‘Weirder’ Winter Covid Wave Expected, Driven By Complex Mix Of Variants
A torrent of different omicron subvariants are emerging independently across the world, each with advantageous mutations. Anticipating the wave, the U.S. public health emergency was just extended.
The Next U.S. COVID Wave Is Coming. Why It Will Be 'Much Weirder Than Before'
The orderly succession of individually dominant variants we’ve come to expect over the last two years — think Alpha, then Beta, then Delta, then Omicron — may also be a thing of the past. Instead, what scientists are seeing now is a bunch of worrisome Omicron descendants arising simultaneously but independently in different corners of the globe — all with the same set of advantageous mutations that help them dodge our existing immune defenses and drive new waves of infection. Experts call this “convergent evolution” — and right now, there’s a “fairly unprecedented amount” of it going on, according to Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London. (Romano, 10/13)
Will Covid Spike Again This Fall? 6 Tips To Help You Stay Safe
Last year, the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant of the covid-19 virus caught many people by surprise and led to a surge in cases that overwhelmed hospitals and drove up fatalities. Now we’re learning that omicron is mutating to better evade the immune system. Omicron-specific vaccines were authorized by the FDA in August and are recommended by U.S. health officials for anyone 5 or older. Yet only half of adults in the United States have heard much about these booster shots, according to a recent KFF poll, and only a third say they’ve gotten one or plan to get one as soon as possible. In 2020 and 2021, covid cases spiked in the U.S. between November and February. (Gounder, 10/14)
U.S. Extends Covid Public Health Emergency
The U.S. has extended the Covid public health emergency through Jan. 11, a clear demonstration that the Biden administration still views Covid as a crisis despite President Joe Biden’s recent claim that the pandemic is over. (Kimball, 10/13)
New COVID Booster's Human Trial Reveals Safe, Effective Results
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced Thursday that they now have data in adults one week after a 30-microgram booster that targets both variants. It is called a bivalent vaccine because it addresses two variants. Two groups of 40 adults each, one age 18-55 and the other over 55, both tolerated the new shot as well as earlier ones and had no unexpected side effects. (Weintraub, 10/13)
Omicron Booster: Scientists Find Gene Variant Tied To Better Covid Shot Response
Scientists have identified an immunity gene variant in people with strong responses to Covid-19 vaccines who were less likely to get breakthrough infections, a finding that could improve future shot design. (Loh and John Milton, 10/13)
The Masks We’ll Wear In The Next Pandemic
On one level, the world’s response to the coronavirus pandemic over the past two and half years was a major triumph for modern medicine. (Stern, 10/13)