1:30-3:30 PM TODAY


1. Pfizer is poised to ask the F.D.A. to authorize a second booster shot for older Americans.

FROM HOPKINS THIS WEEK: COVID-19 Situation ReportCOVID-19 Situation Report

”…In the UK, researchers with the REACT monitoring program estimate that as of February 21, nearly half (47.2%) of sequenced samples were the BA.2 subvariant. In their previous report from late January, less than 1% of the samples were BA.2. Analysis from the Wellcome Sanger Institute shows that in the week to March 4, BA.2 is responsible for more than 75% of new COVID-19 cases in the country, suggesting the subvariant is now predominant.;;”

”Last week at a briefing, the WHO discussed another variant, AY.4/BA.1 recombinant, or so-called “Deltacron,” which has been detected in a small number of cases in France, Netherlands, Denmark, and the US. WHO officials noted that little is known about the recombinant variant, which combines attributes from the Delta and Omicron variants of concern, but said many studies are ongoing. Several experts outside of WHO said the variant should not be cause for concern at this time…”

”vaccine manufacturers are also looking at new formulations of vaccines to cover future variants and provide longer-lasting protection. Amidst its plans to submit for authorization of a fourth dose, Pfizer also has committed to developing a longer-lasting vaccine candidate that can cover more potential SARS-CoV-2 variants. The speed and efficacy of first generation SARS-CoV-2 vaccines was remarkable and a technological feat; now vaccine manufacturers must transition to a long-term outlook for maintaining protection against SARS-CoV-2.;;;”


1. Comparison of Patients Infected With Delta Versus Omicron COVID-19 Variants Presenting to Paris Emergency Departments

”…At the end of 2021, the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 variant (Omicron) wave superseded the B.1.617.2 variant (Delta) wave….Compared with the Delta variant, infection with the Omicron variant in patients in the ED had different clinical and biological patterns and was associated with better in-hospital outcomes, including higher survival.

(J. Harris: This was the original Omicron, not the BA.2 which is headed this way.)

2. Comparison of SARS-CoV-2 Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction and BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Tests at a Community Site During an Omicron Surge

”…BinaxNOW detected persons with high SARS-CoV-2 levels during the Omicron surge, enabling rapid responses to positive test results. Cheek or throat swabs should not replace nasal swabs. As currently recommended, high-risk persons with an initial negative BinaxNOW result should have repeated testing.”

(J. Harris: This is a difficult article to read, but the results are helpful. Binax NOW is a Abbot test that works very well, if used and interpreted as above. Should you decide to read this article, “Ct” is “Cycle threshold is a surrogate measure of the amount of virus in a clinical specimen; lower values are associated with higher rates of positive viral culture results.”   


 The Covid -19 Antigen Rapid Tests that I received at now cost to me from the government via the US Postal System upon my emailed request on two different occassions are called “iHealth Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test.’‘ The reddish orange and white boxes contain two tests each. The box is also labled “Self-Test At Home Results In 15 Mins. The boxed have an FDA Emergency Use Authjorization. An ap that can be used to read the test if desired can be downloaded free from the Ap Store. 

Test Makers Led by iHealth Labs to Get $2 Billion in U.S. Deal

”…The U.S. agreed to spend $1.3 billion to buy Covid test kits from iHealth Labs Inc., $340 million from Roche Diagnostics Corp., and $306 million from Abbott Rapid Dx North America, Defense…”

Covid deaths probably three times higher than records say

(J. Harris: Excellent BBC summary of a Lancet article; very readable.)


1. Trust for America’s Health Report Urges Investment Into Public Health System as Readiness Falls (Homeland Preparedness News) In a new report released this week, the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) called out gaps in states’ emergency response capabilities and advocated for urgent investment in a new public health system. The report, Ready or Not 2022: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism, chronicled every state’s degree of preparedness for health emergencies and sorted them into three tiers: high, middle, and low. There were steps forward and backward over the last year: 16 states fell in the rankings, while 12 improved. Of these, only 17 states and the District of Columbia placed in the high-performance tier, compared to the 20 states that had topped the charts early in 2021.

2. Better Air in Classrooms Matters Beyond COVID. Here’s Why Schools Aren’t There Yet (NPR) Not many people can say the pandemic has made their jobs easier. But in some ways, Tracy Enger can. “You know, it is such a hallelujah moment, absolutely,” says Enger, who works at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Environments Division. For more than 25 years, she’s been fighting to improve the air quality inside of America’s schools. But there are lots of competing demands for limited school budgets.

3. Effect of Sotrovimab on Hospitalization or Death Among High-risk Patients With Mild to Moderate COVID-19 A Randomized Clinical Trial (JAMA) In this randomized clinical trial of 1057 participants, treatment with a single intravenous dose of sotrovimab, compared with placebo, resulted in a statistically significant reduction in the proportion of patients who experienced a composite outcome of all-cause hospitalization lasting longer than 24 hours or death through day 29 (1% vs 6%, respectively; adjusted relative risk, 0.21). Findings support sotrovimab as a treatment option for nonhospitalized, high-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, although efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 variants that have emerged since the study was completed is unknown.



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