1. Risk of Second Allergic Reaction to SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (JAMA Internal Medicine) In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 22 studies including 1366 patients revaccinated under the supervision of an allergist, there was a low incidence (0.16%) of immediate severe allergic reactions associated with receiving a second dose of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine among individuals who had an immediate allergic reaction to their first dose. There were no deaths. This study suggests that there is a low risk of a severe immediate allergic reaction associated with a second SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine dose among persons who had an immediate allergic reaction to their first dose.

2. A COVID Pill from Merck Showed More Promise in Reducing the Risk of Hospitalization in a Recent Study (New York Times) The antiviral pill molnupiravir reduced the risk of Covid-19 hospitalization by 65 percent in a new study by Indian researchers that offered stronger results than previous research about the drug’s effectiveness. The study, led by a researcher at the Chennai Antiviral Research and Treatment Clinical Research Site, split 1,218 Indian adults infected with the coronavirus and experiencing mild symptoms into comparably sized groups. Only 1.5 percent of the group that received the pill required hospitalization, compared with 4.3 percent of the group that didn’t receive the pill.


BA.2 OMICRON SUBVARIANT The BA.2 subvariant of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant of concern (VOC) is increasing in prevalence, but questions remain regarding whether it results in more severe disease. The Omicron VOC spans multiple subvariants, including the main B.1.1.529 lineage and the BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages. When Omicron emerged in the US, the rapid increase in prevalence was predominantly due to the B.1.1.529 and BA.1.1 lineages, which combined to account for nearly 99% of US cases the week of January 29. Since that time, the BA.2 lineage prevalence has increased from an estimated 0.8% to 3.8% of US cases, approximately doubling each of the past 2 weeks. The increase in prevalence indicates that BA.2 is more transmissible than the other Omicron lineages, possibly 30% more. Notably, genomic surveillance for the BA.2 lineage is difficult, because it does not result in the S-gene target failure (SGTF) in PCR-based assays, which has been used to track other VOCs—including Omicron—without requiring genomic sequencing. The BA.2 lineage has not yet taken off in the US, but the next several weeks will provide important information regarding the potential for a second Omicron surge.

Research is ongoing to better characterize protection against the BA.2 subvariant from vaccination, booster doses, and prior infection. Like the original Omicron variant, BA.2 is less susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines than previous VOCs, but booster doses can increase the vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 disease to 74%. The BA.2 lineage also appears to evade antibodies generated in response to prior infections with earlier strains, including the Alpha and Delta VOCs. There is some evidence that BA.2 is able to reinfect individuals who were previously infected with the BA.1 lineage, although the combination of prior infection and vaccination appears to provide moderate protection. Researchers in Denmark recently conducted a study to evaluate reinfection with the BA.2 lineage. Out of a sample of 187 reinfection cases (within 20-60 days), 47 were the result of BA.2 infection following infection with the BA.1 lineage. Conversely, a recent study by the UK government found “no detected sequence-confirmed BA.2 reinfection following a BA.1 infection at any interval.”

The data on disease severity for the BA.2 lineage are mixed. Some countries where BA.2 has become more prominent are exhibiting declining trends in daily COVID-19 mortality, such as the UK, whereas Denmark is exhibiting an increasing trend. Through the use of animal models, researchers have identified more extensive damage to lung tissue in hamsters infected with the BA.2 lineage compared to BA.1, but this may not necessarily hold true for humans. A study in South Africa found similar disease severity among patients infected with the BA.1 and BA.1 subvariants, and US CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky indicated that “there is no evidence that the BA.2 lineage is more severe than the BA.1 lineage.” Evidence also indicates that the BA.2 subvariant exhibits strong resistance to many monoclonal antibody treatments, including sotrovimab, which is currently being used to treat patients infected with the Omicron variant. The lack of an effective treatment option could impact disease severity and mortality.



South Korea expands its immunization efforts as daily cases soar to over 170,000.

”…The country, which had been a pandemic success from the start, is now grappling with one of the world’s worst outbreaks. South Korea recorded 171,452 new cases on Tuesday — a jump of nearly 72,000 from the day before — its highest figure by far since early 2020…..the government is expecting 270,000 cases a day by March….Confronting the more contagious but less virulent Omicron variant, South Korea has moved away from its rigorous contact tracing system and has expanded its immunization campaign….“Considering the characteristics of Omicron,” Park Hyang, a senior health official, said at a news briefing on Tuesday, “it is more important to stably manage the medical system’s capacity and minimize severe cases and deaths rather than the number of confirmed cases.”

(J. Harris: So S. Korea whose successful and tightly managed Covid campaign for 2 years, has been recently breached and beaten by a Omega Variant (s). Fortunately, their vaccination rate remains high and their deaths are low. Their compliant population are lartely beign treated as outpatients and largely at home. The authorities are attempting to keep their hospital system from being overwhelmed by Covid. They previously managed with vaccinations, quarintines, masks, mandates, and they tested and tracked and treated successfully only now to be savaged by another very contagious, sneaky variant. God only knows what is happening in N. Korea, I suspect those survivors will not be happy when things cool off and Covid wans.



”…Let’s pause for a moment to appreciate this achievement. All 13,600 Olympics-related visitors were tested at the airport when they landed in China. An additional 1.7 million tests were administered to athletes and other residents of the Beijing fortress known as the “closed loop” as the Games went on. A total of 437 infections were detected over a four-week period, though by the final weekend, all tests were coming back negative…“It was one of the safest places on the planet, if not the safest place on the planet,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee…Olympics 1, coronavirus 0.


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