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accine mandates are controversial. They’re also an effective way to save lives.


23 Jul 2021

How to save lives Vaccine mandates are controversial. They’re also effective. Before Houston Methodist became one of the first hospital systems in the U.S. to mandate Covid-19 vaccines, about 85 percent of its employees were vaccinated. After the mandate, the share rose to about 98 percent, with the remaining 2 percent receiving exemptions for medical or religious reasons, Bloomberg’s Carey Goldberg reported. Only about 0.6 percent of employees quit or were fired.


F.D.A. Attaches Warning of Rare Nerve Syndrome to Johnson & Johnson Vaccine


13 Jul 2021

The Food and Drug Administration warned on Monday that Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine can lead to an increased risk of a rare neurological condition known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, another setback for a vaccine that has largely been sidelined in the United States.


Mix-and-match COVID vaccines: the case is growing, but questions remain


01 Jul 2021

A slew of studies suggests that mixing vaccines provokes potent immune responses, but scientists still want answers on real-world efficacy and rare side effects.


NIH Director's Blog: How Immunity Generated from COVID-19 Vaccines Differs from an Infection


22 Jun 2021

A key issue as we move closer to ending the pandemic is determining more precisely how long people exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, will make neutralizing antibodies against this dangerous coronavirus. Finding the answer is also potentially complicated with new SARS-CoV-2 “variants of concern” appearing around the world that could find ways to evade acquired immunity, increasing the chances of new outbreaks.


Antibody-laden nasal spray could provide COVID protection — and treatment


04 Jun 2021

A nasal spritz of a designer antibody offers strong protection against variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 — at least in mice1. Since the early days of the pandemic, scientists have been developing antibodies as treatments for COVID-19. Today, several such antibodies are in late-stage clinical trials, and a handful have been approved for emergency use by regulatory agencies in the United States and elsewhere. Among doctors, however, antibody treatments have not been very popular, says Zhiqiang An, an antibody engineer at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. That’s partly because those available are delivered through intravenous infusions rather than directly to the respiratory tract, where the virus is mainly found — so it takes high doses for them to be effective. Another challenge is the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that seem to be resistant to some existing antibodies. An and his colleagues set out to engineer an antibody that could be delivered directly into the nose. They scanned a library of antibodies from healthy humans and zeroed in on those that were able to recognize a component of SARS-CoV-2 that the virus uses to latch on to and enter cells2. Among the promising candidates were IgG antibodies, which are relatively slow to appear after an infection but are precisely tailored to the invading pathogen. The team stitched IgG fragments targeting SARS-CoV-2 to a different type of molecule: IgM antibodies, which act as speedy first-responders to a broad range of infection. The engineered IgMs had a much stronger ‘neutralizing’ effect against more than 20 variants of SARS-CoV-2 than did the IgGs alone. When squirted into the noses of mice either six hours before or six hours after infection, the engineered IgMs sharply reduced the amount of virus in the rodents’ lungs two days after infection, the team reports in Nature1. This work is a “big feat of engineering”, says Guy Gorochov, an immunologist at Sorbonne University in Paris. But he adds that there are open questions, such as how long these antibodies will linger in humans. An envisions these antibodies as a kind of chemical mask that could be used by anyone who has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, and as an extra line of defence for people who might not be fully protected by vaccines. Because IgM molecules are relatively stable, it might be feasible to formulate them into a nasal spray to be bought at a pharmacy and kept for emergency use, An adds. IGM Biosciences, a biotechnology company in Mountain View, California, that collaborated in An’s study, will test this antibody in clinical trials.




Articles


Over Half of COVID Transmission May Occur via Asymptomatic People


07 Jan 2021

As COVID-19 cases surge and vaccinations lag, health authorities continue to seek additional ways to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.




SARS-CoV-2 Transmission From People Without COVID-19 Symptoms


07 Jan 2021

IMPORTANCE Severeacuterespiratorysyndromecoronavirus2(SARS-CoV-2),theetiologyof coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is readily transmitted person to person. Optimal control of COVID-19 depends on directing resources and health messaging to mitigation efforts that are most likely to prevent transmission, but the relative importance of such measures has been disputed.




Sorting Out Whether Vitamin D Deficiency Raises COVID-19 Risk


06 Jan 2021

One of the risk factors du jour for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID- 19) has been vitamin D deficiency.




Emergence of a Highly Fit SARS-CoV-2 Variant


31 Dec 2020

Sarbecoviruses have emerged twice in the 21st century, causing a worldwide epidemic and pandemic.




U.S. Officials Say Covid-19 Vaccination Effort Has Lagged


30 Dec 2020

The distribution of vaccines in the United States has gotten off to a slower-than-expected start, federal health officials acknowledged in a news conference on Wednesday, though they also voiced confidence that the pace would accelerate in the coming weeks.




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