COVID booster shots appear to be less than 20% effective against infection with the omicron variant of the virus just a few months after the booster is given, a new study found this week.
The Italian study, which is a pre-print review and re-analysis of prior studies and has not been peer-reviewed, suggests boosters are effective in the short term to restore protection against the virus. But over just a few months, that wanes quickly.
“Booster doses were found to restore the VE [vaccine effectiveness] to levels comparable to those acquired soon after administration of the second dose; however, a fast decline of booster VE against Omicron was observed, with less than 20% VE against infection and less than 25% VE against symptomatic disease at 9 months from the booster administration,” the authors wrote in the paper released Wednesday.
It’s a crucial question to understand, given that boosters widely became available about 9 months ago in the United States, and that a new surge is now happening with the BA.5 variant of omicron — which appears to be better at reinfecting people than any past strain of the virus.
Overall, the researchers found that nine months after administration, two doses of a vaccine were less than 5% effective at stopping a symptomatic omicron infection, and three doses were no more than about 22% effective.
According to the CDC, less than a third of Americans have had a first booster dose at any point since they became available, and only about 5% of Americans have had a second booster dose.
Monkeypox: Manitoba's top doctor gives vaccine update | CTV News – CTV News Winnipeg
Manitoba will be offering more vaccination appointments for monkeypox.
A news release from the province Thursday confirmed that additional appointments will be available “soon,” but no dates were listed.
Appointments can be made online or by calling Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257.
Manitoba recently expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine, but on Monday, tweeted all appointments were booked.
To date, no monkeypox cases have been found in Manitoba.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, said the province has a “scarce resource” of the monkeypox vaccine.
“It has to be stored properly, and it’s scarce because there are outbreaks happening in other jurisdictions,” he said. “We want to do whatever we can to avoid any wastage.”
While infections have primarily been reported in the gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) population, Roussin said it is important to avoid stigmatizing populations.
“There is a balance between risk communication and doing whatever we can to avoid stigmatizing those populations,” he said.
Roussin added the province will be releasing data on total monkeypox vaccines administered next week.
Canada to start testing some wastewater for polio 'as soon as possible' – CBC News
After new reports of polio cases abroad, and virus samples in the wastewater of several other developed countries, Canada intends to start testing wastewater from a number of cities “as soon as possible,” CBC News has learned.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) already works to monitor polio activity around the world, a spokesperson said in an email response to CBC News questions.
Currently, PHAC’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg does have the diagnostic tools available to test samples for poliovirus. Any suspected positive Canadian samples of poliovirus will be sent to that lab for further laboratory analysis and confirmation, with results shared with the respective local health authorities “so appropriate public health measures can be taken if necessary.”
According to the statement, PHAC has been communicating with national and international partners who are experts in this field to finalize a wastewater testing strategy. It will be testing wastewater samples that were collected earlier this year from “key high-risk municipalities” to determine if polio was present prior to the reported international cases.
PHAC will also be sending samples to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional confirmation.
“However, it is important to acknowledge that accurately testing wastewater for poliovirus is a developing science,” the statement continued. “For example, wastewater detections can be affected by extreme precipitation events, such as flooding in a community.”
Reports of polio in U.S., U.K., Israel
On Wednesday, British health authorities announced they will offer a polio booster dose to children aged one to nine in London, after finding evidence the virus has been spreading in multiple regions of the capital.
The agency said it was working closely with health authorities in the U.S. and Israel, as well as the World Health Organization, to investigate the links between polio viruses detected in those two countries.
In July, Israel announced a recent outbreak of polio infections appeared to be under control, after multiple people became infected, including a Jerusalem girl who was paralyzed and now requires rehabilitation, according to the Jerusalem Post.
More recently, in the state of New York, one unvaccinated young adult suffered paralysis after a polio infection in Rockland County — an area known for low vaccination rates — which marked the first case reported in the U.S. in nearly a decade.
Outbreaks also remain common in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of Africa — areas of the world where vaccination efforts have not yet eradicated the virus.
Polio can often be asymptomatic, but in some cases, the viral infection can lead to paralysis or death.
InnovationRx: Stretching Monkeypox Vaccine Doses; Plus, Omicron Subvariant Boosters – Forbes
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As the U.S. continues to face a rise in monkeypox cases (nearly 9,500 cases as of Tuesday), the FDA has OKed a new dosing strategy to stretch vaccine supplies. Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine was originally approved by the FDA for a full dose to be administered subcutaneously, meaning underneath the skin into the fat of the arm. On Tuesday, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization that allows health workers to inject one-fifth of a normal dose intradermally, meaning into the skin.
But experts tell Forbes that this new method poses challenges for the vaccine rollout: there is limited data supporting the strategy and most healthcare workers have experience giving intradermal injections. This method could also produce more side effects, like swelling and itching at the injection site, compared to the standard dose, according to Dr. Jay Varma, a professor at Weill Cornell Medicine. Though Varma also said he thinks the new approach is the best one “given the vaccine supply shortage.”
Facebook Gave Nebraska Cops A Teen’s DMs So They Could Prosecute Her For Having An Abortion
A Nebraska teenager is facing criminal charges alleging she aborted a fetus in violation of state law, after authorities obtained her Facebook messages using a search warrant. This marks one of the first instances of a person’s Facebook activity being used to incriminate her in a state where abortion access is restricted — a scenario that has remained largely hypothetical in the weeks following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Deals Of The Week
Funding Extension: Biofourmis, a startup developing digital therapeutics and artificial intelligence to remotely monitor patients, has raised a $20 million Series D extension led by Intel Capital. SCAN group president and CEO Sachin Jain and former Tenet Healthcare chairman and CEO Trevor Fetter are also joining the company’s board. Biofourmis was valued at $1.3 billion following its $300 million funding round in April.
Sickle Cell: Pfizer is acquiring Global Blood Therapeutics in a deal valued at $5.4 billion, as the pharma giant acquires its sickle cell disease portfolio. Pfizer estimates its approved treatment Oxbryta and pipeline of drugs in development “could achieve combined worldwide peak sales of more than $3 billion,” according to a press release.
Health Outcomes: HCA Healthcare is partnering with Johnson & Johnson on a pilot program to address early-stage lung cancer detection among the Black community. The two companies will also work together on health equity training for nurses and research using digital technology to improve outcomes for heart disease.
Diabetes: Abbott is partnering with WeightWatchers on a program for patients with diabetes that pairs Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre continuous glucose monitor with WeightWatchers’ diabetes management app that focuses on nutrition and meal planning.
Alzheimer’s Collaboration: Drug discovery firm Cerevance announced Tuesday that it has signed a multi-year contract with Merck to identify novel drug targets for Alzheimer’s disease. The deal calls for Cerevance to get $25 million upfront, and if all goes well with drug development, could be worth up to $1.1 billion in milestone payments in addition to royalties.
A new study suggests over half of infectious diseases could be worsened by climate change, as warming temperatures, droughts, wildfires and other weather phenomena that displace people make it easier for pathogens to spread.
Cigna reported nearly $1.6 billion in quarterly profits due to continued growth in health plan membership and the company’s Evernorth health services business.
Parents in Georgia can claim embryos with detectable heartbeats as dependents on their state tax returns following the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Medicare advantage company Alignment Healthcare’s losses are narrowing as its enrollment rises, per latest earnings report.
Meet Danielle Carnival, the scientist coordinating President Joe Biden’s new cancer moonshot.
Pfizer and BioNTech have completed clinical trials for vaccines that include specific protection against the original omicron variant. Now the two companies have begun testing for vaccines specific to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, which are the fastest spreading variants of Covid-19 in the United States. Manufacturing for the new vaccines has already begun, and could be rolled out as early as October pending regulatory approvals. That’s good news as we approach the fall and winter, which have been the times of year where Covid spread is at its highest. Competitor Moderna has also begun testing an omicron specific booster, but the FDA has not yet authorized any Omicron-specific vaccines.
Newly Discovered Monkey Antibodies Could Hold Key To Vaccine Against All Coronavirus Strains
Researchers have identified monkey antibodies that are effective against numerous Covid variants and other coronaviruses, a discovery that could help scientists develop better vaccines and prepare for future pandemics as pharma firms race to update their shots.
Other Coronavirus News
New research presented earlier this month suggests that the loss of smell during a Covid infection is associated with long-term cognitive impairment.
A recently published study finds that wind instruments, especially brass instruments like trumpets and trombones, are most likely to spread respiratory particles and therefore diseases like Covid.
Americans’ outlook of 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.
A very small retrospective study found that among patients hospitalized for Covid-19, those who admitted to being chronic cannabis users were less likely to be admitted to the ICU, but the authors of the study urged caution and more definitive research before drawing conclusions.
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