State of New York: New York State Department of Health Study Shows Continued Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines

State of New York: New York State Department of Health Study Shows Continued Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines. “The New York State Department of Health today announced the release of a new study addressing one of the most critical questions regarding COVID-19 – the extent to which vaccine effectiveness is declining and whether these changes are due to waning immunity or other factors such as the predominance of the Delta variant. The study, which expands upon the work of the Department’s first-in-the-nation vaccine effectiveness study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August, concluded that declines in vaccine effectiveness (VE) for cases may have been driven primarily by the Delta variant or factors other than immunological waning, such as reduced use of masks. In contrast, VE for hospitalizations remained high, with modest declines limited to Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna recipients 65 years of age and older. This finding […]

University of Virginia: Scientists Target Next Pandemic With ‘Map’ To Victory Over Viruses

University of Virginia: Scientists Target Next Pandemic With ‘Map’ To Victory Over Viruses. “University of Virginia School of Medicine researcher Wladek Minor and collaborators in China and Poland have developed an internet information system, called virusMED, that lays out all we know about the atomic structure and potential vulnerabilities of more than 800 virus strains from 75 different virus families, including SARS-CoV-2, influenza, Ebola and HIV‑1. Several of the collaborators, including the lead investigator, Heping Zheng, are former students and members of Minor’s lab at UVA.”

Washington Post: Merck’s experimental pill to treat covid-19 cuts risk of hospitalization and death in half, the pharmaceutical company reports

Washington Post: Merck’s experimental pill to treat covid-19 cuts risk of hospitalization and death in half, the pharmaceutical company reports. “Merck announced Friday that an experimental pill it developed to treat covid-19 reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by nearly half in a clinical trial. An independent board of experts monitoring the trial recommended the study be stopped early because of the positive results, a significant and telling step in a pharmaceutical study. Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said in a news release they would apply for emergency use authorization for the drug, molnupiravir, in the United States as soon as possible. It would be the first antiviral pill for covid-19.”

WMAZ: Mercer University professor helps create COVID-19 early detection device

WMAZ: Mercer University professor helps create COVID-19 early detection device. “A Mercer University professor is working to develop a new tool in the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Sahar Hasim partnered with a research team last year to develop a test that detects COVID-19 in the early stages and provides instant results. Hasim described how the electronic device will improve the time-consuming system that’s in place right now.”

Penn State: New tool predicts changes that may make COVID variants more infectious

Penn State: New tool predicts changes that may make COVID variants more infectious. “As SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve, new variants are expected to arise that may have an increased ability to infect their hosts and evade the hosts’ immune systems. The first key step in infection is when the virus’ spike protein binds to the ACE2 receptor on human cells. Researchers at Penn State have created a novel framework that can predict with reasonable accuracy the amino-acid changes in the virus’ spike protein that may improve its binding to human cells and confer increased infectivity to the virus.”

CBS News: Pfizer is testing a pill to ward off COVID-19

CBS News: Pfizer is testing a pill to ward off COVID-19. “Pfizer said Monday that it is now testing a pill that could help people ward off COVID-19 if a close contact, such as family member, gets the virus. The drugmaker said it is looking at the efficacy of the pill as used in combination with a low dose of the HIV drug ritonavir in people who are at least 18 years old and live in the same household with someone who has COVID-19.”

BBC: Vitamin A treatment trial for Covid loss of smell

BBC: Vitamin A treatment trial for Covid loss of smell. “Vitamin A nasal drops might be able to treat the loss or altered sense of smell in some people who have had Covid, UK researchers say. The University of East Anglia is conducting a 12-week trial. Only some of the volunteer patients will receive the treatment but all will be asked to sniff powerful odours such as rotten eggs and roses.”

CBC: A Canadian COVID-19 study that turned out to be wrong has spread like wildfire among anti-vaxxers

CBC: A Canadian COVID-19 study that turned out to be wrong has spread like wildfire among anti-vaxxers. “The researchers mistakenly failed to record the accurate number of vaccinations given out during that two-month period, despite the data on total doses being publicly available, and the figure turned out to be astronomically higher than what was presented in the study. Instead of 32,379 mRNA vaccine doses administered in June and July, as the study suggests, there were actually more than 800,000 shots given out at that time, according to Ottawa Public Health. ”

The lesson of ivermectin: meta-analyses based on summary data alone are inherently unreliable (Nature Medicine)

Nature Medicine: The lesson of ivermectin: meta-analyses based on summary data alone are inherently unreliable. “Recently, we described flaws in one randomized control trial of ivermectin, the results of which represented more than 10% of the overall effect in at least two major meta-analyses. We described several irregularities in the data that could not be consistent with them being experimentally derived4. That study has now been withdrawn by the preprint server on which it was hosted. We also raised concerns about unexpected stratification across baseline variables in another randomized controlled trial for ivermectin6, which were highly suggestive of randomization failure.”

The Conversation: Evidence shows that, yes, masks prevent COVID-19 – and surgical masks are the way to go

The Conversation: Evidence shows that, yes, masks prevent COVID-19 – and surgical masks are the way to go. “I’m an assistant professor of environmental health sciences. I, too, have wondered about the answers to these questions, and earlier this year I led a study that examined the research about which materials are best. Recently, I was part of the largest randomized controlled trial to date testing the effectiveness of mask-wearing. The study has yet to be peer reviewed but has been well received by the medical community. What we found provides gold-standard evidence that confirms previous research: Wearing masks, particularly surgical masks, prevents COVID-19.” I have mentioned this study before but this article goes deep into it.