Coronavirus Tidbits #199 7/3/22

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 posts:

Betrayed by a Reactionary SCOTUS 

my post on Roe: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/976398?

More Promising Phage News—Using Bacteria-Killing Viruses To Treat Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/06/30/more-promising-phage-news-using-bacteria-killing-viruses-to-treat-antibiotic-resistant-infections/?sh=e20db844c4f6

News 

Covid:

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Monkeypox:

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Monkeypox soars in Europe, with more than 4,000 cases

Stephanie Soucheray | News Reporter | CIDRAP News| Jun 30, 2022

New data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization European regional office shows the monkeypox outbreak in Europe has grown to 4,177 cases in less than 2 months, with the United Kingdom producing 25% of those cases.

Germany has surpassed Spain and Portugal with a national total reaching 838 cases, compared to 736 cases in Spain and 365 in Portugal. France has 350 cases.

One day after the White House pledged more monkeypox vaccines would be deployed to states seeing outbreaks, the United States is also reporting a significant uptick in cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US total now stands at 351 cases from 28 states and Washington, D.C. after 45 more monkeypox cases were confirmed yesterday.

Evidence of community spread in Texas

Today the Texas Department of State Health Services said there was evidence of local, community spread of the virus in the state's 12 cases. While the first cases reported in Texas involved international travel, three recent patients report that they did not travel in the 3 weeks before becoming sick.

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Other:

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Zika, dengue viruses make victims smell better to mosquitoes

Pathogens may promote their transmission by luring the biting insects

Science 30 JUN 2022 BYMITCH LESLIE

The viruses that cause Zika and dengue fever can’t get from person to person on their own—they need to hitchhike inside a mosquito. A new study suggests how they hail these rides: They make their victims smell more attractive to the blood-sucking bugs.

It’s "a big advance," says mosquito neuroscientist Laura Duvall of Columbia University, who wasn't connected to the research. The work shows that "infection with these mosquito-borne viruses can alter the way some people smell … to make them more likely to be bitten."

A person can give off a different body odor when ill, especially with an infection. COVID-19 patients, for instance, release a distinctive mixture of molecules that dogs and electronic "noses" can detect. Similarly, malaria parasites change the scent of human hosts, making them smell irresistible to mosquitoes.

Whether the viruses that cause Zika fever and dengue fever, which together infect up to 400 million people every year, also meddle with odor was unknown. These pathogens travel from person to person in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which also transmit the yellow fever and chikungunya viruses.

https://www.science.org/content/article/zika-dengue-viruses-make-victims-smell-better-mosquitoes

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Glaciers and Global Warming

... researchers explored whether species of bacteria in the snow and ice could make their way to other regions as melting occurs. To find out, they collected snow and ice samples from 21 glaciers in Tibet over the years 2010 to 2016. Each was melted and then tested to see what was in the water left behind. In so doing, the researchers found 968 unique species of bacteria, 98% of which had never been seen before. The findings come on the heels of a study by another team that recently found several viruses in ice that was 15,000 years old—most of which have never been seen before.

https://phys.org/news/2022-06-bacteria-species-glacial-ice-pose.html

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Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

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Study of Pfizer vaccine in kids finds moderate Omicron protection

Lisa Schnirring | News Editor | CIDRAP News| Jun 30, 2022

A real-world study in Israeli children ages 5 to 11 found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provided moderate protection against infection and symptomatic diseases, similar to the pattern seen in adults.

Researchers began measuring the impact of the vaccine starting last November, just as the Omicron variant surge was expanding globally. They published their findings yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/06/real-world-study-pfizer-vaccine-kids-finds-moderate-omicron-protection

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COVID-19 vaccine protects people of all body weights from hospitalization and death, shows study of 9 million adults

by Lancet  JUNE 30, 2022

COVID-19 vaccines have greatly reduced the number of cases of severe COVID-19 disease for everyone regardless of their body size, according to a new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. Vaccine effectiveness was similar for those with a higher BMI and of a healthy weight, but slightly lower in the underweight group, who were also the least likely to have been vaccinated.

In a further analysis of vaccinated people only, among the fewer COVID-19 cases recorded, people of very low and very high BMI were more likely to experience severe disease than vaccinated healthy-weight people. This replicates the findings seen in a previous analysis before the vaccination program commenced.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-covid-vaccine-people-body-weights.html

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Interrupting treatment of patients on immune-suppressing medicine doubles antibody response to COVID-19 booster

A major clinical trial, led by experts at the University of Nottingham working in partnership with several universities and NHS hospitals, has found that interrupting the treatment of vulnerable people on long-term immune-suppressing medicines for two weeks after a COVID-19 booster vaccination doubles their antibody response to the booster.

The Vaccine Response On Off Methotrexate (VROOM) trial, which will have implications for people on immune-suppressing medicines—who are among the millions of clinically vulnerable patients advised to "shield" during the pandemic—was carried out in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Manchester, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford and Queen Mary University London. The study was run by the Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit (OCTRU).

The results of the study are published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-treatment-patients-immune-suppressing-medicine-antibody.html

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Emerging omicron subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 are inhibited less efficiently by antibodies

The omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA.2 of SARS-CoV-2 have dominated the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2022. In many countries, these viruses are now outcompeted by emerging subvariants, with BA.5 being responsible for the current uptick of cases in Germany. However, it is at present largely unclear whether the "new" omicron subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 acquired biological traits that allow for more efficient transmission or whether they are less efficiently blocked by antibodies compared to the "old" omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA.2.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-emerging-omicron-subvariants-ba2121-ba4.html

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Bad news for Paxlovid? Coronavirus can find multiple ways to evade COVID-19 drug

Lab studies identify resistance mutations in SARS-CoV-2’s protease, and some circulating variants have them

Prescriptions for Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Paxlovid have skyrocketed in recent weeks. That’s good news for many COVID-19 patients, as the pill has been proven to reduce severe disease from SARS-CoV-2 infections. But a bevy of new lab studies shows the coronavirus can mutate in ways that make it less susceptible to the drug, by far the most widely used of the two oral antiviral drugs authorized to treat COVID-19 in the United States. Researchers have found some of those mutations in variants already circulating in infected people, raising fresh concerns that physicians could soon lose one of their best therapies for fighting COVID-19.

https://www.science.org/content/article/bad-news-paxlovid-coronavirus-can-find-multiple-ways-evade-covid-19-drug

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FDA: Don’t rush a move to change the Covid-19 vaccine composition

By John P. Moore and Paul A. Offit

FIRST OPINION June 29, 2022

On Tuesday, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 19-2 to approve the use later this year of Covid-19 vaccines based on an Omicron variant sequence. One of us (P.A.O.) was among those voting “no.” It is possible these vaccines will be two-component designs that also include the current version. Will Americans soon be better protected against Covid-19?

https://www.statnews.com/2022/06/29/fda-dont-rush-to-change-covid-19-vaccine-composition/

Devices and Masks:

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5. There is evidence that in such high-risk scenarios, N95 masks alone may be insufficient unless an air filtration system is operational. This means that when one-way masking on a plane, a P100 elastomeric is preferred

Full thread at https://t.co/dXkNYpY2Zk

Epidemiology/Infection control:

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Online tool (Covid-Taser) allows users to predict their likelihood of severe illness or death from COVID-19

Are you more likely to die from COVID-19 or in a car accident? A new risk assessment tool can help you figure that out.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-online-tool-users-likelihood-severe.html?

calculator: https://www.covidtaser.com/relativerisk 

Tips, general reading for public:

Ventilate.

Mask.

Vax.

Politics:

Covid:

https://twitter.com/snarkypeds/status/1541536711699750914?s=20&t=KKjVp7gvjR6bsDQrKGA2-Q

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Jan 6:

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SCOTUS:

***Important reads:

*** Looming disaster: State Legislative Power:

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Full thread at https://t.co/gI3xIRB2GY

Other:

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Clarence and Ginni:

Abortion:

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https://twitter.com/Vinminen/status/1540439331768238080?s=20&t=KKjVp7gvjR6bsDQrKGA2-Q

So those patients are going to have to go off the drugs that were helping to control their condition and have worse health outcomes. People are going to die because of this, in a context miles away from elective abortion, because GOP lawmakers wanted to "own the libs." 2/x

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Full story at https://www.statnews.com/2022/06/29/doctor-suspicion-after-miscarriage-glimpse-of-expanding-medical-mistrust/

EPA:

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Gerrymandering:

Football prayer:

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LGBTQ:

[embedhttps://twitter.com/NoLieWithBTC/status/1542144939689185280?s=20&t=KKjVp7gvjR6bsDQrKGA2-Q[/embed]

Guns:

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Full thread at https://t.co/3tj5TeuNxv

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State Funding private religious schools:

https://twitter.com/TheCharlieGirl/status/1540906440398843904?s=20&t=KKjVp7gvjR6bsDQrKGA2-Q

EPA:

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Other, non-Supremes

Racism:

Facebook:

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Uvalde:

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Education:

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Dems v GOP

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California:

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Pennsylvania:

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Ukraine/Russia

If the Russian blockade continues, tens of millions of tons of food will rot in silos, and tens of millions of people in Africa and Asia will starve.

The horror of Putin's hunger plan is so great that we have a hard time apprehending it. We also tend to forget how central food is to politics. Some historical examples can help.

The idea that controlling Ukrainian grain can change the world is not new. Both Stalin and Hitler wished to do so.... (see Holodomor)

Russian memory politics prepared the way for a 21st-century hunger plan. Russians are told that Stalin's famine was an accident and that Ukrainians are Nazis. This makes theft and blockade seem acceptable.

Putin's hunger plan is, I believe, meant to work on three levels. First, it is part of a larger attempt to destroy the Ukrainian state, by cutting off its exports.

Putin's hunger plan is also meant to generate refugees from North Africa and the Middle East, areas usually fed by Ukraine. This would generate instability in the EU.

Finally, and most horribly, a world famine is a necessary backdrop for a Russian propaganda campaign against Ukraine. Actual mass death is needed as the backdrop for a propaganda contest.

When the food riots begin, and as starvation spreads, Russian propaganda will blame Ukraine, and call for Russia's territorial gains in Ukraine to be recognized, and for all sanctions to be lifted.

Russia is planning to starve Asians and Africans in order to win its war in Europe. This is a new level of colonialism, and the latest chapter of hunger politics.

Feel good du jour:

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https://twitter.com/buitengebieden/status/1542952067513319427?s=20

 

Comic relief:

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Check out his links. Brilliant work!

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https://twitter.com/buitengebieden/status/1543319405383360513?s=20

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https://twitter.com/buitengebieden/status/1542977623814447104?s=20

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Perspective/Poem

Bits of beauty:

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