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COVID-19: Scientists urge Canadians to pick up booster shot pace – CTV News



Across Canada, there have been booster clinics and vaccine days, all to get more Canadians their shots — but recently, the drive to get shots into arms has hit a curb.

Health officials say they’ve been noticing enthusiasm waning.

“I think we’re all concerned with the drop,” Nicole Dupuis, CEO of Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, told CTV News. “We still have quite a number of individuals who have still not received a second dose.”

And although the advent of Omicron spurred regions to open up booster shots to more ages, the rate of Canadians getting booster shots has gone down.

So far, over 30 million Canadians are double-vaccinated.

Health Canada says 25 million third doses of Pfizer and Moderna have been ordered, but as of the most recent data, only 15 million third doses have been given out.

This means around 10 million have not gotten a booster shot.

“To get the best bang for your buck, you really you really should be getting the booster,” Mina Tadrous, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, told CTV News.

A new study conducted in Canada offers real world evidence that three shots offer the strongest protection, scientists say.

Researchers tracked data on over 20,000 people who were confirmed by PCR test to have contracted COVID-19 as Omicron slammed into Ontario in December. The study has been submitted for peer-review.

The study found that six months after having received two doses, there was very little protection left to prevent symptomatic illness from the Omicron variant.

That third dose, however cut the chance of illness with symptoms by 61 per cent.

This doesn’t mean that two doses provided no protection at all — when it came to protecting against hospital admissions and death from Omicron, two doses cut the risk by 82 per cent, the study found.

But that third dose reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 95 per cent.

The study also included data on the vaccine response to Delta in the same period, and shows how different the vaccine’s interaction with Omicron is. Two doses of the vaccine were 85-per-cent effective against symptomatic illness six months after the second dose as long as the patient had Delta instead of Omicron.

“It was not possible for us to study vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection before because the data to do so were not available at the time,” Dr. Jeff Kwong, one of the study authors, told CTV News.

But the bottom line, he says, is that “boosters improve protection against symptomatic and severe outcomes.”

Kwong, who is also a scientist with Public Health Ontario and interim director of the Centre for Vaccine Preventable Diseases, pointed out that even a small percentage difference in protection can mean a lot of hospitalizations when you look at how many people are contracting the virus overall.

“Our health system just doesn’t have enough excess capacity to be able to deal with that,” he said. “That’s why our hospitals are now overflowing once again.

“Really, two doses just doesn’t offer a whole lot of protection against Omicron. It’s a different variant.”

Scientists are hoping this Canadian data will convince those sitting on the fence about a booster shot.

“As a pharmacist, I see these conversations a lot and I have them with people,” Tadrous said. “When they talk about, ‘why do I need a booster, I thought you told me two doses and this thing’s over.’

“So this is again, supportive of the need for boosters and the continued action and call for Canadians to get boosters if they’re eligible.”

Tadrous added that studies that track vaccine effectiveness during a rollout are important because they provide real-world data that can reveal things clinical trials may have missed.

“When we roll something out into the real world, it goes to everybody,” Tadrous said. “With vaccines, that may have been limited to some populations, and so what it looks like in the real world is really important.”

Some researchers believe it is data like this that may prompt more regions to require a third dose to be considered fully vaccinated. But so far, the terminology has not shifted.  

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Mysterious staggering disease in cats down to previously unknown virus – New Scientist



A previously unknown rustrela virus might be the cause of a staggering disease that affects cats in some parts of Europe


1 July 2022

Pet cats in some parts of Europe can sometimes develop a mysterious disease

Laurie 4593/Shutterstock

The cause of a brain disease in cats that makes them develop symptoms such as staggering is a previously unknown virus, a study suggests. The pathogen is a rustrela virus and is probably carried by wood mice.

The findings show that rustrela viruses are more diverse and widespread than previously thought, according to Kaspar Matiasek at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and his colleagues. They write that the viruses might cause neurological diseases in other mammals …

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Monkeypox symptoms differ from previous outbreaks, U.K. study says – The Globe and Mail



FILE – This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak.The Associated Press

Patients with monkeypox in the UK have noticeably different symptoms from those seen in previous outbreaks, according to researchers in London, raising concerns cases are being missed.

Patients reported less fever and tiredness and more skin lesions in their genital and anal areas than typically seen in monkeypox, the study of 54 patients at London sexual health clinics in May this year found.

Monkeypox, a usually relatively mild viral illness that is endemic in several countries in western and central Africa, has caused more than 5,000 cases and one death outside those areas – mainly in Europe – since early May. Cases have also risen in the countries where it more usually spreads, according to the World Health Organization.

The research from London, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal, follows suggestions from public health bodies like the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the outbreak – which is spreading chiefly among men who have sex with men – is presenting unusually.

The authors, from a number of institutions including Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said case definitions should be reviewed to avoid cases being overlooked, particularly as monkeypox can “mimic” other common sexually transmitted infections (STI) like herpes and syphilis. The study also found that a quarter of the monkeypox patients were HIV positive, and a quarter had another STI.

“Misdiagnosis of the infection may prevent the opportunity for appropriate intervention and prevention of onward transmission,” said Dr Ruth Byrne, from the trust.

Monkeypox spreads through close contact, and researchers are working to establish whether it can also be transmitted via semen, the classic definition of sexual transmission. [L1N2Y20QL]

David Heymann, an infectious diseases epidemiologist and WHO advisor on the outbreak, said it was important to control the spread without stigmatizing those affected.

“That includes working with populations at the greatest risk to try to help them understand how easy it is to prevent this infection – just by avoiding physical contact in the genital area [when a rash is present],” he told Reuters.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

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A Logarithmic Map of the Entire Observable Universe – Visual Capitalist





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Logarithmic map of the Observable Universe

For a full-size option or to inquire about posters, please visit Pablo Carlos Budassi’s website.

A Logarithmic Map of the Entire Observable Universe

Among the scientific community, it’s widely believed that so far humans have only discovered about 5% of the universe.

Yet, despite knowing about just a fraction of what’s out there, we’ve still managed to discover galaxies billions of light-years away from Earth.

This graphic by Pablo Carlos Budassi provides a logarithmic map of the entire known universe, using data by researchers at Princeton University and updated as of May 2022.

How Does the Map Work?

Before diving in, it’s worth touching on a few key details about the map.

First off, it’s important to note that the celestial objects shown on this map are not shown to scale. If it was made to scale with sizes relative to how we see them from Earth, nearly all of the objects would be miniscule dots (except the Moon, the Sun, and some nebulae and galaxies).

Secondly, each object’s distance from the Earth is measured on a logarithmic scale, which increases exponentially, in order to fit in all the data.

Within our Solar System, the map’s scale spans astronomical units (AU), roughly the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Beyond, it grows to measure millions of parsecs, with each one of those equal to 3.26 light-years, or 206,000 AU.

Exploring the Map

The map highlights a number of different celestial objects, including:

  • The Solar System
  • Comets and asteroids
  • Star systems and clusters
  • Nebulae
  • Galaxies, including the Milky Way
  • Galaxy clusters
  • Cosmic microwave background—radiation leftover from the Big Bang

Featured are some recently discovered objects, such as the most distant known galaxy to date, HD1. Scientists believe this newly-discovered galaxy was formed just ​​330 million years after the Big Bang, or roughly 8.4 billion years before Earth.

It also highlights some newly deployed spacecraft, including the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is NASA’s latest infrared telescope, and the Tiangong Space Station, which was made by China and launched in April 2021.

Why is it called the “Observable” Universe?

Humanity has been interested in space for thousands of years, and many scientists and researchers have dedicated their lives to furthering our collective knowledge about space and the universe.

Most people are familiar with Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity, which became a cornerstone of both physics and astronomy. Another well-known scientist was Edwin Hubble, whose findings of galaxies moving away from Earth is considered to be the first observation of the universe expanding.

But the massive logarithmic map above, and any observations from Earth or probes in space, are limited in nature. The universe is currently dated to be around 13.8 billion years old, and nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light.

When accounting for the expansion of the universe and observed objects moving away from us, that means that the farthest we can “see” is currently calculated at around 47.7 billion light-years. And since light takes time to travel, much of what we’re observing actually happened many millions of years ago.

But our understanding of the universe is evolving constantly with new discoveries. What will we discover next?

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist’s Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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