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Coronavirus Watch

Increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection associated with Omicron — South African study

Population-level evidence suggests that the Omicron variant is associated with substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection, found a study published on MedRxiv...

Previous infection + vaccines deliver ’stronger than basic' Omicron defence — China in-vitro study

One of the earliest, peer-reviewed studies looking into the Omicron variant of COVID-19, published this week, suggests that people previously infected with COVID, and...

COVID reduced South African life expectancy by 3.5 years

The pandemic has reduced SA’s life expectancy by three-and-a-half years, according to Jacques van Zaydam, Department of Social Development's chief director, population and development. Speaking...

NICD: Positivity rate spikes after COVID test results delay at state labs

Technical problems at state laboratories led to delays in the release of results of coronavirus tests, as well as a dump of close to...

Gauteng considering to Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravir for COVID-19

As Gauteng faces an escalating fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, consideration is being given for the use of two overseas drugs that have showed...

WHO: Omicron more transmissible but not necessarily milder

The Omicron variant, already detected in nearly 60 countries, may be more transmissible, but increased transmissibility does not necessarily mean it will cause less...

Two-dose vaccines induce lower antibodies against Omicron — Oxford study

Two-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimens do not induce enough neutralising antibodies against the Omicron coronavirus variant, British scientists have found, meaning that increased infections in...

Pfizer course may have only 23% efficacy against. Omicron — Small Durban study

A two-shot course of Pfizer’s vaccine may have just 22.5% efficacy against symptomatic infection with the Omicron variant, but can thwart severe disease, according...

Delta may have increased ability to evade vaccine-induced immunity — Glasgow study

A study in PLOS Pathogens from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, United Kingdom, suggests that the Delta variant may be more...

Mixing COVID-19 vaccinations gives better immune response — Oxford trial

People had a better immune response when they received a first dose of AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech shots followed by Moderna nine weeks late, found...

Boosters significantly strengthen immunity — Cov-Boost trial

Those boosted with the Pfizer vaccine after two doses of AstraZeneca had antibody levels a month later nearly 25 times higher than controls. When...

So far, milder disease seen with Omicron, with shorter hospital stays — SA hospitals analysis

Although it’s too early to draw definite conclusions, it appears that the Omicron variant might cause less severe infection than previous strains, according a...

COVID increases pregnancy and birth complications — French hospital study

Pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to have complications with pregnancy and birth than those without, according to a University of Paris study...

SA women’s life expectancy drops from effect of COVID-19 — UCT, SAMRC study

South African women's life expectancy dropped by a year in 2020 and is likely to fall further in 2021 because of COVID-19, found a...

SAMRC: Rising levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA fragments in Tshwane and NMB wastewater

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has confirmed rising concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 RNA fragments in wastewater in the cities of Tshwane (Gauteng) and...

Preliminary results from two UK studies suggest significant heart inflammation from COVID

Early results from some large-scale national studies suggest that up to one in eight UK hospitalised patients subsequently shows signs of heart injury, writes...

4th wave: More10- to 19-year-olds than older groups being admitted — UCT epidemiologist

There are more children and younger people than older age groups being affected by this fourth wave of COVID-19, and being admitted to hospital....

Prevalence of the double-jabbed in England’s first Omicron cases — UKHSA

More than half of the first 22 infected with the Omicron variant in England had been double jabbed, health officials have said, as cases...

Merck’s COVID pill narrowly wins FDA panel's 'yes' vote

A divided US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted 13-10 to recommend Merck’s oral antiviral molnupiravir for emergency use authorisation (EUA) for...

Peptide vaccine creates T-cells for ‘better immune response than current alternativesʼ

A new peptide-based vaccine designed to specifically create T-cells against COVID produces a better immune response than the alternatives already in use, according to...

mRNA vaccines may pose acute coronary syndrome risk — US study

A US study found that mRNA vaccines “dramatically increase” inflammation on the endothelium and T cell infiltration of cardiac muscle and may account for...

SAHPRA yet to receive registration applications for novel oral treatments for COVID-19

Two new oral treatments for COVID may prevent deaths and severe cases of COVID, but South Africa’s medicines regulator has yet to receive registration...

Mask-wearing significantly reduces COVID-19 incidence — Systematic review

Wearing masks is the single most effective public health measure against the coronavirus, cutting incidence by up to 53%, according to a systematic review...

COVID patients on SSRI antidepressants significantly less likely to die

A large analysis of health records from 87 healthcare centres across the United States found that people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) depressants,...

Monoclonal antibodies effective for breakthrough COVID cases — Mayo Clinic

Monoclonal antibodies reduce the risk of hospitalisation 77% in 1,395 patients who had breakthrough COVID-19 infections, found research from the Mayo Clinic in the...

Vaccinated and COVID-recovered mothers produce breast milk with antibodies

Mothers with two types of immunity from COVID — disease-acquired (those who have contracted COVID and recovered) and vaccination-acquired — produced breast milk with...

Heparin benefits COVID-19 patients — Medical University of Vienna

Treatment with low-molecular-weight heparin has a beneficial effect on survival of COVID-19 patients and influences the duration of active infection, found a study from...

Regeneron cocktail cuts COVID risk by 82%, gets go-ahead from European Commission

The European Commission (EC) has approved the use of Regeron Pharmaceuticals’ casirivimab and imdevimab antibody cocktail, known as REGEN-COV in the US and Ronapreve...

AstraZeneca’s new antibody cocktail Evushield is more effective than its own vaccine

AstraZeneca has solidified its lead in the race to develop a preventative COVID-19 drug, announcing in a statement last Thursday (18 November), that its...

Only six healthy children died of COVID-19 in first year — Public Health England

Data from England reveals that of the 25 deaths among children in the first year of the pandemic that were caused by COVID-19, just...

Students believe in vaccines and put their faith in Pfizer and pharmacists — Wits

South African students believe the COVID vaccine is safe, with 83% willing to take the jab, and most of them preferring the Pfizer and...

The demographic face of COVID-19 in South Africa — Johannesburg University

Existing socioeconomic inequalities shape COVID-19 impacts, with a disproportionate effect on black Africans and marginalised and low socioeconomic groups, found a study in the...

Discovery analysis: Pfizer vaccinated SA adults have 94% lower risk of death from COVID

Unvaccinated South Africans have a five times higher risk of
 COVID-19 infection and 20 times higher risk of dying from
 COVID complications than people...

Infection + vaccination delivers better protection than immunisation only — Large US study

In what is believed to be one of the largest studies of its kind, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have shown that antibody levels against...

Cheap, generic anti-depressant may reduce severe COVID-19 — Brazil trial

The cheap, generically available anti-depressant fluvoxamine may reduce the risk of severe COVID by as much as a third in people at high risk,...

No causal effect of school closures in Japan on COVID-19 spread

School closures have been widely implemented as a non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) to reduce the spread of COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus...

Large US evaluation of school closures' effect on spread of COVID

Schools can reopen for in-person learning without substantially increasing community case rates of SARS-CoV-2, found national, retrospective cohort study in the US, published in...

Nearly a quarter of hospitalised COVID-19 patients have ‘brain fog’ — Mount Sinai registry

Nearly a quarter of COVID-19 patients in a Mount Sinai Health System registry experienced some issues with their memory, found a study in JAMA...

Increased human use of veterinary Ivermectin reflected in Oregon Poison Centre calls

Correspondence in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) chronicles increased use of veterinary-use Ivermectin and increased COVID-19-related calls at the Oregon Poison Centre. The writers...

New device can diagnose COVID-19 from saliva samples

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have designed a small tabletop device that can detect SARS-CoV-2 from a saliva sample...