Emerging Infectious Disease Headlines
No cases of polio have been identified so far, but health officials urged those who were not fully immunized to seek vaccines immediately.
Even as cases rise, genetic analysis suggests that the virus has been silently circulating in people since 2018. When the first monkeypox cases were identified in early May, European health officials were stumped. The virus was not known to spread easily among people, let alone infect dozens — and soon hundreds — of young men.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there was evidence of local transmission of monkeypox, in addition to reports of cases where people had traveled abroad.
This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), began shipping orthopoxvirus tests to five commercial laboratory companies, including the nation’s largest reference laboratories, to quickly increase monkeypox testing capacity and access in every community during the ongoing monkeypox outbreak. The companies include Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare.
If the virus finds a new animal host, it could settle in for the long run—and cause more outbreaks in the future. In the summer of 2003, just weeks after an outbreak of monkeypox sickened about 70 people across the Midwest, Mark Slifka visited “the super-spreader,” he told me, “who infected half of Wisconsin’s cases.”
A fourth dose, or second booster, of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) protected seniors living in long-term care from the most severe outcomes during the Omicron wave, despite showing a more limited effect against infection, according to prospective data from Israel.
Moderna expects a new COVID-19 vaccine the drugmaker is developing that it says offers protection against the Omicron variant of the virus to be ready for public distribution by August. The company has been manufacturing shots of the vaccine, called mRNA-1273.214, ahead of it getting regulatory approval in order to be ready for the fall and winter, when health experts say COVID-19 could flare.
Millions of U.S. parents — including many of my friends with children under 5 — were crossing their fingers again this week, hoping the vaccines would soon be available for younger age groups. An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously on Wednesday to recommend that the agency authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for use in very young children. On Friday and Saturday, advisers to the C.D.C. met to discuss and voted yes unanimously.
The first COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial setting was administered on Dec 8, 2020. To ensure global vaccine equity, vaccine targets were set by the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility and WHO. However, due to vaccine shortfalls, these targets were not achieved by the end of 2021. We aimed to quantify the global impact of the first year of COVID-19 vaccination programmes.
About 7.5% of U.S. adults—roughly 20 million people—are currently living with Long COVID symptoms, according to new federal data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
Children and adolescents with COVID had more prevalent long-lasting symptoms than those never infected with SARS-CoV-2, the Long COVID Kids DK study showed.
Official Reporting for June 24, 2022
World Health Organization
Weekly Epi Update June 22, 2022(latest release)
New Cases: 732,529 ⬆︎
Confirmed Cases: 539,119,771
Confirmed Cases: 542,190,733
Total cases: 86,512,787 (+97,430 New Cases) ⬇︎
Total deaths: 1,010,089 (+255 New Deaths) ⬇︎
Science and Tech
Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 appear to escape antibody responses among both people who had previous Covid-19 infection and those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted, according to new data from researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, of Harvard Medical School.
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering researchers point to macrophages. When a virus makes its way into a person’s body, one of the immune system’s first responders is a set of pathogen-removal cells called macrophages. But macrophages are diverse; they don’t all target viruses in the same way.
The results of that research are now online in the New England Journal of Medicine and in the June 23 print edition of the journal. Co-study leads Erin Scherer, PhD, DPhil, assistant professor of medicine in Emory’s division of infectious diseases, and Anne Piantadosi, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and physician in the Emory division of infectious diseases, chose to study patients with prolonged infections because the longer infection period provides an opportunity to examine how the virus mutates over time.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Avindra Nath, MD, a neurologist in Bethesda, Maryland, discussed the neurological and neuropsychiatric complications of COVID-19 at the 2022 American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting, beginning with the recent statistics related to COVID-19. To date, there have been 100 million infections and 1 million deaths in the United States alone, with 500 million infections and 50 million deaths globally.
Global impact of the first year of COVID-19 vaccination: a mathematical modelling study – The Lancet
Hospitalization and Emergency Department Encounters for COVID-19 After Paxlovid Treatment — California, December 2021–May 2022 – CDC MMWR
Neutralization Escape by SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 – NEJM
Long COVID symptoms in SARS-CoV-2-positive children aged 0–14 years and matched controls in Denmark (LongCOVIDKidsDK): a national, cross-sectional study – Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. – The Lancet
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
The global monkeypox outbreak is a test for world leaders. We are still in early days, and policy makers have a small window of opportunity to act quickly and put the right measures in place to stop monkeypox from turning into another disaster. They should strengthen virus surveillance and work on deploying decentralized, privacy-preserving and encrypted contact tracing to avoid data breaches and to ensure trust within their communities. There are many unknowns about this outbreak, and political leaders should avoid making sweeping statements; instead, they should raise public awareness based on information scrutinized by science experts. They should also be prepared to combat the tidal wave of a possible “misinfodemic.”
Coping with COVID