HERE’S THE BAD NEWS…
A recent study highlighted the weakness of immune responses to Omincron variants, regardless of being fully vaccinated but lacking a booster. It also highlights the significant short-comings of monoclonal antibody cocktails. Per Science, “We found that titers against the Omicron variant were low or undetectable after two immunizations and in many convalescent serum samples, regardless of the infecting variant. A booster vaccination increased titers more than 30-fold against Omicron to values comparable to those seen against the D614G variant after two immunizations… Five monoclonal antibodies, the antibody mimetic protein, three antibody cocktails, and two polyclonal antibody preparations retained measurable neutralization activity against Omicron with a varying degree of potency. Of these, only three retained potencies comparable to the D614G variant. Two therapeutic antibody cocktails in the tested panel that are authorized for emergency use in the United States did not neutralize Omicron.” While this may sound like bad news – and it sort of is – continue reading… https://bit.ly/3raE6NQ
AND HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS…
It’s not all bad Covid-19 news. Multiple studies have indicated that so-called hybrid immunity, i.e. being naturally infected and then subsequently vaccinated, proffers long-lasting immunity to the coronavirus. Per Nature, “Even people who have had COVID-19 receive long-lasting benefits from a full course of vaccination, according to three recent studies1–3. What’s more, one of the studies3 found that the ‘hybrid’ immunity caused by vaccination and infection is long-lasting, conferring highly effective protection against symptomatic disease for at least six to eight months after vaccination. The data were collected before the Omicron variant emerged, casting some doubt on the studies’ relevance today. But if the findings hold up, they could inform vaccination schemes and vaccine passports, which some countries require for entry to places such as restaurants. The work also counters high-profile claims that people who have had COVID-19 don’t benefit from vaccination.” So yeah, that’s good news. https://go.nature.com/38n8xd9
PFIZER TAKES AIM AT RSV.
Not satisfied with having taken on Covid-19 and saved countless lives, Pfizer has also trained its sights on another virus, the respiratory syncytial virus. Per Fierce Biotech, “Pfizer has had plenty of success in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) lately, with multiple FDA designations and clinical advancements for its vaccine candidate. But that’s not enough for the pharma giant. Today, the New York-based behemoth is acquiring ReViral and its collection of therapeutics for the pesky respiratory virus for $525 million… ReViral is working on antiviral therapeutics for RSV, mainly the oral inhibitor sisunatovir that blocks fusion of RSV to host cells. The therapy was found to significantly reduce viral load during a phase 2 challenge study in healthy adults. The med is also in midstage testing in infants. A second program is aimed at inhibiting RSV replication by targeting the viral N protein, with a lead candidate already in early-stage testing.” While RSV is relatively mild in adolescents and adults, it can be very dangerous in young children. Anything that addresses that is welcome. https://bit.ly/3ugcjOa
Are kids still smoking at young ages? A recent surveillance report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report suggests that the phenomenon is still around, though in no way comparable to the past. Per MMWR, “In 2021, approximately one in 10 U.S. middle and high school students (9.3%) had used a tobacco product during the preceding 30 days. By school level, this represented more than one in eight high school students (13.4%) and approximately one in 25 middle school students (4.0%). E-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product in 2021. Tobacco product use was higher among certain subpopulations, such as those identifying as LGB or transgender, or those reporting psychological distress. Importantly, approximately two thirds of students who currently used tobacco products were seriously thinking about quitting.” It’s good to hear that trends have not reversed. https://bit.ly/3LHPPv6
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST (ALMOST).
Human beings are just as good at destroying as we are at building. The latest species to be put under threat by our presence is an ancient plant that has outlived the dinosaurs. Per Smithsonian Magazine, “While cycads have been around for a very long time, they are hardly living fossils. Cycads have undergone dramatic changes through their storied history—and it may be up to us to save them. Despite surviving multiple mass extinctions, many cycad species are in danger of disappearing because of humans. We’re not only altering the habitats where these resilient plants grow, but a growing trade in rare and endangered cycads is threatening to erase plants that have flourished for millions of years.” https://bit.ly/3jimcVf
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.