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Covid News Watch

Aug 10, 2022

Americans’ Optimism About COVID Plunges, Poll Finds + More

Americans’ Optimism About COVID Plunges, Poll Finds — but They’re Still Getting Back to Normal Anyway

Forbes via MSN reported:

Americans’ outlook on the COVID-19 pandemic has become increasingly pessimistic in recent months, a new Gallup poll found, with a growing share believing things are getting worse instead of better — but despite thinking they’re now more at risk for catching the virus, Americans are taking fewer precautions and more are getting back to their normal lives.

The poll, conducted from July 26 to August 2, found that 41% of U.S. adults believe the coronavirus situation in the U.S. is “getting better,” down from 63% in April.

The share of those who believe it’s getting worse has gone up from 15% to 30%, while the percentage of those saying it’s “staying about the same” has gone from 21% to 29%.

While most Americans (55%) said their lives are only “somewhat” back to normal compared with pre-pandemic and 56% still report their lives being disrupted by COVID-19, the share of those saying their lives are “completely” back to how they were went up from 21% in April to 24% now.

FDA Authorizes Monkeypox Vaccines for Emergency Use

Axios reported:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization on Tuesday for the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine to allow intradermal injection for people 18 years and older who are at high risk for infection.

The alternative approach lets healthcare providers stretch out vaccine supplies, by administering one-fifth of the Jynneos shot into the skin rather than injecting a full dose into underlying fat.

Facing vaccine shortages and almost 9,000 U.S. cases, the agency says the authorization will increase the number of available doses by up to five-fold while maintaining the same level of efficacy.

The authorization also allows people younger than 18 who are at high risk of infection to access vaccines. People will still need to get two doses four weeks apart for full protection.

New Booster for COVID: Here’s the Fall 2022 Vaccine Plan

CNET reported:

The U.S. government is expected to roll out vaccine boosters based on need: People most at risk will be eligible for a new booster first, with other groups following in an order still to be determined by health officials.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday announced that it had ordered 66 million doses of Moderna‘s bivalent booster candidate, purchased with reallocated money meant for other COVID-19 resources as health officials have failed to secure more funding from Congress.

While the U.S. has also secured a previous order of 105 million doses of Pfizer, that isn’t enough doses for all people in the U.S., the HHS said in the press release. Agreements with both vaccine companies would open up millions more doses, but this “can only be exercised” with more funding from Congress.

All Children Aged 1 to 9 in London to Be Offered Polio Vaccine Booster

The Guardian reported:

All children aged one to nine in London should receive a polio vaccination in the coming weeks, public health experts have said, as a new booster program was announced.

The U.K. Health Security Agency said that, since early February, 116 polioviruses had been identified in 19 sewage samples from boroughs in north-east and central London including Barnet, Camden, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.

Experts say it is unclear how many people may have been infected but that, to date, no cases of polio — or related paralysis — had been reported.

While a small number of polioviruses are detected in sewage in the U.K. each year, the large number detected over recent months is unusual and appears to reflect the transmission of the virus in the community.

U.K. Will ‘Run out of Monkeypox Vaccine in 10 to 20 Days’

The Guardian reported:

The U.K. will run out of the monkeypox vaccine despite having one of the biggest number of cases worldwide, triggering warnings that the illness could become endemic.

The country looks likely to exhaust stocks of the vaccine in the next two to three weeks, and then face a delay of almost a month before the next supplies arrive in late September.

The U.S. Is on a COVID Plateau, and No One’s Sure What Will Happen Next

CNN Health reported:

The United States seems to have hit a COVID-19 plateau, with more than 40,000 people hospitalized and more than 400 deaths a day consistently over the past month or so.  And there are big question marks around what might happen next, as the coronavirus’ evolution remains quite elusive 2.5 years into the pandemic.

“We’ve never really cracked that: why these surges go up and down, how long it stays up and how fast it comes down,” said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research. “All these things are still somewhat of a mystery.”

BA.5 remains the dominant subvariant in the U.S. for now, causing most new cases as it has since the last week of June.

It’s hummed along at a high level because it continues to find people whose immunity from vaccination or infection has waned over time — something that will continue to happen, said William Hanage, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Most COVID Patients Who Lose Sense of Smell Regain It Within 2 Years

U.S. News & World Report reported:

One of the most disturbing symptoms of COVID-19 has been the sudden loss of taste and smell. Worryingly, some people don’t regain these senses after recovering from their infection, raising the question of whether they’d ever again be able to taste and smell.

Now there’s good news on that front — about 9 out of 10 patients will regain those senses within two years of their COVID infection, a new study reports.

Tracking about 170 Italian COVID patients who’d all lost their sense of smell or taste, researchers led by Dr. Paolo Boscolo-Rizzo, from the University of Trieste in Italy, found that those senses had returned in 89%.

New Langya Virus That May Have Spilled Over From Animals Infects Dozens

The Washington Post reported:

An international team of scientists identified a new virus that was likely to have been transmitted to humans after it first infected animals, in another potential zoonotic spillover less than three years into the coronavirus pandemic.

A peer-reviewed study published in the New England Journal of Medicine detailed the discovery of the Langya virus after it was observed in 35 patient samples collected in two eastern Chinese provinces.

The researchers — based in China, Singapore and Australia — did not find evidence that the virus was transmitted between people, citing in part the small sample size available. But they hypothesized that shrews, small mammals that subsist on insects, could have hosted the virus before it infected humans.

The first Langya virus sample was detected in late 2018 from a farmer in Shandong province who sought treatment for a fever. Over a roughly two-year period, 34 other people were found to have been infected in Shandong and neighboring Henan, with the vast majority being farmers.

South Africa’s Aspen to Halt COVID Vaccine Output as J&J Orders Dry up

Reuters reported:

South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare (APNJ.J) will stop making COVID-19 vaccines from the end of this month due to a lack of orders, a senior executive said, further undermining Africa’s already meager capacity to produce doses.

Aspen currently produces vaccines for Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N). In March, it struck a deal to produce, price, and sell its own-brand version of the shot for African markets.

That deal was considered a game-changer for a continent frustrated by sluggish Western handouts. But, while only a fifth of adults in Africa are fully vaccinated, according to the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, demand for shots has failed to materialize.

Aspen has had no orders for its Aspenovax vaccine and has not received orders from Johnson & Johnson beyond August.

EU Regulator Begins Review of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Variant-Adapted COVID Shot

Reuters reported:

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started a rolling review of a variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech (22UAy.DE), it said on Tuesday.

The so-called bivalent vaccine targets two strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID — the original strain first identified in China, and the Omicron offshoots BA.4/5 that are currently behind most cases in Europe.

A rolling review means the EMA assesses the data as it becomes available, and the process continues until there is enough data for a formal marketing application.

Last month, the EMA said it had begun a rolling review of another version of the companies’ shot which targets the original SARS-CoV-2 strain and Omicron subvariant BA.1.

Aug 09, 2022

Bill Gates, Whose Foundation Funds Polio Vaccines, Warns Polio Is ‘a Threat to Us All’ + More

Bill Gates, Whose Foundation Funds Polio Vaccines, Warns That the Disease’s Reemergence in New York Is ‘a Threat to Us All’

Fortune reported:

A once-eradicated disease has reemerged in New York, and it’s spooking health officials and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.

On Aug. 4, New York health authorities announced they had detected polio in wastewater samples from two counties north of New York City. Officials called the results, along with a confirmed case of polio in New York’s Rockland County in July, the “tip of the iceberg” for a wider polio outbreak of the disease that can cause paralysis.

Gates — a longtime champion of polio eradication — weighed in Monday, calling the news an “urgent reminder” that “until we #EndPolio for good, it remains a threat to us all,” on Twitter.

“The global eradication strategy must be fully supported to protect people everywhere,” wrote Gates, a Microsoft co-founder and the world’s fifth-richest man with a net worth of $118 billion.

Noses Might Be Kids’ Secret Weapon Against COVID

U.S. News & World Report reported:

This discovery is nothing to sniff at. The linings of kids’ noses are better able than those of adults to guard against SARS-CoV-2 infection, Australian researchers report.

“Children have a lower COVID-19 infection rate and milder symptoms than adults, but the reasons for this have been unknown,” said study co-author Kirsty Short, of the University of Queensland. “We’ve shown the lining of children’s noses has a more pro-inflammatory response to the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 than adult noses.”

She said researchers found major differences by age when comparing participants’ responses to COVID variants. They recently published their findings in the journal PLOS Biology.

For the study, they exposed samples of nasal lining cells from 23 healthy children and 15 healthy adults to SARS-CoV-2. The virus replicated less effectively in the children’s cells and the antiviral response was greater, researchers found.

Novavax Tumbles 31% as Waning COVID Vaccine Demand Hits Revenue Forecast

Reuters reported:

U.S. vaccine maker Novavax slumped nearly 31% on Tuesday as falling demand for its COVID-19 shot from low- and middle-income nations led the company to cut its annual revenue expectation by half.

Demand for its vaccine is also waning in the United States, where it was authorized for use among adults last month and was expected to be preferred by the skeptics of messenger RNA-based shots from Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

The company now expects 2022 revenue between $2 billion and $2.3 billion, compared with its prior forecast of $4 billion to $5 billion when it was hoping to benefit from the demand for its shots as part of the COVAX vaccine sharing program.

Why Tween Girls Especially Are Struggling so Much

The Washington Post reported:

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health, as rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal thoughts skyrocketed during the pandemic. But youth mental health had been deteriorating for some time before the pandemic, as psychologists like me have been noticing for at least 10 years.

There is no shortage of possible causes: Overparenting, screens and social media, cutthroat academic and sports competition, political acrimony, social injustice, climate concerns, gun violence and virtual learning among others. What gets obscured when we lump all youths together, though, is that certain demographic groups are especially vulnerable to psychological problems and may disproportionately account for the overall trend.

In my practice and those of my colleagues, it is tween girls from ages 10 to 14 who have struggled more than in the past. The belief has long been that middle school is the hardest period to get through, especially for girls, but a confluence of more recent societal and biological trends has led to a perfect storm for tween girls.

A recent study of 10- to 15-year-old British girls, for instance, found that behavioral difficulties and life dissatisfaction increased more among this group of girls than boys during the pandemic, compared to the pre-pandemic period. Another study, with Canadian and Australian girls, reported more anxiety and depression, relative to boys, during the same time.

U.S. to Buy Siga’s IV Drug Worth $26 Million to Fight Monkeypox Outbreak

Reuters reported:

The U.S. government will buy Siga Technologies Inc’s (SIGA.O) $26-million worth of intravenous formulation of antiviral drug Tpoxx, the company said on Tuesday, as the country fights an outbreak of monkeypox cases.

The company plans to deliver by next year the order for the IV treatment, which would be a vital option for patients unable to swallow the oral pill as monkeypox symptoms include rashes and blisters in the mouth.

The oral and intravenous formulations of Tpoxx are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of smallpox but do not yet have clearance to treat monkeypox.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided guidance for its use under ‘expanded access’ as an investigational drug.

Cash-Rich Pfizer Snaps up Global Blood Therapeutics for $5.4 Billion

The Washington Post reported:

Pfizer — cash-rich thanks to its coronavirus vaccine — is bringing Global Blood Therapeutics into the fold under a $5.4 billion all-cash deal announced Monday.

The acquisition of the maker of Oxbryta, one of the few treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration for sickle cell disease, is the latest blockbuster deal for the pharmaceutical giant.

In March, Pfizer shelled out $6.7 billion for Arena Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on immuno-inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease. More recently, it spent $11.6 billion to swallow up Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding, the maker of treatments for acute migraine headaches.

Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said the latest deal puts resources behind new treatments for an underserved community of patients.

Pfizer Enlists Children and Adults for Lyme Disease Vaccine in a Late Stage Clinical Trial

FOXBusiness reported:

Pfizer and Valneva, a French pharmaceutical company, announced they are recruiting approximately 6,000 people for a late-stage clinical of a vaccine meant to protect against Lyme disease.

Participants will include adults and children aged five and older in “highly endemic” regions in Europe and the U.S. for Lyme disease, the drugmaker said. Candidates will receive doses of a VLA15, or a placebo, along with a booster dose or additional placebo.

If Pfizer‘s and Valneva vaccine development succeeds, the vaccine could become human inoculation approved federally in the U.S. for Lyme disease since Lymeriz was discontinued in 2002.

The company estimates they may be able to submit the vaccine for approval in the U.S. and Europe by 2025 if Phase 3 of the vaccine trial is successful. Pfizer vowed to pay Valneva $25 million if the Phase 3 study is initiated.

‘We Don’t Even Agree on How to Define It yet’: It’s Year Three of the Pandemic and Scientists Still Know Very Little About Long COVID

CNBC reported:

We’ve entered year three of the pandemic, and experts still know very little about long COVID, including how to cure its symptoms.

On July 20 and 21, the Global Virus Network hosted the first-ever conference devoted solely to the science of long COVID. There, scientists spoke openly about what is known about the mysterious condition and the questions that remain.

At this stage, even providing an estimate of how many people have long COVID is tough because symptoms vary, says Robert Gallo, co-founder and director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who was one of the conference’s panelists.

COVID Sewage Surveillance Labs Join the Hunt for Monkeypox

Kaiser Health News reported:

The same wastewater surveillance techniques that have emerged as a critical tool in the early detection of COVID-19 outbreaks are being adapted for use in monitoring the startling spread of monkeypox across the San Francisco Bay Area and some other U.S. communities.

Before the COVID pandemic, wastewater sludge was thought to hold promise as an early indicator of community health threats, in part because people can excrete genetic evidence of infectious diseases in their feces, often before they develop symptoms of illness.

Israel has for decades monitored wastewater for polio. But before COVID, such risk monitoring in the U.S. was limited largely to academic pursuits.

With the onset of COVID, a research collaboration that involves scientists at Stanford University, the University of Michigan and Emory University pioneered efforts to recalibrate the surveillance techniques for detection of the COVID-19 virus, marking the first time that wastewater has been used to track a respiratory disease.

Colleges, Universities Across Illinois Begin Monkeypox Prep With Students Set to Return This Month

Chicago Tribune reported:

With students returning to campuses in just a couple of weeks, universities and colleges across the state are beginning to pull from COVID-19 response plans to prepare for the spreading monkeypox virus, which could pose a unique risk to students because they live in close quarters and often have heightened sexual contact, experts say.

“We have to be concerned about monkeypox on college campuses,” said Dr. Emily Landon, University of Chicago Medicine’s executive director for infection prevention and control. “Monkeypox spreads through close, physical contact, and there’s a lot of social and sexual networks in colleges.”

Limited Monkeypox Vaccine Supply Would Be Stretched Under FDA Plan

The Washington Post reported:

Biden administration officials are set to announce Tuesday a new strategy to split monkeypox vaccine doses in hopes of vaccinating up to five times as many people against the virus, according to officials with direct knowledge of the plan.

The strategy, first described publicly by Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf last week, would allow the Biden administration to stretch its limited supply of monkeypox vaccines by changing how those shots are administered.

Rather than inject doses of Jynneos subcutaneously, a traditional way of delivering vaccines into the fatty tissue under the skin, the doses would instead be injected under the top layer of the skin.

The change in injection method would maximize the immune reaction generated by the vaccine and allow U.S. officials to only administer one-fifth of the original dose, Califf told reporters last Thursday, stressing that the approach would not compromise safety or efficacy.

CDC Sends Team to New York to Investigate Polio Case

ABC News reported:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deployed a federal team to New York to investigate the case of polio detected in Rockland County.

The team will also help administer vaccinations in the county.

It’s unclear how long the CDC will remain in the county or if the findings will be released to the public. On July 21, the New York State Health Department announced a patient in Rockland County had contracted a case of vaccine-derived polio, the first case in the United States in nearly a decade.

Aug 08, 2022

Most Parents Are Saying No to COVID Vaccines for Toddlers + More

Most Parents Are Saying No to COVID Vaccines for Toddlers

The Wall Street Journal via MSN reported:

Parents are having their say about the COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5, and for most, the answer so far is no.

More than a month after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended shots for about 17.4 million children ages 6 months through 4 years, about 4% to 5% of them have received a shot, according to the most recent agency data and population estimates from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

By contrast, the vaccination rate for children 5 to 11 years reached about 18% a month after the CDC first recommended shots last November. The rate now stands at about 38%.

High numbers of parents also don’t perceive the virus as a threat or have safety concerns because the vaccines are still new, according to surveys and parents and health officials.

Controversial Drug Remdesivir Plays Key Role in COVID-Related Hospital Deaths: Dr. Ardis

The Epoch Times reported:

The antiviral medication remdesivir has played a controversial role in the COVID-19 treatment protocols used by hospitals that many families allege resulted in the death of their loved ones. Among the drug’s potential side effects is acute kidney failure, which many physicians argue is the source of the same symptom reported by the medical establishment to have been caused by COVID-19.

Dr. Bryan Ardis, CEO of Ardis Labs and host of The Dr. Ardis Show, said he watched his own father-in-law die in a hospital in February 2020 after being taken through the same hard-wired, standard-of-care protocols he would eventually witness playing out in the lives of others.

Ardis’s research brought him to COVID protocols set by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who had deemed remdesivir as “safe and effective” based on an experimental trial in Africa during an Ebola outbreak.

In the study found in the New England Journal of Medicine, a safety board found remdesivir to be “the least effective and the deadliest drug in this trial,” before it was suspended, Ardis explained. “Fifty-three percent of people they gave that drug to died,” Ardis said.

Fauci Warns of ‘Trouble’ for Those With BA.5 Variant if Not up to Date on Vaccines

The Washington Post reported:

More than two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said he understands people are exhausted but is urging those who are not up to date on the vaccines to get the shots — this time, as the latest Omicron subvariant, BA.5, has become the dominant strain in the United States.

Fauci told Los Angeles radio station KNX News earlier this week that although people who are unvaccinated and those with underlying conditions are at the greatest risk of complications from COVID-19, others are not exempt.

“If they don’t get vaccinated or they don’t get boosted, they’re going to get into trouble,” he said. BA.5, which has been called “the worst version of the virus,” accounts for more than 85% of cases of COVID-19, with more than 41% of U.S. counties experiencing a high COVID-19 community level, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. University Concedes It May Have Broken Law in Contract With Wuhan Lab

The Epoch Times reported:

A top U.S. biosecurity lab is taking responsibility for signing “poorly drafted” agreements with three high-level biosecurity labs in China that they concede may have broken the law. The three contracts, including one with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), gave the Chinese labs the power to destroy “secret files” from any stage of their collaboration.

“The party is entitled to ask the other to destroy and/or return the secret files, materials, and equipment without any backups,” reads the 2017 memorandum of understanding (MOU) that the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) signed with the Wuhan lab, which was revealed in April.

The university recently disclosed that it had signed contracts with identical confidentiality provisions with two other top-level biosecurity labs in China — the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute (pdf) in China’s Heilongjiang Province and the Institute of Medical Biology in Kunming (pdf), the capital of China’s Yunnan Province — documents first obtained by the investigative research group U.S. Right to Know show.

The two facilities, together with the WIV, house China’s only three labs certified at the highest biosafety levels.

Vaccine Targeting Fast-Spreading Omicron Subvariants Could Be Ready for Fall as Pfizer, BioNTech Announce Trials

Forbes reported:

Pfizer and BioNTech will begin trials of their updated mRNA COVID-19 vaccine designed to protect against the newer BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of the coronavirus later this month, BioNTech announced on Monday, joining other vaccine makers like Moderna who are trying to create updated shots targeting the faster spreading and immune evasive variants.

The trial announcement was included in BioNTech’s financial results for the second quarter of 2022, where the German vaccine maker reported a total revenue of €3.2 billion ($3.26 billion) — lower than analyst estimates.

BioNTech and its American partner Pfizer have started manufacturing “bivalent” Omicron BA.1 and BA.4/BA.5 vaccines that will offer protections both against the fast-spreading newer variants and earlier variants, the company said.

The company claims it will be able roll out the updated shots by October — in time for potential fall boosters — if it receives regulatory approval.

UN Warns of ‘Worrying And Dangerous’ Conspiracy Theories

ZeroHedge reported:

The United Nations would like everyone to be on the lookout for ‘worrying and dangerous’ conspiracy theories — especially those that might lead people to the conclusion that COVID-19 escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China… you know, the thing the WHO just admitted could very well be the case, and which Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has launched recent investigations into.

Before we get into the UN’s latest salvo in the war over narratives (feel free to scroll down if you’re a regular reader); We know from government contracts, FOIA records, and leaked emails that the U.S. government was conducting risky gain-of-function research on U.S. soil until former President Obama banned it in 2014 over ethical questions raised by the scientific community.

The ‘research’ included manipulating bat COVID to be more transmissible to humans, and following Obama’s ban, was funneled overseas through New York nonprofit, EcoHealth Alliance — whose CEO Peter Daszak secured lucrative contracts to study and manipulate bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China, four months before Obama’s ban.

Enter the UN’s new #ThinkBeforeSharing campaign, which helps people “learn how to identify, debunk, react to and report on conspiracy theories to prevent their spread.” So the default position of those behind the UN’s “watch out for conspiracy theories” campaign is that the lab leak is a conspiracy theory. Right.

BioNTech Reports Strong First Half, Expects Demand to Grow

Associated Press reported:

BioNTech, which teamed with Pfizer to develop a powerful COVID-19 vaccine, has reported higher revenue and net profit in the first half of the year and expects demand to grow as it releases updated vaccines to target new Omicron strains.

The German pharmaceutical company said Monday that revenue hit about 9.57 billion euros ($9.76 billion) in the first six months of 2022, up from nearly 7.36 billion euros in the same period a year earlier. But revenue dropped to about 3.2 billion euros in the second quarter from 5.31 billion euros in April through June of last year.

BioNTech said the dynamic nature of the pandemic has led to changes in orders and revenue but that it expects a strong end to the year. It said it plans to release revamped vaccines tailored to the latest Omicron variants as early as October, which could lead to a fall booster campaign.

Explainer: Monkeypox in the U.S.: Where Could It Spread Next?

Reuters reported:

The United States declared monkeypox a public health emergency last week, an effort to bolster the U.S. response to contain the outbreak.

The virus continues to be largely transmitted among gay and bisexual men, but experts say the disease could spill over into other populations, especially due to vaccine shortages. Monkeypox is spread by contact with puss-filled sores and is rarely fatal.

Experts point to the way HIV spread as a possible indicator of where the virus will go next.

Illinois Daycare Worker With Monkeypox Might Have Exposed Children, Officials Say

NBC News reported:

An Illinois daycare worker with monkeypox might have exposed children under his care, and an exemption was granted to allow those youths to receive the vaccine, health officials said Friday.

The case was reported in Rontoul, a village in Champaign County in central Illinois, health officials said. The number of children possibly exposed wasn’t clear, but officials said that no other people related to the center have tested positive.

Though the vaccine is not typically available to children, the Food and Drug Administration is allowing vaccination for those younger than 18 in cases where they may have been exposed to the virus, Vohra said.

The current vaccine for monkeypox, Jynneos, is approved in the U.S. for use only in adults. However, the vaccine may be administered in children six months to 17 years old under special circumstances that include possible exposure, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Climate Change Puts Lyme Disease in Focus for France’s Valneva After COVID Blow

Reuters reported:

With climate change spurring more cases of tick-borne Lyme disease, drugmaker Valneva (VLS.PA) is betting big on a vaccine as it looks beyond disappointing sales of its COVID shot.

Although Valneva secured European Union and British regulatory approval, both walked away from contracts worth more than a billion dollars combined, wiping nearly 40% off the value of Valneva’s share price in the past six months.

The French firm had touted its COVID-19 vaccine as a traditional alternative for people who had refused shots based on newer messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which teaches cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response.

But unlike the fierce competition with major international drugmakers such as Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca to roll out vaccines to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, there are no established rivals for either Lyme disease or Chikungunya.

Fewer Smokers Tried to Quit During COVID Pandemic

U.S. News & World Report reported:

Fewer people tried to quit smoking as the COVID-19 pandemic began, and this continued for at least a year, according to a new U.S. study.

The American Cancer Society detailed pandemic smoking behavior in the report, while stressing the need to re-engage smokers in smoking cessation campaigns.

“Smoking cessation is an urgent public health priority given that smoking is associated with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes and at least 12 cancers,” said lead study author Dr. Priti Bandi. She is the principal scientist for risk factors and screening surveillance research at the society.

The researchers found that the number of past-year attempts to quit smoking dropped between 2019 and 2020 for the first time since 2011. Attempts to quit also declined in 2020.

Aug 05, 2022

Germany’s Health Minister Tests Positive for COVID + More

Germany’s Health Minister Tests Positive for COVID

ABC News reported:

Germany’s health minister, an epidemiologist by training who has led the country’s fight against COVID-19 since December, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach’s ministry said early Friday that the 59-year-old has only light symptoms and is working from home. It said that Lauterbach has had four vaccine shots and his infection “shows that, with the highly contagious omicron variant, an infection can’t be entirely ruled out even with utmost caution.”

Germany, like many other countries, has seen large — though recently declining — numbers of cases this summer as new subvariants of omicron drive infections.

UK: ‘Early Signs’ That Monkeypox Outbreak May Be Peaking

AP News reported:

British health authorities said Friday the monkeypox outbreak across the country may be peaking and that the epidemic’s growth rate has slowed.

The U.K.’s Health Security Agency said in a statement there were “early signs that the outbreak is plateauing,” with 2,859 cases detected since May. No deaths have been reported. Last month, authorities estimated the outbreak was doubling in size about every two weeks, but the number of new infections has dropped in recent weeks.

“While the most recent data suggest the growth of the outbreak has slowed, we cannot be complacent,” said Dr. Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the Health Security Agency. She said anyone who thought they might have monkeypox should skip meeting friends, social gatherings, and avoid sexual contact.

The Health Security Agency said its most recent analysis of the outbreak “shows that monkeypox continues to be transmitted primarily in interconnected sexual networks of gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with other men.” More than 70% of the U.K.’s cases are in London.

New York State Health Commissioner Warns ‘Hundreds’ More May Be Infected With Polio

Today reported:

A polio case in Rockland County, New York, may be the “tip of the iceberg,” state Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett warned Thursday, after officials said wastewater samples had detected the virus in an adjacent county.

Urging unvaccinated residents to get immunized against the virus, Bassett said there was the potential for “much greater” community spread.

“Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected,” she said in a statement.

Last month’s case of polio in Rockland County, north of New York City, was the first in the United States in nearly a decade. Polio was detected in the county’s wastewater before the patient’s case was confirmed, officials have said.

Cancer Explosion: Pathologist Reports on Rise of Aggressive Cancers Since mRNA Shots

Technocracy News reported:

Dr. Ute Kruger is a researcher and senior physician at Lunds University in Sweden. She’s the Chief of Pathology, a field that she’s worked in for the last 25 years, with a specialty in breast cancer diagnosis for the past 18 years. She’s studied thousands of autopsies and breast cancer samples.

She’s extremely familiar with the industry and patient age, tumor size, and malignancy grade are all within her field of expertise and have had a natural rhythm throughout her career. That natural rhythm came to a halt in 2021 once the vaccine rollout began.

Doctors for Covid Ethics posted an interview with her where she shared her concerns about unusual features that have been showing up in samples from the past year.

  • Age – The average ages of the samples she received dropped, with a rise in the number of samples from people in their 30’s-50’s.
  • Size – It used to be unusual for Dr. Kruger to find a tumor 3 cm in size. In this new environment, she’s regularly seeing tumors of 4 cm, 8 cm, 10 cm, and the occasional 12 cm. In a shocking anecdote, 2 weeks ago she found a 16 cm tumor that took up an entire breast.
  • Multiple Tumors – Dr. Kruger has begun to see more cases of multiple tumors growing in the same patient, sometimes even in both breasts. She had 3 cases within 3 weeks of patients who had tumors growing in multiple organs. One had tumors in his/her breast, pancreas and lungs within months of getting vaccinated.
  • Recurrence – There has been an uptick in patients who have been in remission from their cancer for many years, suddenly getting an aggressive recurrence of their cancer shortly after vaccination.

Dr. Kruger initially thought that these turbo cancers, as she calls them, were due to delayed doctor appointments from COVID lockdowns, but that period is long over, and the tumors are still growing aggressively, and in younger patients.

She reported some of these cases to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and while some higher-ups initially agreed to meet with her, they canceled the meeting with no explanation the next day and sent a phone agent to take her report instead.

U.S. Administers Over 7,300 Novavax Vaccine Doses – CDC

Reuters reported:

The United States has administered more than 7,300 doses of Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 shot, which health officials hope will convince more people to opt for vaccinations as it is based on a technology that has been in use for decades.

Over 330,000 doses of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in the United States, and more than 2,300 people have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated on Thursday.

This is the first set of data on the vaccine’s use in the U.S. since its authorization last month.

How at Risk Are Kids in the Monkeypox Outbreak?

Today reported:

Even though there have been just five cases of monkeypox in kids reported in the U.S., it’s hard for parents not to worry about their own children, especially since the Biden administration has declared the outbreak a public health emergency.

Monkeypox has been spreading quickly in the U.S. and around the world. In May and early June, there were just a smattering of cases in the U.S., but since then, the virus has been spreading at an accelerating rate, with 812 new cases reported on July 25 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of Aug. 3, 6,617 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the U.S.

“Two things are happening at once that, I think, can account for the rise in cases that we’re seeing,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a recent press briefing. “One is more widely available testing, and two is potentially more infections that are actually happening or a result of infections that happened two or three weeks ago.”

1 in 8 COVID Patients Will Develop Long COVID, Study Finds

U.S. News reported:

Numerous people have reported lingering or new symptoms after a COVID-19 infection, though exactly how many people are struggling with long COVID has remained unclear.

Now, a new Dutch study finds about one of every eight (12.7%) patients who show long COVID symptoms.

The estimate is considered more reliable because researchers compared the number of people who experienced a new or increased health symptom three to five months after infection (21.4%) with those who experienced a new symptom but didn’t have an infection (8.7%).

The inclusion of uninfected populations gives a more accurate prediction of long COVID symptom prevalence and improved identification of the core symptoms of long COVID, according to the study. The findings were published Aug. 5 in The Lancet medical journal.

Less Than Half of U.S. Parents Plan to Vaccinate Young Kids Against COVID

CIDRAP News reported:

A nationwide survey study of more than 2,000 U.S. parents of children aged 6 months to 4 years reveals that less than half intend to have their child vaccinated against COVID-19 and that only one-fifth say they plan to do so within 3 months of eligibility.

The research, from a team led by University of Iowa investigators for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was published yesterday in JAMA Network Open 47% said they would wait 3 months or more.

The authors fielded an online survey of 2,031 U.S. parents of children 6 months to 4 years old about their intention to vaccinate their child against COVID-19 from Feb 2 to 10, which is 4 months before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended eligibility to this age-group.

‘The Next Public Health Disaster in the Making’: Studies Offer New Pieces of Long COVID Puzzle

CNN reported:

There’s no test for long COVID. There’s no specific drug to take or exercises to do to ease its symptoms. There isn’t a consensus on what long COVID symptoms are, and some doctors even doubt that it’s real.

Yet with vast numbers of people having had COVID-19, and estimates ranging from 7.7 million to 23 million long COVID patients in the U.S. alone, researchers say it has the potential to be “the next public health disaster in the making.”

The Biden administration released two reports this week to initiate a whole-government effort to prevent, detect and treat long COVID. Two new studies also try to gather some of the small pieces of the puzzle that is long COVID.

President Joe Biden said in April that long COVID was a priority for his administration and ordered two reports: one that lays out a research agenda for the country and one that sketches out the federally funded services and support available for people in the U.S. with long COVID. A total of 14 government departments and agencies worked together to create these new long COVID plans.

The plan proposes a new long COVID office within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), but it does not offer specifics on how to fund or staff the office.

Biden Feeling ‘Very Well’ as COVID Rebound Recovery Continues

NY Daily News reported:

President Biden was feeling “very well” Thursday and only coughing occasionally as he continued to recover from his so-called rebound case of COVID.

Despite testing positive for the virus, Biden is making steady progress at ditching his mild symptoms, White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said.

“He is experiencing a very occasional cough, but the cough is improving,” O’Connor said in a daily update on the president’s condition.