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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.


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 COVIDTests.gov 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.




Articles


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.




Characteristics and Outcomes of Hospitalized Patients in South Africa During the COVID-19 Omicron Wave Compared With Previous Waves


30 Dec 2021

On November 24, 2021, a SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, Omicron (B.1.1.529), was identified in South Africa as responsible for a fourth wave of COVID-19.1,2 The high number of spike mutations has raised concerns about its ability to evade vaccine and spread.3,4 We assessed hospitalized patients with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result during the fourth wave compared with previous waves.




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