Coronavirus Breaking News

The coronavirus disease COVID-19 is currently reaching pandemic levels in various countries.

May 12, 2022 • 4:48 pm CDT
John9527 from Pixabay

In a Lancet news release issued yesterday, two years after infection with COVID-19, about half of the patients admitted to the hospital still have at least one symptom, according to the most comprehensive follow-up study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 

In general, patients who recovered from COVID-19 tend to be in poorer health two years after the initial infection compared to the general population, indicating some patients need more time to recover fully.

Regardless of initial disease severity, COVID-19 survivors had longitudinal physical and mental health improvements. Most returned to their original work within two years.

However, the burden of symptomatic sequelae remained relatively high. 

Senior author Bin Cao, M.D., of the National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Diseases, stated in a press release issued on May 11, 2022, that the results show that some COVID-19 survivors may still need medical attention two years or more after infection.

"There is a clear need to provide continued support to a significant proportion of people who've had COVID-19 and understand how vaccines, emerging treatments, and variants affect long-term health outcomes," he said.

Note: This article was manually curated for mobile readership.

May 12, 2022 • 1:31 pm CDT
CDC

The U.S. CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) website announced the committee would conduct a digital meeting on May 19, 2022, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm ET.

While the ACIP website disclosed this meeting is open to the public and published the link to attend, it has yet to publish the agenda for this out-of-normal-schedule meeting.

Previous ACIP meeting agendas and presentations are posted.

Note: This is a developing story, and updates will be posted asap.

 

 

Apr 28, 2022 • 5:40 am CDT
by Oleg Ilyushin

The Danish Health Authority recently announced it is suspending its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, given the high vaccine uptake and the diminishing epidemic.

However, they added that the vaccine program would 'resume in Fall 2022 when SARS-CoV-2 virus infections could increase.'

Since December 2020, over 4.8 million citizens have accepted the COVID-19 vaccination, and over 3.6 million have received 3rd dose.

Thus, Denmark's population has a high level of vaccine-induced immunity.

"Spring has arrived, and we have good control of the epidemic, which seems to be subsiding. Admission rates are stable, and we also expect them to fall soon. Therefore, we round up the mass vaccination program against covid-19," said Bolette Søborg, unit manager at the National Board of Health, in a press statement issued on April 26, 2022.

"This means, among other things, that from May 15, 2022, we will no longer send out invitations for COVID-19 vaccination."

Meanwhile, Danish experts will thoroughly assess vaccine program policies, with a release of the 2022-2023 plan expected before the summer holidays.

The National Board of Health recommends that people receive their entire vaccine course. 

And the fourth dose is recommended for those with very weakened immune systems.

'If you have an individual need for vaccination that is not due to a health professional recommendation, you also can be vaccinated. However, in that case, it is a prerequisite that the vaccination takes place within the National Board of Health guidelines.'

Furthermore, there has been an increase in adherence to more childhood vaccinations.

'We have a child vaccination program in Denmark that we can be proud of.'

'It is gratifying that parents have backed the program despite the covid-19 epidemic.'

Note: These Danish press statements were edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readers.

Apr 28, 2022 • 4:58 am CDT
by Artsy Solomon

Research recently presented at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Congress held in Portugal included a Luxembourg Institute of Health survey about common long COVID symptoms one year after a person tested positive.

These researchers found that 59.5% of participants had at least one COVID-19 symptom and that symptoms didn't resolve by 15 weeks.

One-third (34.3%) still had fatigue, 12.9% had respiratory symptoms, while 54.2% had sleep issues.

"Participants with a mild form of the acute illness were more likely than those who'd been asymptomatic to have at least one symptom at one year and to have sleep problems, but to a lesser extent than those with a moderate or severe acute illness," lead author Aurelie Fischer, a Ph.D. student, said in a news release issued on April 25, 2022.

"Long Covid can still impact the quality of life, even a year after the acute infection."

“We also highlighted that long Covid likely consists of multiple sub-categories, distinguished by particular combinations of symptoms," Fischer added.

Additional Long COVID news is posted at CoronavirusToday.com/Long.

Note: The press release was edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readership.

Apr 27, 2022 • 9:46 am CDT
by ludi

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced approximately 75% of children had serologic evidence of previous infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus as of February 2022.

Furthermore, approximately one-third of these children became newly seropositive for the virus since December 2021.

And during December 2021–February 2022, the overall U.S. population seroprevalence increased from 33.5% (95% CI = 33.1–34.0) to 57.7% (95% CI = 57.1–58.3), as of April 26, 2022.

The national commercial laboratory seroprevalence study is a repeated, cross-sectional, nationwide survey that estimates the proportion of the population in 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico with infection-induced antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

Additionally, the CDC says 'COVID-19 vaccination following a SARS-CoV-2 infection provides additional protection against severe disease and hospitalization.'

The estimated mRNA COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against reinfection leading to hospitalization during the Omicron-predominant period was approximately 35% after dose 2 and 68% after a booster 3rd dose.

Additional coronavirus news is posted at CoronavirusToday/COVID-19.

Note: The CDC report was edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readers.

Apr 27, 2022 • 2:28 am CDT
by Alfonso Cerezo

A California-based UCLA-led research team recently found a surprising clue to the Long COVID syndrome, contradicting their initial hypothesis. An abnormally suppressed immune system may be to blame for this new disease.

Many scientists have suggested that the persistence of immune hyperactivity after COVID-19 is a major contributor.

COVID-19 is known to be caused by hyperactive immune responses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus resulting in damage to lungs and other organs, and sometimes what is known as a “cytokine storm” that overwhelms the individual, which could lead to severe illness and death.

'We observed significantly increased blood cell surface CCR5 in treated symptomatic responders but not in nonresponders or placebo-treated participants,' wrote these researchers.

“While this was a small pilot study, it does suggest that some people with long COVID may have underactive immune systems after recovering from COVID-19, which means that boosting immunity in those individuals could be a treatment,” commented senior author Dr. Otto Yang, a professor of medicine, division of infectious diseases, and of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in a UCLA press release issued on April 22, 2022.

In a subset of persons who recover from the initial illness, various symptoms persist, such as fatigue, mental haziness, and shortness of breath, which can be debilitating and last for months.

Although symptoms vary widely, this is generally classified as long COVID, and this syndrome is probably not a single disease entity.

However, limited understanding of its causes makes it difficult to find ways to treat the condition.

Yang added, “Patients who improved were those who started with low CCR5 on their T cells, suggesting their immune system was less active than normal, and levels of CCR5 actually increased in people who improved."

"This leads to the new hypothesis that long COVID is related to the immune system being suppressed and not hyperactive in some persons."

"And that while blocking its activity, the antibody can stabilize CCR5 expression on the cell surface leading to upregulation of other immune receptors or functions.”

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, was funded by CytoDyn Inc., and was conducted by researchers either employed by or serving as consultants to the company.

Note: The press release was edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readers.

Apr 25, 2022 • 12:56 pm CDT
LungFit

New York-based Beyond Air, Inc. today announced positive safety and efficacy data from the LungFit® PRO pilot study of high-concentration inhaled nitric oxide (NO) in Community-Acquired Viral Pneumonia (CAVP), including COVID-19.

The LungFit® system produces nitric oxide from ambient air.

The data show that inhaled NO treatment in patients with COVID-19 and other CAVP was well tolerated and safe.

  • The trend of shortening of Length of Stay by a factor of 1.8 favors the iNO treatment group.
  • Of subjects with unstable saturation during hospitalization, 66.7% of the iNO treatment group reached stable saturation of ≥93% during hospital stay vs. 26.7% in the SST group.
  • Duration of oxygen support, including home oxygen support, was significantly shorter for iNO-treated subjects.

“These data from the pilot study of LungFit Pro in CAVP patients show the consistency of improvement demonstrated across important disease-related assessments. We believe these results show that high concentration inhaled NO could be an effective treatment for patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” said Steve Lisi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Beyond Air, in a press release issued on April 25, 2022.

The presentation is available on the Beyond Air website.

Note: This announcement was edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readership.

Apr 25, 2022 • 11:17 am CDT
by Sabine van Erp

New Jersey-based Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. recently announced today the results of a retrospective observational database study in over 50,000 patients diagnosed with Long COVID, the Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC3).

The goal of the retrospective database study was to assess the proportion of Long COVID patients who experience fibromyalgia-like multi-site pain and to measure their use of opiates.

In the study, over 40% of patients with symptoms of Long COVID had fibromyalgia-like multi-site pain.

In addition, the study reported on the rate of opioid use in Long COVID patients.

Opioid use was noted in 36% of Long COVID patients with multi-site pain symptoms relative to 19% of Long COVID patients without multi-site pain.

In patients with multisite pain, opiate use increased to 39% of patients when fatigue was present and 50% of patients when insomnia was present.

“We undertook this retrospective analysis to determine the feasibility and representative nature of our upcoming Phase 2 study of TNX-102 SL in patients with Long COVID who present with fibromyalgia-like multi-site pain,” said Seth Lederman, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Tonix Pharmaceuticals, in a press release issued on April 20, 2022.

“The finding that more than 40% of Long COVID patients in this sample have fibromyalgia-like multi-site pain symptoms suggests that we should be able to recruit a robust cohort of participants to test the effects of TNX-102 SL in treating this condition."

"Further, these findings suggest that the group of Long COVID patients with fibromyalgia-like multi-site pain represents a significant portion of this underserved population."

"Finally, the high level of opiate use reveals the urgency to provide effective non-opioid analgesia targeted toward widespread pain thought to be nociplastic in nature, meaning that augmented CNS pain and sensory processing and altered pain are augmented modulation plays a role."

"The upcoming Phase, 2 study's primary efficacy endpoint will therefore be changed from baseline in the weekly average of daily self-reported worst pain intensity scores.”

The study queried data from the TriNetX Dataworks USA Network. 

Tonix recently announced that the U.S. FDA had cleared the Investigational New Drug application to support a Phase 2 clinical trial with TNX-102 SL4 (cyclobenzaprine HCl tablets for sublingual administration) as a potential treatment for a subset of patients with Long COVID whose symptoms overlap with fibromyalgia, and expects to initiate this study in the second quarter of 2022.

Note: This press release was edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readership.

Apr 24, 2022 • 6:52 am CDT
by Marcos Cola

The U.S. CDC recently announced 'to protect CDC’s public health authority beyond the ongoing assessment announced last week, the CDC has asked DOJ to proceed with an appeal in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc., et al., v. Biden, et al.'

The CDC recommends that people wear masks in all indoor public transportation settings.

The CDC’s number one priority is protecting our nation's public health.

As we have said before, wearing masks is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations, such as the transportation corridor.

When people wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over their nose and mouth in indoor travel or public transportation settings, they protect themselves and those around them, including those who are immunocompromised or not yet vaccine-eligible, and help keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone.

'It is CDC’s continuing assessment that at this time, an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for public health,' wrote the CDC on April 20, 2022.

Previous research focused on wearing face masks is posted at CoronavirusToday.com/mask.

Apr 15, 2022 • 4:33 am CDT
HHS

The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed in a media post that effective April 16, 2022, due to the continued consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, a public health emergency exists and has existed since January 27, 2020.

HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra issued this notice on April 12, 2022.

Under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, the HHS Secretary may determine that:

  1.  a disease or disorder presents a public health emergency; or
  2. that a public health emergency, including significant outbreaks of infectious disease or bioterrorist attacks, otherwise exists.

The declaration lasts for the duration of the emergency or 90 days but may be extended by the Secretary.

To learn more about the extension and other flexibilities tied to the public health emergency declaration, please read the full text of the Acting Secretary's letter from January 21, 2021.

The mission of the Department of HHS is to enhance the health and well-being of Americans by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.

Note: The government documents were edited for clarity and curated for mobile readership.

Apr 12, 2022 • 2:05 pm CDT
WHO

Researchers in Botswana and South Africa today announced have detected new sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 in four people in Botswana and 23 in South Africa.

They are carrying out further investigations to fully understand crucial traits such as infectivity and virulence.

The identified sub-lineages variants are BA.4 and BA.5.

Outside of Africa, the BA.4 and BA.5 have been confirmed in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Currently, the WHO says no significant epidemiological difference is observed between the new sub-lineages and known sub-lineages of the Omicron variant, including BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3 sub-lineages.

“There is no cause for alarm with the emergence of the new sub-variants. We are not yet observing a major spike in cases, hospitalizations or deaths,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a press statement issued on April 12, 2022.

The WHO calls on countries to enhance genomic surveillance to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database and report initial cases or clusters of cases linked with a variant of concern to infection to the WHO.

Note: The WHO statement was edited for clarity and curated for mobile readership.

Apr 11, 2022 • 6:23 pm CDT
by Andrea Hamilton

According to a Tweeted posted today by Philadelphia Public Health, "Starting April 18, 2022, masks will be required in all indoor public spaces, including schools and childcare settings, businesses, restaurants, and government buildings."

"At that time, residents will be asked to report any business not complying with the mandate."

"The mask mandate is tied to the COVID Response Levels, and as COVID cases rise in Philly, we want to protect our most vulnerable residents."

The current Philadelphia metro area population is about 5.7 million.

For more information visit http://phila.gov/covid.

Apr 10, 2022 • 10:45 am CDT
FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed on April 7, 2022, it had authorized two new over-the-counter (OTC) at-home COVID-19 antigen tests.

The emergency use authorizations (EUA) were issued to Osang LLC for their OHC COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test and Xiamen Boson Biotech Co., Ltd for their Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Card. 

As of April 8, 2022, 428 tests and sample collection devices have been authorized under EUAs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These include 294 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 84 antibody and other immune response tests, and 50 antigen tests.

There are 74 molecular authorizations and one antibody authorization that can be used with home-collected samples.

And there is 1 EUA for a molecular prescription at-home test, 2 EUAs for antigen prescription at-home tests, 17 EUAs for antigen OTC at-home tests, and 3 for molecular OTC at-home tests.

Additionally, the FDA has authorized 28 antigen tests and nine molecular tests for serial screening programs.

The FDA has also authorized 923 revisions to EUA authorizations.

As of April 10, 2022, about 852 million tests have been reported to the U.S. CDC.

An updated test news listing is posted at this weblink.

Note: The FDA information was edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readers.

Apr 5, 2022 • 8:13 pm CDT
Sunè Theron from Pixabay

Qatar's Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) recently announced the second case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). On April 3, 2022, the MOPH reported the male patient had a history of travel outside the country and direct contact with camels.

Furthermore, he developed symptoms before he arrived in Qatar.

And none of his local contacts have displayed symptoms that remain under MOPH observation.

The initial MERS-CoV case in 2022 was confirmed in mid-March.

At the end of February 2022, a total of 2,585 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS, including 890 associated deaths (case-fatality ratio of 34.4%), were reported to the WHO.

Most of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia (2,184 cases).

MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by one of the many coronaviruses.

Still, it differs from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in terms of the source of infection, mode of transmission, and disease severity. 

While over twenty COVID-19 vaccines are available globally, as of April 5, 2022, no MERS vaccine candidate has been authorized.

Note: This news article edited various content sources and was manually curated for mobile readers.

Mar 31, 2022 • 5:05 am CDT
HHS

The U.S. Health and Human Services confirmed launching its own COVID-19 information portal on March 30, 2022. The new COVID.gov website's theme is 'Find COVID-19 guidance for your community.'

The White House says 'COVID.gov will provide one-stop shopping for all things COVID-19.'

'Among the site's features is a tool that lets people find out the infection status in their county.'

'Users can also find out where to get a vaccine, see locations that participate in the "test-to-treat" program where people who test positive can immediately get oral treatment, and locate places to get free masks.'

The government's new site also includes weblinks to order free at-home tests.

The primary advantage for consumers is the previously published U.S. CDC clinical information is more user-friendly and secure.

Note: Official websites use a '.gov' URL which indicates it belongs to an official government organization in the United States.