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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.


Expecting a Surge; We look at the latest on Omicron.


16 Dec 2021

Get ready for the Omicron surge, and take it seriously. But remember that the vaccines appear to provide strong protection against what matters most: severe Covid illnesses. That’s my reading of experts’ reactions to the latest developments on the Omicron variant. Today, I will walk through them.


Latest on Omicron Variant and COVID-19 Vaccine Protection


14 Dec 2021

There’s been great concern about the new Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. A major reason is Omicron has accumulated over 50 mutations, including about 30 in the spike protein, the part of the coronavirus that mRNA vaccines teach our immune systems to attack. All of these genetic changes raise the possibility that Omicron could cause breakthrough infections in people who’ve already received a Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine.




Articles


Protection of BNT162b2 Vaccine Booster against Covid-19 in Israel


15 Sep 2021

Background: On July 30, 2021, the administration of a third (booster) dose of the BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) was approved in Israel for persons who were 60 years of age or older and who had received a second dose of vaccine at least 5 months earlier. Data are needed regarding the effect of the booster dose on the rate of confirmed coronavirus 2019 disease (Covid-19) and the rate of severe illness. Conclusions: In this study involving participants who were 60 years of age or older and had received two doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine at least 5 months earlier, we found that the rates of confirmed Covid-19 and severe illness were substantially lower among those who received a booster (third) dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine.




Surveillance for Adverse Events After COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination


03 Sep 2021

Question Are mRNA COVID-19 vaccines associated with increased risk for serious health outcomes during days 1 to 21 after vaccination? Findings In this interim analysis of surveillance data from 6.2 million persons who received 11.8 million doses of an mRNA vaccine, event rates for 23 serious health outcomes were not significantly higher for individuals 1 to 21 days after vaccination compared with similar individuals at 22 to 42 days after vaccination.




Variants of SARS-CoV-2


13 Aug 2021

When a virus develops a new mutation, it is called a variant of the original virus. As viruses spread, they constantly change through mutations to their genetic code. Most mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome do not affect the functioning of the virus. However, mutations in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which binds to receptors on cells lining the inside of the human nose, may make the virus easier to spread or affect how well vaccines protect people. Other mutations may lead to SARS-CoV-2 being less responsive to treatments for COVID-19.




Randomized Trial of a Third Dose of mRNA-1273 Vaccine in Transplant Recipients


11 Aug 2021

In organ-transplant recipients, the standard two-dose vaccination strategy for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has suboptimal immunogenicity.1 Both patients and health care providers have questioned whether a third-dose booster in transplant recipients would be safe and enhance immune response.2 We performed a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of a third dose of mRNA-1273 vaccine (Moderna) as compared with placebo (the protocol is available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04885907. opens in new tab).




Long-term Symptoms After SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children and Adolescents


15 Jul 2021

Children can experience SARS-CoV-2 postviral syndromes, but it is unclear to what extent these individuals are affected by long COVID. Evidence is predominantly limited to select populations without control groups,1-4 which does not allow estimating the overall prevalence and burden in a general pediatric population. We compared symptoms compatible with long COVID in children and adolescents (hereafter “children”) reported within 6 months after SARS-CoV-2 serologic testing.




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