another surge seems on its way. the magnitude and timing are unclear – but what I'm most worried about isn't the offense the virus will hit us with. but the lack of defense we'll mount to meet it.
I wrote about how America is woefully unprepared. 1/https://t.co/0Z0AXXaQmx
— Katherine J. Wu, Ph.D. (@KatherineJWu) March 24, 2022
Pretending the pandemic is over will not make it so. The U.S. Congress has lost interest in funding public health efforts against Covid https://t.co/OY5bCGSACG
— delthia ricks ? (@DelthiaRicks) March 28, 2022
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 28, 2022
China has begun its most extensive lockdown in two years to conduct mass testing and control a growing outbreak in Shanghai. The citywide lockdown will be China’s biggest since the 76-day lockdown of Wuhan in early 2020. https://t.co/jhpHWMZF9t
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 28, 2022
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 28, 2022
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 28, 2022
— Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@hkfp) March 28, 2022
At least according to official numbers, the latest surge in Covid cases in Vietnam does not appear to have translated into a similar surge in deaths. pic.twitter.com/HCvKDL13EJ
— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) March 27, 2022
Covid-19 is a capricious foe. Just as the UK government updated its “Living with Covid” strategy last month, case numbers began creeping up again. According to the Office for National Statistics, just under 4.3mn people in the UK were infected in the week ending March 19, thanks to the more transmissible Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, waning boosters and the easing of restrictions.
No matter: from April, free universal testing for Covid will end and many NHS testing labs will close. The legal requirement to isolate if positive has been downgraded to guidance with related financial support scrapped. Masks have been largely discarded. Surveillance studies, including the Zoe Covid app, are being defunded or scaled back. The government that recommended handwashing to the tune of “Happy Birthday” sung twice, marked the second birthday of the pandemic by washing its hands of responsibility to go on managing it, aside from pledging fourth jabs and antivirals…
Drivers rarely rail against [safety] measures as intolerable infringements on liberty. Rather, being able to drive at all is synonymous with freedom. So, given those extensive restrictions, how deadly are the roads? An estimated 580 people were killed in UK road traffic accidents in the first six months of 2021 or about 22 people a week. By comparison, there were 820 deaths involving Covid in the week ending March 11…
The removal of all Covid measures in England (Scotland has delayed) means infected individuals are now free to mix socially at work, in schools, public transport, shops and restaurants. The virus is spreading unchecked again.
There has been little thought, and even less empathy, spared for the clinically vulnerable, who have shielded for two years. They have been told they can continue to receive free tests (to enable early access to antivirals), but report struggling to get them. Preventing infection in the first place, through public health measures such as masking in crowded settings, ventilation and testing is a better strategy for all of us, not just in the short term but to avoid Long Covid…
… On a visit to Wuhan, a commercial center of 11 million people, scientists from the city’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention brought him to Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. In stall after stall of the poorly ventilated space, he saw live wild animals — snakes, badgers, muskrats, birds — being sold for food. But it was the raccoon dogs that made him pull out his iPhone.
As one of the world’s experts on virus evolution, Dr. Holmes had an intimate understanding of how viruses can jump from one species to another — sometimes with deadly consequences. The SARS outbreak of 2002 was caused by a bat coronavirus in China that infected some kind of wild mammal before infecting humans. Among the top suspects for that intermediate animal: the fluffy raccoon dog…
The photos faded from his mind until the last day of 2019. As Dr. Holmes was browsing Twitter from his Sydney home, he learned of an alarming outbreak in Wuhan — a SARS-like pneumonia with early cases linked to the Huanan market. The raccoon dogs, he thought.
“It was a pandemic waiting to happen, and then it bloody well happened,” he said.
From that day on, Dr. Holmes was swept into a vortex of discoveries and controversies related to the origins of the virus — making him feel like “the Forrest Gump of Covid,” he joked. He and a Chinese colleague were the first to share the genome of the new coronavirus with the world. He then discovered crucial clues about how the pathogen most likely evolved from bat coronaviruses.
And in the contentious geopolitical debate over whether the virus may have leaked from a Wuhan laboratory, Dr. Holmes has become one of the strongest proponents of an opposing theory: that the virus spilled over from a wild animal. With colleagues in the United States, he recently published tantalizing clues that raccoon dogs kept in the very iron cage he photographed in 2014 could have set off the pandemic…
Researchers say the brain inflammation in long covid is similar to that in cancer patients. https://t.co/difcCobDr6
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 28, 2022
Canadian vaccine maker Medicago’s COVID-19 vaccine, approved last month in Canada, is facing limited growth in the near-term after the World Health Organization said it would not review the vaccine because the company is partly owned by U.S.-Swiss tobacco company Philip Morris, health experts say.
The WHO said at a briefing this month and in a follow-up statement to Reuters that it has not accepted an application for the vaccine because of its 2005 public health treaty requiring no involvement with any company that produces or promotes tobacco-based products.
Canada, which has provided millions of dollars in development funding to the company and has agreed to buy up to 76 million doses, defended its authorization of the vaccine, saying it needs a domestic bio-manufacturing industry to prepare for future pandemics…
Experts say a WHO authorization is key because the vaccine can then be part of the COVAX global vaccine program for low- and middle-income countries. While much of the developed world has already been vaccinated, Africa is still in desperate need of vaccines. WHO’s approval can also stand in for countries that do not have their own drug regulatory agencies.
The company has also pitched the platform as easily adaptable for new vaccines should there be a next pandemic. It is developing flu vaccines on the platform as well…
Medicago would now need to approach European and U.S. regulators as well as any other individual countries one by one to attain approvals, a more difficult but not impossible barrier to use, Adalja said…
The company has started the filing process for approval of its COVID-19 vaccine with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Medicago Chief Executive Officer Takashi Nagao said in an emailed statement.
The company has also started an early-to-mid stage study of the shot in Japan, and plans to file for regulatory approval in the spring, Nagao said…
Medicago’s Covifenz is the only authorized COVID-19 vaccine that is plant-based. To make the vaccine, the company uses nicotiana benthamiana, a cousin of the tobacco plant, as small bioreactors, growing non-infectious virus like particles that mimic the coronavirus. It is given with a boosting compound from British drugmaker Glaxosmithkline…
Epidemics have biological and social ends, as discussed in #apollosarrow.
Despite 92% of students being boosted (97% vaccinated), Cornell is seeing substantial spread of COVID (BA.2) this week after dropping masking.
People are saying they’re done. https://t.co/UOERs7RflD
— Nicholas A. Christakis (@NAChristakis) March 27, 2022