Coronavirus Tidbits #232 2/12/23
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.
Reminder, Resilience: One Family's Story... is increasingly pertinent, as some of our politicians shift rightward. All proceeds go to Holocaust education.
Scientists have discovered a protein in the lung that blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection
and forms a natural protective barrier in the human body.
This protein, the leucine-rich repeat-containing protein 15 (LRRC15), is an inbuilt receptor that binds the SARS-CoV-2 virus without passing on the infection.
The research opens up an entirely new area of immunology research around LRRC15 and offers a promising pathway to develop new drugs to prevent viral infection
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A new COVID-19 subvariant is a growing concern for experts.
A preprint paper released last week by researchers at Ohio State University says that CH.1.1 has “a consistently stronger neutralization resistance available than XBB, XBB.1 and XBB.1.5, which is astonishing and warrants continuous monitoring and further investigations.”
Their study notes that CH.1.1 contains the mutation L452R that’s seen in delta, but not in omicron, and this may give CH1.1 the ability to become more infectious than other omicron stains. CH.1.1 has been nicknamed Orthus, after the two-headed dog in Greek mythology.
CH1.1 now occupies 5th place on the list of spreading variants, accounting for 1.6% of total new cases in the U.S., according to the CDC.
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Tobacco and e-cigs may put healthy young people at risk of severe COVID illness, new research suggests
This is among the first studies to find that not only smoking tobacco, but also vaping, may predispose people to increased inflammation and future development of severe COVID-19 and the lingering cardiovascular complications that can occur after initial illness from the virus, said Dr. Theodoros Kelesidis, the study's lead author.
It was a quite interesting and novel finding that vaping changed the levels of key proteins that the virus uses to replicate."
The study is published Feb.9 in the Journal of Molecular Medicine.
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Single-dose treatment w interferon reduces COVID-19 hospitalization risk by half for high-risk patients in phase 3 trial
A single-dose of the antiviral drug peginterferon lambda reduced by half the risk of hospitalization or a visit to the Emergency Department due to COVID-19, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The multi-center phase 3 TOGETHER clinical trial—designed to test a new therapy in a real setting—evaluated the use of this drug in more than 1,900 outpatients at high risk of developing complications from COVID-19.
Patients who received a single-dose subcutaneous injection of peginterferon lambda within seven days of their first COVID-19 symptom had a 50 percent lower risk of needing to be admitted to hospital when compared to people who received a placebo.
The trial was one of the first to test treatment in a largely vaccinated population. The research team found that a similar effect was seen in those who had received the vaccine—84 percent—as in those who were unvaccinated. The team also saw the benefits of treatment across multiple COVID-19 variants, including the highly transmissible omicron variant.
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COVID vaccination in pregnancy found to protect infants against infection and hospital admission
Two doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy are highly effective against delta and moderately effective against omicron infection, and are linked to a lower risk of hospital admission in infants under six months of age, finds a Canadian study published by The BMJ today.
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Studies Tie Gut Microbiome, Metabolites to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Two new studies by independent research teams suggest gut microbial communities and related metabolites may differ between individuals with or without myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a heterogeneous condition marked by symptoms affecting everything from energy metabolism to neurological function and immune features.
The findings highlight potential treatment targets, while pointing to some of the disease features and possible biomarkers that distinguish relatively short-term versions of the disease (occurring over fewer than four years) with long-term ME/CFS cases that span more than a decade.
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Avian influenza H5N1
Peru: At least 585 sea lions and about 55,000 birds have died from avian flu in protected natural areas
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"But what worries me right now is that this is a change in the epidemiology and the ecology of the disease. " - Richard Webby, an influenza virologist
...at this point the world would be better off focusing on spillover threats plural than one single type of bird flu. Fukuda worries that the Covid-19 experience, rather than strengthening our response capacity, has eroded political support for this type of work. And Osterholm worries about what the Covid pandemic has done to public support for public health.
“If we did have another pandemic right now I think it would be very difficult to get the public to do anything to try to limit or control transmission. That is to me a big setback,” he said."
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Downed spy balloon may muddy US-China medical supply chains
experts fear the incident's effects on the US-China medical supply chain, according to an article yesterday in Scrip. The United States relies on overseas manufacturing for 18 of 21 critical antibiotics and 72% of its active pharmaceutical ingredients.
One urgent issue is the resumption of FDA inspections of Chinese drug manufacturing plants. For example, BeiGene, Ltd., which has interests in both China and the United States, is still awaiting approval of its cancer antibody tislelizumab, which was postponed in July 2022 because the United States couldn't conduct inspections in China amid its now-scrapped zero-COVID policy.
Geopolitical strain is expected to rise following the incident, putting the healthcare industry on alert.
Drugs and Vaccines:
Inhalable powder could protect lungs against COVID-19, flu viruses
Researchers have developed an inhalable powder that could protect lungs and airways from viral invasion by reinforcing the body's own mucosal layer. The powder, called Spherical Hydrogel Inhalation for Enhanced Lung Defense, or SHIELD, reduced infection in both mouse and non-human primate models over a 24-hour period, and can be taken repeatedly without affecting normal lung function.
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A thoughtful take on #molnupiravir and #mutations from Derek Lowe
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@HelenBranswell on the clinical benefits of the updated bivalent booster I hope the compelling evidence helps to increase booster coverage, especially among the most vulnerable (eg in nursing facilities)
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Single-dose antibiotic can prevent maternal sepsis and death
by NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
FEBRUARY 9, 2023
A single oral dose of the antibiotic azithromycin can reduce the risk of postpartum sepsis and death among women who deliver vaginally by one-third, according to a large multi-country clinical trial, called A-PLUS. Only 1.6% of women in the study who received azithromycin during labor developed sepsis or died within six weeks after delivery, compared to 2.4% of those who received placebo. Azithromycin did not reduce the risk of stillbirth, newborn sepsis or newborn death.
Results from the study, which enrolled more than 29,000 women in seven low- and middle-income countries, were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's 43rd Annual Pregnancy Meeting, San Francisco.
Devices and Masks:
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How does COVID-19 compare with bacterial and viral pneumonia for older patients in intensive care?
"In ICU-patients aged 70 years and older, COVID-19 is more severe—with approximately double mortality rates—compared with bacterial or viral pneumonia. Nevertheless, more than half of these older patients admitted to Dutch ICUs with COVID-19 survived the hospital,"
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The pandemic missing: The kids who didn’t go back to school
Overall, public school enrollment fell by over 700,000 students between the 2019-20 and 2021-22 school years in the 21 states plus Washington, D.C., that provided the necessary data.
Those states saw private-school enrollment grow by over 100,000 students. Home-schooling grew even more, surging by more than 180,000.
But the data showed 230,000 students who were neither in private school nor registered for home-school.
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Long Covid survey:
Tips, general reading for public:
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You probably know (I hope) that you shouldn't work out if you have #COVID19. There is evidence exertion can extend symptoms or complicate recovery. But when can you return to physical activity after?
“Only return to exercise after at least seven days free of symptoms, and begin with at least two weeks of minimal exertion.” Here is a flowchart to help make the right decisions:
One of the most ridiculous parts of New York State removing its mask mandate for #COVID-19 in medical settings is that we have had a mask mandate in place long before the pandemic for the #flu if you aren't up-to-date on your seasonal #vaccine.
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Pfizer made a record $100 billion in 2022, almost $57 billion of which was from its #COVID-19 vaccine and Paxlovid.
Yet they still want to charge people $130 per dose, and refuse to share vaccines and treatments with the world.
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Schools in Anderson County, Tennessee shut down for two days because teachers are too sick to work, and there aren't enough subs to cover for them. https://www.oakridger.com/story/news/local/2023/02/09/anderson-county-schools-closed-because-of-illnesses/69890410007/
For some reason, though, nobody's losing their shit over "learning loss."
In an airborne pandemic, schools without mitigations ARE NOT SAFE.
Enough is enough.
Walk out, sick out, strike, shut it down. #SchoolWalkout2023
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February 1, 2023
The Biden administration said in July 2022 that refusing to fill prescriptions for drugs that could be used to terminate a pregnancy could violate federal law, regardless of various state bans on the procedure.
Texas sued the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday to prevent it from asking pharmacies to fill reproductive health prescriptions.
Those are the exact same claims being made in this Texas case [re removing mifepristone from market]. And, again, 15 years ago, under the Bush administration, the GAO found that FDA's mifepristone approval was consistent with normal practice and followed the science:
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Ok I’ll stop after this one I promise pic.twitter.com/vvx4NctAUO— Brian Ray (@brianrayguitar) February 9, 2023
BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Chevron have all reported making record profits in 2022.
In case it wasn't obvious before, it is now — Big Oil used the cover of inflation to line their pockets by price-gouging consumers.
We need a windfall profits tax. NOW.
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It is frankly astonishing to read about how billionaires can get away with paying a lower tax rate than teachers, nurses, and firefighters.
Is this really the kind of country we want to live in?
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5th Circuit: Wife Beaters Can Own Guns Since Wife-Beating Was Legal In 1791
Large numbers of people in EVERY society want an authoritarian leader.
Decades of work at the intersection of psychology, political science, and sociology have shown this.
What holds off authoritarianism is:
Pro-democracy media, peace, and education.
#media #democracy #conservative #maga #psychology #sociology
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Feel good du jour:
Under community forest management, local forest rangers worked with the community groups to develop plans outlining how they could develop and manage the forests. People were able to extract resources from the forests (fruits, medicine, fodder) and sell forest products, but the groups often restricted grazing and tree cutting, and they limited fuelwood harvests. Community members also actively patrolled forests to ensure they were being protected.
(Worth a read and look at the maps)
Lovely story thread on Twitter: The head of a teddy bear found washed up on a Cornish beach a year ago has been lovingly repaired, and the bear has been made whole, by a Wiltshire priest, Canon Eleanor Rance.Once his head was mended, Canon Rance set about matching him to a new body. She posted each step on Twitter with pictures which that have attracted wide interest. After taking Sinbad into a care home to visit residents, and into schools for assemblies, she suggests that he now has a future as a therapy bear.
Efforts are still being made to trace his ocean journey. A marine biologist in Shrewton has offered to examine the pieces of seaweed kept from his fur to see whether they provide clues to how long he spent at sea, and where he may have travelled.
Canon Rance said: “The fact that he was battered and wounded but could still have a life and a future — it’s a story we all understand and relate to. People who meet him want to love and care for him, as I did.”
A year's journey...Sinbad thinks his paws are a bit big, but he'll grow into them. pic.twitter.com/ArLE8q4vP5— Eleanor Ashton/Rance (@CassWoollibold) January 14, 2023
Quokka eating beetroot.. 😊 pic.twitter.com/9Jv5oYxQkW— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) January 29, 2023
Qualitative researchers when they see statistics pic.twitter.com/pmwkkhBc8u— The PhD Place (@ThePhDPlace) January 31, 2023
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she called the animal clinic to see if a dog they found was hers, safe to say it was— theworldofdog (@theworldofdog) February 6, 2023
(jukin media) pic.twitter.com/Ci4CTUZNDi
Officials continue to avoid acknowledging that immunocompromised & high risk people are being locked out of society. This is a complete failure of public health. Public health officials should always listen to & center the voices of the people who are most impacted by a crisis.
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the worst month of the year starts next week and this is still the best video on the internet pic.twitter.com/vV73ZF3ocC— Alexis Benveniste (@apbenven) January 26, 2023
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Bits of beauty: