Dogs caught in snow squall

Coronavirus Tidbits #180 2/20/22

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.

New Post:

New Nanosensor Assay Detects Viruses Like SARS-Cov-2 and Ebola

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/968479

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Recommended reads:

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Gregg Gonsalves- https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/17/opinion/aids-pandemic-covid.html

News 

Omicron:

Rumblings suggest the CDC may relax its indoor masking guidelines for states as early as next week, basing the recommendations on a new formula that includes severe cases. (NBC News)

Only 28% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated and received a booster dose, according to a CNN analysis, and new vaccinations have hit an all-time low. (CNN)

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We still don't know enough about BA2 to make any great predictions, let alone the fear-mongering that EFD and others like to flame.

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Other news:

Challenge Trial Shows People With COVID Shed Virus After Just 2 Days

Also, of the subjects inoculated with SARS-CoV-2, 18 of 36 became infected, as detected by PCR test.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/96991

Why did some people not become infected? Hypotheses:

Cross-immunity from the four endemic human coronaviruses

Multiple genetic variations may make someone's immune system more or less susceptible to the virus.

Mucosal immunity may play an underrecognized role in mounting a defense.

Where the virus settled on the human body, how large the particle was, the amount and length of exposure, environmental factors...

https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-resistance-immunity-03339ccd-e525-4897-9861-045bd68aaaec.html

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Vaccination After COVID Sank Reinfection Rates

previous infection plus vaccination provided substantial protection for more than a year after the initial infection. (Delta)

Protection against infection with two doses of vaccine waned considerably after 6 months for those without prior infection, but immunity only began to wane considerably at 1 year for those previously infected and not vaccinated. Adding two vaccine doses to prior infection led to protection of more than 90% against reinfection, and that protection didn't appear to wane up to 18 months after infection

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19vaccine/97234?

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Long COVID Less Likely in the Vaccinated

roughly half as likely to have any symptoms lasting more than a month, 78% less likely to have symptoms lasting 12 to 20 weeks, and 13% less likely to have at least one symptom at 6 months,

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19vaccine/97232?

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Humidity

higher relative humidity reduced viral particles in the air by half, while leading to more viral particles on surfaces, where they are less likely to spread disease.

Mid-range humidity, between 40 and 60 percent, is probably optimal

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-02-ventilation-humidity-key-indoor-virus.html?

https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciac006/6498295

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Racist Protest 'Threatened' Patient Care, Massachusetts Medical Society Says

— Neo-Nazis targeted doctors outside Brigham and Women's Hospital

https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/97163?

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Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

COVID-19 vaccination protective against developing long COVID

In a new rapid evidence review, the agency says eight studies show strong evidence that people who received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine are half as likely to develop long COVID. Another four studies demonstrate evidence that people who are vaccinated after receiving a long COVID diagnosis see their symptoms improve.

https://ukhsa.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-retrieve-file.pl?

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Oral Antiviral Paxlovid Reduced Severe COVID-19 Risk by 89%

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an Original Article that concluded 'treatment of symptomatic COVID-19 with the oral nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir (Paxlovid) resulted in an 89% risk of progression to severe COVID-19 than with placebo, without evident safety concerns.

The Oral Nirmatrelvir for High-Risk, Nonhospitalized Adults with COVID-19 article, was published on February 16, 2022, based on phase 3 EPIC-HR clinical in unvaccinated persons demonstrate the efficacy of oral administration of nirmatrelvir (300 mg) with ritonavir (100 mg) every twelve hours for five days.

Note: Paxlovid (Nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir) is contraindicated with the use of certain drugs because of potential adverse events.

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2022/02/17/oral-antiviral-reduced-severe-covid-19-risk-89

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WHO prequalifies Roche’s tocilizumab as its first monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19

While monoclonal antibodies have made headway in some countries more than others, the World Health Organization (WHO), for the first time last week, offered prequalification to Roche’s tocilizumab treatment, smoothing the path to more widespread approval.

Prequalification guarantees that the treatment was pre-assessed for quality, safety, and efficacy by global experts, allowing many low and middle-income countries greater peace of mind when considering approval and purchase. The designation is used for medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, and other critical health products, and some organizations will only purchase health items that have earned prequalification.

Tocilizumab, specifically, works by blocking the Interleukin-6 receptor within SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. That receptor is often found in high levels among critically ill COVID-19 patients, creating an inflammatory response. More traditionally, it has also been used as an arthritis treatment.

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/75938-who-prequalifies-roches-tocilizumab-as-its-first-monoclonal-antibody-treatment-for-covid-19/

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Devices:

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Epidemiology/Infection control:

Particles Carrying Viruses Likely Travel Farther Than Previously Thought (at least than some thought)

A modeling study raises questions about how far respiratory droplets, like those that transmit the virus that causes COVID-19, can travel before becoming harmless. Can the airborne particles that carry the virus remain infectious not just for a few feet but rather more than 200 feet, farther than the length of a hockey rink?

Experiments dating to the 1930s proposed two paths for respiratory droplets like those from a sneeze or cough. Either they are big and heavy, plummeting to the ground without much chance of infecting another person. Or they are so small and light that they dry out almost instantly, remaining airborne but becoming harmless very quickly. The dryness renders “enveloped” viruses like coronaviruses unable to infect.

But a new study from scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory suggests a third option—that small respiratory particles can remain moist and airborne for a longer time and greater distance than scientists have recognized.

“There are reports of people becoming infected with a coronavirus downwind of an infected person or in a room several minutes after an infected person has exited that room,” said Leonard Pease, the corresponding author of the study. The findings were published in the February issue of the journal International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer.

The PNNL team took a long look at the mucus that coats the respiratory droplets that people spew from their lungs. Scientists know that mucus allows many viruses to travel further than they otherwise would, enabling them to journey from one person to another.

The team found that the mucus shell that surrounds respiratory droplets likely reduces the evaporation rate, increasing the time that viral particles within the droplets are kept moist. Since enveloped viruses like SARS-CoV-2 have a fatty coating that must be kept moist for the virus to be infectious, the slower evaporation allows viral particles to be infectious longer.

The team estimates that droplets encased in mucus could remain moist for up to 30 minutes and travel up to about 200 feet.

https://globalbiodefense.com/2022/02/17/disease-carrying-particles-likely-travel-farther-than-previously-thought/

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Wild animals prized as delicacies in China contain a bevy of threatening viruses

Wild animals sometimes found on the menu in Asian countries harbor a bewildering panoply of viruses, a new study has found—including many that can infect humans. Although none is closely related to the coronavirus that touched off the COVID-19 pandemic, the study sends a clear warning that other viral threats are lurking in the animal kingdom, scientists say.

Live-animal markets are known to have sparked outbreaks, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 2 decades ago. But the study underscores the extent of the threat, showing “there is an enormous amount of unsampled viral diversity” in the animals, says Harvard University evolutionary biologist William Hanage, who was not involved in the work. “We humans need to understand that for a virus, different mammal species can look pretty alike, provided their cells have appropriate receptors.” China has clamped down on the sale of the animals sampled in the study, but other countries in the region have not.

The researchers, led by veterinarian Su Shuo of Nanjing Agricultural University, took samples from nearly 2000 animals representing 18 different species at venues in China including fur farms, zoos, and natural habitats.

https://www.science.org/content/article/wild-animals-prized-delicacies-china-contain-bevy-threatening-viruses

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Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

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Declaring We're Done With the Pandemic Is a Sign of Privilege

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/02/16/declaring-were-done-pandemic-sign-privilege

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https://twitter.com/GYamey/status/1493428759822835719?s=20&t=21lv_64fBmYqa3lB4H3a-Q

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https://twitter.com/LadyDoctorSays/status/1494245625306787842?s=20&t=KOtnCHDDBsdIiDgHrcr-tQ

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— 14 states have proposed legislation aimed at weakening boards' ability to discipline for misinfo

https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/97237?

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Worthwhile reading this thread:

Race:

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https://twitter.com/janeadamsid/status/1493394414626119683?s=20&t=KOtnCHDDBsdIiDgHrcr-tQ

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Jan 6

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Vote

https://twitter.com/marceelias/status/1494143966735998977?s=20&t=21lv_64fBmYqa3lB4H3a-Q

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https://www.huffpost.com/entry/levar-burton-banned-books-daily-show_n_620d6faae4b0557b5a3e7225?

Feel good du jour:

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https://twitter.com/buitengebieden_/status/1492408057569193984?s=20&t=21lv_64fBmYqa3lB4H3a-Q

Comic relief:

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https://twitter.com/jessi_asli/status/1494066884962045955?s=20&t=KOtnCHDDBsdIiDgHrcr-tQ

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https://twitter.com/buitengebieden_/status/1492764392831791104?s=20&t=21lv_64fBmYqa3lB4H3a-Q

Perspective/Poem

 

Vaccinated but Not Protected—Living Immunocompromised During the Pandemic

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2781012

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Bits of beauty:

Dogs caught in snow squall
Pups caught in surprise snow squall

 

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