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Shipments of free coronavirus tests will take at least a week, U.S. officials say

14 Jan 2022

Americans will be able to order free rapid coronavirus tests online at beginning on Wednesday, but the tests will take time to arrive: they will typically ship within 7 to 12 days after being ordered, senior Biden administration officials said on Friday.

Starting later this week, some at-risk Americans become eligible for a 4th shot.

13 Jan 2022

Some people with a weakened immune system can get a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine as early as this coming week, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that were updated last week. The C.D.C. endorsed a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for moderately or severely immunocompromised people on Aug. 13, but said this would be considered a part of the primary immunization, not a booster shot.

Is It Flu, COVID-19, Allergies, or a Cold?

12 Jan 2022

Feeling sick can be especially concerning these days. Could your sniffles be caused by COVID-19? Or the flu? A cold? Or maybe allergies? Determining the cause of an illness can be tricky because many share some symptoms. They can leave you sniffling, coughing, and feeling tired. But there are important differences.

Biomedical Research Leads Science’s 2021 Breakthroughs

04 Jan 2022

Breakthrough of the Year: AI-Powered Predictions of Protein Structure The biochemist Christian Anfinsen, who had a distinguished career at NIH, shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for work suggesting that the biochemical interactions among the amino acid building blocks of proteins were responsible for pulling them into the final shapes that are essential to their functions. In his Nobel acceptance speech, Anfinsen also made a bold prediction: one day it would be possible to determine the three-dimensional structure of any protein based on its amino acid sequence alone. Now, with advances in applying artificial intelligence to solve biological problems—Anfinsen’s bold prediction has been realized.

The F.D.A. clears booster shots for 12- to 15-year-olds

03 Jan 2022

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, a group that became eligible for initial shots in May.


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.

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.

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