CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/07/2020

12/07/2020

Hello. Remember our Pearl Harbor and WWII heroes today.

Longview pharmacies see ‘enormous increase’ in requests for COVID-19 tests

FROM THE MNM AND JUDGE SIMS FREE TESTING

Free COVID testing will be offered next week a Marshall Convention Center. The times are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10; and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11.

“You may also visit www.gogettested.com to find where the Texas Emergency Management group is testing on any given day,” Judge Sims advised.

FROM HOPKINS:

1. Moderna to Begin Testing COVID-19 Vaccine in Children (The Hill) Moderna said Wednesday it will begin testing its COVID-19 vaccine on children, starting with kids aged 12 through 17. The study aims to “evaluate the safety” of a single dose level of the vaccine administered “to an adolescent population,” according to the study notes, posted on ClinicalTrials.gov. The study will include 3,000 participants, with half receiving the vaccine and half being injected with a saline placebo. Both will be administered in two doses, scheduled 28 days apart.

2. According to multiple reports, the US CDC plans to issue COVID-19 vaccination cards so that individuals can verify their vaccination status, much like cards used for other vaccinations, such as the ICVP “yellow card” for yellow fever. Additionally, the CDC is reportedly designing templates for buttons and stickers that health departments and providers can provide to vaccinated individuals, similar to the “I Voted” stickers handed out to many voters on election day. These templates will be included in the CDC’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccination toolkit to “educate and promote vaccination.”

3……UK VACCINATION On December 2, the UK announced that its Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued an emergency authorization for Pfizer’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccine—for adults aged 16 years and older. Vaccinations are expected to begin as early as next week. Like with the US FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), the vaccine is not fully licensed in the UK, but it is permitted to be used in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) issued guidance on prioritization for the initial doses of vaccine available in the UK. Not surprisingly, individuals in long-term care facilities (LCTFs) and frontline healthcare workers are in the top 2 tiers of Phase 1, followed by other high-risk individuals such as those with underlying health conditions and adults aged 50 and older. Notably, LTCF residents are the #1 priority in the UK, with healthcare workers listed as #2, whereas these 2 groups are lumped together in the US CDC’s ACIP guidance.”

4. US SEROPREVALENCE IN DONATED BLOOD A study led by researchers at the US CDC and American Red Cross analyzed specimens collected from donated blood to determine if the SARS-CoV-2 virus was circulating in the US prior to first COVID-19 cases identified on January 19, 2020. The study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, included samples from nearly 7,500 routine blood donations collected across 9 US states from December 13, 2019 to January 17, 2020. The researchers performed ELISA-based tests, pseudo neutralization assays, and true viral neutralization assays to analyze for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the donations.

In total, 106 donations tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Among 90 samples that were available for subsequent testing, 84 had “neutralizing activity” against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including 1 sample effective against the S1 subunit of the spike protein and 1 effective at blocking the ACE2 protein/receptor binding domain. The researchers identified neutralizing activity in donations from across all 9 states. The earliest specimens included in the study were collected December 13-16 in California, Oregon, and Washington, and 2% of these specimens had detectable antibodies. The overall seropositivity was approximately 1.4%, which is within the expected range of the test’s false positivity rate, but the ability of antibodies from those samples to demonstrate neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 lends further support to the findings.

Some experts have questioned whether the positive results could be a result of cross-reactivity with SARS-CoV-1 or other coronaviruses; however, the study analyzed antibodies against the S1 spike protein that is more specific to SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, considering that the earliest specimens collected were found to be seropositive, it is unclear what the background rate of seropositivity might be in this population. Without a period of 100% seronegative specimens, it is possible that SARS-CoV-2 reactive antibodies existed at some low level prior to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, including neutralizing activity, does suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have been circulating in the US at a low level well before the first cases of COVID-19 were detected anywhere, let alone the US. The study does not provide definitive proof that the virus was circulating in the US in mid-December, but it certainly provides additional data in support of this argument.

What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?              Short

Don’t let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses started out as a basket case.

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