only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people, or less than 1%. This translates to 5 deaths per day.

more than 1 in 10 people who have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine have missed their second dose, according to CDC data shared with CNN.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/06/nearly-all-us-covid-19-deaths-now-preventable

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The 3 Simple Rules That Underscore the Danger of Delta

Vaccines are still beating the variants, but the unvaccinated world is being pummeled.

The Atlantic By Ed Yong

Fifteen months after the novel coronavirus shut down much of the world, the pandemic is still raging. Few experts guessed that by this point, the world would have not one vaccine but many, with 3 billion doses already delivered. At the same time, the coronavirus has evolved into super-transmissible variants that spread more easily. The clash between these variables will define the coming months and seasons. Here, then, are three simple principles to understand how they interact. Each has caveats and nuances, but together, they can serve as a guide to our near-term future.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/07/3-principles-now-define-pandemic/619336/?utm_source=

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Schools That Mask See Little COVID Spread

— North Carolina's experience supports safe reopening for in-person learning, researchers say

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/93389?

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One GI Symptom Stuck Around Months After Severe COVID

Half of all patients (50.6%) could not regain weight at 3 months, while 32.4% of patients reported an inability to gain weight 6 months later. However, gastroenteritis, GI bleeding, and pancreatitis resolved for most patients 3 months after illness, they noted.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/93424?

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

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https://twitter.com/emzorbit/status/1409562648681893888?s=20

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https://twitter.com/JerasIkehorn/status/1409615679087538177?s=20

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Feel good du jour:

https://twitter.com/AdamsCumbie/status/1410375281932656643?s=20

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Comic relief:

 

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Perspective/Poem

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Bits of beauty:

Delighted to see my garden in Maine looking so colorful and exuberant. They were little baby plants when I last saw them 2 years ago.

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