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552 Fully Vaccinated Oregon Residents Died of COVID, Half Received Pfizer Vaccine

International Business Times reported:

More than 500 residents in Oregon have now died of COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated against the virus as health officials continue to report over 2,000 new infections daily.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, health authorities in Oregon have recorded a total of 552 breakthrough COVID-19 deaths throughout the state.

Of the total number of deaths, 273 people had been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. At least 144 received the Moderna vaccine and 78 were given the Johnson & Johnson shots, according to data from the Oregon Health Authority.

Omicron Versus Delta: Battle of Coronavirus Mutants Is Critical

Associated Press reported:

As the Omicron coronavirus variant spreads in southern Africa and pops up in countries all around the world, scientists are anxiously watching a battle play out that could determine the future of the pandemic. Can the latest competitor to the world-dominating Delta overthrow it?

“It’s still early days, but increasingly, data is starting to trickle in, suggesting that Omicron is likely to outcompete Delta in many, if not all, places,” said Dr. Jacob Lemieux, who monitors variants for a research collaboration led by Harvard Medical School.

Many critical questions about Omicron remain unanswered, including whether the virus causes milder or more severe illness and how much it might evade immunity from past COVID-19 illness or vaccines.

Scientists Find ‘Stealth’ Version of Omicron That May Be Harder to Track

The Guardian reported:

Scientists have identified a “stealth” version of Omicron which cannot be distinguished from other variants using the PCR tests that public health officials deploy to gain a quick picture of its spread around the world, scientists have said.

The stealth variant has many mutations in common with standard Omicron, but it lacks a particular genetic change that allows lab-based PCR tests to be used as a rough and ready means of flagging up probable cases.

Researchers say it is too early to know whether the new form of Omicron will spread in the same way as the standard Omicron variant, but that the “stealthy” version is genetically distinct and so may well behave differently.

Researchers Develop COVID-Killing Stainless Steel

Bloomberg reported:

Researchers in Hong Kong said they have developed the world’s first stainless steel that kills the COVID-19 virus within hours, adding to the arsenal of products being created globally to curb the pathogen that triggered the worst pandemic of the past century.

The newly-developed alloy can inactivate 99.75% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus within three hours and 99.99% within six hours, according to a study published Nov. 25 by a team of researchers at the University of Hong Kong.

The university researchers, led by Huang Mingxin at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Leo Poon at the Centre for Immunity and Infection, are also liaising with industrial partners to test this material in creating steel products, such as lift buttons, doorknobs and handrails that are among most-commonly touched surfaces in public areas.

New Data Shows COVID Drug Works Against All Omicron Mutations

Reuters reported:

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) said on Tuesday its antibody-based COVID-19 therapy with U.S. partner Vir Biotechnology (VIR.O) is effective against all mutations of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, citing new data from early-stage studies.

The data, yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, shows that the companies’ treatment, sotrovimab, is effective against all 37 identified mutations to date in the spike protein, GSK said in a statement.

Medicago’s Plant-Based Vaccine Trial Shows 75.3% Efficacy Against Delta Variant

Reuters reported:

Canadian drug developer Medicago’s plant-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, enhanced by GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK.L) booster, was 75.3% effective against the Delta variant of the virus in a late stage study, the two companies said on Tuesday.

They said the vaccine’s overall efficacy rate against all variants of the coronavirus was 71%, except Omicron, which was not in circulation when the study was underway.

WHO Europe: Jab Young Children to Cut COVID Risk at Christmas

The Guardian reported:

European governments should consider mass vaccination programmes for primary school children given the risk of grandparents being infected with COVID over the holiday season, the World Health Organization has said.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the UK is currently reviewing the safety of a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine designed for children aged five and above.

The government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), responsible for approving vaccine programmes, is also currently examining data as a “matter of urgency” in order to be able to respond quickly should there be regulatory approval.

Spain Approves COVID Vaccine for Children in 5 to 11 Age Group

Associated Press reported:

Spain’s health ministry gave the go-ahead Tuesday for children between ages 5 and 11 to be vaccinated against COVID-19 amid a rise in coronavirus infections in recent weeks.

The rollout is due to begin Dec. 15, two days after the first of 3.2 million child vaccines arrive in Spain.

Austria has been inoculating children since the European Union’s drug regulator on Nov. 25 authorized Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for use on that age group. Greece will also begin on Dec. 15 and Italy will start on Dec. 16, among others.

Booster Shots May Be Needed to Keep Fully Vaccinated Status in Australia in Future

The Guardian reported:

A booster dose could be necessary to keep your green COVID-19 vaccination tick in the future, the health department secretary Brendan Murphy says.

Booster shots are being rolled out across Australia amid warnings that immunization from the initial vaccinations wanes with time.

Murphy said, for now, any third dose would be recorded and those with two doses would retain their tick. “If in the future the data suggests that immunity from the primary course wanes so much that people do really need a third dose, that could change.”

Japan’s COVID Deaths Lowest in 16 Months as Cases Plummet

The Japan Times reported:

In the world’s oldest nation, less than one person a day is dying from COVID-19.

The six confirmed deaths in Japan over the past week is the lowest it’s been in the country since July 2020, before the second wave of pandemic fatalities.

The drop in cases and deaths is even more striking considering that Japan’s population is much larger than all the G7 nations except the U.S., and is also older, increasing the risk of death from COVID-19.