Coronavirus Tidbits #149 7/18/21

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.

Important post by me on hospital visitation here: in Forbes, -please share:

Hospitals Separating Patients And Families Due To Covid-19 Causes Needless Suffering

also

Even ID Specialists Can Get Tick-borne Diseases in Medscape

News 

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COVID and the brain: researchers zero in on how damage occurs

Growing evidence suggests that the coronavirus causes ‘brain fog’ and other neurological symptoms through multiple mechanisms.

Nature Michael Marshall

How COVID-19 damages the brain is becoming clearer. New evidence suggests that the coronavirus’s assault on the brain could be multipronged: it might attack certain brain cells directly, reduce blood flow to brain tissue or trigger production of immune molecules that can harm brain cells.

Infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can cause memory loss, strokes and other effects on the brain. The question, says Serena Spudich, a neurologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, is: “Can we intervene early to address these abnormalities so that people don’t have long-term problems?”

With so many people affected — neurological symptoms appeared in 80% of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 who were surveyed in one study1 — researchers hope that the growing evidence base will point the way to better treatments.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01693-6

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Novel coronavirus infects and replicates in salivary gland cells

In Brazil, researchers at the University of São Paulo’s Medical School (FM-USP) have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 infects and replicates in the salivary glands.

Analysis of samples from three types of salivary gland obtained during a minimally invasive autopsy procedure performed on patients who died from complications of COVID-19 at Hospital das Clínicas, FM-USP’s hospital complex, showed that tissues specializing in producing and secreting saliva serve as reservoirs for the novel coronavirus.

The study was supported by FAPESP and reported in an article published in the Journal of Pathology.

The researchers said the discovery helps explain why the virus is so abundant in saliva and has enabled scientists to develop saliva-based diagnostic tests for COVID-19.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-07/fda-nci070621.php

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Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Approval Expected in Jan 2022

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2021/07/16/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-approval-expected-2022

[Why is this taking so long, given what is already known about the vaccine and the urgency in getting people vaccinated--with some who are "hesitant" saying they are waiting for this approval]

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Statins--used to reduce cholesterol levels may reduce COVID-19 severity

In a new study from University of California San Diego School of Medicine, researchers have confirmed that patients taking statin medications had a 41 percent lower risk of in-hospital death from COVID-19. The findings were published July 15, 2021 in PLOS ONE

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-common-medication-cholesterol-covid-severity.html?

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Monoclonal Antibody cocktail lowers risk for death, hospitalization from COVID-19

The monoclonal antibody cocktail of bamlanivimab plus etesevimab reduced the risk for COVID-19-related death and hospitalization among high-risk ambulatory patients compared with placebo, according to phase 3 trial results published today.--from 7 to 2.1%

The cocktail, which is manufactured by Eli Lilly, also reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral load among the patients in the trial, researchers reported in The New England Journal of Medicine.

https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20210714/antibody-cocktail-lowers-risk-for-death-hospitalization-from-covid19

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Azithromycin no more effective than placebo

A UC San Francisco study has found that the antibiotic azithromycin was no more effective than a placebo in preventing symptoms of COVID-19 among non-hospitalized patients, and may increase their chance of hospitalization, despite widespread prescription of the antibiotic for the disease.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-common-covid-antibiotic-effective-placebo.html?

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Friends, family key to turning a 'No' on vaccination to a 'Yes'

(HealthDay)—Public health officials and government workers are trying everything they can to promote COVID-19 vaccination—advertisements, news releases, cash lotteries, and even incentives like free beer, joints or doughnuts in some places.

Physicians also influential.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-friends-family-key-vaccination.html?

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CDC, FDA contradict Pfizer on COVID-19 vaccine booster

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late yesterday contradicted vaccine makers Pfizer-BioNTech on their assertion that people who received the two-dose mRNA vaccine will likely need a third booster dose of vaccine within 6 to 12 months of initial administration.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/07/cdc-fda-contradict-pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-booster

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Delta variant poses 'mandatory' vaccination dilemma for EU

France and Greece are both making vaccination mandatory for health and care workers.

Thousands of French citizens rushed to book a Covid-19 vaccination appointment on Tuesday (13 July), after president Emmanuel Macron warned that unvaccinated people would be refused access to a variety of events, venues - and even some careers.

Macron announced on Monday evening that vaccines would become mandatory for health and care workers - with penalties for those who refuse to get the jab by mid-September.

https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/152437?utm_source=euobs&utm_medium=email

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Public health groups support mandatory COVID vaccines in healthcare

Today a consensus statement by several leading public health organizations and a commentary in the Annals of Internal Medicine voiced support for mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in US healthcare workers (HCWs).

The consensus statement, published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, was submitted by seven associations and societies, including the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Association for Professionals in Epidemiology and Infection Control (APIC), and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and it covered US COVID vaccines' real-world effectiveness data, clinical trial findings, and safety results.

Jul 13 Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol statement

The commentary frames the issue in the context of mandating flu vaccines, which some healthcare centers have been doing for almost 15 years. Not only is COVID-19 deadlier than the flu, it causes greater workplace and labor force disruptions and affected far more people in 2020 than the average yearly flu impact. Additionally, the authors add, all three COVID-19 vaccines under EUA in the United States have a higher vaccination effectiveness than the typical flu vaccine (70% to 95% vs 30% to 50%).

While healthcare organizations have taken care to protect workers, vaccines would provide continual protection without needing workplace or behavioral changes, the authors write.

They add, "We cannot rely on patients being vaccinated to prevent nosocomial transmission because some patients cannot get the vaccine, some will decline, and vaccine may not be effective in immunocompromised patients."
Jul 13 Ann Intern Med commentary

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/07/covid-19-scan-jul-13-2021

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Mixing COVID-19 Vaccines Discouraged

The World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan stated the ‘WHO advised against people mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers.’

Dr. Swaminathan added this is a “dangerous trend,” as there is very little data available about its health impact. ‘We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as to mix and match,’ reported Reuters on July 12, 2021.

She added, “Studies are going on. We need to wait for that. Maybe it will be a very good approach. But, at the moment, we only have data on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, followed by Pfizer.”

“It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third, and a fourth dose.”

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/mixing-covid-19-vaccines-discouraged

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One in five COVID vaccine skeptics in January ended up getting their shots by June. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey reveals why many were persuaded.

Seventeen percent of those who are now vaccinated despite expressing hesitancy in January said they were convinced to do so by a family member, 10% said they were persuaded by a health care provider or doctor and 5% said they were convinced by a close friend.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article252777353.html

Devices:

JAMA Peds Retracts Much-Hyped Masks Study

— Controversial study suggesting that masks may harm children by exposing them to high carbon dioxide levels had numerous problems, journal says

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/93609?

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https://twitter.com/alvie_barr/status/1414968056653221901?s=20

 

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Hotel Quarantine Not Good Enough With More Transmissible Variants

With rising concerns that hotel-based quarantines are no longer sufficient to prevent the spread of more infectious COVID-19 variants, some countries are planning to build specific quarantine structures, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In one instance in Australia, it appears the virus transmitted simply when two individuals opened their hotel room doors, which were adjacent to each other, to collect meals within just seconds of each other. The person infected at the hotel then ignited an outbreak in Melbourne, authorities suspect.

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Should We Be Concerned About the Lambda Variant?

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CDC calls for reopening schools fully, recommends masking

 the CDC urges schools to look at community transmission rates and build in multiple layers of protection for students and staff.

Those layers can include, but are not limited to, masks, physical distancing, screening programs, and monitoring staff and eligible student vaccination rates.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/07/cdc-calls-reopening-schools-fully-recommends-masking

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The US doesn't really know how widespread the Delta variant is because its virus sequencing is lagging far behind many other rich nations

  • The US doesn't really know how widespread Delta is because of inadequate sequencing of tests.
  • In the past six months, just 4% of all positive COVID-19 were sequenced and reported to a central database.
  • The UK is at 18.6%, Singapore 46.5%, Australia 58.7%, and New Zealand 41.5%.

https://www.businessinsider.com/delta-variant-us-covid-test-sequencing-strain-cases-infections-2021-7

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Long COVID: More likely in patients with five+ symptoms in first week of infection

according to a new review published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

The review by the University of Birmingham-led Therapies for Long COVID (TLC) Study Group, summarises current research on symptom prevalence, complications and management of long COVID. Pooled prevalence data in the review highlights the ten most common symptoms of long COVID. These are fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain, cough, headache, joint pain, chest pain, altered smell, diarrhoea and altered taste.

The researchers identified two main symptom clusters of long COVID: those comprising exclusively of fatigue, headache and upper respiratory complaints; and those with multi-system complaints including ongoing fever and gastroenterological symptoms.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-07/s-lcm071421.php

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38% of breakthrough symptomatic cases led to Long Covid

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https://twitter.com/alvie_barr/status/1415689687256154118?s=20

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

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https://twitter.com/joncoopertweets/status/1415119916445978630?s=20

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WHO director-general slams notion of Covid-19 vaccine booster doses given global health needs

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Feel good du jour:

https://twitter.com/wholesomepage/status/1414144896433225730?s=20

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Comic relief:

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Perspective/Poem

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Bits of beauty:

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