CDC report on ‘superbugs’, FDA clears Novavax

Federal officials urged — practically begged — eligible Americans to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters at a news conference this week as cases and hospitalizations rise across the country.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled since April and deaths remain at around 350 a day, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People 50 and older who were fully vaccinated and received just one booster were four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who received the recommended two boosters, she said.

“We are at a stage in the pandemic where most deaths from COVID-19 are preventable,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator. “Vaccines remain our most important tool to protect people from serious illness, hospitalizations and death, and staying up to date is critical as we see BA.5s rising across the country.”

Also in the news:

► The Food and Drug Administration has authorized Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, making it the fourth coronavirus vaccine available in the United States. The Biden administration announced earlier this week that it had secured approximately 3.2 million doses.

► A recent study found that daily physical activity among children and teens decreased by 17 minutes per day during the COVID-19 pandemic.

► Virus particles can survive on meat in the fridge or freezer for up to 30 days, according to a June study.

► About 42% of people in a large survey had unusually heavy periods after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

📘What we read: Are we heading towards a “hybrid future” as virtual services lose their appeal post-COVID? Learn more here.

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Why aren’t Americans over 65 getting their second COVID reminder?

Older Americans continue to be the most vaccinated population with more than 91% of people over 65 receiving a two-dose primary series and 70% receiving a booster, according to the CDC.

But months after the Food and Drug Administration authorized a second COVID-19 booster for the elderly and immunocompromised in March, only 34% of those over 65 have received the fourth shot.

Pandemic fatigue might be partly to blame, said Dr. Joshua Septimus, an internist and associate professor of medicine at Houston Methodist.

“Over 50% of all Americans have had COVID now, so people are thinking, ‘Well, I’ve had COVID before and I’ve done fine, so why would I need another vaccine? “, He said. “There is a lot of discomfort and complacency.

However, other experts say access may be the biggest issue as family and caregivers return to work outside the home and travel to get vaccinated becomes more difficult. Many seniors don’t even know they’re eligible for a second booster, said Dr. Ardeshir Hashmi, section chief of the Cleveland Clinic’s Geriatrics Center.

“If you’re going to use social media (for a vaccine awareness campaign), you’re leaving out the vast majority of the population that’s not on those platforms,” ​​he said. “We can’t expect our seniors to adapt and wait for them to show up.”

‘Superbug’ infections soar during COVID pandemic, CDC report finds

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the COVID-19 pandemic may have reversed years of progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance in the United States

While deaths from antimicrobial resistance decreased by almost 27% between 2012 and 2017, they increased by at least 15% in 2020, according to the report. One particular “superbug” – carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter – saw a 78% increase in infections.

In the first year of the pandemic, more than 29,400 people died from infections resistant to antimicrobials commonly associated with healthcare. Nearly 40% of these patients were infected during their hospital stay.

Patient Safety:Federal report shows improvements, but could COVID reverse that trend?

“This setback can and should be temporary,” said Michael Craig, director of the agency’s Antibiotic Resistance Strategy and Coordination Unit. “The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown us that antimicrobial resistance will not stop if we let our guard down; There’s no time to lose.”

OCD and gout drugs fail to help people with mild COVID-19

The World Health Organization this week advised against using two common drugs to treat mild or moderate COVID-19 because studies suggest they do not improve patient outcomes.

Neither the antidepressant fluvoxamine, often used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, nor colchicine, a gout drug, have been shown to benefit patients with COVID-19.

The researchers had hoped that the two drugs, which are inexpensive and readily available, could be part of the treatment toolkit. Anecdotal evidence suggests both show promise, but a review of ongoing research by the WHO expert panel, published in the British Medical Journal, found little to no evidence that the drugs increased survival or reduced the risk of hospitalization or the need for mechanical ventilation.

Three randomized controlled trials involving more than 2,000 patients have been conducted on fluvoxamine and seven with more than 16,000 patients in total on colchicine. The US National Institutes of Health continues to study fluvoxamine in its ACTIV clinical trials.

Can genetics predict how sick you will get from COVID?

National Cancer Institute researchers have found that some hospitalized COVID-19 patients are more likely to carry certain genetic variants than those who had a mild form of the disease.

The study, published Thursday in “Nature Genetics,” concluded that people of European and African ancestry with OAS1 gene variants had longer COVID-19 infections than others without the variants. The results suggest that people with this genetic risk could benefit from treatment with interferons, proteins that can help the immune system fight infections.

The laboratory study revealed that cells treated with an interferon had lower viral loads. The researchers also analyzed data from an earlier clinical trial in which non-hospitalized patients received an interferon, pegIFN-λ1. The treatment helped clear the virus from patients, and those who carried the OAS1 variants benefited the most, according to the study.

Contributor: Karen Weintraub and Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Coverage of patient health and safety at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial contributions.

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