Connect with us

Health

Large antibody study offers hope for virus vaccine efforts

Published

on

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.

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.

Source: – The Daily Courier

Source link

Continue Reading

Health

B.C. to publish a list of school COVID-19 exposures, outbreaks – Prince George Citizen

Published

on


The B.C. government intends to publish online all COVID-19 school exposure and outbreak events.

The move follows the first of five health authorities to provide its own online list of exposures or outbreaks, a ministry spokesperson confirmed.

article continues below

Fraser Health announced Wednesday a web page that will list all such events by school district.

The website does not provide any details of a so-called exposure and it’s not yet clear if more details will be provided for an outbreak and whether such details will be updated as cases are confirmed.

An exposure is when someone who attended the school tested positive for COVID-19 and does not mean the disease was transmitted. Only an outbreak notice is an indication public health authorities have determined transmission in a school setting.

Parents do not need to take action if there is an exposure event, unless contacted by a health official (contact tracer) or school official, states Fraser Health.

“We have a responsibility to be transparent, clear, and current in our communication to parents, teachers, and students about COVID-19 exposures in schools in our region, and the launch of our COVID-19 school exposures webpage provides us with an opportunity to do just that,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health president and CEO, via a media statement. “This new page is a tool for us to help keep the lines of communication open and give schools and families the resources they need to feel safe and reassured.”

Fraser Health oversees 11 school districts between Burnaby and Hope, including Delta and Surrey.

The list shows six exposure events, to date. One at Delta secondary school and five others in Surrey.

More details appear to be provided specifically to parents via the school districts, who are in cross communications with the health authority.

In a letter to parents Wednesday, Delta district superintendent Doug Sheppard noted a key point for families to remember is that Fraser Health will connect directly with any individuals who may have been exposed with further instructions via phone call or letter. If someone is contacted by Fraser Health, they’re asked to follow the health authority’s advice carefully.

Sheppard said the protocol in such circumstances includes:

  • Fraser Health Authority will initiate contact tracing
  • FHA will determine how the individual was infected and who they were in close contact with
  • The heath authority will determine if close contacts will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days
  • Only public health can determine who is a close contact.

With files from Delta-Optimist

gwood@glaciermedia.ca
 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

City offering more municipal facilities as COVID-19 testing sites, Mayor Watson says – Ottawa Citizen

Published

on


Article content continued

Watson said he’s been told by health officials that between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of people in the lines have no symptoms.

“That is putting a strain on the system,” Watson said, and he told Ford that the messaging needs to change so that people without symptoms aren’t going to testing sites.

A few hours later, however, Ford continued to encourage people who don’t have symptoms to get tested if they want to.

“We have the asymptomatic folks that may be anxious, or they want to get tested, and God bless them, get tested, but we’re going to be prepared and we’re ramping up,” Ford said during a press conference.

Much of the anger generated by the long testing lines and overrun assessment sites is rooted in confusion about how this could possibly happen when officials knew when students would be returning to classes.

Watson said Ottawa Public Health has stepped up to help, but the primary responsibility for testing is with the hospital network. The Ottawa Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital, Montfort Hospital and CHEO all have roles in the local testing program.

“I think they are now realizing that a lot of the testing capacity should have been dealt with a month ago with the anticipation of school,” Watson said. “To their credit now, and I’ve talked to all four hospital presidents, they understand the urgency and frustration and they have to get this problem fixed.”

The city continues to be in a state of emergency because of the pandemic, but Watson said he hasn’t asked Ford to request military assistance to help with logistical support in testing. There’s no sense bringing in military help if there are no additional sites yet to set up testing facilities, Watson said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Nine deaths linked to COVID-19 at Ottawa long-term care home – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)

Published

on


Nine residents of an Ottawa long-term care home have died due to COVID-19 in the most serious outbreak of novel coronavirus in Ottawa in months.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, West End Villa confirms that nine residents have passed away from complications related to COVID-19.

“As of (Friday), there have been 52 cases of COVID-19 among residents, and 26 cases among staff, including one agency employee,” said Kelly Keeler, Administrator at West End Villa.

“All employee who have testing positive are isolating at home. Three residents are being treated in hospital and four resident cases have been resolved.”

Keeler says West End Villa is working with Ottawa Public Health and will remain in “close contact” with family members.

Earlier this week, West End Villa said a second round of COVID-19 surveillance testing had been conducted to help ensure cohorting efforts are as effective as possible.

Ottawa Public Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at West End Villa on Aug. 30. 

The first novel coronavirus outbreak at West End Villa in May saw one staff member test positive for novel coronavirus. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending