COVID-19 scan for January 13, 2022 - Market News
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COVID-19 scan for January 13, 2022

COVID-19 scan for December 02, 2021

Omicron probably less susceptible to antibodies from vaccinated people

Austrian scientists write in a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday demonstrated poor neutralization of the Omicron variant when using serum from vaccinated or recovered COVID-19 patients, possibly indicating a need for variant-specific vaccines.

The highly transmissible Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has caused COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the world to skyrocket, even though it can cause less severe illness than previous variants.

The researchers used blood from different patients: 10 were infected with the Alpha variant, 8 with Beta and 7 with Delta. Ten had received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, ten the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine and twenty the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; 20 participants had received both AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. In addition, 5 donors were infected and subsequently received one or two doses of Pfizer, and 5 were vaccinated with two doses of one of the three vaccines and had breakthrough infections.

The team did not analyze serum samples from people who had received a booster vaccine dose.

Serum samples from vaccinated individuals neutralized the Omicron variant to a much lesser extent than Alpha, Beta, or Delta. The researchers found some cross neutralization of Omicron in samples obtained from people who received the Pfizer vaccine or the AstraZeneca-Pfizer combination, but not in samples from individuals who received AstraZeneca alone. They found no neutralizing antibodies to Omicron in blood samples obtained 4 to 6 months after receiving the second dose of Moderna.

However, nine out of 10 serum samples from recovering vaccinated or vaccinated recovering participants were able to neutralize Omicron, although not as well as Delta.

The authors conclude: “Although receipt of a third dose (booster) of the [Pfizer] vaccine can increase the level of cross-neutralizing antibodies to the omicron variant, based on the data from the current study, the rapid development of new variant-adapted vaccines is justified.”
January 12 N Engl J Med letter

Less mobility seen in COVID-19 patients over 50, even with milder illness

New data from a longitudinal study of aging Canadians shows that COVID-19 led to reduced mobility in those over 50, even when cases were mild to moderate and patients avoided hospitalization. The study was published yesterday in JAMA network opened.

The ongoing study includes 51,338 community-dwelling middle-aged and elderly adults, 21,491 of whom were 65 years of age or older. The study was based on self-reporting of COVID-19 infections, and 2,748 individuals with confirmed, probable, or suspected COVID-19 were admitted and 94.2% of the 121 who had confirmed COVID-19 were not hospitalized.

Those with confirmed, probable, or suspected COVID-19 were nearly twice as likely to experience worsening mobility and physical function compared to healthy peers.

After adjusting for covariates, adults with probable or confirmed COVID-19 had an 89% higher risk of having difficulties performing household activities (odds ratio [OR], 1.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11 to 3.22), a 91% higher risk of decreased physical activity (OR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.32-2.76), and a 133% higher risk of difficulty standing from a sitting position (OR, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.06-5.11). The researchers found similar results for people with suspected COVID-19 (eg, OR for reduced household activity, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.82-2.41).

The study authors said this is the first study to address limited mobility in patients with non-severe COVID-19.

“Anecdotal reports, patient accounts on social media and some preliminary research using convenience samples have suggested that many patients who experience even mild COVID-19 have persistent and troublesome symptoms, including decreased physical function after their initial illness,” the authors wrote. “Our results suggest that there is a need for approaches to effectively restore functional mobility after COVID-19 to pre-disease levels.”
January 12 JAMA Netw Open

Delta COVID-19 infection linked to fetal death, anxiety in pregnant women

A few case reports published today in The Journal of Infectious Diseases detail fetal death and fetal distress in unvaccinated mothers who had mild COVID-19 infections with the Delta variant (B1617.2). In both reports, researchers describe inflammation that caused problems with placental circulation.

In the first report, Missouri researchers describe a 25-year-old woman in her third trimester who sought emergency care for mild COVID-19 symptoms. At the time, no fetal problems were noted, but 3 days later, the woman was seen again due to vaginal bleeding and decreased fetal movement.

She went into active labor and gave birth to a boy, who had died. The mother experienced disseminated intravascular coagulation during postpartum recovery. Pathological examination of the placenta suggested that Delta-induced cytokine storm caused severe placental inflammation and damage, likely causing placental abruption (separation of the uterine wall) and fetal death.

In the second report, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers described three similar cases, two with fetal death and the other with severe fetal distress. The mothers were in their thirties and had Delta infections during the third trimester. The woman whose baby was born with severe fetal distress gave birth via emergency cesarean section due to problems seen in monitoring the fetal heart rate.

Examination of all three placentas revealed signs of SARS-CoV-2 placenta (placental inflammation).

The impact of COVID-19 variants on pregnant women and their babies requires more research, given the evidence of stillbirths and higher deaths in pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2, the team wrote. “Vaccination against COVID-19 will continue to play a critical role in protecting pregnant people from risks associated with Delta variant COVID-19.”
January 13 J Infect Dis report on the Missouri case
January 13 J Infect Dis
report on business in Massachusetts