World Health Organization (ed.): Summary of the update on the COVID-19 situation released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on 25 January 2023, in: COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update 127 (January 25, 2023), pp. 11-13. On January 25, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) released an update on the Covid 19 situation in the country (all subsequent references to China exclude Taiwan and the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions). The WHO weekly report on the epidemiological situation of the covid-19 pandemic summarized the CCDC reports. WHO has not yet been able to conduct […]
WHO (ed.): COVID-19 Explorer, online in: https://worldhealthorg.shinyapps.io/covid/ (as of 11.4.2022). The following summary graph incorporates the official, absolute numbers of people infected with Covid-19 in China and those who have died from it. The graph covers the period from January 1, 2020 to January 6, 2023.
Scott Burkholz, Michael Rubsamen, Luke Blankenberg, Richard T. Carback III, Daria Mochly-Rosen, Paul E. Harris: Increasing Cases of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Reinfection Reveals Ineffective Post-COVID-19 Immunity in Denmark and Conveys the Need for Continued Next-Generation Sequencing [preprint], in: medRxiv (September 14, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.09.13.22279912. Abstract SARS-CoV-2 has extensively mutated creating variants of concern (VOC) resulting in global infection surges. The Omicron VOC reinfects individuals exposed to earlier variants of SARS-CoV-2 at a higher frequency than previously seen for non-Omicron VOC. An analysis of the sub-lineages associated with an Omicron primary infection and Omicron reinfection reveals that the incidence of Omicron-Omicron […]
Rui Esteves, Kris James Mitchener, Peter Nencka, Melissa A. Thomasson: Do Pandemics Change Healthcare? Evidence from the Great Influenza, in: NBER Working Paper Series 30643 (November 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.3386/w30643. Abstract Using newly digitized U.S. city-level data on hospitals, the authors explored how pandemics alter preferences for healthcare. They found that cities with higher levels of mortality during the Great Influenza of 1918-1919 subsequently expanded hospital capacity by more than cities experiencing less influenza mortality: cities in the top half of the mortality distribution increased their count of hospitals by 8-10 percent in the years after the pandemic. This effect […]
William Msemburi, Ariel Karlinsky, Victoria Knutson et al.: The WHO estimates of excess mortality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, in: Nature (December 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05522-2. Abstract The World Health Organization has a mandate to compile and disseminate statistics on mortality, and the authors have been tracking the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning of 2020. Reported statistics on COVID-19 mortality are problematic for many countries owing to variations in testing access, differential diagnostic capacity and inconsistent certification of COVID-19 as cause of death. Beyond what is directly attributable to it, the pandemic has caused extensive collateral damage […]
Waasila Jassat et al.: Trends in Cases, Hospitalization and Mortality Related to the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 Sub-Variants in South Africa, in: Clinical infectious diseases (December 1, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciac921. Abstract Background: This study compared admission incidence risk across waves, and the risk of mortality in the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 wave, to the Omicron BA.1/BA.2 and Delta waves. Methods: Data from South Africa’s national hospital surveillance system, SARS-CoV-2 case linelist and Electronic Vaccine Data System were linked and analysed. Wave periods were defined when the country passed a weekly incidence of 30 cases/100,000 people. In-hospital case fatality ratios (CFR) in the Delta, […]
Florian Bonnet, Josselin Thuilliez, Hippolyte d’Albis: Influenza mortality in French regions after the Hong Kong flu pandemic, in: Demographic Research, Vol. 47 (October 12, 2022) Article 19, p. 545-576, online in: https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2022.47.19. Abstract Influenza mortality has dramatically decreased in France since the 1950s. Annual death rates peaked during two pandemics: the Asian flu (1956–1957) and the Hong Kong flu (1969–1970). This study’s objective was to evaluate whether the second pandemic created a structural change in the dynamics of influenza mortality in France. The authors employed a new database on influenza mortality since 1950 at the subnational level (90 geographic areas) […]
Sara Y. Tartof et al.: BNT162b2 vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 omicron BA.4 and BA.5, in: The Lancet. Infectious Diseases Volume 22 (December 2022) Issue 12, pp. 1663-1665, online in: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00692-2. Summary Following their first detection in South Africa in late 2021, the SARS-CoV-2 omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have become the predominant subavariants. In their study, the authors evaluated the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine BNT162b2 (Comirnaty) against BA.4/5, concluding that two doses of the vaccine provided only modest protection against all measured BA.4/5 illnesses, including hospitalizations. Booster vaccination (third or fourth dose) did provide protection against BA.4/5, but this […]
Ramandip Grewal, Sophie A. Kitchen, Lena Nguyen, Sarah A. Buchan, Sarah E. Wilson, Andrew P. Costa,Jeffrey C. Kwong: Effectiveness of a Fourth Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine among Long-Term Care Residents in Ontario, Canada: Test-Negative Design Study, in: medRxiv (June 1, 2022) 32 pages, online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.15.22273846. Abstract Background: As of December 30, 2021, Ontario long-term care (LTC) residents who received a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine ≥84 days previously were offered a fourth dose to prevent a surge in COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality due to the Omicron variant. Methods: The authors used a test-negative design and linked databases to estimate […]
Paul-Ehrlich-Insitut (ed.): Sicherheitsbericht. Bericht über Verdachtsfälle von Nebenwirkungen und Impfkomplikationen nach Impfung zum Schutz vor COVID-19 (Berichtszeitraum 27.12.2020 bis 30.06.2022) [Safety Report. Report of suspected adverse events and vaccine complications following vaccination to protect against COVID-19 (reporting period 12/27/2020 to 6/30/2022)], Langen September 7, 2022. In the current safety report, the Paul Ehrlich Institute summarizes the reports of suspected cases of adverse reactions and vaccine complications it has received since the start of the vaccination campaign in Germany on December 27, 2020, through June 30, 2022.
Amy L. Bellinghausen, Robert L. Owens: Recovering from COVID ARDS and post-intensive care syndrome, in: The Lancet. Respiratory Medicine vol. 10 (15. Juli 2022) issue 10, pp. 932-933, online in: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(22)00265-X. In their article, the two authors focus on Beatrice Garcia Diaz, who suffered from a lung disease due to SARS-CoV-2 and whose recovery was extremely difficult. Garcia Diaz developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and later struggled with the consequences of the intensive life support treatment required. She was initially hospitalized for pneumonia and respiratory failure and received non-invasive positive pressure ventilation. Beginning on the tenth day of her […]
Elliot Hannon, Layth Hanbali, Susanna Lehtimaki, Nina Schwalbe: Comment. Why we still need a pandemic treaty, in. The Lancet Global Health Vol. 10 (September 2022) Issue 9, p. e1232-e1233, online in: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(22)00278-9. In May 2022, 194 member states of the World Health Assembly debated changes to the International Health Regulations (IHR), which are binding under international law. The Corona pandemic highlighted the limitations of the IHR reporting system. The authors address the difficulties of a) administering the IHR at the national level and b) ratifying a new agreement. They see potential in a new WHO instrument to make a difference […]
Michael S. Piepenbrink, Jun-Gyu Park et al.: Potent universal beta-coronavirus therapeutic activity mediated by direct respiratory administration of a Spike S2 domain-specific human neutralizing monoclonal antibody, in: PLOS Pathogens Vol. 18, Issue 7 (July 21, 2022) p. e101691, online in: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010691. Abstract Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) marks the third novel β-coronavirus to cause significant human mortality in the last two decades. Although vaccines are available, too few have been administered worldwide to keep the virus in check and to prevent mutations leading to immune escape. To determine if antibodies could be identified with universal coronavirus activity, plasma from […]
Jeremy Samuel Faust, Benjamin Renton, Alexander Junxiang Chen, Chengan Du, Chenxue Liang, Shu-Xia Li, Zhenqiu Lin, Harlan M. Krumholz: The uncoupling of all-cause excess mortality from Covid-19 cases and associated hospitalizations in late winter and spring of 2022 in a highly vaccinated state, in: medRxiv (July 12, 2022), online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.07.07.22277315. Abstract Introduction Since March 2020, all-cause excess mortality—the number of all-cause deaths exceeding the baseline number of expected deaths—has been observed in waves coinciding with Covid-19 outbreaks in the United States. The authors described high levels of excess mortality in Massachusetts during the initial 8-week Omicron wave. However, whether […]
Anna-Lisa Sorg, Selina Becht, Marietta Jank u. a.: Association of SARS-CoV-2 Seropositivity With Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Among Children and Adolescents in Germany, in: JAMA Network Open Vol. 5, Issue 9 (September 27, 2022) p. e2233454, online in: https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.33454. Key Points The authors asked, if SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity is associated with symptoms of myalgic encephalomyelitis and/or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) in children and adolescents. In their cross-sectional study of hospital-based SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence surveys in Germany the authors compared seropositive and seronegative children and adolescents and identified an excess of possible ME/CFS symptoms with serological evidence of preceding SARS-CoV-2 infection. This association almost […]
Siwen Wang, Luwei Quan, Jorge E. Chavarro et al.: Associations of Depression, Anxiety, Worry, Perceived Stress, and Loneliness Prior to Infection With Risk of Post–COVID-19 Conditions, in: JAMA Psychiatry Vol. 79 (2022) Issue 11, p. 1081-1091, online in: https://www.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.2640. Abstract Few risk factors for long-lasting (4 weeks) COVID-19 symptoms have been identified. The study’s objective was. to determine whether high levels of psychological distress before SARS-CoV-2 infection, characterized by depression, anxiety, worry, perceived stress, and loneliness, are prospectively associated with increased risk of developing post–COVID-19 conditions (sometimes called long COVID). This prospective cohort study used data from three large ongoing, […]
Ruofan Li, Michael Mor, Bingting Ma, Alex E. Clark, Joel Alter, Michal Werbner, Jamie Casey Lee, Sandra L. Leibel, Aaron F. Carlin, Moshe Dessau, Meital Gal-Tanamy, Ben A. Croker, Ye Xiang, Natalia T. Freund: Conformational flexibility in neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by naturally elicited anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, in: Communications Biology Vol. 5 (2022) Issue 1, Article No. 789, online in: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-022-03739-5. Abstract As new variants of SARS-CoV-2 continue to emerge, it is important to assess the cross-neutralizing capabilities of antibodies naturally elicited during wild type SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the present study, the authors evaluate the activity of nine anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), […]
Robert Koch-Institut (ed.): Quartalsbericht der Corona-KiTa-Studie. 7. Quartalsbericht (II/2022) [Quarterly Report of the Corona-KiTa Study. 7th Quarterly Report (II/2022)] April 2022, Munich May 5, 2022, online in: https://corona-kita-studie.de/quartalsberichte-der-corona-kita-studie. The 7th Quarterly Report of the Corona-KiTa-Study addresses the pandemic in child day care (Kindertagesstätte, KiTa). The study, which was conducted by researchers from the German Youth Institute (Deutsches Jugendinstitut, DJI) and the Robert Koch Institute (Robert Koch-Institut, RKI), focuses on openings and closures, the implementation of protective measures, and suspected cases and cases of infection during the 4th and 5th waves of the pandemic.
Audrée Lemieux, Graham A. Colby, Alexandre J. Poulain, Stéphane Aris-Brosou: Viral spillover risk increases with climate change in High Arctic lake sediments, in: Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Biological Science Vol. 289, Issue 1985 (October 26, 2022) 20221073, online in: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2022.1073. Abstract The host spectrum of viruses is quite diverse, as they can sustainedly infect a few species to several phyla. When confronted with a new host, a virus may even infect it and transmit sustainably in this new host, a process called ‘viral spillover’. However, the risk of such events is difficult to quantify. As climate change is […]
Robert J. Gordon, Hassan Sayed: A New Interpretation of Productivity Growth Dynamics in the Pre-Pandemic and Pandemic Era U.S. Economy, 1950-2022, in: NBER Working Paper Series No 30267 (July 2022), online in: https://www.doi.org/10.3386/w30267. Abstract The dismal decade of 2010-19 recorded the slowest productivity growth of any decade in U.S. history, only 1.1 percent per year in the business sector. Yet the pandemic appears to have created a resurgence in productivity growth with a 4.1 percent rate achieved in the four quarters of 2020. This paper provides a unified framework that explains productivity growth in both the pre-pandemic and pandemic-era U.S. […]