Yearly archives: 2022

66 posts

Efficacy of Antiviral Agents

Emi Takashita et al.: Efficacy of Antiviral Agents against the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Subvariant BA.2, in: New England Journal of Medicine Vol. 386, Issue 15 (April 14, 2022) pp. 1475-1477, online in: https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMc2201933. In their letter to the editor, the authors report on their study looking at the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies against the omicron subvariants. They conclude that both etesevimab and bamlanivimab have lost neutralizing activity against the omicron subvariant BA.2. Imdevimab, which had no neutralizing activity against BA.1, however, has neutralizing activity against BA.2. Casirivimab inhibited BA.2 but not BA.1 or BA.1.1. Tixagevimab and cilgavimab neutralized BA. 2 with […]

Global Impact of the First Year of Vaccination

Oliver J. Watson et al.: Global impact of the first year of COVID-19 vaccination: a mathematical modelling study, in: The Lancet Infectious Diseases (published online June 23, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00320-6. Summary Background The first COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial setting was administered on Dec 8, 2020. To ensure global vaccine equity, vaccine targets were set by the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility and WHO. However, due to vaccine shortfalls, these targets were not achieved by the end of 2021. The authors aimed to quantify the global impact of the first year of COVID-19 vaccination programmes. Methods A […]

Area-Level Socioeconomic Deprivation

Sven Rohleder u. a.: Area-level socioeconomic deprivation, non-national residency, and Covid-19 incidence: A longitudinal spatiotemporal analysis in Germany Summary, in: eClincalMedicine (June 13, 2022), online: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101485. Summary Background Socioeconomic conditions affect the dynamics of the Covid-19 pandemic. The authors analysed the association between area-level socioeconomic deprivation, proportion of non-nationals, and incidence of Covid-19 infections in Germany. Methods Using linked nationally representative data at the level of 401 German districts from three waves of infection (January-2020 to May-2021), the authors fitted Bayesian spatiotemporal models to assess the association between socioeconomic deprivation, and proportion of non-nationals with Covid-19 incidence, controlling for age, […]

Omicron Subvariants and Monoclonal Antibodies

Daichi Yamasoba u. a.: Sensitivity of novel SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants, BA.2.11, BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 to therapeutic monoclonal antibodies [Preprint], in: bioRxiv. The Preprint Server for Biology (May 3, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.05.03.490409. Abstract In May 2022, Omicron BA.2 variant was the most dominant variant in the world. Thereafter, Omicron subvariants have emerged and some of them began outcompeting BA.2 in multiple countries. For instance, Omicron BA.2.11, BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/5 subvariants are becoming dominant in France, the USA and South Africa, respectively. In this study, the authors evaluated the sensitivity of these new Omicron subvariants (BA.2.11, BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/5) to […]

Neutralization of BA.1 and BA.2 by vaccines.

John E. Bowen et al.: Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 neutralizing activity elicited by a comprehensive panel of human vaccines [Preprint], in: bioRxiv. The Preprint Server for Biology (March 16, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.03.15.484542. Abstract At the time of publication of the study, the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant of concern comprises three sublineages designated BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3, with BA.2 steadily replacing the currently globally dominant BA.1. The authors show that the large number of BA.1 and BA.2 spike mutations severely dampen plasma neutralizing activity elicited by infection or seven clinical vaccines, with cross-neutralization of BA.2 being consistently more potent than that […]

Immune Escape of BA.4/BA.5

Khadija Khan et al.: Omicron sub-lineages BA.4/BA.5 escape BA.1 infection elicited neutralizing immunity, in: medRxiv (May 1, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.29.22274477. Abstract The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant first emerged as the BA.1 sub-lineage, with extensive escape from neutralizing immunity elicited by previous infection with other variants, vaccines, or combinations of both. Two new sub-lineages, BA.4 and BA.5, were emerging in South Africa with changes relative to BA.1, including L452R and F486V mutations in the spike receptor binding domain. The authors isolated live BA.4 and BA.5 viruses and tested them against neutralizing immunity elicited to BA.1 infection in participants who were […]

Neutralization Escape by Omicron Variants

Nicole P. Hachmann u. a.: Neutralization Escape by the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variants BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 [Preprint], in: medRxiv.org (May 19, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.05.16.22275151. Abstract Multiple lineages of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) have emerged, and BA.1 and BA.2 have demonstrated substantial escape from neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). BA.2.12.1 has now become dominant in the United States, and BA.4 and BA.5 have become dominant in South Africa. The authors’ data show that BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 substantially escape NAbs induced by both vaccination and infection. Moreover, BA.4/BA.5 NAb titers, and to lesser extent BA.2.12.1 NAb titers, were lower than BA.1 and BA.2 […]

Immune Escape of Omicron Sublineages

Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, Yunlong Cao et al: BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 escape antibodies elicited by Omicron infection, in: bioRxiv (June 14, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.30.489997. Abstract SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sublineages BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 exhibit higher transmissibility over BA.2. The new variants’ receptor binding and immune evasion capability require immediate investigation. In this study, coupled with Spike structural comparisons, the authors show that BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 exhibit comparable ACE2-binding affinities to BA.2. Importantly, BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 display stronger neutralization evasion than BA.2 against the plasma from 3-dose vaccination and, most strikingly, from post-vaccination BA.1 infections. To delineate the underlying antibody evasion […]

Omicron & Delta Comparison

Gunadi et al: Comparative analysis of the outcomes of COVID-19 between patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron and Delta variants: a retrospective cohort study [Preprint], in: medRxiv (May 3, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.30.22274532. Abstract Background The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has replaced the previously dominant Delta variant because of high transmissibility. It is responsible for the current increase in the COVID-19 infectivity rate worldwide. However, studies on the impact of the Omicron variant on the severity of COVID-19 are still limited in developing countries. In this study, the authors compared the outcomes of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron and Delta variants and […]

Subvariants & Immune Evasion

Gretchen Vogel: New Subvariants are masters of immune evasion, in: Science 376, Issue 6594 (May 13, 2022), pp. 679-680, online in: https://www.science.org/doi/epdf/10.1126/science.adc9448. In her article, Gretchen Vogel highlights the immune invasion of the Omicron sublines. While the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants caused a surge in cases in South Africa, the BA.2.12.1 subvariant is spreading on the East Coast of the United States. All three variants, like earlier Omikron versions, have the remarkable ability to evade immunity acquired through vaccination or infection. However, vaccinations and previous infections at least protect against severe disease in most cases, so while the new strains […]

Pandemic Shock & Economic Divergence

Luis Bosshart, Jeremiah Dittmar: Pandemic shock and economic divergence: political economy before and after the black death, in: CEP (Centre for Economic Performance) Discussion Paper No. 1805 (October 2021). The authors of this study document how the Black Death activated politics and led to economic divergence within Europe. Before the pandemic, economic development was similar in Eastern and Western German cities despite greater political fragmentation in the West. The pandemic precipitated a divergence that coincided with prior differences in politics. After the pandemic, construction and manufacturing fell by 1/3 in the East relative to underlying trends and the Western path. Politics […]

Hospitalizations Forecast

CDC (ed.): COVID-19 Forecasts: Hospitalizations, online at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/forecasting/hospitalizations-forecasts.html (as of June 07, 2022). On its website (https://www.cdc.gov), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides reported and projected hospitalization figures for the U.S. and individual U.S. states for the next month on an ongoing basis.

Equitable ending to the pandemic

Mitsuru Mukaigawara, Ines Hassan, Genevie Fernandes, Lois King, Jay Patel, Devi Sridhar: An equitable roadmap for ending the COVID-19 pandemic, in: Nature Medicine 28 (May 2022) S. 890-899, online in: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01787-2. “Many governments are rolling back restrictions, but the pandemic will end only with a renewed focus on equitable distribution of vaccines and therapeutics, responsive public health plans, and policies to protect the vulnerable. More than 2 years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it remains unclear when and how it will end. The global outcome is dependent on multiple factors: the level of cooperation between governments; equitable access to vaccines, testing […]

Antiviral Drugs & Omicron

Agnieszka Dabrowska, Artur Szczepanski, Paweł Botwina, Natalia Mazur-Panasiuk, Helena Jiřincová, Lukasz Rabalski, Tomas Zajic, Grzegorz Popowicz, Krzysztof Pyrc: Efficacy of antiviral drugs against the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 [Preprint], in: bioRxiv (December 23, 2021), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.21.473268. Abstract The Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first detected in South Africa in November 2021. The analysis of the sequence data in the context of earlier variants suggested that it may show very different characteristics, including immune evasion and increased transmission. These assumptions were partially confirmed, and the reduction in protection in convalescent patients and vaccinated individuals have been confirmed. In […]

WHO Guideline on Therapeutics

WHO (ed.): Therapeutics and COVID-19: Living guideline (WHO/2019-nCoV/therapeutics/2022.3), Geneva (April 22, 2022), online in: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-therapeutics-2022.3. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. The WHO Therapeutics and COVID-19: Living guideline contains the organization’s most current recommendations for the use of therapeutics in the treatment of COVID-19. The latest version of this living guideline is available in pdf format and through an online platform, and is updated regularly as new evidence becomes available. This tenth version of the WHO guideline contains 17 recommendations, including two new recommendations on nirmatrelvir-ritonavir. No further updates have been made to existing recommendations in this latest version.

Severity of Omicron

Ana Cecilia Ulloa, Sarah A. Buchan, Nick Daneman, Kevin A. Brown: Early estimates of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant severity based on a matched cohort study, Ontario [Preprint], Canada, in: medRxiv (January 2, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.24.21268382. Abstract While it was evident in January 2022 that Omicron is rapidly replacing Delta, largely due to immune escape, it was less clear how the severity of Omicron compares to Delta. In Ontario, the authors sought to examine hospitalization and death associated with Omicron, as compared to cases infected with Delta. The authors conducted a matched cohort study, considering time to hospitalization or death as […]

Omicron Delta Comparison

Lindsey Wang, Nathan A. Berger, David C. Kaelber, Pamela B. Davis, Nora D. Volkow, Rong Xu: Comparison of outcomes from COVID infection in pediatric and adult patients before and after the emergence of Omicron [Preprint], in: medRxiv (January 2, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.30.21268495. Abstract Background The Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant is rapidly spreading in the US since December 2021 and is more contagious than earlier variants. Currently, data on the severity of the disease caused by the Omicron variant compared with the Delta variant is limited. Here we compared 3-day risks of emergency department (ED) visit, hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) […]

High Vaccine Effectiveness

Ulrike Baum, Eero Poukka, Tuija Leino, Hanna Nohynek, Arto A. Palmu: High vaccine effectiveness against severe Covid-19 in the elderly in Finland before and after the emergence of Omicron [preprint], in: medRxiv (March 13, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.03.11.22272140. Abstract Background The elderly are highly vulnerable to severe Covid-19. Waning immunity and emergence of Omicron have caused concerns about reduced effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines. The objective was to estimate vaccine effectiveness (VE) against severe Covid-19 among the elderly. Methods This nationwide, register-based cohort study included all residents aged 70 years and over in Finland. The follow-up started on December 27, 2020, […]

Clinical characteristics of long COVID

The PHOSP-COVID Collaborative Group: Clinical characteristics with inflammation profiling of long COVID and association with 1-year recovery following hospitalisation in the UK: a prospective observational study, in: The Lancet Respiratory Medicine (published online: April 23, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(22)00127-8. Summary Background No effective pharmacological or non-pharmacological interventions exist for patients with long COVID. The authors aimed to describe recovery 1 year after hospital discharge for COVID-19, identify factors associated with patient-perceived recovery, and identify potential therapeutic targets by describing the underlying inflammatory profiles of the previously described recovery clusters at 5 months after hospital discharge. Methods The Post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study […]

Effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

Sara Y Tartof u. a.: Effectiveness of mRNA BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine up to 6 months in a large integrated health system in the USA: a retrospective cohort study, in: The Lancet 398, Issue 10309 (16.10.2021), pp. 1407-1416, online in: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02183-8. Abstract: Background Vaccine effectiveness studies have not differentiated the effect of the delta (B.1.617.2) variant and potential waning immunity in observed reductions in effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infections. The authors aimed to evaluate overall and variant-specific effectiveness of BNT162b2 (tozinameran, Pfizer–BioNTech) against SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19-related hospital admissions by time since vaccination among members of a large US health-care system. Methods […]