University of Liverpool: Report suggests the emergence of the alpha variant did not lead to more severe disease in children admitted to hospital

University of Liverpool: Report suggests the emergence of the alpha variant did not lead to more severe disease in children admitted to hospital. “A new study, published in the journal Paediatric Research, provides evidence that the number of school-age children admitted to hospital with coronavirus did not rise significantly in the second wave of the disease when compared with the first wave in the UK as previously thought, despite changes in variant, relaxation of shielding and return to face-to-face schooling.”

National Library of Medicine: NLM Introduces New Tool in Support of Ongoing Pandemic Response

National Library of Medicine: NLM Introduces New Tool in Support of Ongoing Pandemic Response. “The National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) launched this week the SARS-CoV-2 Variants Overview interactive web resource to support the identification of emerging variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This free, open access tool provides the public health community with valuable information needed to guide COVID-19 pandemic research and response efforts.”

CNN: As BA.2 subvariant of Omicron rises, lab studies point to signs of severity

CNN: As BA.2 subvariant of Omicron rises, lab studies point to signs of severity. “The BA.2 virus — a subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant — isn’t just spreading faster than its distant cousin, it may also cause more severe disease and appears capable of thwarting some of the key weapons we have against Covid-19, new research suggests. New lab experiments from Japan show that BA.2 may have features that make it as capable of causing serious illness as older variants of Covid-19, including Delta.”

Loop Jamaica: Jamaica still unable to test for COVID-19 variants

Loop Jamaica: Jamaica still unable to test for COVID-19 variants. “In October of last year, the island acquired a genome sequencer and training of personnel to use the machine was scheduled to begin in order to test for variants of the novel coronavirus by last December. However, the training was pushed back until January 10, and that timeline is also not going to be met in terms of the stated goal.”

The Conversation: From delta to omicron, here’s how scientists know which coronavirus variants are circulating in the US

The Conversation: From delta to omicron, here’s how scientists know which coronavirus variants are circulating in the US. “How do scientists know what versions of the coronavirus are present? How quickly can they see which viral variants are making inroads in a population? Alexander Sundermann and Lee Harrison are epidemiologists who study novel approaches for outbreak detection. Here they explain how the genomic surveillance system works in the U.S. and why it’s important to know which virus variants are circulating.”

Associated Press: How COVID shots for kids help prevent dangerous new variants

Associated Press: How COVID shots for kids help prevent dangerous new variants. “Each infection — whether in an adult in Yemen or a kid in Kentucky — gives the virus another opportunity to mutate. Protecting a new, large chunk of the population anywhere in the world limits those opportunities. That effort got a lift with 28 million U.S. kids 5 to 11 years old now eligible for child-sized doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.”

CBS: A potentially faster-spreading Delta variant, AY.4.2, has been spotted in 8 states

CBS: A potentially faster-spreading Delta variant, AY.4.2, has been spotted in 8 states. “A potentially faster-spreading ‘sub-lineage’ of the coronavirus Delta variant named AY.4.2 has been spotted by labs in at least 8 states, and health authorities in the United Kingdom say they are investigating a growing share of cases from this strain of the virus. Labs in California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Washington state, plus the District of Columbia, have so far spotted at least one case of AY.4.2.”

Delta ‘Plus’ Covid variant may be more transmissible (BBC)

BBC: Delta ‘Plus’ Covid variant may be more transmissible. “A new mutated form of coronavirus that some are calling ‘Delta Plus’ may spread more easily than regular Delta, UK experts now say. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has moved it up into the “variant under investigation” category, to reflect this possible risk. There is no evidence yet that it causes worse illness.”

New York Times: What the Future May Hold for the Coronavirus and Us

New York Times: What the Future May Hold for the Coronavirus and Us. “To date, more than 237 million people have been infected with the virus, and 4.8 million have died — 700,000 in the United States alone. With every infection come new opportunities for the virus to mutate. Now, nearly two years into the pandemic, we are working our way through an alphabet of new viral variants: fast-spreading Alpha, immune-evading Beta, and on through Gamma, Delta, Lambda and, most recently, Mu.”

WKYC: Ohio launches COVID variant dashboard

WKYC: Ohio launches COVID variant dashboard. “There’s a new tool available Friday that will help provide more context to the daily COVID-19 data throughout Ohio. Instead of just reporting a total number of new COVID infections, the state of Ohio is now providing a variant dashboard HERE.”