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The E.U. will no longer recommend that masks be required for air travel.

11 May 2022

The European Union will no longer recommend that member states require face masks on planes and in airports, two E.U. agencies announced on Wednesday, ending a guideline that had been in place for nearly two years as countries across the bloc lift Covid restrictions.

Intranasal proteins could protect against COVID-19 variants

10 May 2022

New SARS-CoV-2 variants continue to evolve and prolong the COVID-19 pandemic. The surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is covered with spike proteins. These latch onto ACE2 receptors on human cells, allowing the virus to enter and infect the cells. Mutations in spike allow the virus to evade the immune system as well as therapies designed to target it.

Death Toll During Pandemic Far Exceeds Totals Reported by Countries, W.H.O. Says

06 May 2022

Nearly 15 million more people died during the first two years of the pandemic than would have been expected during normal times, the organization found. The previous count of virus deaths, from countries’ reporting, was six million.

A New Covid Mystery Why haven’t cases started rising again in the U.S.?

06 Apr 2022

To many people’s surprise — including mine — new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. have not begun to rise. Over the past two weeks, they have held roughly steady, falling about 1 percent, even as the highly contagious BA.2 subvariant of Omicron has become the dominant form of Covid in the U.S. Across much of Europe, by contrast, cases surged last month after BA.2 began spreading there, and many experts expected a similar pattern here. That hasn’t happened. “It has not taken off,” Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist, told me.

COVID-19 takes serious toll on heart health—a full year after recovery

25 Mar 2022

From very early in the pandemic, it was clear that SARS-CoV-2 can damage the heart and blood vessels while people are acutely ill. Patients developed clots, heart inflammation, arrhythmias, and heart failure. Now, the first large study to assess cardiovascular outcomes 1 year after SARS-CoV-2 infection has demonstrated that the virus’ impact is often lasting. In an analysis of more than 11 million U.S. veterans’ health records, researchers found the risk of 20 different heart and vessel maladies was substantially increased in veterans who had COVID-19 1 year earlier, compared with those who didn’t. The risk rose with severity of initial disease and extended to every outcome the team examined, including heart attacks, arrhythmias, strokes, cardiac arrest, and more. Even people who never went to the hospital had more cardiovascular disease than those who were never infected.


SARS-CoV-2 infection of the oral cavity and saliva

25 Mar 2021

Despite signs of infection—including taste loss, dry mouth and mucosal lesions such as ulcerations, enanthema and macules—the involvement of the oral cavity in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is poorly understood. To address this, we generated and analyzed two single-cell RNA sequencing datasets of the human minor salivary glands and gingiva (9 samples, 13,824 cells), identifying 50 cell clusters. Using integrated cell normalization and annotation, we classified 34 unique cell subpopulations between glands and gingiva. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral entry factors such as ACE2 and TMPRSS members were broadly enriched in epithelial cells of the glands and oral mucosae. Using orthogonal RNA and protein expression assessments, we confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in the glands and mucosae. Saliva from SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals harbored epithelial cells exhibiting ACE2 and TMPRSS expression and sustained SARS-CoV-2 infection. Acellular and cellular salivary fractions from asymptomatic individuals were found to transmit SARS-CoV-2 ex vivo. Matched nasopharyngeal and saliva samples displayed distinct viral shedding dynamics, and salivary viral burden correlated with COVID-19 symptoms, including taste loss. Upon recovery, this asymptomatic cohort exhibited sustained salivary IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Collectively, these data show that the oral cavity is an important site for SARS-CoV-2 infection and implicate saliva as a potential route of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Assessment of protection against reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 among 4 million PCR-tested individuals in Denmark in 2020: a population-level observational study

17 Mar 2021

The vast majority of people who recover from Covid-19 remain protective immunity from the virus for at least six months, researchers reported on Wednesday in a large study from Denmark. The study revealed protective immunity to be approximately 80–83% in people younger than 65 years. We found no difference in immunity over the study period. Among those aged 65 years and older, immunity was estimated to be approximately 47%.

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines

26 Feb 2021

Shortly after SARS-CoV emerged at the turn of the 21st century, the spike (S) protein (particularly in its prefusion [native] conformation) was identified as the immunodominant antigen of the virus. Evaluation of patients with SARS-CoV-2 revealed that binding and neutralizing antibodies primarily target the receptor-binding domain of the S1 subunit.

SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern in the United States—Challenges and Opportunities

17 Feb 2021

. SARS-CoV-2, like other RNA viruses, constantly changes through mutation, with new variants occurring over time. Generally, when new variants become more common, they do so because of some selective advantage to the virus.

The US Regulatory System and COVID-19 Vaccines The Importance of a Strong and Capable FDA

15 Feb 2021

For many in public health and medicine, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the US has been a frustrating journey from one disappointment to the next: late access to testing, insufficient staff and inadequate funding for contact tracing, jumbled communications, and, at the end of 2020, a chaotic launch of vaccination efforts.

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