COVID-19 News: WHO Warns Against Mixing and Matching Vaccines and More

Covid variant

Although the U.S. appears to be beating back COVID-19, it’s still raging in many parts of the world, and studies and trials are still ongoing. Here’s a look at some of today’s top COVID-19 stories.

WHO Warns Against Mixing and Matching COVID-19 Vaccines

Although there have been discussions about using different vaccines in combination, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, warned against it, calling it a “dangerous trend.”

She argues that there is not enough data. “It’s a little bit of a dangerous trend here,” she told an online briefing. “We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as mix and match. It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third and a fourth dose.”

Azithromycin Doesn’t Help Mild-to-Moderate COVID-19

study out of the UK published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine found that using the antibiotic azithromycin in mild-to-moderate COVID-19 did not decrease the risk of subsequent hospitalization or death. The study involved 209 patients with a mean age of 45.9 years. 

The authors concluded, “Our findings in mild-to-moderate COVID-19 managed in ambulatory care, taken together with trials in early disease in primary care and from trials in patients admitted to hospital with severe disease, suggest that azithromycin does not reduce hospital admissions, respiratory failure, or death compared with standard care, and should not be used in the treatment of COVID-19.”

COVID-19 Vaccines Protect At-Risk Patients

An observational study out of Public Health England (PHE) found that the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccines effectively prevent symptomatic disease in people with underlying conditions like the rest of the population. The study looked at real-world data of more than 1 million at-risk UK residents. 

They pointed out that the elderly are at the most significant risk and comorbidities like diabetes, neurologic disease, and illnesses or treatments that suppressed the immune system; overall, the vaccinations seemed to generate similar antibody responses in at-risk patients and healthy patients. 

Most Fully Vaccinated People Infected with Delta Variant are Asymptomatic

A WHO report presented by the agency’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan found that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but are infected by the Delta (India) variant are typically asymptomatic. In most of the world, where hospitalizations increase from Delta variant infections, the vaccination rates are low. This data was in line with what the U.S. has found, that almost all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated individuals. Breakthrough infections, where a vaccinated person catches the virus, are rare.

Flu Vaccine Associated with Better COVID-19 Symptoms

A study presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) found that people who had a flu shot prior to having COVID-19 had a lower risk of sepsis, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (EDVT), and emergency or intensive care. They evaluated 74,754 patients in the international TriNetX research database.

Single COVID-19 Shot Decreases COVID-19 Risk by About 2/3 in Elderly

A study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases found that a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines decreases COVID-19 risk by about two-thirds in the elderly. The research evaluated 16,993 sample specimens from British Columbia residents 70 years or older from April 4 to May 1, 2021. They found overall vaccine effectiveness for a single dose at 21 or more days after vaccination was 65%.

Luxury Wellness Resorts Offer COVID Long-Haulers Special Care

There’s a new crop of luxury wellness resorts offering to pamper for COVID-19 long-haulers, those people whose symptoms last longer than 12 weeks. Some are charging $3500 for care that might include a paste of turmeric, galangal and kaffir lime applied to their chests, which is then covered with an alcohol-doused towel and set on fire. This is a traditional Thai detoxification therapy called Ya-Pao.

NRx Pharmaceuticals and Quantum Leap’s Inhaled Zyesamio for Severe COVID-19

NRx Pharmaceuticals and Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative have begun using inhaled Zyesamio (Aviptadil) to treat severely and critically ill COVID-19 patients in the I-SPY COVID-19 Phase II adaptive platform trial. The trial aims to screen a range of promising compounds for severely and critically ill COVID-19 patients. Zyesami has shown a statistically significant increase in the probability of patients being alive and free of respiratory failure at 60 days. Zyesami is a synthetic form of Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP).

 

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