Coronavirus News Roundup, May 1–May 7


The gadgets beneath are highlights from the free publication, “Good, helpful, science stuff about COVID-19.” To obtain publication points day by day in your inbox, join right here.

A 5/5/21 publish by Katelyn Jetelina at her website Your Native Epidemiologist lays out the case for getting a COVID-19 vaccine even when you’ve examined constructive for SARS-CoV-2 or recovered from the illness it will probably trigger. The vaccines strengthen our immune response to the virus by giving us one other “dose” of virus safety (the vaccine), she writes. And “the vaccine appears to higher defend towards variants than pure an infection,” Jetelina writes, describing why Israel not too long ago modified its coverage from not vaccinating folks with previous SARS-CoV-2 infections to vaccinating them. The change was primarily based on analysis, together with a research of blood samples taken from well being care employees after a SARS-CoV-2 an infection, earlier than vaccination and after vaccination. The researchers “contaminated” the blood samples with variants of the novel coronavirus, Jetelina writes, and located that “vaccines had been higher at growing the variety of neutralizing antibodies than pure an infection. In different phrases, you may have extra troopers.” And the vaccines seem to have provoked topics to create extra neutralizing antibodies towards the variants initially reported in South Africa (B.1.351) and in Brazil (P.1), writes Jetelina, whose day job is on the College of Texas Well being Science Heart.

Pfizer is poised to advance the attain of its COVID-19 vaccine made in partnership with BioNTech on quite a few fronts this spring and summer time, in keeping with numerous studies. First, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) is anticipated, any day now, to authorize Pfizer’s two-dose mRNA vaccine to be used in teenagers aged 12-15 primarily based on effectiveness and security information submitted to the company in March. Second, the corporate plans to use in September for emergency authorization for the vaccine to be administered to youngsters aged 2-11, in keeping with a 5/4/21 report by Emily Anthes for The New York Instances. And third, Anthes additionally studies that the corporate plans to ask the FDA this month to bump up its COVID-19 vaccine for adults (ages 16-85) from its present emergency use authorization to full approval. 

Researchers are initiating large-scale research to look extra deeply into how efficient COVID-19 vaccines are at defending folks with suppressed immune methods, studies Jennifer Couzin-Frankel at Science (4/27/21). The analysis may additionally reveal “methods to assist sufferers whose weakened immune methods make safety towards COVID-19 all of the extra pressing,” Couzin-Frankel writes. The analysis downside is advanced as a result of folks’s immune methods will be suppressed in numerous methods by the number of medication used to deal with folks with most cancers, autoimmune ailments, immunologic ailments, or organ transplants. The situation you may have issues too, the story states. Loads of the findings up to now on how folks with suppressed immune methods reply to COVID-19 vaccines deal with antibody manufacturing, not T-cell manufacturing, (and plenty of haven’t been vetted but by consultants for flaws). It’s harder to measure T-cell responses, however they “play an vital function in safety from illness,” the story states. The story contains intensive element in regards to the outcomes of early analysis on folks with numerous circumstances and on numerous lessons of medicine: 

Don’t assume {that a} plateau within the U.S. demand for COVID-19 vaccines is because of “vaccine hesitance,” writes public-health communications researcher and content material strategist Stefanie Friedhoff in a 4/27/21 essay at STAT. The piece contains survey outcomes that undermine previous forecasts for attitudes about COVID-19 vaccines. The essay advises that we “retire the time period ‘vaccine hesitancy’” as a result of it will probably change into a self-fulfilling prophesy. She provides that “vaccine confidence just isn’t a set mindset.” And it shouldn’t be minimized that vaccines aren’t “simply and equally accessible to all People,” she writes. Friedhoff cites survey outcomes from a analysis partnership between her staff at Brown College Faculty of Public Well being and the Rockefeller Basis: “Although a majority of Black and Latino People wish to get vaccinated — 72% on this survey — a shocking 63% stated they didn’t have sufficient details about the place to get the shot.” Extra work must be completed in “making vaccines ubiquitous and accessible with out advanced sign-up procedures” and studying the best communication approaches for gaining belief in public-health messages about vaccination.

Additionally, see this 4/29/21 Washington Submit story by Mary Claire Molloy, Lenny Bernstein, Frances Stead Sellers and Nick Anderson about individuals who need the Johnson & Johnson “one-and-done” COVID-19 vaccine, not the two-shot COVID-19 vaccine, now that the U.S. authorities has lifted a 10-day J&J COVID-19 vaccine pause over considerations about extraordinarily uncommon blood clots. The J&J vaccine, which is less complicated to retailer than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, could possibly be notably useful in reaching homeless folks, seasonal employees, and faculty and college college students, the story suggests.

Are you vaccinated however nonetheless behaving as if you’re not, reminiscent of persevering with to keep away from all social contact even with different vaccinated folks? A 4/29/21 piece by Katherine J. Wu at The Atlantic reveals that you’re not alone. “Readjusting our concepts about what’s secure goes to take time,” the piece states. The anxiousness that helped to maintain a few of us from getting contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 can’t simply be turned off, in keeping with an Emory College psychologist quoted within the piece. “It’s bought to energy down,” he provides. Additionally, folks in “blended vaccination households,” reminiscent of these with youngsters — most of whom aren’t eligible for COVID-19 vaccines within the U.S. — nonetheless should make a difficult “danger calculus,” Wu writes. And present public well being steerage is “splintering,” she provides, as a few of us are vaccinated and others aren’t. “That punts loads of the work to us, as people, to tailor the foundations to our specific lives by advert hoc risk-benefit analyses,” Wu writes.

An interactive story at The New York Instances exhibits how uncooked materials, primarily small rings of DNA every containing a gene for SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein, is reworked into Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. A two-month course of that integrates materials from Pfizer amenities in three U.S. states yields tens of millions of frozen doses of the vaccine, able to ship, states the story by Emma Cott, Elliot deBruyn, and Jonathan Corum (4/28/21). Steps embody: 1) taking DNA out of chilly storage, thawing the gene-carrying DNA and modifying “a batch” of E. coli micro organism to absorb the DNA; 2) getting the micro organism to multiply/develop in a heat, sterile setting; 3) harvesting and purifying the DNA from the now multiplied micro organism; 4) testing the DNA for purity; 5) slicing and filtering the DNA; 6) and freezing, packing and transport bottles of the DNA “with a small monitor that may document its temperature in transit” and be sure that containers are saved at detrimental 4 levels F (detrimental 20 levels C). At locations in Germany and in Massachusetts, the DNA is reworked into messenger RNA, “the lively ingredient of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.” Extra steps observe earlier than vaccine doses are examined once more and make it into washed and warmth sterilized vials.” Some 148 million folks in the US — greater than half of the nation’s adults — have acquired not less than one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. “Greater than a billion doses have been administered worldwide,’ states the story, which ends with details about how Pfizer and BioNTech are growing new variations of their vaccine that might goal SARS-CoV-2 variants.

In Farsi, the weekly Covid Forged options virologist Mahan Ghafari and immunologist Mehrnoush Jafari discussing COVID-19 information and debunking misinformation for Persian-language audiences (Iran, Afghanistan, and so on.). The podcast is produced by Montreal-based freelance science journalist Pouria Nazemi.

You would possibly get pleasure from, “Up to date privateness coverage out of your youngsters,” by Rachel Mans McKenny for McSweeney’s (5/4/21).


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