Friday, April 30, 2021

U.S. restricting travel from India amid raging COVID outbreak - CBS News

U.S. restricting travel from India amid raging COVID outbreak - CBS News I hope it's not too late. I guess we might see what this mutation will do to the anti-mask, vaccine-hesitant residents of the United States. The phrase "hot knife through butter" comes to mind.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

We are witnessing a crime against humanity

We are witnessing a crime against humanity Finally, the message came: “Father’s dead.” He did not die of Covid, but of a massive spike in blood pressure induced by a psychiatric meltdown induced by utter helplessness. What to do with the body? I desperately called everybody I knew. Among those who responded was Anirban Bhattacharya, who works with the well-known social activist Harsh Mander. Bhattacharya is about to stand trial on a charge of sedition for a protest he helped organise on his university campus in 2016. Mander, who has not fully recovered from a savage case of Covid last year, is being threatened with arrest and the closure of the orphanages he runs after he mobilised people against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed in December 2019, both of which blatantly discriminate against Muslims. Mander and Bhattacharya are among the many citizens who, in the absence of all forms of governance, have set up helplines and emergency responses, and are running themselves ragged organising ambulances and coordinating funerals and the transport of dead bodies. It’s not safe for these volunteers to do what they’re doing. In this wave of the pandemic, it’s the young who are falling, who are filling the intensive care units. When young people die, the older among us lose a little of our will to live.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

India Is What Happens When Rich People Do Nothing - The Atlantic

India Is What Happens When Rich People Do Nothing - The Atlantic India’s economic liberalization in the ’90s brought with it a rapid expansion of the private health-care industry, a shift that ultimately created a system of medical apartheid: World-class private hospitals catered to wealthy Indians and medical tourists from abroad; state-run facilities were for the poor. Those with money were able to purchase the best available care (or, in the case of the absolute richest, flee to safety in private jets), while elsewhere the country’s health-care infrastructure was held together with duct tape. The Indians who bought their way to a healthier life did not, or chose not to, see the widening gulf. Today, they are clutching their pearls as their loved ones fail to get ambulances, doctors, medicine, and oxygen.

The%20most%20promising%20coronavirus%20vaccine%20you%u2019ve%20never%20heard%20of%20-%20POLITICO

For the U.S., the Novavax shot could serve as an insurance policy in case supplies of the two mRNA vaccines — the workhorses of the country’s vaccination push — or the J&J shot falter. But many countries are not so fortunate. Thirty one percent of the billion vaccine doses administered worldwide have gone to North America, and just under 2 percent have gone to Africa.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Drone images of mass cremations as India battles Covid-19 - YouTube

Drone images of mass cremations as India battles Covid-19 - YouTube Disturbing drone footage of open air crematoriums in India.

India's Massive Surge Puzzles Scientists

India%u2019s%20massive%20COVID%20surge%20puzzles%20scientists “The second wave has made the last one look like a ripple in a bathtub,” says Zarir Udwadia, a clinician-researcher in pulmonary medicine at P D Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre in Mumbai, who spoke to Nature during a break from working in the intensive-care unit. He describes a “nightmarish” situation at hospitals, where beds and treatments are in extremely short supply.

COVID swallowing people in India as crematoriums overwhelmed

COVID swallowing people in India as crematoriums overwhelmed

Sunday, April 25, 2021

'Double Mutant' Variant In India Shouldn't Really Be Called That, Scientists Say : Goats and Soda : NPR

'Double Mutant' Variant In India Shouldn't Really Be Called That, Scientists Say : Goats and Soda : NPR There are also signs that people who have already had COVID-19 can be reinfected more easily with this strain, Gupta wrote, especially over time, as their natural immunity wanes. These reinfections may be driving this second, explosive surge in India.

'Double Mutant' Variant In India Shouldn't Really Be Called That, Scientists Say : Goats and Soda : NPR

'Double Mutant' Variant In India Shouldn't Really Be Called That, Scientists Say : Goats and Soda : NPR Preliminary evidence suggests that B1.617 is more contagious than previous strains of the virus. A study published Tuesday found that the L452R mutation may enhance the ability of viruses to infect human cells in the laboratory. The variant in California, which carries this same mutation, is about 20 percent more transmissible than older strains of the virus. B.1.617 is also spreading quickly in India. Over the past few months, it has become the dominant strain in the state of Maharashtra, Nature has reported. But, Andersen says, no one knows for sure if B.1.617 is more transmissible and thus driving India's surge. "We also know the B.1.1.7 [the variant first detected in the U.K.] is circulating in India, and we know that P.1. [the variant first detected in Brazil] is also circulating there, too. So they could also play a role in this surge. We simply don't have the data yet."

Friday, April 23, 2021

Vaccines Are Effective Against the New York Variant, Studies Find - The New York Times

Vaccines Are Effective Against the New York Variant, Studies Find - The New York Times Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will effectively prevent serious illness and death from the variant, two independent studies suggest. Antibodies stimulated by those vaccines are only slightly less potent at controlling the variant than the original form of the virus, both studies found. “We’re not seeing big differences,” said Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University in New York and a member of the team that published one of the studies on Thursday.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The system has collapsed.

The system is collapsing in India--The Guardian Hospitals across the country have filled to capacity but this time it is predominately the young taking up the beds; in Delhi, 65% of cases are under 40 years old. While the unprecedented spread of the virus has been partly blamed on a more contagious variant that has emerged in India, Modi’s government has also been accused of failures of political leadership from the top, with lax attitudes emulated by state and local leaders from all parties and even health officials across the country, which led many to falsely believe in recent months that India had defeated Covid .

New Covid variant shows signs of antibody resistance, more severe illness in young people

New Covid variant shows signs of antibody resistance, more severe illness in young people “We do not at present know the full significance of this variant, but it has a combination of mutations similar to other internationally notifiable variants of concern,” said Texas A&M Chief Virologist Ben Neuman. “This variant combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

CDC Studies 'Breakthrough' COVID Cases Among People Already Vaccinated : Shots - Health News : NPR

CDC Studies 'Breakthrough' COVID Cases Among People Already Vaccinated : Shots - Health News : NPR "I would encourage people to continue, once they're vaccinated, to use all the prevention measures that we've been talking about when they're outside their home, including masking and distancing and whatnot. And all of that should be active in the workplace," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said during a briefing for the press on Monday. It would be great if everyone would get on the same page before offering suggestions like this

Why Americans should "be very worried" about the COVID variant tearing through Brazil - CBS News

Why Americans should "be very worried" about the COVID variant tearing through Brazil - CBS News De Jesus told Bojorquez that in her experience, fewer than half of the patients she's treating are likely to recover from the disease. Surprisingly, she said more and more of those patients are in their 20's, 30's and 40's.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Low Efficacy of Chinese Shots Sows Concern on Global Rollout

Low Efficacy of Chinese Shots Sows Concern on Global Rollout Research released Sunday showed the rate for Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine -- deployed in Indonesia and Brazil -- was just above 50%, barely meeting the minimum protection required for Covid vaccines by leading global drug regulators. The other Chinese shots have reported efficacy rates of between 66% to 79%. _____________________________________ If the South African mutation runs into a nation that has been vaccinated by China, it will not be good.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Alaska officials detect case of COVID-19 strain first found in South Africa that's less affected by vaccines - Alaska Public Media

Alaska officials detect case of COVID-19 strain first found in South Africa that's less affected by vaccines - Alaska Public Media

New%20SARS-CoV-2%20Variants%20%u2014%20Clinical%2C%20Public%20Health%2C%20and%20Vaccine%20Implications%20%7C%20NEJM

New%20SARS-CoV-2%20Variants%20%u2014%20Clinical%2C%20Public%20Health%2C%20and%20Vaccine%20Implications%20%7C%20NEJM The clinical relevance of the lower neutralization activity for either mild or severe Covid-19 is not clear, but efficacy in clinical trials was lower for all three vaccines tested in the midst of transmission of the 501Y.V2 variant in South Africa than efficacy in trials conducted in countries with preexisting variants. Efficacy was higher by a factor of 3.2 with the AZD1222 vaccine in the United Kingdom and Brazil than in South Africa (70% vs. 22%), higher by a factor of 1.8 with the NVX-CoV237 vaccine in the United Kingdom than in South Africa (89% vs. 49%), and higher by a factor of 1.3 with the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine in the United States than in South Africa (72% vs. 57%).

Saturday, April 10, 2021

South African variant can 'break through' Pfizer vaccine, Israeli study says | Reuters

South African variant can 'break through' Pfizer vaccine, Israeli study says | Reuters “Even if the South African variant does break through the vaccine’s protection, it has not spread widely through the population,” said Stern, adding that the British variant may be “blocking” the spread of the South African strain.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Variant Hunters Race to Find New Strains Where Testing Lags | WIRED

Variant Hunters Race to Find New Strains Where Testing Lags | WIRED What has shocked researchers about the variant identified in the Tanzanian travelers is that it is so distantly related to other variants of concern. It’s a member of the so-called “A lineage”—sometimes dubbed the “19 lineage” since it appeared in 2019—and is the closest known relative to the virus that first spilled into humans. “My postdoc sent me a Slack message saying, ‘WTF the A lineage??’” says Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard University who studies viral evolution. Variants of the A lineage are still picked up from time to time, but by early 2020, most of them had been outcompeted by members of the still-reigning B lineage. The finding underlines the power of human networks in how viruses spread, Hanage adds. B-lineage variants clearly acquired mutations that made them fit to spread across the world, but what if they also got boosted by luck? It’s possible that viruses of the B lineage simply happened to take root early on in densely populated places like New York City and Italy, and from there they took over the world.

Why we need booster shots against variants to help end the pandemic

Why we need booster shots against variants to help end the pandemic Booster shots are part of a more comprehensive strategy to blunt the impact of the mutant strains. In February, the Biden administration earmarked $200 million to escalate surveillance and pay for an early warning system that will sequence SARS-CoV-2 samples across the nation in order to better identify and track emerging variants. This effort will be coordinated by a SARS-CoV-2 Interagency Group, within the Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the project is to monitor and characterize emerging “variants of concern,” which pose the greatest threats because they’re more contagious, deadly, or able to evade the body’s protective mechanisms.

Analysis: How worried should you be about coronavirus variants? A virologist explains his concerns | PBS NewsHour

Analysis: How worried should you be about coronavirus variants? A virologist explains his concerns | PBS NewsHour India and California have recently detected “double mutant” variants that, although not yet classified, have gained international interest. They have one key mutation in the spike protein similar to one found in the Brazilian and South African variants, and another already found in the B.1.427 and B.1.429 California variants. As of today, no variant has been classified as of high consequence, although the concern is that this could change as new variants emerge and we learn more about the variants already circulating.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Covid: Brazil has more than 4,000 deaths in 24 hours for first time - BBC News

Covid: Brazil has more than 4,000 deaths in 24 hours for first time - BBC News: What is the Brazil variant? Fiocruz says it has detected 92 variants of coronavirus in the country, including the P.1, or Brazil variant, which has become a cause for concern because it is thought to be much more contagious. It is thought to have emerged in Amazonas state in November 2020, spreading quickly in the state capital Manaus, where it accounted for 73% of cases by January 2021, according to figures analysed by researchers in Brazil.

Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science | CDC

Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science | CDC : Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the viru...