HealthNews RoundUp - 2nd Week of March 2022
Is Another CoVid Variant Tsunami Hitting Our Shores?
Cases due to the Omicron Subvariant BA2 that I call Omicron BA2 are on the rise all over the world, and this subvariant is on the way to eclipsing cases due to the initial Omicron subvariant BA1. It is already the dominant cause of cases in Denmark, Singapore, India, South Africa, and Austria. Reports from England indicate that children are harder hit than adults, and a number of them have developed Omicron2 within weeks to months after an infection with Omicron1. Omicron2 cases now represent nearly 12% of new cases in the US.
Let’s look at some of OmicronBA2’s characteristics. OmicronBA2 is more difficult to identify even with PCR tests presenting a challenge to public health officials attempting to quantitate numbers of cases. It has been nicknamed the stealth variant. The accuracy of home rapid CoVid tests for Omicron detection is not well documented.
OmicronBA2 is estimated to be 40% more transmissible than OmicronBA1 due to a change in its spike protein mutations. It is significantly more transmissible than the original CoVid strain. It begins to approach the infectivity levels for measles, the most infectious common virus with an estimated reproduction number, R0, of about 12.
The protective antibodies generated by mRNA vaccines are slightly less effective against OmicronBA2 than OmnicronBA1. Only those who have been boosted within the past 3 to 5 months enjoy any significant protection against contracting either Omicron subvariant.
The good news is that OmicronBA2 infections do not seem more severe than OmicronBA1 infections and hospitalization or worse seems not to be significantly more likely. Early reports suggest that OmicronBA2, like OmicronBA1, preferentially attacks the nose and throat rather than the lungs.
The CDC indicates that our current CoVid pills, Paxlovid and molnupiravir, should be effective against all Omicron subvariants.
#CoVid #omicron #BA1 #BA2 #vaccination
CoVid, omicron, BA1, BA2, vaccination
Office Water May Be Unsafe After Weekends and Holidays
You may get more than a case of the Mondays if you hit the ol’ office water fountain after a weekend or holiday closure. Purdue University engineers issue this warning after their in-depth study of water in a 10 year old 3 story so-called green office building.
The building’s water quality was assessed for minerals and bacteria including legionella, the bug that causes Legionnaire’s disease. The investigators found that the drinking water flowing after a weekend had elevated levels of lead, copper, and the legionella bacteria. The concentration of the protective disinfectant chlorine in the water decreased to suboptimal levels.
Take away points:
Stagnant water in an unoccupied building is unsafe for consumption.
Bring your own bottled water on Mondays or following holidays.
Even in your own home or vacation home, run the water to bring in a fresh supply that will dilute and flush any contaminants.
#water #stagnation #bottledwater #legionnella
water, stagnation, bottledwater, legionnella
Boosters Protect College Students from Omicron
A 3rd shot of CoVid vaccine following the 1 or 2 dose primary vaccination provides 50% more protection against an Omicron infection. Cornell University investigators followed 15,102 vaccinated students from December 5th to 31st, 2021. Of that number, 1,706 had also received a CoVid booster prior to the beginning of the study. The vaccines used included the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaxes and the Johnson & Johnson viral vector vax.
The incidence rate of breakthrough cases began to rise quickly around day 3 of the study and leveled off around day 10. As the month of December wore on, the incidence rate of new CoVid infections was 1.4 per 100 person-days for the unboosted students. This figure was double the 0.7 per 100 person-day figure for those who received the booster.
This study proves the protective effect in young adults of a CoVid booster for any of the FDA approved CoVid vaccines. If you haven’t yet had a booster, get it now.
#CoVid #omicron #vaccination #booster #students
CoVid, omicron, vaccination, booster, students
Rapid Antigen Tests and CoVid Quarantines
A home rapid antigen CoVid test on day 6 of a quarantine overestimates the risk that you are still infectious by some 40%. This from a Boston-based study run by researchers from Harvard, MIT, and Boston University.
Forty young CoVid-vaccinated and 90% boosted young adults, mean age 32 years, were studied after testing PCR-positive for CoVid Omicron. All underwent both rapid antigen testing and viral culture testing on day 6 of their quarantine. The rapid antigen test on that day declared that 75% of the group remained positive. However, the viral cultures indicated that only 35% were continuing to carry live, transmissible virus.
The investigators conclude that a negative rapid antigen test on day 6 should be the signal to end the quarantine. If your rapid antigen test is positive, there is a good chance that you aren’t actually caring live virus. However, only a negative viral culture or PCR test will permit you to end your isolation at that time. If you don’t have that, continuing the quarantine an additional 5 days would be necessary ending it after that time if you’re asymptomatic.
#CoVid #quarantine #rapidantigentest #viralculture #pcr
CoVid, quarantine, rapidantigentest, viralculture, pcr
Morning Is Best For CoVid Testing
Collecting either a nasal or a saliva sample for CoVid testing in the morning vs. the evening increases the chance of detecting virus by as much as 24%. Public health officials in Pasadena working with the California Institute of Technology report this finding following their longitudinal study of 29 mildly symptomatic participants from 16 different households.
The mean age of the participants was 33 years and the majority were women. The study was done early in the pandemic and 96% were unvaccinated. All received sequential PCR testing, both nasal and salivary, that began as early as several days before initial diagnosis and continuing for up to 20 days after. Most morning sampling was between 7 and 10 am and evening sampling between 8 and 11 pm.
Detectable viral loads were higher during the first 6 days of infection and for nasal secretions compared with saliva. In both fluids, though, viral concentrations were higher in the morning, shown in orange, than in the evening, shown in violet.
Looking at the percentage differences between morning and evening collection, the greatest difference between morning and evening collection was highest at 24% for nasal collection between 3 and 6 days after symptom onset and for salivary collection at 21% between 6 and 12 days.
The bottom line: to have the greatest chances of detecting CoVid virus that is present in your body, do the testing first thing in the morning via nasal sampling at least 3 days after mild symptoms have occurred. Do it earlier if you have more pronounced symptoms.
#CoVid #pcrtesting #timeoftesting #nasal #saliva
CoVid, pcrtesting, timeoftesting, nasal, saliva
Guilt-Reducing Mindfulness May Have Negative Consequences
Mindfulness meditation can reduce your guilt, but doing so may have a negative impact on your social relationships. Psychologists at the University of Washington conducted a series of 8 experiments on 1400 participants that included 3 groups: US adults recruited online, undergrads at UPenn’s Wharton business school, and Portuguese grad students.
The initial study demonstrated that mindfulness exercises could effectively reduce guilt feelings. Subsequent studies went on to explore the consequences of that guilt reduction. One experiment showed that those whose mindfulness reduced their guilt were significantly less likely to provide financial compensation to someone they had wronged. Another study showed that mindfulness-driven guilt reduction drove a reduced tendency to apologize and otherwise smooth over an abrasive social interaction.
Like many techniques, mindfulness can have negative as well as positive consequences. The researchers found that meditation emphasizing thoughts of other-directed loving kindness rather than self-centered enhancement lead to less sociopathic behavior.
#mindfulness #sociopathic #guilt #love
mindfulness, sociopathic, guilt, love
Monoclonal Antibody Prevents Respiratory Syncytial Viral Infections
Nirsevimab is a long-acting anti-RSV monoclonal antibody that can prevent this often serious childhood respiratory illness in 75% of healthy infants. Pediatric investigators at Northwestern and the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago now report the results of their phase 3 clinical trial in the New England Journal of Medicine.
A total of 1490 term infants underwent 2:1 randomization to receive nirsevimab or a control injection. RSV infections that required significant medical care occurred in only 1.2% of the treated group vs 5% of controls, a 76% reduction. Hospitalization for RSV therapy was necessary for only 0.6% of the treated group vs 1.6% of the controls representing a 62% reduction. Nirsevimab injection was not associated with any increased adverse effects.
The best news is that a single injection of this immunizing medication can protect an infant for the entire RSV season.
#nirsevimab #rsv #hospitalization #monoclonalantibody
nirsevimab, rsv, hospitalization , monoclonalantibody
Short Shorts: 2nd Week March 2022
Short Shorts are cutting edge medical and healthcare discoveries not quite ready for the clinic, but I want you to know about them now.
A New Zealand study shows that consistent reminiscing with your children about positive family activities helps them grow into adolescence with better overall mental health. Kids whose positive childhood memories are reinforced grow up with significantly less anxiety and a lower incidence of clinical depression.
Human skin cells, dermal fibroblasts, can be genetically enhanced to manufacture cellular components called activated extracellular vesicles or ASTEX that capably repair cells previously infected with and injured by CoVid. Investigators at LA’s Cedars Sinai Medical Center show that this bioengineered therapy may play an important role in the rehabilitation of those with long CoVid.
Teen athletes who suffer a concussion during sports play are 3.5 times less likely to experience subsequent injuries if they work with a neuromuscular athletic trainer to enhance their defensive strengths and landing stability. Sportsmedicine researchers at the Children’s Hospital Colorado studied 27 youths half of whom received this special training.
French clinicians have identified a new, blended variant that is termed “Deltacron." Three clusters of patients in South France have tested positive for this recombinant which sports mutations characteristic of Delta and Omicron. No word yet regarding whether this hybrid CoVid is neutralized by vaccine-induced or natural anti-CoVid antibodies, its transmissibility characteristics, or its virulence. If its worse that Omicron2 or BA.2, we’re in real trouble.
Recovering your hand dexterity after a stroke isn’t easy, but University of Missouri physical therapists have proven that video gaming can help. Their studies show that both collaborative online gaming and self-gaming both drive faster and more complete recovery of a stroke victim’s upper extremity function than traditional in-person physical therapy. The best news: patients don’t have to travel to a center to do it.…. And its cheaper.
Nanomedicine is all the rage, and researchers are finding ways to package drugs in tiny packets that penetrate better into the diseased tissues that need them. Oncologists at Harvard’s Mass. General Hospital have shown using mathematical models and lab studies that administering the nanodrugs in small frequent doses, a technique called metronomic scheduling, makes the drugs even more effective. This technique should work for and enhance both chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
#reminiscing #astex #longcovid #concussion #neuromusculartraining #Deltamicron #deltacron #stroke #videogaming #nanomedicine #metronomicscheduling
reminiscing, astex, longcovid, concussion, neuromusculartraining, Deltamicron, deltacron, stroke, videogaming, nanomedicine, metronomicscheduling
There you have the latest. When additional information about these developments becomes available, I’lll pass it on to you.
Honda’s Talon Off-Highway Vehicles Are Dangerous
The CPSC and American Honda are recalling 2019 through 2021 Honda Talon 1000 S2 and S4 Off-Highway vehicles. These vehicle’s air filter intake funnel band screw could loosen and be sucked into the engine proper leading to a catastrophic engine failure, loss of vehicle control, and a possible crash and injuries to the driver and bystanders. About 32,000 of these vehicles were sold nationwide at Honda Powersports dealers. If you own one of these vehicles, stop driving it and contact an authorized Honda Powersports dealer to schedule an inspection and a free repair. For more information about this recall, call American Honda at 1-866-784-1870.
#honda #offhighway #talon #airintake #enginefailure #crash #injury #recall
honda, offhighway, talon, airintake, enginefailure, crash, injury, recall
Crate and Barrel Be the Band Music Sets May Fragment
The CPSC and Crate and Barrel have recalled Crate and Barrel Be the Band Music Sets. The maracas in these sets may break or detach from their handles, release the metal beads within, and create a choking, aspiration, and suffocation hazard for young children. About 620 of these music sets were sold online at crateandbarrel.com. If you bought one of these toys, immediately sequester it from your children and make certain that none of the beads have already escaped. Contact Crate and Barrel by phone at 1-800-967-6696 for instructions on how to receive a refund in the form of a $20 store credit.
#crateandbarrel #musicset #maracas #foreignbodies #choking #suffocation #recall
Crateandbarrel, musicset, maracas, foreignbodies, choking, suffocation, recall
Olight LED Flashlights May Burn A Hole In Your Pocket
The CPSC and Olight Ecommerce Technology Ltd. have recalled Olight M2R Pro and Warrior Mini LED pocket flashlights in a variety of colors including lack, camouflage, desert tan, OD green, Patriotic Edition, gunmetal gray, orange, blue, ocean camouflage, purple, white, seasonal titanium, copper, and antique bronze colors. These flashlights may accidentally turn on in your pocket or in a holster, become extremely hot, and burn your pants and skin. About 215,000 of these flashlights were sold online at Olightstore.com, Amazon.com and through small independent stores nationwide. Stop using these led flashlights and contact Olight by phone at 1-888-889-6870 or via email at email@example.com for a full refund in the form of a store credit or a free replacement flashlight.
#olight #ledflashlight #overheating #burns #fire #recall
olight, ledflashlight, overheating, burns, fire, recall
Danby Brand Freestanding and Slide-in Electric and Gas Ranges may tip over
The CPSC and Danby Products are recalling all Danby Brand Freestanding and Slide-in Electric and Gas Ranges. If these appliances aren’t secured to a back wall or to the floor with anti-tipover brackets, they may tip over when heavy materials are placed on an open oven door. This creates entrapment, injury, and also burn hazards if hot foods and liquids in cookware on the top burners were to spill on bystanders. About 1700 of these ranges were sold at Home Depot, ABC Appliance, and other appliance stores nationwide. If you have one of these Danby ranges, contact the company by phone at 1-877-246-2296 to find out whether your appliance is involved in this recall and to schedule a free home service call to be certain that the tip-over bracket is properly installed. Meanwhile, keep things off an open oven door.
#danby #ranges #tipover #injuries #burns #recall
danby, ranges, tipover, injuries, burns, recall
Recalls on Stutzman Farms Einkorn-Containing Products
The FDA and Stutzman Farms have recalled all of the Stutzman Farms Einkorn Products including berries, flour, pretzels, grate nuts, and crackers. What is einkorn you might ask. It is the the oldest form of wheat known to man first grown 5,000 years ago. Einkorn is German for “single grain,” is considered to be an extremely healthy form of wheat, and has a deep, nutty, and toasty flavor. Unfortunately, these Stutzman Farm products are not labeled as containing wheat. If a person with a wheat allergy should ingest einkorn, a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction could result. These products were sold in: Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Those with a known wheat allergy should return these products to Stutzman or dispose of them. You can reach Stutzman Farms by phone at 1-330-674-1289 extension 2, and be prepared to leave a message for a callback.
#stutzman #einkorn #wheat #allergy #recall
stutzman, einkorn, wheat, allergy, recall
Recall on Bantam Classic Stuffed Bagels with Cream Cheese
The FDA and Damascus Bakery are recalling Bantam Classic Stuffed Bagels with Cream Cheese. This product contains undeclared egg allergens. Those allergic to eggs could develop life-threatening allergic reactions should they ingest these bagels. If you bought these bagels and have an egg-allergic person in your household, you should dispose of them and contact Bantam Bagels customer service at 1-866-451-6744 for a replacement coupon.
#bantambagels #bagels #creamcheese #egg #allergy #recall
bantambagels, bagels, creamcheese, egg, allergy, recall
Tennessee Technical Coatings Hand Sanitizer Has Poisonous Alcohol
The FDA and Tennessee Technical Coatings Corp. are recalling Tennessee Technical Coatings Hand Sanitizer Isopropyl Alcohol Antiseptic 75%. This product is contaminated with poisonous methyl alcohol or methanol for short. Methanol can cause neurologic damage, blindness, and gastrointestinal distress. This product was sold in Tennessee. If you bought this product, stop using it immediately and return it to the place of purchase for a refund. For additional information, contact Tennessee Technical Coatings by calling 1-931-359-6666 or via the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
#tennesseetechnical #handsanitizer #methanol #poisoning #recall
tennesseetechnical, handsanitizer, methanol, poisoning, recall