Medicine

Scientists Report Lowest Incidence Of Flu In Decades

The Associated Press reports: February is usually the peak of flu season, with doctors’ offices and hospitals packed with suffering patients. But not this year. Flu has virtually disappeared from the U.S., with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades. Experts say that measures put in place to fend off the coronavirus — mask wearing, …

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Moderna Tests Booster Vax On South African Variant

The Washington Post reports: Moderna said Wednesday that it has manufactured a new version of its coronavirus vaccine that is tailored to quell infection by the variant first identified in South Africa. A small amount of vaccine has been sent to the National Institutes of Health for a trial to determine whether boosting humans with the modified vaccine will stimulate …

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FDA Confirms Efficacy Of J&J’s Single-Shot Vaccine

CNBC reports: The Food and Drug Administration’s staff endorsed Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, a critical step in bringing a third shot to the U.S. marketplace. The staff report released Wednesday is meant to brief the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which will meet Friday to review J&J’s request for emergency use authorization. The …

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STUDY: Pfizer Vax Can Be Stored In Regular Freezers

The Wall Street Journal reports: The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE generates robust immunity after one dose and can be stored in ordinary freezers instead of at ultracold temperatures, according to new research and data released by the companies. The findings provide strong arguments in favor of delaying the second dose of the two-shot vaccine, as …

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WH: Vaccines Will Be Updated To Address Variants

The Washington Post reports: Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on the coronavirus response, said vaccine-producing companies plan to update their shots to address variants of the virus. During a Washington Post live interview Thursday, he said the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines “work well for” the most prominent variant spreading throughout the United States, which is the one first identified …

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New COVID Cases In US Continue Sharp Decline

The Washington Post reports: Newly reported coronavirus infections in the United States continued their steep drop, with about 56,000 new cases reported Monday, though the figure may be artificially low due to the holiday. However, the seven-day average, considered a more reliable measure, has dipped below 90,000 a day for the first time since early November. Scientists have been split …

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Biden To Ax Trump-Era Medicaid Work Requirement

The Washington Post reports: The Biden administration is planning Friday to wipe out one of the core health policies of the Trump era, taking actions that will immediately rescind permission for states to compel poor residents to work in exchange for receiving Medicaid benefits. Federal health officials will withdraw their predecessors’ invitation to states to apply for approval to impose …

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COVID-Related Hospitalizations Hit Three Month Low

The Hill reports: More than 74,000 people remain in the hospital due to COVID-19 as of Thursday, the lowest level in nearly three months, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. The group recorded approximately 74,225 hospitalizations as of Thursday, making it the third straight day the number has remained below 80,000. The number of patients in intensive-care units …

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NY Vax Portal For Immunocompromised Opens Sunday

Gothamist reports: New Yorkers with pre-existing health conditions can begin making appointments for COVID-19 vaccines at state-run sites starting this Sunday, February 14th. Governor Andrew Cuomo listed the details at Monday’s coronavirus press briefing. Cuomo said anyone who qualifies must bring a doctor’s letter or proof of their medical condition. They can also sign an affidavit in order to receive …

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STUDY: Pfizer Vaccine Should Work Against Variants

Politico Europe reports: The BioNTech/Pfizer coronavirus vaccine should grant protection against both the South African and British variants, according to an article published in Nature Medicine Monday. The researchers tested the blood sera of participants who had been given the vaccine against virus samples that were genetically modified to resemble the variants, finding that the antibodies responded to these viruses. …

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Authorities Begin To Move On Vaccine Line-Cutters

The Wall Street Journal reports: Board members of a Rhode Island medical system were invited to get vaccinated, regardless of their age or occupations. Judges and their staff received vaccines ahead of schedule at a Nevada medical center. And a SoulCycle fitness instructor in New York got a shot after saying she was an educator. While millions of Americans await …

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NY To Expand Vaccine Access To “Chronic Conditions”

The New York Times reports: New York State will begin allowing people with some chronic health conditions that put them at greater risk of severe illness from the coronavirus to receive a vaccine on Feb. 15, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday. The governor did not provide any details on which conditions, or comorbidities, would qualify people to be …

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J&J Seeks FDA Approval For Its Single-Shot Vaccine

The Associated Press reports: Johnson & Johnson asked U.S. regulators late Thursday to clear the world’s first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, an easier-to-use option that could boost scarce supplies. J&J’s vaccine was safe and offered strong protection against moderate to severe COVID-19, according to preliminary results from a massive international study. It didn’t appear quite as strong as two-dose competitors made …

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COVID Vax Rate Accelerates As New Cases Decline

The Washington Post reports: The rate of coronavirus vaccinations in the United States is accelerating, and the number of people who have received at least one shot is now higher than the total number of reported U.S. infections — a hopeful milestone that comes amid a vaccine rollout at times marked by complexity and frustration. The vaccination uptick is coinciding …

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British Study Will Test Mixing Coronavirus Vaccines

The Washington Post reports: British scientists have launched a study to determine whether mixing coronavirus vaccine doses produces a sufficient response to protect people from infection. The current approach involves the use of two shots of the same vaccine over several weeks. In the trial, participants will receive one shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine followed by a second dose from …

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Dutch Government Rolls Out COVID Rapid Breath Test

Reuters reports: The Netherlands is to introduce rapid COVID-19 breath tests to sites across the country to speed up the testing process and make it less intrusive. Testing facilities in Amsterdam were this week the first to start using the SpiroNose, a machine which requires a person to breathe into it to indicate a possible coronavirus infection within a minute. …

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AstraZeneca Vax Shows “Strong Effect” With One Dose

The Washington Post reports: Researchers at Oxford University released new results from their vaccine, which is being manufactured by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, showing it gives 76 percent protection for three months after just one dose. Testing also reveals that those vaccinated are much less likely to transmit the disease, which will help stem the continuing spread of the virus. The …

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Trial Result: J&J Single-Shot Vaccine Is 66% Effective

The Wall Street Journal reports: Johnson & Johnson said its experimental Covid-19 vaccine was 66% effective at protecting people from moderate to severe disease in a large clinical trial, positive results that could pave the way for its deployment across the U.S. within weeks. The J&J vaccine also appeared to be generally safe and well tolerated among the 44,325 adults …

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Study: Novavax Shot 89% Effective Against Main Strain

USA Today reports: Another COVID-19 candidate vaccine appears to be safe and roughly 90% effective against the virus that causes the disease. It also protects against at least a few of the variants that have arisen in recent months. On Thursday, Novavax, a Gaithersburg, Maryland-based biotechnology firm, released interim results from two clinical trials of its candidate vaccine, one in …

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Lucky Motorists Stranded With Vaccine Team Get Shots

From Oregon’s Josephine County: When Josephine County Public Health staff and volunteers concluded their mass vaccination event at the Illinois Valley High School this afternoon, they never guessed they might be setting up an impromptu clinic on the way back to Grants Pass. But that’s exactly what happened when a snowstorm stranded about 20 personnel on Highway 199 near Hayes …

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