COVID NUMBERS FROM A REAL DOCTOR:
J. Harris: An Internist friend in the Woodlands with 1200 patients is currently seeing about 3 acute Covid cases per day at present. All have been vaccinated. None are extremely ill. In this episode of Covid (Omicron) none of his patients have required hospitalization, so far.
His few patients who are unvaccinated may be reluctant to call in when they get sick.
1. FDA to get authority to pull fast-tracked drugs that don’t work
FROM THE WHO:
(J. Harris: “…more study needed. ” I did not see anything new in the summary.)
FROM THE NYT:
(J. Harris: Good short article that should be read!)
”…Getting vaccinated and boosted… is a good idea even after you’ve had Covid. You only need to wait a few weeks after an infection to get a shot. The vaccines will bolster your antibody levels, and research shows that they are effective in preventing severe outcomes if you get sick again.”
”…as the latest wave heads toward the Western region of the country and the virus shows no signs of easing up, reinfections seem to have become common. Already, many people are reporting second or even third infections with newer variants…..However, the coronavirus doesn’t yet fit into clear seasonal patterns like the other common cold viruses. It can also cause debilitating symptoms that persist for months or years in some people, and has claimed the lives of millions of others….After Omicron emerged, prior infections only provided about 50 percent protection against reinfection,…The coronavirus had acquired so many mutations in its spike protein that newer versions became more transmissible and better able to evade immunity. That means you can catch a version of Omicron after recovering from an older, non-Omicron variant. You can even get sick with one of the newer Omicron subvariants after getting over a different version of it….in a study published in February that has not yet been peer-reviewed, scientists from Denmark found that some people got reinfected with the BA.2 sublineage of Omicron as soon as 20 days after they got infected with the original Omicron BA.1…. while it’s unclear if some people are simply more susceptible to Covid-19 reinfection, researchers are beginning to find some clues. People who are older or immunocompromised may make very few or very poor quality antibodies, leaving them more vulnerable to reinfection,..And early research shows that a small group of people have a genetic flaw that cripples a crucial immune molecule called interferon type I, putting them at higher risk of severe Covid symptoms. Further studies could find that such differences play a role in reinfection as well….The good news is that your body can call on immune cells, like T cells and B cells, to quash a reinfection if the virus sneaks past your initial antibody defenses. T cells and B cells can take a few days to get activated and start working, but they tend to remember how to battle the virus based on previous encounters…second or third infections are likely to be shorter and less severe...reinfections among large groups of people in Qatar, has already started seeing this promising pattern in patient records: Of more than 1,300 reinfections that his team identified from the beginning of the pandemic to May 2021, none led to hospitalization in an I.C.U., and none were fatal….”
FROM HOPKINS SUGGESTIONS:
1. Updated US Infection- and Vaccine-Induced SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence Estimates Based on Blood Donations, July 2020-December 2021 (JAMA) In this study of US blood donations, the combined seroprevalence from infection or vaccination reached 94.7% by December 2021. Despite this, record levels of infection and reinfections were reported as the Omicron variant became predominant in early 2022. The high infection rates are likely related to increased transmissibility and enhanced immune escape mutations of the Omicron variant, along with waning protection from previous vaccination and infection. During 2021, the infection-induced seroprevalence increased more in regions with low vaccination rates compared with those with high ones. The ability of SARS-CoV-2 variants to cause widespread transmission in the setting of high seroprevalence illustrates the value of COVID-19 vaccines, including recommended booster doses, to maximize protection.
2. Sanofi Says Next-gen COVID Booster Shot Has Potential Against Main Variants (Reuters) French drugmaker Sanofi (SASY.PA) said on Monday an upgraded version of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate it is developing with GSK (GSK.L) showed potential in two trials to protect against the virus’s main variants of concern, including the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 strains, when used as a booster shot. While the two companies’ first experimental COVID shot is undergoing review by the European Medicines Agency, Sanofi and GSK have continued work on a vaccine that is molded on the now-supplanted Beta variant, hoping still that it will confer broad protection against future viral mutations.
3. COVID and Smell Loss: Answers Begin to Emerge (Nature) Researchers are finally making headway in understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causes loss of smell. And a multitude of potential treatments to tackle the condition are undergoing clinical trials, including steroids and blood plasma. A study published last month surveyed 616,318 people in the United States who have had COVID-19. It found that, compared with those who had been infected with the original virus, people who had contracted the Alpha variant — the first variant of concern to arise — were 50% as likely to have chemosensory disruption. This probability fell to 44% for the later Delta variant, and to 17% for the latest variant, Omicron. But the news is not all good: a significant portion of people infected early in the pandemic still experience chemosensory effects. A 2021 study followed 100 people who had had mild cases of COVID-19 and 100 people who repeatedly tested negative. More than a year after their infections, 46% of those who had had COVID-19 still had smell problems; by contrast, just 10% of the control group had developed some smell loss, but for other reasons. Furthermore, 7% of those who had been infected still had total smell loss, or ‘anosmia’, at the end of the year. Given that more than 500 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, tens of millions of people probably have lingering smell problems.
4. NIAID Mouse Study Shows Benefits of COVID-19 Nasal Vaccine vs. Intramuscular (NIAID) A new comparison study in PNAS from NIAID intramural scientists clearly shows that for SARS-CoV-2, nasal vaccination – particularly in two doses – has clear advantages over muscular delivery in laboratory mice. The vaccine tested uses an old immune-activation concept: modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), which is a licensed smallpox and monkeypox vaccine, and is being actively pursued as a vector, or carrier, to deliver a viral protein for other infectious diseases. For this vaccine candidate, the MVA vector delivers the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which sits on the surface of the virus, to spur an immune response. Both the nasal and muscular vaccines were durable, maintaining neutralizing levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 for more than six months; the antibodies neutralized the initial virus strain and the Beta and Omicron variants, although to a lesser extent. Potency waned at a rate of about 20 percent per month, consistent with what researchers have observed with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Although the study did not explore the vaccine’s ability to halt virus transmission, scientists theorize that a vaccine that can prevent or quickly eliminate virus in nasal passages would likely reduce the likelihood of person-to-person transmission.
FROM THE WASHINGTON POST:
”…There’s now a much better understanding of airborne transmission of respiratory diseases. If we got our act together, we could do for indoor air sanitation something similar to what we did to water after discovering waterborne diseases, in terms of regulating it to make it safer with better air cleaning filters, ventilation and other methods. We would see benefits against all the other respiratory viruses that are airborne too. It would be costly at first, but we would recoup that cost because illness is very costly — in terms of the human suffering but also financially…”
TROUBLE IN THE TOMATO PATCH:
Milton’s nearest neighbor (Carl) is causing trouble. Carl, who is said to have a theatrical or legal background — or both — is concerned about Milton’s more advantageous garden location. Carl alleges that Milton has an unfair advantage over all the other tomatoes by virtue of having less crowding, fewer ”pepperish” neighbors, better drainage, more sunlight, more access to nutrients, better medical care, and, especially, superior water rights. In addition, Carl is convinced that Milton gets more attention, affection, and admiration from me. He demands justice and equality and threatens legal action. He may leave and not come back. In fact, he is now learning how to speak Norwegian. Carl says t at he may withhold his tomatoes from the harvest, but, if his tomatoes are harvested, he demands a greater percentage of the proceeds.
Milton, on the other hand, complains that despite Carl’d overlarge size, he is relatively unproductive and breeds mostly small, sickly-looking, smelly, holey tomatoes with chronic tomato worms and other disfiguring and distasteful skin and internal conditions. Milton also alleges that Carl has large, ugly, chronically exposed roots that he refuses to keep covered. What’s more, these ugly obscene roots chronically trespass on Milton’s space.
I may need to get help in mediating this situation. Of course, Milton also got here. first. I don’t know how this will turn out. Of course, Hi-Ho, I control the hoe!
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