As COVID cases rose for the seventh week in a row last week, the biggest jumps were in South Asia and the Middle East, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its weekly snapshot of the pandemic.
Most tests should be able to detect the variants of concern, but test developers and health officials must remain vigilant, scientists say.
Officials said they performed a postmortem examination after a three-month-old dog died suddenly in February and was brought to the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory for a necropsy.
Vaccination rates continue to increase as many states have opened availability to all adults. But also increasing? COVID-19 surges, apparently resulting from a combination of eager travelers, relaxed distancing and mask mandates, and new variants that are more transmissible and perhaps more dangerous. What does that mean for vaccines and the ability to stop this pandemic?
Brazil has been severely hit by COVID-19, with rapid spatial spread of both cases and deaths. We use daily data on reported cases and deaths to understand, measure, and compare the spatiotemporal pattern of the spread across municipalities. Indicators of clustering, trajectories, speed, and intensity of the movement of COVID-19 to interior areas, combined with indices of policy measures show that while no single narrative explains the diversity in the spread, an overall failure of implementing prompt, coordinated, and equitable responses in a context of stark local inequalities fueled disease spread. This resulted in high and unequal infection and mortality burdens. With a current surge in cases and deaths and several variants of concern in circulation, failure to mitigate the spread could further aggravate the burden. [Related: Genomics and epidemiology of the P.1 SARS-CoV-2 lineage in Manaus, Brazil]
Brazil’s P1 coronavirus variant, behind a deadly COVID-19 surge in the Latin American country that has raised international alarm, is mutating in ways that could make it better able to evade antibodies, according to scientists studying the virus.
COVID-19 cases in Papua New Guinea have been surging. As hundreds become sick each day, the healthcare system is struggling to keep up. NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with journalist Rebecca Kuku.
Denmark will stop administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, and emphasized that the shot’s benefits outweigh the risks for those who do get it, but said they had decided to discontinue its use because of its possible link to rare cases of blood clotting and the “fact that the COVID-19 epidemic in Denmark is currently under control and other vaccines are available.”
Concerns about blood clots with Johnson & Johnson underscore just how lucky Americans are to have the Pfizer and Moderna shots. The protein-based vaccines have moved too slowly to matter so far. J&J’s and AstraZeneca’s vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19—but a small number of recipients have developed a rare type of blood clot that appears to be linked to the adenovirus technology and may ultimately limit those shots’ use. Meanwhile, with more than 180 million doses administered in the U.S, the mRNA vaccines have proved astonishingly effective and extremely safe. The unusual blood clots have not appeared with Pfizer’s or Moderna’s mRNA technology. A year later, the risky bet definitely looks like a good one.
A variant of the virus SARS‑CoV-2 detected in South Africa can evade antibodies elicited by the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19. Many vaccines — including Sputnik V, developed in Russia — trigger the production of antibodies targeting the SARS‑CoV-2 protein called spike, which the virus uses to infect host cells. Scientists worry that the vaccines might be ineffective against SARS-CoV-2 variants with mutations in the spike-encoding gene.
New research found that half of young patients with the inflammatory condition, MIS-C, in a London hospital experienced confusion, hallucinations and other issues, in addition to physical symptoms.
Official Reporting for April 15, 2021
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 136 996 364
Deaths: 2 951 832
Confirmed Cases: 138,030,066
Total cases: 31,158,087 (+76,120 New Cases)
Total deaths: 560,576 (+769 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
T cells are important for effective viral clearance, elimination of virus-infected cells and long-term disease protection. To examine the full-spectrum of CD8+ T cell immunity in COVID-19, we experimentally evaluated 3141 major histocompatibility (MHC) class I-binding peptides covering the complete SARS-CoV-2 genome. Using DNA-barcoded peptide-MHC complex (pMHC) multimers combined with a T cell phenotype panel, we report a comprehensive list of 122 immunogenic and a subset of immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
The latest numbers surpass even the yearly tolls during the height of the opioid epidemic and mark a reversal of progress against addiction in recent years.
Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia after Ad26.COV2.S Vaccination – NEJM
SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Response in Persons with Past Natural Infection – NEJM
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)