Oxford University scientists said on February 15 they would evaluate the effects of new coronavirus variants on pregnant women and newborns, as well as COVID-19 vaccination effects on complications during pregnancy and after birth.
Researchers at Bar-Ilan University and the Galilee Medical Center identified an association between vitamin D deficiency and severity and mortality of COVID-19.
An antibody-based COVID-19 therapy developed by GSK and Vir Biotechnology retains neutralizing activity against the emerging BA.2 form of the Omicron coronavirus variant, according to data from a laboratory study cited by Vir on February 10.
As a general rule, whatever health condition a person may have, COVID-19 makes it worse. But COVID-19 also causes certain conditions or is being implicated in their earlier onset. Type 1 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease are prime examples. Now, researchers report that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may also cause fetal inflammation, even when the placenta itself is not inflamed.
People who die of severe COVID-19 have brain abnormalities that resemble changes seen in Alzheimer’s disease – accumulation of a protein called tau inside brain cells, and abnormal amounts of the protein beta-amyloid that accumulates into amyloid plaques – small studies found. In other news, seniors can safely get the high-dose flu vaccine and an mRNA COVID-19 booster dose at the same time, a new study confirms.
Aside from vaccines, the advent of several effective COVID-19 antiviral therapies, including Pfizer’s Paxlovid, provides hope for ending the pandemic. Details about the U.S. government’s contract with Pfizer for 10 million doses of Paxlovid are emerging, with some unusual elements.
A COVID-19 vaccine that can be produced locally in low-income and middle-income countries is yielding promising results in early clinical trials, researchers say. Other researchers believe that once the body has been “primed” by mRNA vaccines to recognize and attack the coronavirus, a booster containing purified versions of virus’ spike protein that could be given intranasally would have many advantages.
The prevailing theory about the Omicron variant is that it is going to rip through the population quickly and possibly burn out, marking the downside of the COVID-19 pandemic. But researchers are expressing concern about a subvariant of Omicron dubbed BA.2 that appears to be tearing through Denmark, just as the first Omicron wave subsided.
A $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers to study the links between knee structure changes and clinical outcomes in people with osteoarthritis.
The world’s first medical trial authorized to deliberately expose participants to the coronavirus is seeking more volunteers as it steps up efforts to help develop better vaccines.