Tulane Outbreak – June 28, 2022

Featured COVID Headlines

Tracking coronavirus in animals takes on new urgency – Washington Post

Inside the global hunt to identify mutations that might lead to more lethal variants. Researchers Sarah Hamer and Lisa Auckland donned their masks and gowns as they pulled up to the suburban home in College Station, Tex. The family of three inside had had covid a few weeks earlier, and now it was time to check on the pets.

COVID-19 positive patients at higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders, new study shows – Eureka Alert

COVID-19 positive outpatients are at an increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders compared with individuals who tested negative for the virus, a new study presented today at the 8th European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Congress has shown.1

Chicago Returns to ‘High’ Alert Level, BA.5 Subvariant – Chicago Local News

Multiple Chicago-area counties that had dropped from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s highest alert level in recent weeks returned to the “high community level” last week, but what about the rest of Illinois?

Emerging Infectious Disease Headlines

Pediatric Hepatitis

Mysterious child hepatitis continues to vex researchers – Nature

US cases of liver inflammation among children have remained flat, but UK cases seem to have risen, leading some to suggest a coronavirus contribution. In the months since UK physicians sounded the alarm about mysterious cases of hepatitis that seemed to be striking young children, researchers have been scrambling to determine the cause — and a possible connection to the coronavirus pandemic has been among the leading hypotheses.

Monkeypox

Monkeypox may not mutate as fast as coronaviruses, but that doesn’t mean it can’t adapt to its new hosts – The Conversation

The recent outbreak of monkeypox virus has called into question the capabilities of these kinds large DNA viruses to evolve, adapt and change their biology. Compared with small RNA viruses such as coronavirus, monkeypox virus and other large DNA viruses are thought to evolve slowly. Yet there’s clear evidence that this really isn’t a hindrance to these viruses. In fact, they can adapt to new environments like us.

Monkeypox outbreak in U.S. is bigger than the CDC reports. Testing is ‘abysmal’ – NPR

On June 13, a man in New York began to feel ill. “He starts to experience swollen lymph nodes and rectal discomfort,” says epidemiologist Keletso Makofane, who’s at Harvard University. The man suspects he might have monkeypox. He’s a scientist, and knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms, Makofane says. So the man goes to his doctor and asks for a monkeypox test. The doctor decides, instead, to test the man for common sexually transmitted diseases. All those come back negative.

Vaccine Headlines

COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 5 now available – Nebraska Med

Pediatric infectious diseases expert Shirley Delair, MD, MPH, is excited about this milestone. “The moment that so many of us have been waiting for – to finally have all of our children six months of age and up get vaccinated – has finally arrived.”

Nearly 18 months after getting the coronavirus and spending weeks in the hospital, Terry Bell struggles with hanging up his shirts and pants after doing the laundry. – Nature

COVID-19 vaccines are due for an upgrade, scientists say, but emerging variants and fickle immune reactions mean it’s not clear what new jabs should look like. As countries brace for another Omicron wave driven by the variants BA.4 and BA.5, calls to update COVID-19 vaccines are growing louder.

The F.D.A. may move toward updating vaccines. – NYT

Scientists had high hopes for a new coronavirus vaccine that combines the existing formulation with one targeting Omicron, but many are not impressed by the results.

Clinical Considerations

Insights on Long COVID Care – MedPageToday

The population of post-COVID, long COVID, has changed over time. I think that one of the most significant changes is that the population is more aware of these chronic conditions, and I think that the uncertainties are still there.

Covid-19 During Pregnancy: Increased Risk Of Preterm Delivery And Infant Neurodevelopmental Issues – Forbes

During pregnancy, a mother’s body suppresses parts of the immune system to help tolerate the growing fetus. This means pregnant women are at an especially high risk of contracting disease, including Covid-19. The risk they face is two-fold: first, towards their own health, and second, towards the health of their unborn child. Still, not much is known about the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy.

Epstein-Barr may play a role in some long COVID; coronavirus can impair blood sugar processing by organs – Reuters

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review.

Long covid symptoms are often overlooked in seniors – Washington Post

Nearly 18 months after getting the coronavirus and spending weeks in the hospital, Terry Bell struggles with hanging up his shirts and pants after doing the laundry.

Women more likely to have long COVID, different symptom profile – CIDRAP

Women are significantly more likely than men to experience long COVID, with symptoms that follow a distinct clinical pattern, researchers reported today. They said more efforts are needed to explore sex differences in outcomes, including greater risks of exposure for some jobs. The researchers from the Johnson & Johnson Office of the Chief Medical Officer reported their findings yesterday in Current Medical Research and Opinion, a peer-reviewed journal.

SARS-CoV-2 virus undertakes a massive takeover of the body’s fat-processing system – Medical News

The virus that causes COVID-19 undertakes a massive takeover of the body’s fat-processing system, creating cellular storehouses of fat that empower the virus to hijack the body’s molecular machinery and cause disease. Link to study

Epigenetics Links Severe Inflammatory Syndrome in Children to COVID Infection – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News

Scientists from the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), say they have identified an epigenetic signature associated to the development of the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) after a SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. The signature has been named EPIMISC, in line with previous studies on the epigenetics of COVID-19 from the same team, which published this recent study, “Epigenetic profiling linked to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C): A multicenter, retrospective study,” in eClinicalMedicine.

Official Reporting for June 28, 2022

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update June 22, 2022(latest release)

New Cases: 183,475 ⬇︎

Confirmed Cases: 540,923,532

Deaths: 6,325,785

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 544,671,601
Deaths: 6,330,937

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 86,855,517 (+100,674 New Cases) ⬆︎
Total deaths: 1,011,232 (+290 New Deaths) ⬆︎

Science and Tech

How does one study a deadly virus? Carefully. – Stanford Medicine

Being inches away from one of the world’s deadliest viruses can give you a new perspective on things. Kyle Loh, PhD, assistant professor of developmental biology, can attest to that. He works with the Nipah virus, which is so dangerous it kills roughly 59% of the people it infects — a whopping 100 times more than does SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Stanford scientists decipher the danger of gummy phlegm in severe COVID-19 – Stanford Medicine

Levels of a stringy, spongy substance soar in the sputum of COVID-19 patients requiring intubation, accounting for at least some of their breathing trouble. Development of an off-patent drug may prevent it.

MSU researchers use AI to stay ahead of COVID-19 and other diseases – Michigan State Univ

Michigan State University is developing artificial intelligence to help forecast the future impacts of the coronavirus, its variants and other evolving viruses. The National Institutes of Health have awarded Michigan State University researchers $2.7 million to continue developing artificial intelligence algorithms that predict key features of viruses as they evolve.

This AI Tool Could Predict the Next Coronavirus Variant – Scientific American

The model, which uses machine learning to track the fitness of different viral strains, accurately predicted the rise of Omicron BA.2 and Alpha. Despite having only been around for fewer than three years, the COVID-causing virus SARS-CoV-2 is perhaps the most studied and genetically sequenced pathogen in history. Disease surveillance teams around the world have uploaded millions of viral sequences to public databases that allow researchers to track how the virus spreads.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

Acute SARS-CoV-2-Induced Psychosis in an Adolescents – American Academy of Pediatrics

Severe SARS-CoV-2COVID-19 illness in pediatrics is less common in children than in adults. Here we report an unvaccinated 16-year-old male, normally fit and well with no previous personal or family history of mental illness who developed moderate respiratory illness related to SARS-CoV-2 infection that was followed by acute psychosis. Neuropsychiatric manifestations are well documented in adults with SARS-CoV-2 infections; however, there are few reports in the pediatric population. This case illustrates that acute psychosis is a possible complication in children with mild SARS-CoV-2 illness and highlights the need for vigilance.

Published Research

Improving COVID-19 vaccine immunogenicity by interrupting methotrexate treatment – The Lancet

SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Patients with a History of VITT – NEJM

Long-COVID in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analyses – Nature

Long COVID symptoms in SARS-CoV-2-positive children aged 0–14 years and matched controls in Denmark (LongCOVIDKidsDK): a national, cross-sectional study – The Lancet

A global lipid map reveals host dependency factors conserved across SARS-CoV-2 variants – Nature

How long does SARS-CoV-2 stay in the body? – BMJ

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Covid-19 Vaccine Mistrust Is Spilling Over To Routine Childhood Shots In Hawaii – Honolulu News

Dr. Vinson Diep is used to dealing with parents who have concerns about routine childhood vaccinations. The Honolulu-based pediatrician views it as a red flag if parents want to refuse vaccines entirely, but he’s always willing to show parents safety data and try to get to the source of their hesitation.

Coping with COVID

This is the last issue of Tulane Outbreak! Thank you subscribers! Hope to hear from you when I get started at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Global Center for Health Security

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