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The White House said it is offering a second round of free coronavirus tests to all Americans.


07 Mar 2022

The White House on Monday said that it would begin offering a second round of four free at-home coronavirus tests to all American households, delivering on a pledge President Biden made last week in his State of the Union address, when he framed the offer as part of a broader effort to stay ahead of possible outbreaks and new variants.


Covid May Cause Changes in the Brain, New Study Finds


07 Mar 2022

Brain scans before and after infection showed more loss of gray matter and tissue damage, mostly in areas related to smell, in people who had Covid than in those who did not.


COVID-19 vaccines linked to small increase in menstrual cycle length


25 Jan 2022

At a Glance Women who received COVID-19 vaccines had a less than one-day increase in the length of their menstrual cycles around the time of their doses. The findings suggest that women may have a slightly longer menstrual cycle after COVID-19 vaccination, but the change is temporary and within the range of normal variation.


Deltacron: the story of the variant that wasn’t


21 Jan 2022

News of a ‘super variant’ combining Delta and Omicron spread rapidly last week, but researchers say it never existed and the sequences may have resulted from contamination. On 7 January, virologist Leondios Kostrikis announced on local television that his research group at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia had identified several SARS-CoV-2 genomes that featured elements of both the Delta and Omicron variants.


How One Change to The Coronavirus Spike Influences Infectivity


18 Jan 2022

Since joining NIH, I’ve held a number of different leadership positions. But there is one position that thankfully has remained constant for me: lab chief. I run my own research laboratory at NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). My lab studies a biochemical process called O-glycosylation. It’s fundamental to life and fascinating to study. Our cells are often adorned with a variety of carbohydrate sugars. O-glycosylation refers to the biochemical process through which these sugar molecules, either found at the cell surface or secreted, get added to proteins. The presence or absence of these sugars on certain proteins plays fundamental roles in normal tissue development and first-line human immunity. It also is associated with various diseases, including cancer.




Articles


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.




Long-term cardiovascular outcomes of COVID-19


09 Feb 2022

The cardiovascular complications of acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are well described, but the post-acute cardiovascular manifestations of COVID-19 have not yet been comprehensively characterized. Here we used national healthcare databases from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to build a cohort of 153,760 individuals with COVID-19, as well as two sets of control cohorts with 5,637,647 (contemporary controls) and 5,859,411 (historical controls) individuals, to estimate risks and 1-year burdens of a set of pre-specified incident cardiovascular outcomes. We show that, beyond the first 30 d after infection, individuals with COVID-19 are at increased risk of incident cardiovascular disease spanning several categories, including cerebrovascular disorders, dysrhythmias, ischemic and non-ischemic heart disease, pericarditis, myocarditis, heart failure and thromboembolic disease. These risks and burdens were evident even among individuals who were not hospitalized during the acute phase of the infection and increased in a graded fashion according to the care setting during the acute phase (non-hospitalized, hospitalized and admitted to intensive care). Our results provide evidence that the risk and 1-year burden of cardiovascular disease in survivors of acute COVID-19 are substantial. Care pathways of those surviving the acute episode of COVID-19 should include attention to cardiovascular health and disease.




Durability of Anti-Spike Antibodies in Infants After Maternal COVID-19 Vaccination or Natural Infection


07 Feb 2022

COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy generates functional anti-spike (anti-S) IgG antibodies in maternal circulation that are detectable in umbilical cord blood at birth and can protect the newborn and infant from COVID-19.1-4 Anti-S IgG titers in the umbilical cord are correlated with maternal titers and are highest after late second and early third trimester vaccination.2-4 We characterized the persistence of vaccine-induced maternal anti-S IgG in infant blood and compared persistence of infant anti-S IgG after maternal vaccination vs natural infection.




Association of Major Depressive Symptoms With Endorsement of COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Among US Adults


21 Jan 2022

Key Points Question Are major depressive symptoms associated with increased risk of believing common misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines among US adults? Findings In this survey study including 15 464 US adults, people with moderate or greater major depressive symptoms on an initial survey were more likely to endorse at least 1 of 4 false statements about COVID-19 vaccines on a subsequent survey, and those who endorsed these statements were half as likely to be vaccinated. Meaning These findings suggest another potential benefit of public health efforts to address depressive symptoms, namely reducing susceptibility to misinformation.




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