CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/18/2021

Hospitalizations are still low in our area. Vaccinations and testing are easily available.  The CDC recommends that area residents wear masks when out whether they have been vaccinated or not. 

From the NYT:

In a trial, Pfizer-BioNTech’s low-dose shot did not provoke an adequate immune response in 2- to 5-year-olds.

”…A low dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine did not produce a potent immune response in children 2 through 5 years of age, the companies announced on Friday, a discouraging setback that threatens to keep the vaccine from younger children for longer than many parents had hoped…..The companies said they now would test a third low dose of the coronavirus vaccine in children 6 months to under 5 years of age. But they do not plan to test a higher dose of the vaccine in children between 2 and 5 years of age….

”The F.D.A. has authorized the full adult dose for immunizations of adolescents 12 through 17 years of age. The companies plan to test booster doses of 10 or 30 micrograms to assess the safety and potency of both doses in 600 children in that age group.”

From The Washingtom Post:

COVID UPDATED:

”…Early research on omicron has suggested that it may cause milder illness than other variants. But South Africa’s health minister said Friday that the apparent mildness of some omicron infections could be attributed largely to protection provided by vaccines and past infections. Whatever the case, it’s too early to lower our guard. Scientists are still trying to figure out how virulent omicron really is. What we do know is that it’s extremely infectious and poses grave risks to the unvaccinated…Omicron is expected to weaken some critical disease-fighting tools. But laboratory studies have shown that one type of monoclonal antibody treatment, sotrovimab, will hold up against the variant…..If you do start feeling sick, one epidemiologist advises that it’s best for now to assume you’ve got covid “until proven otherwise.” Stay home and keep away from others until you get test results. It’s one more step that can help contain infections this winter….”

How COVID vaccines shaped 2021 in eight powerful charts

J. Harris: I plan to enclose one a day of some of these charts.

FROM HOPKINS:

1. Novavax COVID vaccine shows 90.4% efficacy against infection

 Novavax COVID Vaccine Shows 90.4% Efficacy Against Infection (CIDRAP) A phase 3 trial yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) finds that the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is 90.4% effective against infection and 100% effective against moderate to severe illness, bringing yet another vaccine one step closer to approval. Novavax is a new adjuvanted, recombinant spike protein nanoparticle vaccine that has proven effective against COVID-19 infection in the United Kingdom and South Africa. This was the first such trial in North America.

2. Preliminary laboratory data hint at what makes Omicron the most superspreading variant yet

”… Preliminary Laboratory Data Hint at What Makes Omicron the Most Superspreading Variant Yet (STAT News) Omicron is now in 77 countries, and moving faster than any previous strain of the coronavirus. In the U.K., where Omicron cases are doubling every two days, scientists believe it is behind this week’s record-setting surge in new infections. The new variant is already causing about 13% of cases in New York and Washington states, just two weeks after Omicron was first detected in the U.S. Nationwide, it is hovering around 3% of total cases, but Omicron is rapidly eating into Delta’s dominance. And with insufficient testing and lag times in sequencing, it has likely gained even more ground than these numbers indicate….They found that over the first 24 hours, Omicron multiplied about 70 times faster inside respiratory-tract tissue than the Delta variant. When they ran the same experiments with the lung tissue, they found Omicron was actually worse at infecting those cells than either Delta or the original strain of the virus that originated in Wuhan…The University of Hong Kong results haven’t been peer-reviewed or published as a preprint. And STAT was unable to reach anyone on the research team. But the findings support another study with SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses, published as a preprint Tuesday, by scientists at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital. They found that Omicron’s heavily mutated spike protein outmuscled both Delta and the original coronavirus at attaching to ACE2 — the receptor that the virus uses to enter human cells. “We find Omicron pseudovirus is more infectious than any other variant tested,” they wrote…..SARS-CoV-2 transitioning into a virus that’s always around but doesn’t trigger tsunamis of health care system-crashing illness, becoming endemic, like a handful of other human coronaviruses before it, has been seen by many scientists as the most likely scenario for how the pandemic ends. But predicting when exactly that will happen has been anyone’s guess.

(J. Harris: Good summary article regard Omicron. Apparently, it attacks the larger airways, so it’s easier to cough out and spread but less deadly to the host??? This is a good, readable summary-type article.)

3. Children Exposed to Covid Can Safely Stay in Class with In-school Testing, CDC says (Washington Post) Students who have been exposed to the coronavirus can safely continue in-person learning if they are regularly tested for the virus at school, avoiding disruptive at-home quarantines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. The CDC released two studies that show the effectiveness of what’s known as “test-to-stay.” School districts across the country have tried this strategy, though it is not widely used.

..

FROM BECKER: EXCELLENT REVIEW OF COVID CASES IN US SINCE JUNE

What data on 120,000 COVID hospitalizations shows about breakthrough cases

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