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‘The war has changed’: Internal CDC document urges new messaging, warns delta infections likely more severe

30 Jul 2021

The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.” The document is an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slide presentation, shared within the CDC and obtained by The Washington Post. It captures the struggle of the nation’s top public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, as cases surge across the United States and new research suggests vaccinated people can spread the virus.

Vaccine mandates are controversial. They’re also an effective way to save lives.

23 Jul 2021

How to save lives Vaccine mandates are controversial. They’re also effective. Before Houston Methodist became one of the first hospital systems in the U.S. to mandate Covid-19 vaccines, about 85 percent of its employees were vaccinated. After the mandate, the share rose to about 98 percent, with the remaining 2 percent receiving exemptions for medical or religious reasons, Bloomberg’s Carey Goldberg reported. Only about 0.6 percent of employees quit or were fired.

F.D.A. Attaches Warning of Rare Nerve Syndrome to Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

13 Jul 2021

The Food and Drug Administration warned on Monday that Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine can lead to an increased risk of a rare neurological condition known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, another setback for a vaccine that has largely been sidelined in the United States.

Mix-and-match COVID vaccines: the case is growing, but questions remain

01 Jul 2021

A slew of studies suggests that mixing vaccines provokes potent immune responses, but scientists still want answers on real-world efficacy and rare side effects.

NIH Director's Blog: How Immunity Generated from COVID-19 Vaccines Differs from an Infection

22 Jun 2021

A key issue as we move closer to ending the pandemic is determining more precisely how long people exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, will make neutralizing antibodies against this dangerous coronavirus. Finding the answer is also potentially complicated with new SARS-CoV-2 “variants of concern” appearing around the world that could find ways to evade acquired immunity, increasing the chances of new outbreaks.


Myocarditis Adverse Event Less Common After COVID-19 Vaccine Booster

12 Apr 2022

The risk of adolescents developing myocarditis is lower after a booster dose of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine than after the second dose, according to a CDC analysis of data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Myocarditis is a rare but serious adverse event associated with COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. To assess whether this adverse event was also associated with booster doses administered to adolescents, the authors analyzed reports submitted to the VAERS system and v-safe between December 9, 2021, and February 20, 2022.

Even Mild COVID-19 May Change the Brain

23 Mar 2022

Alarge study comparing brain scans from the same individuals before and after SARS-CoV-2 infection suggests that brain changes could be a lingering outcome of even mild COVID-19. Writing in Nature, researchers at Oxford University’s Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging reported that several months after study participants had SARS-CoV-2 infections, they had more gray matter loss and tissue abnormalities, mainly in the areas of the brain associated with smell, and more brain size shrinkage than participants who hadn’t been infected with the virus.

Risks and burdens of incident diabetes in long COVID: a cohort study

21 Mar 2022

Background There is growing evidence suggesting that beyond the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection, people with COVID-19 could experience a wide range of post-acute sequelae, including diabetes. However, the risks and burdens of diabetes in the post-acute phase of the disease have not yet been comprehensively characterised. To address this knowledge gap, we aimed to examine the post-acute risk and burden of incident diabetes in people who survived the first 30 days of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Interpretation In the post-acute phase, we report increased risks and 12-month burdens of incident diabetes and antihyperglycaemic use in people with COVID-19 compared with a contemporary control group of people who were enrolled during the same period and had not contracted SARS-CoV-2, and a historical control group from a pre-pandemic era. Post-acute COVID-19 care should involve identification and management of diabetes.

SARS-CoV-2 is associated with changes in brain structure in UK Biobank

21 Feb 2022

There is strong evidence for brain-related abnormalities in COVID-191–13. It remains unknown however whether the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection can be detected in milder cases, and whether this can reveal possible mechanisms contributing to brain pathology. Here, we investigated brain changes in 785 UK Biobank participants (aged 51–81) imaged twice, including 401 cases who tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 between their two scans, with 141 days on average separating their diagnosis and second scan, and 384 controls. The availability of pre-infection imaging data reduces the likelihood of pre-existing risk factors being misinterpreted as disease effects. We identified significant longitudinal effects when comparing the two groups, including: (i) greater reduction in grey matter thickness and tissue-contrast in the orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus, (ii) greater changes in markers of tissue damage in regions functionally-connected to the primary olfactory cortex, and (iii) greater reduction in global brain size. The infected participants also showed on average larger cognitive decline between the two timepoints. Importantly, these imaging and cognitive longitudinal effects were still seen after excluding the 15 cases who had been hospitalised. These mainly limbic brain imaging results may be the in vivo hallmarks of a degenerative spread of the disease via olfactory pathways, of neuroinflammatory events, or of the loss of sensory input due to anosmia. Whether this deleterious impact can be partially reversed, or whether these effects will persist in the long term, remains to be investigated with additional follow-up.

Association of COVID-19 Vaccination With Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection by Time Since Vaccination and Delta Variant Predominance

14 Feb 2022

Key Points Question How does the association between prior COVID-19 vaccination and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection change with time since vaccination and the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant? Findings In this test-negative, case-control study that included 1 634 271 tests from symptomatic adults, the odds ratio for prior mRNA vaccination and SARS-CoV-2 test positivity was lower before than during Delta variant predominance. The attenuation in effect size related to time since vaccination was greater than the attenuation related to the Delta variant. Meaning The findings are consistent with a steady decline in estimated mRNA vaccine effectiveness over time, separate from variant-specific differences in protection.

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