Medical Measures

29 posts

Overcoming antigenic shift

Elisabetta Cameroni et al.: Broadly neutralizing antibodies overcome SARS-CoV-2 Omicron antigenic shift, in: Nature 602 (February 2022), pp. 664–670, online in: Abstract The recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant encodes 37 amino acid substitutions in the spike protein, 15 of which are in the receptor-binding domain (RBD), thereby raising concerns about the effectiveness of available vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics. In this study, the authors show that the Omicron RBD binds to human ACE2 with enhanced affinity, relative to the Wuhan-Hu-1 RBD, and binds to mouse ACE2. Marked reductions in neutralizing activity were observed against Omicron compared to the ancestral pseudovirus […]

Effectiveness of a Fourth Dose

Peter Nordström, Marcel Ballin, Anna Nordström: Effectiveness of a fourth dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine against all-cause mortality in long-term care facility residents and in the oldest old: A nationwide, retrospective cohort study in Sweden, in: The Lancet Regional Health – Europe (July 13, 2022), online in: Summary Background The effect of a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine on the risk of death in the oldest and frailest individuals is unknown. Methods Two matched cohorts were formed using Swedish nationwide registers. In the first, residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) given a fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine from […]

Waiting for the Omicron Vaccine

BRISANT: Wann kommt der Corona-Impfstoff gegen die Omikron-Variante? [When will the Corona vaccine against the omicron variant be available?], in:, June 5, 2022. The Standing Committee on Vaccination at the Robert Koch Institute (STIKO) recommends a fourth vaccination against the Corona virus for groups at particular risk. Although the vaccine adapted to omicron could be delivered since the end of March, data for approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) were still missing in June 2022. The author explains why vaccines adapted to different variants are necessary and the steps involved in developing an adapted vaccine.

Omicron Vaccine Delivery Delay

Angela Göpfert: Omikron-Booster kommen später – oder nie [Omicron boosters come later – or never], in:, February 17, 2022. In her article published in February 2022, the author addresses the delay in delivery of a vaccine against the omicron variant that existed at that time. In February, the omicron wave seemed to have already passed its peak, which is why the author questioned the usefulness of an omicron-specific vaccine. First study results had shown that mRNA vaccines directed against the omicron variant would not work any better than the already approved vaccines. In order to save money and resources, […]

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: 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: 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 […]

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: 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 […]

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: 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 […]

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: 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, […]

WHO recommendation

rme/ WHO empfiehlt IL-6-Antagonisten bei COVID-19 [WHO recommends IL-6 antagonists for COVID-19], in: (July 7, 2021). This article, published July 7, 2021, in the Deutsches Ärzteblatt [German Medical Journal], discusses the WHO recommendation to use interleukin-6 (IL-6) antagonists to treat patients with covid-19. The use of IL-6 antagonists reduces the risk of death if glucocorticoids are given at the same time. The prices of certain preparations are criticized, which, according to Ärzte ohen Grenzen [Doctors Without Borders], are six to sixty times higher than the manufacturing costs.

Vaccine mandate in Austria

Christiane Druml, Herwig Czech: Comment. A Pandemic is no private matter: the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Austria, in: The Lancet Respiratory Medicine online (February 17, 2022), online in: On February 5, 2022, the first mandatory Covid 19 vaccination law in Europe came into force in Austria. In their commentary, the authors trace the history and path of the law, which represented a sudden about-face by the Austrian government.

Study on casirivimab and imdevimab

RECOVERY Collaborative Group (ed.): Casirivimab and imdevimab in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 (RECOVERY): a randomised, controlled,open-label, platform trial, in: The Lancet 339, Issue 10325 (February 12, 2022), S. 665-676, online in: Summary of the study “Background Casirivimab and imdevimab are non-competing monoclonal antibodies that bind to two different sites on the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, blocking viral entry into host cells. The authors aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of casirivimab and imdevimab administered in combination in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Methods RECOVERY is a randomised, controlled, open-label platform trial […]

Outcomes of Imatinib Treatment

Erik Duijvelaar u.a.: Long-term clinical outcomes of COVID-19 patients treated with imatinib, in: The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, online in: (February 17, 2022). In this article the authors report the 90-day outcomes of the CounterCOVID study and investigate the mechanisms underlying the clinical benefit of imatinib. “Hypoxaemia in COVID-19 is primarily caused by disruption of the alveolocapillary barrier on inflammation and dysfunction of the endothelium. To date, antiviral or immune-modulatory treatment options have been thoroughly studied, yet there is no approved therapy targeting endothelial dysfunction. Imatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that attenuates vascular leakage under inflammatory conditions. In the […]

Safety Report of the Paul Ehrlich Institute (February 2022)

Paul-Ehrlich-Institut: Sicherheitsbericht. Verdachtsfälle von Nebenwirkungen und Impfkomplikationen nach Impfung zum Schutz vor COVID-19 seit Beginn derImpfkampagne am 27.12.2020 bis zum 31.12.2021, Langen, February 7, 2022. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), as the Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedical Products, reports on suspected cases of adverse reactions or vaccine complications reported from Germany in temporal association with vaccination with the mRNA vaccines Comirnaty (BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH) and Spikevax (MODERNA BIOTECH SPAIN, S.L.) and the vector vaccines Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca AB) and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen for protection against COVID-19 from the start of the vaccination campaign on Dec. 27, 2020, to Dec. 31, […]

Paul Ehrlich Institute Safety Report (December 2021)

Paul-Ehrlich-Institut: Sicherheitsbericht. Verdachtsfälle von Nebenwirkungen und Impfkomplikationen nach Impfung zum Schutz vor COVID-19 seit Beginn derImpfkampagne am 27.12.2020 bis zum 30.11.2021, Langen, December 23, 2021. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), as the Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines, reports on suspected cases of adverse reactions or vaccine complications reported from Germany in temporal relation to vaccination with the mRNA vaccines Comirnaty (BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH) and Spikevax (MODERNA BIOTECH SPAIN, S.L.) and the vector vaccines Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca AB) and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen for protection against COVID-19 from the start of the vaccination campaign on Dec. 27, 2020, to Nov. 30, 2021. […]

Omicron neutralization

Annika Rössler, Lydia Riepler, David Bante, Dorothee von Laer, Janine Kimpel: SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 variant (Omicron) evades neutralization by sera from vaccinated and convalescent individuals (December 11, 2021) [Preprint]. Recently, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron) has been described. In this study, the authors analyzed titers of neutralizing antibodies of sera from convalescent or vaccinated individuals against the new B.1.1.529 variant and compared them with titers against other Variants of Concern (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1617.2) using replication competent SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Booster & Covid Mortality

Ronen Arbel, Ariel Hammerman, Ruslan Sergienko, Michael Friger, Alon Peretz, Doron Netzer, Shlomit Yaron: BNT162b2 Vaccine Booster and Mortality Due to Covid-19, in: The New England Journal of Medicine 385 (December 23, 2021) 26, p. 2413-2420. Abstract Background The emergence of the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and the reduced effectiveness over time of the BNT162b2 vaccine (Pfizer–BioNTech) led to a resurgence of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in populations that had been vaccinated early. On July 30, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Health approved the use of a third dose of BNT162b2 (booster) to […]

Omicron, Comirnaty and ACE2

Sandile Cele u. a.: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron has extensive but incomplete escape of Pfizer BNT162b2 elicited neutralization and requires ACE2 for infection, Dezember 17, 2021, online in: The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron, first identified in Botswana and South Africa, may compromise vaccine effectiveness and the ability of antibodies triggered by previous infection to protect against re-infection. Here the authors investigated whether Omicron escapes antibody neutralization in South Africans, either previously SARS-CoV-2 infected or uninfected, who were vaccinated with Pfizer BNT162b2. They also investigated if Omicron requires the ACE2 receptor to infect cells.

Antibody Potency & Omicron

Daniel J. Sheward, Changil Kim, Roy A. Ehling, Alec Pankow, View ORCID ProfileXaquin Castro Dopico, Darren Martin, Sai Reddy, Joakim Dillner, Gunilla B. Karlsson Hedestam, Jan Albert, Ben Murrell: New Results. Variable loss of antibody potency against SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 (Omicron) [Preprint], December 20, 2021. The recently-emerged SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 variant (Omicron) is spreading rapidly in many countries, with a spike that is highly diverged from the pandemic founder, raising fears that it may evade neutralizing antibody responses. The authors cloned the Omicron spike from a diagnostic sample which allowed us to rapidly establish an Omicron pseudotyped virus neutralization assay, sharing initial […]

Laboratory study on Comirnaty Pfizer and BioNTech Provide Update on Omicron, December 8, 2021. On December 8, 2021, Pfizer Inc. and BiontTEch SE announced the results of a laboratory study on their vaccines.