Tulane Outbreak Daily – February 26, 2021

Featured Headlines

The Coronavirus Is Plotting a Comeback. Here’s Our Chance to Stop It for Good. – New York Times

Many scientists are expecting another rise in infections. But this time the surge will be blunted by vaccines and, hopefully, widespread caution. By summer, Americans may be looking at a return to normal life.

Dozens got coronavirus from high-intensity workouts in gyms. The CDC warns that masks, better ventilation are a must. – Washington Post

In September, a Chicago resident called their gym with alarming news: They’d recently come to an indoor workout class despite feeling sick and then later tested positive for the coronavirus. The gym quickly shut its doors, but it was too late. Fifty-five of the 81 people who attended high-intensity classes at the facility between Aug. 24 and Sept. 1 would eventually test positive. A similar case tied to three gyms in Honolulu over the summer resulted in 22 total infections.

Scientists And Vaccine Manufacturers Scramble To Address Coronavirus Variants – NPR

Variants of the coronavirus have scientists in a scramble to assess the threat and prevent more surges. Meanwhile, vaccine manufacturers are looking at developing booster shots to address variants.

US affirms no transmission of COVID-19 through food or packaging – Food Business News

A joint statement issued Feb. 18 by the Food and Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscored “there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or as a likely source of viral transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing COVID-19.

CDC study finds nursing home residents who appear to have recovered from Covid were reinfected with an even worse case – NBC

A new CDC study published Thursday suggests some people may be susceptible to reinfection from the coronavirus and could have worse outcomes following their second infection. [CDC paper below under Published Papers]

Coronavirus variants, viral mutation and COVID-19 vaccines: The science you need to understand – The Conversation

The SARS-CoV-2 virus mutates fast. That’s a concern because these more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2 are now present in the U.S., U.K. and South Africa and other countries, and many people are wondering whether the current vaccines will protect the recipients from the virus. Furthermore, many question whether we will we be able to keep ahead of future variants of SARS-CoV-2, which will certainly arise.

Vaccine Headlines

A third Pfizer dose? The Covid-19 vaccine maker is studying booster shots. – NBC

Despite the 95 percent effectiveness at preventing coronavirus infection after two doses of its vaccine, Pfizer is now seeing what a third dose might do.

Does Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine Protect Against Asymptomatic Infection? – MedPageToday

Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine appeared to prevent not only symptomatic disease, but asymptomatic infection as well, a real-world review of Israeli health records showed.

Germany has more than 1 million Covid-19 vaccines unused in storage – NBC News

“We are working quite hard on this and trying to convince people to accept the vaccine and really to rebuild the trust in the vaccine,” one official said.

How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine compare to other coronavirus vaccines? – The Conversation

After this modified adenovirus is injected into someone’s arm, it enters the person’s cells. The cells then read the genetic instructions needed to make the spike protein and the vaccinated cells make and present the spike protein on their own surface. The person’s immune system then notices these foreign proteins and makes antibodies against them that will protect the person if they are ever exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in the future.

Dr. Fauci answers coronavirus vaccine questions in CBSN special – CBS News

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is encouraging everyone to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them, and he answered questions about the vaccines from viewers as part of the CBSN special, “A Shot of Hope: Vaccine Questions Answered.”

GW to Participate in Sanofi COVID-19 Vaccine Trial – GW News

GW will be a clinical trial site for Sanofi and GSK’s adjuvanted recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Allows More Flexible Storage, Transportation Conditions for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine – FDA

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it is allowing undiluted frozen vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be transported and stored at conventional temperatures commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers for a period of up to two weeks. This reflects an alternative to the preferred storage of the undiluted vials in an ultra-low temperature freezer between -80ºC to -60ºC (-112ºF to -76ºF). The change is being reflected in updates to the Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers).

China approves two more COVID-19 vaccines for wider use – ABC News

The National Medical Products Administration gave conditional approval to a vaccine from CanSino Biologics and a second one from state-owned Sinopharm. Both are already being used among select groups of people under an emergency use authorization. China now has four vaccines to immunize its population.

Clinical Considerations

How to Advise Persons Who Are Antibody Positive for SARS-CoV-2 About Future Infection Risk – JAMA

New drugs identified as possible tools to fight COVID-19 – National Geographic

After grappling with the virus SARS-CoV-2 for more than a year, clinics still face the same reality they did months ago: There are no quick and easy fixes for treating COVID-19.

Official Reporting for February 26, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update February 22, 2020

Confirmed Cases: 112 209 815

Deaths: 2 490 776

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 112,981,257
Deaths: 2,507,271

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 28,138,938 (+74,806 New Cases)
Total deaths: 503,587 (+2,407 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

Scientists uncover new details of SARS-CoV-2 interactions with human cells – Science Daily

In order to infect cells, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, needs to insert itself into the membrane of human cells. New molecular models show what parts of SARS-CoV-2 are critical for that interaction, revealing new potential drug targets.

SARS-CoV-2 dependence on host pathways – Science Magazine

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) first emerged in 2019, and its high pathogenicity, infectivity, and transmissibility have led to a global pandemic. Although several vaccines have been approved in different countries, most of the global population currently remains unvaccinated because of disparities in vaccine distribution and limited manufacturing capabilities (1). Owing to a lack of treatment options (particularly in low- and middle-income countries), the slow progression of vaccination, and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that elicit reduced responses to vaccines, there is an urgent need to identify therapeutics to reduce COVID-19 morbidity and mortality

Why Are Some Coronavirus Strains More Infectious Than Others? – Technology Networks

SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has devastated the human population, infecting over 110 million people and causing almost 2.5 million deaths to date. SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 both belong to the same coronavirus family. A key question is: What makes one more infectious than the other? The lab of or Dr Mahmoud Moradi at the University of Arkansas has used molecular simulations, performed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, to investigate this question.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

 

Published Research

Interleukin-6 Receptor Inhibition in Covid-19 — Cooling the Inflammatory Soup – NEJM

Suspected Recurrent SARS-CoV-2 Infections Among Residents of a Skilled Nursing Facility During a Second COVID-19 Outbreak — Kentucky, July–November 2020 – CDC

Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity of upper respiratory specimens from COVID-19 patients by virus isolation using VeroE6/TMPRSS2 cells – BMJ

SARS-CoV-2 Respiratory Co-Infections: Incidence of Viral and Bacterial Co-Pathogens – International Journal of Infectious Diseases

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Vaccine Hesitancy

5 stories about COVID-19 vaccine mistrust from Americans of color – PBS Newshour

While public health officials were urging Americans to take measures to help stop the coronavirus, high rates of infection within Black communities fueled his sister’s mistrust, said Hildreth, the president of Meharry Medical College, an historically Black institution in Nashville. She had no desire to be vaccinated, and thought officials wanted people like her — Black people — “to prove the vaccine is safe so others will take it.”

 

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)