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Review Confirms Reduced Seriousness of Omicron SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern

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I n a recent study, researchers review existing literature to quantify the transmissibility, immune evasion, reinfection, and severity of the   severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2   (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron variant. As a result of its high transmissibility, the SARS-CoV-2  Omicron variant  is rapidly spreading across the world. In the United States, for example, this strain of SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for 95% of all new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases since January 1, 2022. Extensive research is needed to understand the extent to which the increased transmissibility and virulence of Omicron threaten public health globally. Furthermore, it is also crucial to determine how the global population should recognize these dynamics, perceive risk, and adhere to public health and social measures amid the emergence of the  Omicron  variant. Study In the present study, the researchers performed a literature search in  PubMed , Web of Science, Scopus, ScienceDirect, Google Schol

NeoCov Coronavirus

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A single molecular change in the lab enabled a coronavirus called Neocov to “efficiently infect” human cells using the same pathway that the  SARS-CoV-2  uses to infect human cells, researchers from Wuhan University, Wuhan, China said in a report that is yet to be peer-reviewed. Neocov has so far only been seen in bats and no instances have been reported in people but being closely related to the  Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses  - traditionally more lethal but less transmissible than Sarscov2 - the study has raised concern that this too may lethally proliferate in people. Experts however say that such fears are unwarranted. In their study, which is available on the online pre-print server bioRxiv.org, the scientists set out to find out they ways in which Neocov, a coronavirus known to be 85% similar to MERS coronaviruses,   infected animal cells . MERS has a mortality rate of around 35%, far more than the coroanviruses. Physician and former president, Indian M

New Omicron Subvariant BA.2

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Omicron has approximately 60 mutations, it is thought that its sister lineage may have 85 mutations. The   World Health Organization  (WHO) stated over the weekend that this lineage differs from the original Omicron strain by several mutations, including those of the spike protein, the SARS-CoV-2 protein that mediates host cell entry. This variant has also been termed the “stealth variant” due to a mutation that renders it ‘invisible’ as   Omicron  to PCR testing. BA.2 has spread to over 40 countries, including the US, UK, India, Australia, and Norway. In the latter, it currently accounts for half of Omicron cases. It is currently unknown why BA.2 has dominated so quickly in Norway; however, enhanced  immune escape  or transmissibility has been suggested. Current reports liken the symptoms of the new lineage to that of the original strain of Omicron: sore throat,  headaches , nausea, etc. It is believed that there are no differences in disease severity, with some even suggesting the sy

National-Scale Surveillance for New Variants of SARS-CoV-2

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In a recent study researchers established and validated a strong approach for deducing public health-relevant epidemiological metrics, like relative variant abundance and variant-specific reproduction numbers, from wastewater (WW)-derived deep sequenced   severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2   (SARS-CoV-2) genomes in the context of a national-scale wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) initiative. SARS-CoV-2 surveillance  is critical to discover variants with different epidemiological features. Individual instances can be sequenced using WBE, which is unbiased and complimentary. National WBE surveillance programs, on the other hand, have not been widely deployed, and data analysis remains difficult. The findings show that WBE accurately reproduces  epidemiological screening programs  with a high spatiotemporal resolution, fewer samples, and less logistical effort. The virus aggregates in the WW represent the entire virus population, in contrast to the traditional method of agg

Immunization with COVID-19 Moderna Vaccine

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T he overall incidence of AEFI was low at both first and second doses of the Moderna  vaccine , the incidence rates of both IHSR and ISRR were significantly higher after the first dose than after the second one. Over 80% of AEFI incidences were ISRR, and the incidence rate of IHSR was low, with only ~266 cases per 240 million doses among vaccine recipients, at both first and second doses, which is different from the estimated incidence rates reported previously. Consistent with the existing data reports for the US and UK, the  anaphylaxis  rate was also extremely low, at 2 cases per million doses. Only the female gender and history of allergy were associated with an increased risk of anaphylaxis to mRNA vaccines. The researchers identified several risk factors associated with the development of IHSR and ISRR, including comorbidities such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, and thyroid diseases. The vaccine recipients with these comorbidities, including thyroid disorders, were predisposed to

COVID- 19 Observation for Fully Vaccinated and Boosted Patients

The researchers concluded that booster doses provided protection against severe COVID-19 symptoms and also observed that the number of patients requiring   mechanical ventilation   and use of vasopressors, as well as in-hospital mortality, were lower in the FV&B cohorts as compared to the UV cohorts, despite a higher risk for in-hospital mortality in the FV&B cohort. When the researchers compared the FV&B patients who required ICU care to those who did not, it was observed that there may not have been enough time for the booster dose in these patients to be effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms. Decreased in-hospital mortality was observed in FV&B patients compared to UV patients, even though the former group was older and had a higher rate of pre-existing ESRD, higher proportion of immunocompromised state, and a higher proportion of immunocompromised state risk of in-hospital death in the FV&B cohort. It was observed that even among elderly patients with signi

Mu Variant Used to Make COVID Vaccines

The   severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2   (SARS-CoV-2) Mu variant (B.1.621, B.1.621.1) has been tagged as a Variant Being Monitored (VBM), and as of August 30, 2021, it had been detected in 39 countries. Colombia was identified as the epicenter of  SARS-CoV-2 infection  caused by the Mu variant. A huge surge of COVID-19 cases was reported in Columbia between March and July 2021, and SARS-CoV-2  infections caused by the gamma variant were found to be prevalent during the early stages of the surge. However, by May, the infections due to the Mu variant became dominant in Columbia. Reports from WHO suggest that the  Mu variant  bears mutations that increase the risk of resistance to currently available vaccines and that further investigations are required in this area. The Mu variant is still not considered as a variant of concern by WHO. Emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 are concerning. They need to be monitored carefully as they show increased transmissibility, pathogenicity,