Tulane Outbreak Daily – February 12, 2021

Featured Headlines

Anti-Arthritis Drug Can Help Reduce Covid-19 Deaths, U.K. Study Shows – Wall Street Journal

A U.K. study found that an anti-arthritis drug helped reduce deaths of patients hospitalized by Covid-19, an encouraging finding that may help revive interest in the medication after showing mixed results in prior studies.

The Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Reawakening for Immune Cells – The Atlantic

At about 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, I woke to find my husband shivering beside me. For hours, he had been tossing in bed, exhausted but unable to sleep, nursing chills, a fever, and an agonizingly sore left arm. His teeth chattered. His forehead was freckled with sweat. And as I lay next to him, cinching blanket after blanket around his arms, I felt an immense sense of relief. All this misery was a sign that the immune cells in his body had been riled up by the second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and were well on their way to guarding him from future disease.

U.S. will have enough vaccine for 300 million people by end of July – Washington Post

The purchases increase available supply by 50 percent, bringing the total to 600 million doses. Because both products are two-dose regimens, that would be enough to fully vaccinate 300 million people. An estimated 260 million people in the United States are currently considered eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine, though trials involving children as young as 12 could widen the pool.

As Germany extends its lockdown over covid-19 fears, France surprises with a more upbeat tone – Washington Post

When a coronavirus variant forced Britain into lockdown in December, it triggered alarm across Europe. Within hours, France, Germany and other countries shut their borders or imposed restrictions, leaving thousands of travelers and lorry drivers stranded.

Some vaccinated people exposed to the virus don’t need to quarantine, C.D.C. says – New York Times

Some people who have been fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Why the U.S. Is Struggling to Track Coronavirus Variants – Smithsonian

A scattered and underfunded effort at genomic sequencing has hindered the country’s ability to detect different forms of the virus

Tracking the UK SARS-CoV-2 outbreak – Science

Following a year of relatively uneventful evolution, the emergence and global spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants signals an urgent need for better genetic tracking (1). The United Kingdom (UK) has emerged as a leader in this domain. A £20 million investment in March 2020 established the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium (2), which has produced >200,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, more than twice the number produced by any other country

Coronavirus variant first seen in Los Angeles has spread around the world – Los Angeles Times

The coronavirus variant first seen in Los Angeles in July now accounts for about 44% of new infections in Southern California and more than a third of new infections throughout the state, researchers reported Thursday.

Australia’s Victoria State to Enter 5-Day Lockdown on Virus – Bloomberg

Australia’s second-most populous state will enter a snap five-day lockdown from midnight to contain an outbreak of the virulent U.K. strain of the coronavirus that’s spread from a quarantine hotel.

Vaccine Headlines

AstraZeneca say adapting their vaccine against new SARS-CoV-2 variants may take 6–9 months – Medical News Today

The biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca have declared that they will be able to adapt the COVID-19 vaccine, which they developed in collaboration with the Oxford Vaccine Group, against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2.

AstraZeneca Plans to Double Covid-19 Vaccine Output – Wall Street Journal

AstraZeneca PLC said it was fixing problems with the manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine and expects to roughly double monthly production to 200 million doses by April, as it seeks to move past a rocky start to the shot’s rollout.

mRNA vaccines may be slightly less effective against some SARS-CoV-2 variants – Medical News Today

A recent study investigated the neutralizing effect of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccines against mutant forms of the spike protein found in some of the recently identified SARS-CoV-2 variants. The scientists found a one- to three-fold decrease in neutralizing activity against the variants.

Short On Special Syringes, Japan May Waste Millions Of Pfizer Vaccine Doses – NPR

Japan may have several million fewer coronavirus vaccine doses than originally planned because the country does not have the appropriate syringes. It’s another setback to one of the slower vaccination rollouts among developed economies.

Indigenous leaders warn of missionaries turning Amazon villages against vaccines – Reuters

Medical teams working to immunize Brazil’s remote indigenous villages against the coronavirus have encountered fierce resistance in some communities where evangelical missionaries are stoking fears of the vaccine, say tribal leaders and advocates.

The Newest Diplomatic Currency: Covid-19 Vaccines – New York Times

India, China, the U.A.E. and others dole out donations in countries where they seek sway. In some cases, they are sending doses despite pressing needs at home.

South Africa replaces AstraZeneca with Johnson & Johnson shots – MedPageToday

The results of a small study hinted that the AstraZeneca vaccine was less effective against the SARS-CoV-2 variant that scientists first identified in South Africa. In response, South Africa has scrapped the vaccine and is planning to roll out the Jonson & Johnson offering, which is not currently approved.

So you got the vaccine. Can you still infect people? Pfizer is trying to find out. – MIT Technology Review

Sebastián De Toma joined Pfizer’s clinical trial last year, getting his shots in August and September. The Argentinian journalist still doesn’t know if he got the real covid-19 vaccine or the placebo, but on Sunday, January 31, the trial doctors called him with a new offer.

Clinical Considerations

None today

Official Reporting for February 12, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update February 9, 2020

Confirmed Cases: 106 991 090

Deaths: 2 347 015

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 107,764,100
Deaths: 2,367,795

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 27,127,858 (+97,309 New Cases)
Total deaths: 470,110 (+3,645 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

Cancer drug stops SARS-CoV-2 in the lab – UCSF School of Pharmacy

Plitidepsin, a drug approved by the Australian Regulatory Agency for the treatment of multiple myeloma, has potent antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to researchers at the UCSF QBI Coronavirus Research Group(QCRG) and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York.

Psychological and Sociological Impact


Published Research

Factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and outbreaks in long-term care facilities in England: a national cross-sectional survey – Lancet

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Instagram Bans Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Over Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation – Wall Street Journal

Instagram removed the account of prominent vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the highest-profile steps in parent company Facebook Inc.’s intensifying effort to combat false and misleading information about Covid-19.

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)


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