Booster doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are likely to offer substantial protection from Omicron, Fauci says. Video


1. T Cells Might Be Our Bodies’ Best Shot Against Omicron (The Atlantic) Killer T cells, as their name might imply, are not known for their mercy. When these immunological assassins happen upon a cell that’s been hijacked by a virus, their first instinct is to butcher. The killer T punches holes in the compromised cell and pumps in toxins to destroy it from the inside out. The cell shrinks and collapses; its perforated surface erupts in bubbles and boils, which slough away until little is left but fragmentary mush. The cell dies spectacularly, horrifically—but so, too, do the virus particles inside, and the killer T moves on, eager to murder again.

2.Trial Begins of Needle-free Covid Vaccine Targeting New Variants (BBC) A trial has begun of a new needle-free Covid-19 vaccine to protect against future variants of the virus. The vaccine, administered through a jet of air, has been developed by Prof Jonathan Heeney of Cambridge University and chief executive of DIOSynVax. Participants, aged between 18 and 50 years old, will take part at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility. Prof Heeney said: “As new variants emerge and immunity begins to wane we need newer technologies.”

3. Pfizer Study Confirms 89 Percent Reduction In Hospitalizations And Death For Covid-19 Oral Antiviral (Homeland Preparedness News) Results came in this week from a Phase 2/3 trial of Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment, and the data showed a drug capable of cutting risks of hospitalization or death by 89 percent among high-risk adults, when given within a few days of their first symptoms. The final data from the EPIC-HR study, which studied 2,246 participants, confirmed prior efficacy of the Paxlovid treatment, noting that risk reduction to hold when given within three days of symptom onset, followed by a slight reduction to 88 percent when given within five days. In total, five hospitalizations emerged among those treated with Paxlovid pills over the course of 28 days, and no one died. Comparatively, nine of those given placebo in the study died, while 44 were hospitalized.

Princeton, Cornell, Others Urge Students to Head Home Because of Covid-19 Outbreaks

COVID-19: Challenging Clinical QuestionsJ. Harris: Short readable discussion followed by an infectious disease forum, one of 7 which are available to watch:

”…SARS-CoV-2 is a stubborn virus, an alphabet of variants has emerged, testing remains suboptimal, and pandemic fatigue and reliance on misinformation have resulted in too many people choosing not to adhere to recommendations for vaccination and other public health measures. The body of knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 that researchers have amassed since early 2020 is remarkable. Yet, as we learn more, new questions emerge. This is particularly the case in light of the recent recognition of the Omicron variant in late November 2021 and the emergence of promising antiviral therapies….They emphasized the importance of widespread vaccination both to reduce the adverse clinical impact of Omicron and other variants and to prevent the emergence of new variants….There was a robust discussion of the degree to which infection with SARS-CoV-2 protects against subsequent infection. Panelists agreed that infection surely boosted antibody levels, offering some immunity, but the protection was temporary. Vaccination after acute infection clearly augments immunity….Clinicians have many questions about why measuring antibody levels to assess the degree of people’s level of immunity has not become recommended clinical practice. All 3 panelists dissuaded clinicians from measuring antibodies outside of research settings. Commercially available antibody assays are widely variable and questionable in their accuracy…Outpatient therapies, monoclonal antibodies, and oral antivirals are important components of the clinical armamentarium necessary to move us from pandemic to endemic disease…They all agreed that timely and easily accessible COVID-19 testing at sites that are able to administer treatment to people who test positive was necessary to realize the benefit of existing and emerging therapeutics...Panelists emphasized the critical need to expand testing. Even if imperfect, rapid home tests can guide safe behavior as people resume activities, such as travel and gathering with others…Other topics addressed included vaccine side effects, persisting symptoms following acute COVID-19, use of ineffective and even harmful therapies, and emerging data that persons with immunocompromise may have difficulty clearing the virus after acute infection and remain at risk for transmitting infection outside of normal quarantine time frames..”

Immunogenicity and safety of a third dose of CoronaVac, and immune persistence of a two-dose schedule, in healthy adults: interim results from two single-centre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled phase 2 clinical trials. Harris: This Chinese vaccine is inactivated, cheap, easy to store and has been used all over the world. I works better when the third does is given after 8 months rather than 2.”...A third dose of CoronaVac in adults administered 8 months after a second dose effectively recalled specific immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, which had declined substantially 6 months after two doses of CoronaVac, resulting in a remarkable increase in the concentration of antibodies and indicating that a two-dose schedule generates good immune memory, and a primary third dose given 2 months after the second dose induced slightly higher antibody titres than the primary two doses…




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