Imperial College study: 2% of babies born to #coronavirus positive UK mothers later test positive for the virus themselves

The proportion of babies born to mothers with confirmed COVID-19, and who subsequently tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) was 2 per cent in the UK study, and 1.8 per cent in the US study.

The majority of women in the study had no pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or a respiratory condition such as asthma.

In the UK study eight of the women died, while four women died in the US study.

The study team say that although these death rates are higher than expected for women giving birth, they are similar to the expected death rates seen among adults with a confirmed COVID-19 infection. This suggests that women in pregnancy are not at a higher risk of death from COVID-19 than non-pregnant women.

Full Imperial College Report


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Patient and surgeon contract #coronavirus during #lung transplant #operation

The coronavirus can linger in the lungs even when swab tests of the back of the nose and throat are negative, doctors reported after unknowingly transplanting infected lungs into a patient who later died of COVID-19.

University of Michigan surgeons obtained the lungs from a deceased donor who had tested negative for the virus and had reportedly never been exposed to it. Soon afterward, the transplant recipient and one of the surgeons developed COVID-19. The team collected a fluid sample from the patient’s new lungs and compared it to a sample taken from the lungs immediately after removal from the donor, as well as to swab samples from the infected surgeon. Genetic analysis showed the patient and surgeon had both acquired virus from the donor lungs,

Jerusalem Post Report


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New #Coronavirus Variant #B1526 is spreading in New York City

A new form of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in New York City, and it carries a worrisome mutation that may weaken the effectiveness of vaccines, two teams of researchers have found.

The new variant, called B.1.526, first appeared in samples collected in the city in November. By the middle of this month, it accounted for about one in four viral sequences appearing in a database shared by scientists.

One study of the new variant, led by a group at Caltech, was posted online on Tuesday. The other, by researchers at Columbia University, was published on Thursday morning.

New York Times Report

Caltech paper

Columbia University paper


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Coronavirus can sicken #children in very different ways – both lung-related and #PIMS #MISC

About half the patients in the study had acute Covid-19, the predominantly lung-related illness that afflicts most adults who get sick. The rest had the inflammatory syndrome that has emerged in some children weeks after an initial infection that typically was mild.

The researchers found some similarities, but also significant differences, in the symptoms the two groups experienced and in the characteristics of the patients, who ranged in age from infants to 20-year-olds.

New York Times Report

Jama Paper Characteristics and Outcomes of US Children and Adolescents With Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Compared With Severe Acute COVID-19


Johnson and Johnson vaccine has a 72% overall efficacy rate in the US and 64% in South Africa

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine had a 72 percent overall efficacy rate in the United States and 64 percent in South Africa, where a highly contagious variant emerged in the fall and is now driving most cases. The efficacy in South Africa was seven percentage points higher than earlier data released by the company.

The vaccine also showed 86 percent efficacy against severe forms of Covid-19 in the United States, and 82 percent against severe disease in South Africa. That means that a vaccinated person has a far lower risk of being hospitalized or dying from Covid-19.

New York Times Report


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Pregnancy tied to estimated 70% higher #COVID19 rate

Pregnant women in Washington state were infected with COVID-19 at a 70% higher rate than others of similar ages, with nonwhite women shouldering a disproportionate burden, according to a study published yesterday in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

A team led by researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle analyzed data from 240 pregnant COVID-19 patients at 35 healthcare systems, capturing 61% of the state’s annual births, from Mar 1 to Jun 30, 2020.

They estimated that women who delivered 13.9 of every 1,000 newborns had COVID-19, compared with 7.3 of 1,000 state residents aged 20 to 39 years (rate ratio [RR], 1.7). After excluding 45 coronavirus cases detected through asymptomatic screening, the infection rate in pregnant women fell to 11.3 per 1,000 cases (RR, 1.3). report

Study Paper here

Los Angeles teacher on #Covid: “What is an acceptable rate of death?”

Behind all the numbers meant to calm and assure us — cases per 100,000, positivity rates and so forth — there is the unasked question, “What is an acceptable rate of death?”

Our country’s moral failure is not just revealed in the massive death toll from COVID-19, but also in the fact that we continue to ask this question, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.

Some countries chose zero as their answer, kept the virus at bay and have returned to reasonable levels of economic activity and normalcy. Our government — and much of the Western world — opted to pit commercial activity against safety. The result has been a catastrophe of unnecessary death and sickness, as well as a withered economy.

Now the government is pushing teachers to risk becoming sick with COVID-19 in order to get children back in school. Don’t lie and say it is “safe.” Our government’s entire approach to the pandemic has not been “safe.” It has been a calculation of death versus business profit.

Don’t lie about concern for the welfare of our children when we have gutted funding for education and infrastructure over the last several decades. Be truthful and say you have calculated an acceptable rate of death for teachers, and then tell me what that number is.

Glen Janken, Los Angeles in a letter to the Los Angeles Times



#Pfizer says South African variant #N501YV2 #B1351 could reduce vaccine protection by up to 66%

A laboratory study suggests that the South African variant of the coronavirus N501Y.V2  B.1.351 may reduce antibody protection from the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE vaccine by two-thirds, and it is not clear if the shot will be effective against the mutation, the companies said on Wednesday

Reuters report

NEJM paper

Image by U.S. Secretary of Defense, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Longer duration of acute infection with #B117 variant relative to non B.1.1.7 #SARSCoV2

“These data offer evidence that SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 may cause longer infections with similar peak viral concentration compared to non-B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2. This extended duration may contribute to B.1.1.7 SARS CoV-2’s increased transmissibility”

The mean duration for when B117 was replicating and accumulating within the body was 5.3 days – compared to an average of two days for other variants.

It typically takes eight days for the immune system to clear B117, compared to 6.2 days for different variants, the study found.

And in total, the overall period of infection lasts 13.3 days for the UK variant and 8.2 days for non-B117 versions of the virus

Harvard paper


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay



7 #coronavirus variants found in USA carrying the same mutation #Q677H #Q677P

“In a study posted on Sunday, a team of researchers reported seven growing lineages of the novel coronavirus, spotted in states across the country. All of them have evolved a mutation in the same genetic letter [677].

“There’s clearly something going on with this mutation,” said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport and a co-author of the new study.”

New York Times article

Preprint: Emergence in late 2020 of multiple lineages of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein variants affecting amino acid position 677


NIAID, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

New #coronavirus variant #B1525 with #E484K, #Q677H, #F888L and a similar deletions to #B117

International lineage with variants of biological significance E484K, Q677H, F888L and a similar suite of deletions to B.1.1.7.

Countries reported 2
Countries with sequences 10
Sequence count 102
Countries: Denmark 35,  United Kingdom 32,  Nigeria 12,  United States of America 7,  France 5,  Ghana 4,  Australia 2,  Canada 2,  Jordan 2,  Spain 1 report


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