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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.


What You Need to Know about Variants


27 Nov 2021

Omicron Variant No cases of this variant have been identified in the U.S. to date. CDC is following the details of this new variant. See CDC’s Media Statement.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters


19 Nov 2021

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations (EUA) for both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines authorizing use of a single booster dose for all individuals 18 years of age and older after completion of primary vaccination with any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet later today to discuss further clinical recommendations.




Articles


Association of Race/Ethnicity With Likeliness of COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Among Health Workers and the General Population in the San Francisco Bay Area


30 Mar 2021

Surveys have demonstrated racial differences in the public’s willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine1,2 but have not directly compared vaccine intentions among health workers and the general public.3 We investigated COVID-19 vaccine intentions among racially and ethnically diverse samples of health workers and the general population.




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.




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