Coronavirus Tidbits #203 7/31/2022

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.

Every week, as I work on compiling my #Coronavirus Tidbits newsletter, #GOP vindictiveness and cruelty inspires me to work harder to #GOTV and #Voter Protection efforts. drjudystone.com/coronavirus-ti Please everyone, work as if your life depends on it. It does!

You can find so many volunteer opportunities. I highly recommend NOPE Neighbors as a place to start.

https://www.nopeneighbors.org/volunteer

News 

Covid:

Vaccine Summit:

...Operation Warp Speed proved it was possible to race from a newly identified virus to safe and effective immunizations in just 11 months—many times faster than ever before. Today, there are a few dozen fledgling efforts to create vaccines that protect against future SARS-CoV-2 mutants or take an even more “pan” approach in order to thwart unknown coronaviruses that have yet to jump into humans. But only a single candidate, developed by the U.S. Army, has made it into a phase 1 clinical trial.

“We want to start clinical trials tomorrow, but there are lots of barriers to getting there,” says Yale University immunologist Akiko Iwasaki, a panelist at the White House summit who has a vaccine candidate that’s administered as a nasal spray. For starters, funding remains far tighter than in the Warp Speed days: The Coalition for Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has invested a more modest $200 million in 11 efforts run by small companies and academics, and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has committed just $43 million in four pancoronavirus vaccine programs. And efforts also face a dearth of materials needed to make vaccines, a shortage of nonhuman primates on which to test candidates, and uncertainty about how to assess new products in populations that already have immune response to SARS-CoV-2.

https://www.science.org/content/article/why-efforts-make-better-more-universal-coronavirus-vaccines-are-struggling

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Survey flags public health worker exodus due in part to COVID-19 impact

Over 40% of the US public health workforce plans to leave their jobs within the next 5 years, and 51% said more staff were needed to respond to COVID-19, according to findings from a 2021 survey published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

In response to being asked what was needed to respond to COVID-19, in addition to funding, 51% cited more staff, followed by more support from the community (30%) and elected leaders (26%).

"This finding is concerning, given a recent report that found approximately 80,000 additional full-time staff members are needed throughout the nation's public health agencies to provide foundational public health services,"

Jul 22 MMWR study

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/07/news-scan-jul-22-2022

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Covid origin:

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Monkeypox:

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Other:

‘The entire protein universe’: AI predicts shape of nearly every known protein

DeepMind’s AlphaFold tool has determined the structures of around 200 million proteins, from almost every known organism on Earth.

Nature Ewen Callaway 28 July 2022

From today, determining the 3D shape of almost any protein known to science will be as simple as typing in a Google search.

Researchers have used AlphaFold — the revolutionary artificial-intelligence (AI) network — to predict the structures of some 200 million proteins from 1 million species, covering nearly every known protein on the planet.

The data dump will be freely available on a database set up by DeepMind, Google’s London-based AI company that developed AlphaFold, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), an intergovernmental organization near Cambridge, UK.

“Essentially you can think of it covering the entire protein universe,” DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, said at a press briefing. “We’re at the beginning of new era of digital biology.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-02083-2

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New theory on unusual hepatitis cases in kids points to three factors

There is a new theory about what may be causing puzzling cases of pediatric hepatitis of unknown origin — and it’s complex, STAT’s Helen Branswell warns us. In two new unpublished studies from U.K., scientists suggest these children may have been co-infected with two different viruses and had a genetic predisposition to an over-exuberant immune response. The prevailing hypothesis has said adenovirus 41 was causing the liver damage, although it had never been seen to do so in children with intact immune systems.

Now another virus has been found in some affected children: adeno-associated virus 2 — a “dependoparvovirus” that cannot replicate in a host’s cells unless another virus is present. “If this is correct,” Angela Rasmussen of the University of Saskatchewan told Helen, “you need the combination of all three” — a helper virus, such as adenovirus 41, the adeno-associated virus 2, and the genetic predisposition. Read more.

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As pandemics collide, push to end AIDS stumbles

Few HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment goals are in reach, report documents

Science 28 JUL 2022 BYJON COHEN

...In a campaign to “end AIDS as a public health threat” by 2030, UNAIDS set targets for 2025 that the new report documents are far from being met. Last year, 1.5 million people became infected by HIV, 1 million more than the 2025 target. And although new infections fell from 2020, the decline of 3.6% was the smallest since 2016. Of the 38.4 million people living with the virus in 2021, 10 million are still not receiving lifesaving antiretroviral drugs, and last year saw the lowest number of new people starting treatment in a decade; most alarming to UNAIDS, 52% of infected children aren’t being treated. “If these trends continue, we could see 7.7 million additional AIDS-related deaths in this decade,” Byanyima said. “We have to sound the alarm.”

https://www.science.org/content/article/pandemics-collide-push-end-aids-stumbles

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Polio:

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Melioidosis Locally Endemic in Areas of the Mississippi Gulf Coast

after Burkholderia pseudomallei Isolated in Soil and Water and Linked to Two Cases – Mississippi, 2020 and 2022

Summary
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei (B. pseudomallei) for the first time in the environment in the continental United StatesThis bacterium causes a rare and serious disease called melioidosis. B. pseudomallei was identified through environmental sampling of soil and water in the Gulf Coast region of southern Mississippi during an investigation of two human melioidosis cases.

It is unclear how long the bacterium has been in the environment prior to 2020 or how widespread the bacterium is in the continental United States; modeling suggests that the environmental conditions found in the Gulf Coast states are conducive to the growth of B. pseudomallei [1]. Extensive environmental sampling is needed to answer these questions.

This Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory serves to alert clinicians and public health officials throughout the country to consider melioidosis in patients whose clinical presentation is compatible with signs and symptoms of the disease, regardless of travel history to international disease-endemic regions, as melioidosis is now considered to be locally endemic in areas of the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi.

https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2022/han00470.asp?ACSTrackingID=USCDC_511-DM86587&ACSTrackingLabel=HAN%20470%20-%20General%20Public&deliveryName=USCDC_511-DM86587

(Note: I wrote about this fascinating US outbreak a few months ago:

CDC Sleuths Find Source Of Deadly Melioidosis Outbreak Is A Room Spray Sold At Walmart

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/10/24/cdc-sleuths-find-source-of-deadly-melioidosis-outbreak-is-a-room-spray-sold-at-walmart/?sh=2ef4addae307

Diagnostics:

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Drugs and Vaccines:

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Why aren't there new drugs to protect people most vulnerable to Covid?

It’s a familiar — and sad — story. Immunocompromised people hoped first Covid vaccination and then antibody treatments would allow them to leave the lockdown they’ve been living under while the coronavirus cooks up new variants. This deep into the pandemic, they ask, why are there so few treatments in biopharma’s pipeline to thwart the virus? Several companies have announced plans for new Covid-19 antibodies, but they are all either still in animal studies or are being developed as therapeutics, despite the 7 million to 10 million immunocompromised Americans who might benefit.

It’s not difficult to isolate new antibodies that powerfully neutralize Omicron and its various children, James Crowe, the Vanderbilt immunologist who in 2020 first isolated the antibodies in Evusheld, told STAT’s Jason Mast. “It becomes more of a business question than a medical question.” Read more on the challenges at STAT+ (paywalled).

https://mailchi.mp/statnews/tk-tncyc6de8v-617636?e=5c09ee46b1

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Evusheld Effective Against Emerging BA.x Variants

Recent data published in the peer-review New England Journal of Medicine show that AstraZeneca's Evusheld monoclonal antibody (mAbs) retains neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants, including Omicron BA.5, BA.4, and BA.21.

The FRNT50 levels reported for Evusheld in the study were higher for Omicron BA.1 than BA.5 (351 ng/ml compared to 192 ng/ml), meaning that neutralization activity for BA.5 was greater.

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2022/07/26/evusheld-effective-against-emerging-bax-variants

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Monkeypox Vaccine Manufacturing Receives Approvals

Denmark-based Bavarian Nordic A/S announced today that U.S. and EU regulatory authorities issued approvals to manufacture JYNNEOS® (IMVANEX®) smallpox and monkeypox vaccines at the Company's fill and finish facility in Copenhagen.

And the U.S. FDA conducted an expedited pre-approval inspection at Bavarian Nordic's facility at the beginning of July 2022. With these approvals, Bavarian Nordic can now deliver drug products to the U.S. and EU markets.

In the USA, there is overwhelming consumer demand for this monkeypox vaccine.

As of July 23, 2022, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response had delivered 310,385 Jynneos vaccines. The U.S. government has ordered about 5.9 million Jynneos vaccines.

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2022/07/27/monkeypox-vaccine-manufacturing-receives-usa-and-europe-approvals

There are only 16 million doses of the MVA-BN (known as Jynneos in the United States) vaccine globally, however.

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Prescribing Tecoviramat (TPOXX) being simplified:

clinicians now able to prescribe the antiviral via telemedicine and required safety reporting of serious adverse effects only. No pictures of rashes, samples for testing, or patient diaries are now required for treatment.

Some health officials are postponing some second doses of monkeypox vaccine in a strategy to give first doses to more people.

In an update on vaccine distribution, at least 240,000 doses of Jynneos are reported to have been distributed to states, and the Department of Health and Human Services anticipates making approximately 1.9 million doses available in 2022 and another 2.2 million doses in the first half of 2023.

Devices:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

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https://twitter.com/Globalbiosec/status/1551679576765788161?s=20&t=YkcttwKynSSdiDBm8KRuMA

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At least 27 million COVID patients may have long-term smell and taste problems

About 5% of adults may develop long-lasting changes to their sense of smell or taste after COVID-19 infection, suggests research published by The BMJ today.

With more than 550 million confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, this means that at least 15 million and 12 million adult patients may experience long-term smell and taste deficiencies, respectively.

Given the huge impact that loss of smell and taste can have on quality of life and general health, this could contribute to the rising burden of long COVID, warn the researchers.

Change in the sense of smell and taste is common in patients with COVID-19, with 40-50% of people on average reporting these symptoms globally. But little is known about the clinical course of these symptoms or how many patients develop persistent problems.

To address this knowledge gap, an international research team trawled databases for studies of adults with COVID-19 related changes to smell or taste and studies that described factors associated with these changes and time to recovery.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-million-covid-patients-long-term-problems.html

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Monkeypox:

Nice interactive map you might bookmark:  https://map.monkeypox.global.health/country

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Hell of a thread on how someone acquired monkeypox: From Mei Rito @mei_rito:

Yesterday I was diagnosed with monkeypox. No, I haven't participated in any sex party as the WHO says, nor have I gotten a tattoo... You're going to freak out when you find out how I caught it #ViruelaDelMono

Three weeks ago I decided to park my bike due to the high temperatures and I contacted a guy on Wallapop who was selling an electric scooter. We agreed to meet.

The transaction was great. A pretty nice guy, he explained everything he had to know about the scooter and let me try it for fifteen minutes on the street to see if it really met my needs. Once the decision is made, we make the exchange and say goodbye.

A week later I start to have a fever and muscle aches. I immediately thought of Covid and had up to 3 PCR tests in the next 48 hours, all negative. Anyway, I ask to work from home for what might happen.

Without feeling much better, two days ago I decided to return to the warehouse where I work and when I go to pick up the scooter, I see that the pressure in the wheels has dropped, so I write to the seller to ask him how often I should fill them.

A few minutes later he calls me. He gives me all the information I needed and, speaking of other topics, he tells me that, SURPRISE, a few days ago he was diagnosed with monkeypox after several days with symptoms. That's where my alarm goes off.

Could it be that I was infected in a 15-minute contact in which we only greeted each other by shaking hands? Contact with a medical friend who tells me about contagious sores on the face and hands. The boy confirms that he has had small injuries even before being diagnosed.

That same day I go to the ER and they do tests. Positive for monkeypox. The most probable contagion, according to what they tell me, given that my sexual life has not changed, is that the virus ended up on my mucous membranes after impregnating me with it on the handles of the scooter.

I'm still hallucinating with the bizarreness of the whole story. I recommend caution, it is not a gay disease as the WHO says, you catch it by buying a wallapop article. And recycle those popular disinfectant gels, they can be key to your health.

Tips, general reading for public:

Ventilate.

Mask.

Vax.

Politics:

Covid:

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Monkeypox:

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Jan 6/Coup:

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Abortion:

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Sex trafficking:

LGBTQ:

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SCOTUS:

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Guns:

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Immigration:

Antisemitism:

Note that CPAC visited Budapest recently and Orban is going to Texas to speak.

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Book bans:

https://twitter.com/QueenOfRats/status/1550554147253932032?s=20&t=YkcttwKynSSdiDBm8KRuMA

Vets:

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Trump:

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JD Vance:

Josh Hawley/Missouri

Big Biz:

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Alabama:

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Florida:

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https://twitter.com/lesleyabravanel/status/1552390425092186112?s=20&t=YkcttwKynSSdiDBm8KRuMA

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Georgia:

Illinois:

Iowa:

Leach, who represented southeastern Iowa in Congress for 30 years changed his party registration to Democrat ahead of June 7 primary. “Today, GOP that I spent so many years with has let the country down.” I’ll lean toward the Dem. Party as long as excellent people are running.

Kansas:

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Mississippi:

General voter intimidation: (and New Mexico)

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Pennsylvania:

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Texas:

A federal lawsuit out of Texas could end access to free lifesaving preventive health care services for nearly 168 million people in the United States with private insurance, a new report suggests.

Kelley v. Becerra seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that health plans cover preventive health services at no cost.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-texas-court-case-threaten-americans.html?

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https://twitter.com/Globalbiosec/status/1551679576765788161?s=20&t=YkcttwKynSSdiDBm8KRuMA

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Virginia:

Russia/Ukraine:

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Feel good du jour:

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Comic relief:

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https://twitter.com/TheFigen/status/1551205462875439105?s=20&t=YkcttwKynSSdiDBm8KRuMA

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Perspective/Poem

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Bits of beauty:

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