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The setting is straight from a spy thriller: Crystal waters below, snow-capped Swiss Alps above and in between, a super-secure facility researching the world’s deadliest pathogens Spiez Laboratory, known for its detective work on chemical, biological and nuclear threats since World War Two, was tasked last year by the World Health Organization to be the first in a global network of high-security laboratories that will grow, store and share newly discovered microbes that could unleash the next pandemic.

Compared with the earlier Omicron BA.2 subvariant, currently dominant Omicron BA.5 is linked with higher odds of causing a second SARS-COV-2 infection regardless of vaccination status, a study from Portugal suggests.

China will pay close attention to variants of coronavirus in the long term, focusing on their transmission capability, pathogenicity and ability to evade immunity, a Chinese disease control official said on Thursday.

“Authorizing an additional COVID-19 vaccine expands the available vaccine options for the prevention of COVID-19, including the most severe outcomes that can occur such as hospitalization and death,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D.

The agency revised its EUA to authorize state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid to eligible patients, with certain limitations to ensure appropriate patient assessment and prescribing of Paxlovid.

The World Health Organization said on Thursday its latest investigation into the origins of COVID-19 was inconclusive, largely because data from China is missing, another blow to the WHO’s years-long effort to determine how the pandemic began.

COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy appears to lower newborns’ risk of coronavirus infection, according to a study conducted in Norway. Additionally, the risk of developing long COVID after infection with the coronavirus is lower for vaccinated people than for the unvaccinated, but not by much, according to a large study from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Patients who experience recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms after completing treatment with Pfizer’s drug Paxlovid should isolate again for five days, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an advisory issued on Tuesday.