FROM MY COVID TRACKER IN NYT:
VARIANTS (AKA DAMN MUTATIONS) MADE SIMPLE
B.1.1.7. U. K.
B.1.351 SOUTH AFRICA
B.1.427 AND .429 CALIFORNIA
B.1617 INDIA—NEW MAY 12,2021, MORE EASILY TRANSMITTED
The coronavirus disease pandemic has highlighted the key role epidemiologic models play in supporting public health decision-making. In particular, these models provide estimates of outbreak potential when data are scarce and decision-making is critical and urgent. We document the integrated modeling response used in the US state of Utah early in the coronavirus disease pandemic, which brought together a diverse set of technical experts and public health and healthcare officials and led to an evidence-based response to the pandemic. We describe how we adapted a standard epidemiologic model; harmonized the outputs across modeling groups; and maintained a constant dialogue with policymakers at multiple levels of government to produce timely, evidence-based, and coordinated public health recommendations and interventions during the first wave of the pandemic. This framework continues to support the state’s response to ongoing outbreaks and can be applied in other settings to address unique public health challenges.
(J. Harris: This study in a state with a small, uniform, compliant population seems to show a useful model for pandemic control.)
“NSAID use is NOT associated with higher mortality or increased severity of COVID-19. Policy makers should consider reviewing issued advice around NSAID prescribing and COVID-19 severity.”
2. Mucormycosis: The ‘Black Fungus’ Maiming Covid Patients in India (BBC) Even as a deadly second wave of Covid-19 ravages India, doctors are now reporting a rash of cases involving a rare infection – also called the “black fungus” – among recovering and recovered Covid-19 patients. Mucormycosis is a very rare infection. It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. It affects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS. Doctors believe mucormycosis, which has an overall mortality rate of 50%, may be being triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients.
3. Neutralizing Antibody Vaccine for Pandemic and Pre-emergent Coronaviruses (Nature) Here, we show that macaque immunization with a multimeric SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) nanoparticle adjuvanted with 3M-052/Alum elicited cross-neutralizing antibody (cross-nAb) responses against batCoVs, SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7, P.1, and B.1.351. Nanoparticle vaccination resulted in a SARS-CoV-2 reciprocal geometric mean neutralization ID50 titer of 47,216, and protection against SARS-CoV-2 in macaque upper and lower respiratory tracts. Importantly, nucleoside-modified mRNA encoding a stabilized transmembrane spike or monomeric RBD also induced SARS-CoV-1 and batCoV cross-nAbs, albeit at lower titers. These results demonstrate current mRNA vaccines may provide some protection from future zoonotic betaCoV outbreaks, and provide a platform for further development of pan-betaCoV vaccines.
HHS Announces $250 Million from American Rescue Plan to Develop and Support a Community-Based Workforce to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations in Underserved Communities The US Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced the availability of approximately $250 million to develop and support a community-based workforce who will serve as trusted voices sharing information about vaccines, increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence, and address any barriers to vaccination for individuals living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities. This funding will help community-based organizations to hire and mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists and others to conduct on-the-ground outreach to educate and assist individuals in getting the information they need about vaccination, help make vaccine appointments, and assist with transportation and other needs to get to individuals to each of their vaccination appointments. (HHS, 5/4/2021)
LAST BUT NOT LEASED:
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