COVID “Mega-variant” and eight criteria for a template to assess all variants

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA Building on the Dec. 22 South African variant may be worse than UK variant: A template is needed for the variants to come post here, the following eight criteria are proposed to help create a template to assess the many variant SARS-CoV-2 viruses already found and those to come. […]

COVID Multivalent vaccines for multivariant viruses

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Preventing re-infections, more variants, and a prolonged pandemic By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA Emerging data since mid-January from South Africa and northern Brazil signal it is imperative to develop multivalent COVID vaccines (bivalent, trivalent, quadrivalent) for international use. An alternative strategy that is unlikely to succeed internationally is monovalent “booster” vaccines containing either […]

P.1 variant in Manaus, Brazil linked with COVID resurgence now despite reportedly crossing “theoretical herd immunity threshold” in October

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When will new vaccines include the P.1. variant? By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA The resurging epidemic in the northern Brazil city of Manaus, Amazonas state, is another of the many cautionary lessons in humility this pandemic has shown the world over the past 13+ months.  On Jan. 26 the Pan American Health Organization […]

South Africa COVID vaccine results cause Novavax to begin work immediately on ”a booster and/or combination bivalent vaccine”

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA Today the U.S.-based Novavax announced the results in a press release that its COVID-19 vaccine had 49.4% vaccine efficacy (95% Confidence Interval: 6.1 – 72.8) in its overall trial population in a Phase 2b trial in South Africa. Novavax stated that “approximately 90% of COVID-19 cases attributed to […]

Bivalent COVID vaccines: When will studies begin in order to stay ahead of the multiple known (and unknown) variants?

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA The New York Times reported Monday (Jan. 25) that: “As a precaution, Moderna has begun developing a new form of its vaccine that could be used as a booster shot against the variant in South Africa . . . Moderna said it also planned to begin testing whether […]

Nosocomial COVID spread by variants: A Berlin hospital stops admissions and puts staff under “shuttle quarantine”

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA For the past three days the Vivantes Humboldt-Klinikum hospital in Berlin, Germany announced that due to nosocomial spread to patients and staff of the variant virus B.1.1.7, it would not accept new patient admissions and would place all roughly 1,700 employees on “shuttle quarantine” between home and hospital. […]

UK data on a “realistic probability” of increased risk of death due to variant B.1.1.7

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA On Friday (Jan.22) the United Kingdom government website posted a paper by Peter Horby and eight co-authors from the “New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG)” concluding for the first time that “there is a realistic probability that infection with VOC B.1.1.7 is associated with an […]

COVID-19: Key points from S.Africa scientists regarding variant “501Y.V2” — not more severe, but convalescent sera may be less effective

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA On Jan. 18 an excellent online conference by scientists in South Africa and the Minister of Health Dr. Zweli Mkhize provided updates (below) on five key points regarding the virus variant “501Y.V2” that is spreading rapidly in South Africa. Between minutes 45:40 and 47:46 of this two-hour conference […]

If dual infections occur with two SARS-CoV-2 viruses, will recombination result in more contagious or deadly variants?

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA Persistent infection with one SARS-CoV-2 virus in a person with an autoimmune disease receiving extensive immunosuppression, was documented in detail last month by more than 30 authors from Boston. This patient also had “accelerated viral evolution”, with mutations particularly in the spike (S) protein (57%), including the receptor-binding […]

Mapping one dose and two dose COVID vaccine efficacy for virus variants: Data to inform policy decisions

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA The last month saw three timelines overlap: global recognition of SARS-CoV-2 “variants”, worsening of the pandemic, and COVID-19 vaccine authorizations in many nations. As a result, policy decisions have been made regarding use of two doses of vaccine at varying intervals, and discussion of using only one dose […]