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Large antibody study offers hope for virus vaccine efforts – Humboldt Journal

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Antibodies that people make to fight the new coronavirus last for at least four months after diagnosis and do not fade quickly as some earlier reports suggested, scientists have found.

Tuesday’s report, from tests on more than 30,000 people in Iceland, is the most extensive work yet on the immune system’s response to the virus over time, and is good news for efforts to develop vaccines.

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If a vaccine can spur production of long-lasting antibodies as natural infection seems to do, it gives hope that “immunity to this unpredictable and highly contagious virus may not be fleeting,” scientists from Harvard University and the U.S. National Institutes of Health wrote in a commentary published with the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One of the big mysteries of the pandemic is whether having had the coronavirus helps protect against future infection, and for how long. Some smaller studies previously suggested that antibodies may disappear quickly and that some people with few or no symptoms may not make many at all.

The new study was done by Reykjavik-based deCODE Genetics, a subsidiary of the U.S. biotech company Amgen, with several hospitals, universities and health officials in Iceland. The country tested 15% of its population since late February, when its first COVID-19 cases were detected, giving a solid base for comparisons.

Scientists used two different types of coronavirus testing: the kind from nose swabs or other samples that detects bits of the virus, indicating infection, and tests that measure antibodies in the blood, which can show whether someone was infected now or in the past.

Blood samples were analyzed from 30,576 people using various methods, and someone was counted as a case if at least two of the antibody tests were positive. These included a range of people, from those without symptoms to people hospitalized with signs of COVID-19.

In a subgroup who tested positive, further testing found that antibodies rose for two months after their infection initially was diagnosed and then plateaued and remained stable for four months.

Previous studies suggesting antibodies faded quickly may have been just looking at the first wave of antibodies the immune system makes in response to infection; those studies mostly looked 28 days after diagnosis. A second wave of antibodies forms after a month or two into infection, and this seems more stable and long-lasting, the researchers report.

The results don’t necessarily mean that all countries’ populations will be the same, or that every person has this sort of response. Other scientists recently documented at least two cases where people seem to have been reinfected with the coronavirus months after their first bout.

The new study does not establish how much or which type of antibody confers immunity or protection — that remains unknown.

The study also found:

— Testing through the bits-of-virus method that’s commonly done in community settings missed nearly half of people who were found to have had the virus by blood antibody testing. That means the blood tests are far more reliable and better for tracking spread of the disease in a region and for guiding decisions and returning to work or school, researchers say.

— Nearly a third of infections were in people who reported no symptoms.

— Nearly 1% of Iceland’s population was infected in this first wave of the pandemic, meaning the other 99% are still vulnerable to the virus.

— The infection fatality rate was 0.3%. That’s about three times the fatality rate of seasonal flu and in keeping with some other more recent estimates, said Dr. Derek Angus, critical care chief at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Although many studies have been reporting death rates based on specific groups such as hospitalized patients, the rate of death among all infected with the coronavirus has been unknown.

The news that natural antibodies don’t quickly disappear “will be encouraging for people working on vaccines,” Angus said.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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COVID-19: 91 new cases reported in B.C. with no deaths – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were now 1,376 active cases of the disease, of which 62 were being treated in hospital including 18 in intensive care.

There were 91 new cases of COVID-19 reported in B.C. between noon Tuesday and noon Wednesday and no deaths.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said there were now 1,376 active cases of the disease, with 62 people being treated in hospital including 18 in intensive care.

The number of active COVID-19 cases peaked at 1,987 on Sept. 21, but dropped the following day to 1,465.

According to the Ministry of Health, this was because Vancouver Coastal Health had not been passing on recovery data to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control over the past month as they were transitioning to a new data collection system.

Fraser Health has the most active cases, at 781, with Vancouver Coastal Health next with 517 cases. Island Health has only eight active cases.

Henry said there were 3,368 people in quarantine under public health monitoring after being potentially exposed to the disease. Of the 8,395 cases that have been reported in B.C., 6,769 have recovered and 227 have died.

“There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks, and outbreaks at Bear Creek Villa independent-living facility and Normanna long-term care facility have been declared over,” Henry said, adding there were still outbreaks in nine long-term care or assisted-living homes and five acute-care facilities.

Of the 91 cases reported between on Wednesday, two were in health-care facilities.

“There have been no new community outbreaks, although there continue to be community exposure events. The outbreak at the Loblaws warehouse has been declared over,” Henry said.

“Public alerts and school notifications are posted on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) website, as well as on health authorities’ websites, providing details on where the potential exposure occurred and what actions to take – whether to self-isolate or monitor for symptoms.”

On Wednesday afternoon, parents at Ecole Riverside School in Port Coquitlam were told that there had been a COVID-19 positive person at the school on Sept. 18. They were told that if their child had been exposed they would be notified by Fraser Health.

In Vancouver, parents at Xpey’ Elementary School were told there had been a COVID-sick person at the school on Sept. 10, 14, 15 and 21.

Surrey, the largest school district in B.C., has reported 15 school exposures so far.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com


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B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19 – Abbotsford News

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B.C. is reporting 91 new cases of COVID-19 but no new deaths as of Wednesday (Sept. 23), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Deputy Health Minister Stephen Brown said in a joint statement.

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began. The death toll remains at 227.

This is the second day in a row that new infections have remained under 100 per day. The number of patients in hospital grew by one to 62, although the number in ICU dropped from 22 to 18.

Health officials said there have been no new health-care facility outbreaks, and that the outbreaks at Bear Creek Villa independent-living facility and Normanna long-term care facility are now over. There are a total of 14 health-care facilities with outbreaks of the virus; nine are long-term care or assisted living facilities, while five are acute care centres. There have also been no new community exposure events and the outbreak at a Loblaws warehouse is now over.

However, health officials said they were still concerned about how many new COVID-19 infections there were in the province.

“New cases and clusters of COVID-19 remain higher than where we would like them to be,” Henry and Brown said.

“The impact of this means that thousands of people in B.C. are now under active public health monitoring and care, with many forced to deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with having to self-isolate away from work, friends and family.”

In total, there are 3,368 people under public health monitoring and 1,376 active cases, a drop of 89 in the latter figure.

READ MORE: Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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Coronavirus: Younger demographics lead infections in Manitoba, Canada – Global News

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Younger demographics lead the pack in COVID-19 infections in Manitoba and Canada while the novel coronavirus‘s total infections increase across the nation.

Federal officials warn the virus will continue to spread unless some early pandemic precautions are re-adopted and close contacts are reduced.

“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an address to the nation Wednesday.

Read more:
Canada ‘on the brink’ of coronavirus surge, second wave underway in some regions: Trudeau

Meanwhile, Manitoba began to see an increase in cases in August after a spring and early summer plateau — it started with clusters in western and southern Manitoba, before September surges in Winnipeg rocketed the total number of infections to 1,674 as of Wednesday.

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As of Sept. 23, 369 people aged 20-to-29 have been infected in the province — the heaviest-hit demographic, based on provincial data.

The second-hardest hit demographic — 30-to-39-year-olds — has seen 318 people infected, according to provincial data. 

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Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, pleaded with younger people to take precautions seriously in a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday in which she and other public health officials warned infections country-wide could potentially increase to 155,795 total cases and 9,300 deaths by Oct. 2.

“Young people were part of the collective solution to crushing the spring wave and now with incidence rates in this age cohort, they are a critical element in the solution. We need to ramp up the defences and stop a big resurgence from occurring,” Tam said.

“I am making a special call-out to young Canadians: we need your ingenuity and your drive because we won’t get COVID-19 back on the slow burn track without your help.

“This is your generation, this is your time, you’ve got this.”

Read more:
Ahead of throne speech, Canadians see coronavirus pandemic, jobs as top concerns: Ipsos poll

People aged 10-19 are the fifth-hardest hit demographic — 191 youth have been infected.

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Most but not all teenagers are taking COVID-19 precautions — handwashing, mask-wearing and physical distancing — seriously, Winnipeg high school students told Global News Wednesday.

“Personally, I am. Not everybody is, but personally I am,” said Grant Park High School student Zane Schellenberg.

“It’s really half and half, a lot of people are saying it’s like a joke… but then a lot of other people are saying it’s really real, and some of them don’t even come to school. It’s really an equal bunch,” said Samantha Keen, a student at the same school, adding that most people she knows aren’t attending large parties.

“I feel like some people just don’t think they should take it seriously because a bunch of young people don’t really get affected, but I feel like they should because like if I got infected and I infected my grandparents or something… that wouldn’t be very fun,” said Catherine Caparas, another Grant Park High School student.






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Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor urges youth to share ideas on how to limit COVID-19 transmission


Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor urges youth to share ideas on how to limit COVID-19 transmission

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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