J. Harris: Don’t worry about reading all the references if they are of no interest to you. Despite my desire to “keep it simple,” I have a few specialized readers to whom some of the more complicated references are directed. Don’t make reading this stuff oppressive and depressing. When in doubt, delete it or never open it. Keep up with the general trends and keep you and your family safe. You are in charge. Oh, I do have some GREAT new jokes thanks to Tom Allin. 

F.D.A. expands approval of remdesivir to patients who are not hospitalized.

Do genetic differences make some people more susceptible to COVID-19?

”…Genetic variation plays a role in susceptibility to a number of diseases, from HIV to malaria to TB. Researchers know this because they hunt for variations of interest by comparing people’s entire DNA sequences – their genomes – to see whether certain variations coincide with certain disease outcomes. Such analyses are called genome-wide association studies….people with blood type A now seem to be more at risk than those with blood type O. More recent research suggests a lower risk of severe disease for blood type O, even going as far as to suggest that this blood group has a protective effect. Additional studies have postulated that blood type A increases the risk of infection (though some of these are pre-prints, meaning they have yet to be scrutinized by other scientists)….The picture is a bit clearer for chromosome 3. The genome-wide association study mentioned earlier, involving Spanish and Italian patients, also found an association between severe disease and variation in a small region on this chromosome called 3p21.31...One of the genes in this region, SLC6A20, contains the instructions for building a protein that interacts with ACE2, the molecule the virus uses to get inside cells…To date, 3p21.31 is the only genetic region significantly associated with severe COVID-19. Having certain genetic variations in this region can therefore be considered a risk factor.


1. Why don’t hospitals just pay full-time nurses more?

2. Texas healthcare workers must be fully vaccinated by March 21, per CMS mandate

3. Viewpoint: Many unvaccinated, critical COVID-19 patients still distrust those caring for them

Association of Major Depressive Symptoms With Endorsement of COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Among US Adults

(J. Harris: Short, readable article that may be relevant?)

”…In this survey study using national data including more than 15 000 respondents, we found that presence of moderate or greater depressive symptoms was associated with greater likelihood of endorsing misinformation about vaccines..In this survey study using national data including more than 15 000 respondents, we found that presence of moderate or greater depressive symptoms was associated with greater likelihood of endorsing misinformation about vaccines…using a subset of participants from the first wave who returned for the second, we found that depressive symptoms preceded misinformation emergence, suggesting that misinformation was unlikely to cause depression per se…individuals with major depressive symptoms often exhibit a more pronounced negativity bias, a form of attentional bias in which thoughts with negative valence receive greater focus.13 Insofar as forms of misinformation that elicit negative affect may be more likely to spread,5 it follows that depression could facilitate uptake of misinformation at an individual level…Alternatively, it is possible that the association between depression and misinformation could be mediated by change in trust. Individuals with depression could exhibit less willingness to trust institutions attempting to combat misinformation…As anticipated, we also found that individuals who embraced health misinformation were less likely to be vaccinated or be willing to get the vaccine if available….If causation could be established, it might suggest strategies aimed at reducing the consequences of depression in terms of misinformation. To date, efforts to combat the impact of misinformation on public health predominantly emphasize reduction in supply. In parallel, it may be possible to develop interventions targeting negativity bias that reduce demand, or at least modulate the capacity of misinformation to impact health decision-making…”

Changes in COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Black and White Individuals in the US

Question  How has COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy changed among Black and White individuals in the US since vaccines became publicly available?

Findings  This survey study of 1200 US adults found that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy decreased more rapidly among Black individuals than among White individuals since December 2020. A key factor associated with this pattern seems to be the fact that Black individuals more rapidly came to believe that vaccines were necessary to protect themselves and their communities.

Meaning  This study suggests that ongoing efforts to increase vaccine uptake among Black individuals in the US should attend to a range of vaccination barriers beyond vaccine hesitancy.



1. How Does Omicron Spread so Fast? A High Viral Load Isn’t the Answer (Nature) In countries around the world, Omicron has rapidly surged past other variants to become the dominant SARS-CoV-2 strain. Now, two studies show that the variant has achieved success despite causing viral levels in the body that are similar to — or lower than — those of its main competitor, the Delta variant 1,2. The results suggest that Omicron’s hyper-transmissibility does not stem from the release of large amounts of virus from infected people. Instead, the best explanation for its lightning-fast spread is its ability to evade SARS-CoV-2 immunity caused by either vaccination or past infection, says Emily Bruce, a virologist at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

2. Generic Drug Makers Sign on to Make Merck COVID-19 Antiviral (CIDRAP) Following an initial licensing deal in October between the United Nations–based Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and Merck to allow pharmaceutical companies in other countries to make molnupiravir, an oral antiviral for treating COVID-19, the MPP today announced agreements with 27 generic makers.

Jan 22 Becker 

COVID-positive employees returning to work: 2 CEOs share their protocols

J. Harris: Att. Employers.



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