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Heart Inflammation Risk for Young Men Higher After Vaccination Than After COVID: Study
Researchers in England analyzed hospital admissions with myocarditis, a form of health inflammation, among the vaccinated between Dec. 1, 2020, and Dec. 15, 2021.
They estimated that the second dose of Moderna’s vaccine, which is advised for a two-dose primary series, leads to 97 myocarditis cases per million above baseline in the first 28 days after vaccination for men younger than 40. That’s up from 16 additional cases per million of myocarditis after a positive COVID-19 test and before vaccination.
Scientists Question Moderna Invention Claim in COVID Vaccine Dispute
One of the three inventions claimed by Moderna in a legal battle that has erupted over the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines against COVID-19 was actually patented years earlier by two university scientists.
In a complaint filed on 26 August in a U.S. district court in Massachusetts, Moderna accuses Pfizer and its partner BioNTech of “co-opting Moderna’s patented inventions” covering different aspects of the two COVID-19 vaccines, which have already earned the companies billions of dollars. Both vaccines rely on mRNA that codes for the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.
BioNTech issued a statement insisting its COVID-19 vaccine work was “original” and said it “will vigorously defend against all allegations of patent infringement.” In a statement to Science, Pfizer said it had “not yet fully reviewed the complaint but we are surprised by the litigation,” adding that the company is “confident in our intellectual property supporting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.”
At the heart of Moderna’s patent infringement claim are the steps that opened the door for mRNA as a vaccine. Drew Weissman and Katalin Karikó, both at the University of Pennsylvania (Karikó now also works for BioNTech), published the fundamental discovery in 2005: They showed that altering one of the fundamental building blocks of mRNA, the nucleotide uridine, made the molecule less toxic and also more capable of dodging immune destruction.
FDA Expected to Authorize Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech Omicron Boosters
The FDA is expected to authorize a pair of booster shots targeting what appear to be the virus’ most contagious strains as soon as Wednesday, three people with knowledge of the matter told POLITICO.
The move would set the stage for the Biden administration to begin offering the reformulated vaccine shortly after Labor Day, in a bid to bolster Americans’ protection against a potential COVID resurgence later this year.
The government plans to roll out a combined 175 million doses of the new boosters developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, with Moderna’s shot available to all adults and Pfizer’s offered to those 12 and older, according to a federal planning guide published earlier this month.
Healthcare — White House Fall Booster Push Faces Challenges
Taylor Swift announced her new album last night at the VMA’s and the internet is collectively “screaming, crying, throwing up” over the news.
The challenge: Administration officials say these new vaccines will be key to controlling a potential fall surge, but they will need to convince an increasingly checked-out public to get the shots.
High Percentage of COVID Deaths Had 3rd Shot, More Excess Deaths After 4th Shot
Currently, many countries around the world are promoting the second COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for the elderly, many of whom have already received their first booster shots. Under these circumstances, the transparency and openness of information about the safety of booster shots has become a very important issue.
Amid this discussion, recently, data on the numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths after vaccine booster injections in two Canadian provinces have been removed.
The author of a Letter to the Editor published in the Prince George Citizen, a long-standing Canadian newspaper, commented, “If you look at the statistics from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) site, you will see that there is zero scientific evidence for keeping the vaccine passport in place.”
However, on July 28, 2022, the BCCDC website indicated that their “outcomes by vaccination status” data would be removed as of that date. At present, this data is no longer available on its website.
Increased Disease Potential of COVID Variant BA.5 Currently Circulating in the United States
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many iterations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have dominated over others. The B.1 variant of 2020 was overtaken by the Alpha variant in early 2021. Alpha was overcome by Delta later that Summer. Next, Delta was pushed aside for Omicron BA.1 in late 2021, followed by BA.2 shortly thereafter. Now, BA.5 dominates the global virus landscape.
There are two driving forces behind the success of a SARS-CoV-2 variant over another. The first is a variant’s ability to infect those previously infected or vaccinated and the second are the virus’s intrinsic pathogenic properties. Here we focus on the latter, specifically in reference to the latest Omicron variants.
A recent study by Tamura et al. focuses on the latter, specifically on how Omicron subvariants, including BA.5, compare pathogenetically to earlier virus variants.
Understanding the pathogenic dynamics of emerging variants may inform drug and vaccine development, treatment regimens for those with moderate to severe disease, and surveillance for variants yet to come.
With Enough Monkeypox Vaccine Finally in Hand, U.S. Seeks to Make More Shots at Home
After securing enough doses in the national stockpile to vaccinate the most at-risk Americans against monkeypox, the federal government says it has begun training its sights on the next steps of the outbreak.
“We’re watching this very, very closely and will be prepared to move out against any outbreak that might happen in additional populations,” Assistant Secretary for Response and Preparedness Dawn O’Connell told ABC News.
“If we begin to see an outbreak in a college campus, we will make vaccines available on that college campus — absolutely,” said O’Connell, who leads monkeypox response within the Department of Health and Human Services.
Monkeypox Outbreak Can Be Eliminated in Europe, WHO Says
It is possible to eliminate the monkeypox outbreak in Europe, World Health Organization officials said on Tuesday, highlighting evidence that case counts are slowing in a handful of countries.
There are encouraging signs of a sustained week-on-week decline in the onset of cases in many European countries, including France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Britain, as well as a slowdown in some parts of the United States, despite scarce vaccine supplies.
Small Study Supports TPOXX as Monkeypox Treatment
The drug tecovirimat appears to be safe and effective for treating the symptoms and skin lesions of monkeypox, a small study suggests.
Tecovirimat (TPOXX) is an antiviral drug for the treatment of smallpox. It works by limiting the spread of the virus in the body. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allowed doctors to prescribe tecovirimat on a “compassionate use basis” to treat adults and children with orthopoxvirus infections, including monkeypox.
“We have very limited clinical data on the use of tecovirimat for monkeypox infection. There is much to learn about the natural progression of the disease and how tecovirimat and other antivirals may affect it,” researcher Dr. Angel Desai said in a news release from the University of California, Davis. She is an infectious disease specialist at the university.