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COVID & Company

An updated directory of COVID and other viral/infectious disease links from the most trusted medical websites and publications in the world.

Week of November 6, 2022

Has COVID-19 Become Milder? (BMJ)
Although the omicron variant probably shows a lesser tendency to go deep in the lungs, because of its massive prevalence, the acute clinical impact is still very marked. And every COVID variant appears to make other diseases worse.

Evaluation of mRNA-1273 Vaccine in Children 6 Months to 5 Years of Age (NEJM)
In a phase 2-3 trial, the mRNA-1273 vaccine was safe in children 6 months to 5 years of age and yielded similar immune responses to those seen in young adults.

Study Shows Inexpensive, Readily Available Chemical May Limit Impact of COVID-19 (MDLinx)
In a mouse model, GABA reduced disease severity, viral load in the lungs, and death rates from COVID-19. However, with no pharmaceutical company interest in the non-patentable amino acid, human studies may be long in coming.

The Updated COVID Boosters Could Have Been Better (MedPage Today)
Did FDA make the best choice when not approving the original vaccines for additional boosters and opting for a 50% mix of BA 4/5 vaccine? Immunologists says the mix makes for minimal effectiveness vs. the new strains compared with the original vaccine. European countries made different choices and recommendations.

FDA Urged to Publish Follow-up Studies on COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Signals (BMJ)
The FDA has taken more than a year to follow up reported increases in serious adverse events in elderly people receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

Week of October 23, 2022

Boston University Refutes Claims It Created Deadly New COVID Strain (MedPage Today)
In a statement issued in response to the articles circulating online, the institution categorically denied stories by various media outlets implying the spawning of a dangerous new COVID strain in the lab, some of which cited an 80% kill rate, calling them “false and inaccurate.”

Breakthrough Monkeypox Cases Seen Weeks After Second Jynneos Dose (MedPage Today)
Aniruddha Hazra, MD, of Howard Brown Health in Chicago, and colleagues reported that 77% of 90 individuals who tested positive for monkeypox after a single dose of Jynneos occurred within 14 days of the first dose and 14% occurred within 14-28 days of the first dose.

Uptick in COVID-Related Blood Clots: Is It Real? (MedPage Today)
Since the beginning of the year, when Omicron hit the United States, physicians across the country have reported fewer cases of blood clotting caused by COVID-19. Recent social media postings from members of the medical community in the United Kingdom – which has served as a foreshadowing of what is to come in the United States throughout the pandemic – have raised the possibility of a reversal of this trend.

Week of September 25, 2022

Are the Right People Taking Paxlovid? (MedPage Today)
There’s pretty good consensus that people who are 65 and older, and possibly even the 50 or 60-plus age group, might benefit even if they’ve been vaccinated. But with questions of rebound and data still being generated, the drug probably isn’t indicated except in individuals at severe risk.

Vax Protection Fades Fast Against BA.4/5-Related Hospitalizations (MedPage Today)
In a South African study with the primary two-dose series of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, effectiveness against BA.4/5-related hospitalization fell to less 50% after 3-4 months, and less than 20% at 9 months and beyond. With a booster dose, effectiveness against hospitalization declined from 70% at 1-2 months to under 50% at 3-4 months.

WHO ‘Strongly Advises Against’ Use of Two COVID Treatments (MDLinx)
The antibody therapies sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab show limited activity against later Omicron strains of COVID-19 and should be avoided. This is a change from the WHO’s prior “conditional” recommendation. WHO was slower to arrive at the recommendation than the FDA.

Effect of Helmet Noninvasive Ventilation vs. Usual Respiratory Support on Mortality Among Patients with Acute Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure Due to COVID-19: The HELMET-COVID Randomized Clinical Trial (JAMA Network)
In 320 adults with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure related to COVID-19, randomization to helmet use compared with mask, high-flow nasal oxygen, and standard oxygen showed no reduction in mortality within 28 days.

Health System Warns Exemptions to COVID Vaccines May Expire With New Options (MedPage Today)
Because the Novavax COVID vaccine is protein based rather than MRNA based, religious exemptions to vaccination is going away at at least some centers.

Effectiveness of a Fourth Dose of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Against Omicron Variant Among Elderly People in Singapore (Annals of Internal Medicine)
40,000 persons who received a 4th dose of vaccine were matched to the same number of non-receivers. The result: 4 doses significantly reduced the incidence of symptomatic disease, hospitalization, and severe disease compared with 3 doses.

Prevention of COVID-19 and Other Acute Respiratory Infections with Cod Liver Oil Supplementation, a Low-Dose Vitamin D Supplement: Quadruple Blinded, Randomised Placebo Controlled Trial (BMJ)
With 6 months of the dietary supplement during the winter season, COVID and other respiratory infection rates were as just as high in the supplemented group as in the placebo group.

Effect of a Test-and-Treat Approach to Vitamin D Supplementation on Risk of All-Cause Acute Respiratory Tract Infection and COVID-19: Phase 3 Randomised Controlled Trial (CORONAVIT) (BMJ)
Of more than 3,000 individuals, more than 85% had low vitamin D levels. Those individuals were given either high- or low-dose vitamin D supplementation. Neither level of supplementation yielded a reduction in COVID and other respiratory infection compared with a control population.

New COVID-19 Boosters Authorized and Recommended (ACP Internist)
The CDC has recommended the new formulations of the mRNA vaccines, targeted at the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant, for adults and adolescents who last received a COVID-19 shot at least two months ago.

Will Omicron-Specific Booster Shots Be Effective at Combating COVID-19? 5 Questions Answered (MDLinx)
The updated boosters contain two messenger RNA (mRNA) components of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to provide better protection against the omicron variant. Based on the data, the updated boosters are expected to provide increased protection against the omicron variant and side effects are expected to be similar to those commonly reported with current vaccines.

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