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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.


Will the Vaccines Stop Omicron? Scientists Are Racing to Find Out.


28 Nov 2021

A “Frankenstein mix” of mutations raises concerns, but the variant may remain vulnerable to current vaccines. If not, revisions will be necessary.




Articles


Return to Play After COVID-19 Infection in Children


28 Jun 2021

As the pandemic continues, children may experience long-term effects from COVID-19 infections. Because children may become “long haulers” or develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), close monitoring after a COVID-19 diagnosis is important. In addition, children who are athletes require a separate return-to-play evaluation before they return to competitive sports or physical activities.




Association of Mask Mandates and COVID-19 Case Rates, Hospitalizations, and Deaths in Kansas


23 Jun 2021

This study examined the association between mask mandates in Kansas counties and COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The Kansas executive order that took effect on July 3 was adopted by only 15 counties, and 68 counties did not have a mandate through October. A second mask mandate order took effect on November 25, and 40 additional counties adopted it.




COVID-19 Vaccination of Health Care Personnel as a Condition of Employment A Logical Addition to Institutional Safety Programs


08 Jun 2021

The consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic have been far-reaching, particularly among health care personnel (HCP) and within health care settings. HCP have been directly affected, sustaining occupationally acquired COVID-19 infections, and indirectly through a substantial alteration in health care delivery. With the advent of highly effective and safe SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, case rates and hospitalization rates are declining, and the promise of a return to some semblance of pre–COVID-19 health care is growing. Recently, several medical centers have announced a requirement for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination of all HCP (allowing for medical and religious exemptions), and the impending licensure of the mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines (following the previous Emergency Use Authorization [EUA]) will move many other centers to consider a similar policy. A recent outbreak in a skilled nursing facility attributed to an unvaccinated HCP member clearly illustrates the risk unvaccinated HCP can pose to their patients and other HCP.1




We are scheduling training with them this week on how to generate the report.


07 Jun 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidance that fully vaccinated individuals can safely remove masks and end social distancing in most indoor settings.1 Educational facilities and businesses are faced with whether and how to differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, including requiring proof of vaccination. Mandatory vaccination has historically served as a tool to reach and sustain high immunization coverage and to prevent transmission in K-12 schools, colleges/universities, and health care facilities. Vaccine mandates could extend to workers and customers in businesses to ensure safer environments. This Viewpoint examines the epidemiologic, public health, and legal considerations for mandatory SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations in each setting.




Mix-and-match COVID vaccines trigger potent immune response


19 May 2021

Preliminary results from a trial of more than 600 people are the first to show the benefits of combining different vaccines.




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