Israel: some myocarditis cases linked to #coronavirus vaccines

“There is a likelihood of a connection between receiving a second dose of vaccine and the onset of myocarditis in young men aged 16-30.”

A number of myocarditis cases which were reported in the aftermath of the coronavirus vaccine were likely linked to the inoculation, the Israeli Health Ministry announced on Tuesday evening. The majority of the cases involved young men. 

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle which can be caused by a viral infection but also appears as a reaction to a medication.

Jerusalem Post Report

 

 

Image by Curtis Yancey from Pixabay

Israel: 62 cases of myocarditis following Pfizer #coronavirus vaccination

About one in 100,000 people who received the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine suffered from myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)  – a preliminary report by the committee of experts tasked by the Health Ministry to monitor the vaccine’s side effects has found. The leaked document showed that most cases were reported among young men aged 18-30. A total of 62 cases of myocarditis have occurred so far in Israel around the time of the vaccination, 56 of them after the second dose. Some 55 cases occurred among men.

Jerusalem Post report

 

 

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Israel: Delta #coronavirus variant – “The impression is that the Pfizer vaccine has efficacy against it, albeit a reduced efficacy,”

Israel has registered eight cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India and believes that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is at least partially effective against it, an Israeli health official said. “The impression is that the Pfizer vaccine has efficacy against it, albeit a reduced efficacy,” the ministry’s director-general, Hezi Levy, told Kan public radio, saying the number of cases of the variant in Israel now stood at eight.

Reuters report

Israel detects resistance of South African #coronavirus variant B.1.351 to Pfizer vaccine

An Israeli study released today in the country has shown that the South African variant of the coronavirus is more resistant than the British variant against the vaccine Pfizer, although it did not specify the degree of resistance.

The research was based on a sample of about 800 people and found that the percentage of cases of the South African strain compared to the British was significantly higher among people who had received both doses of the vaccine compared to those who had only been inoculated with one.

The study, carried out by researchers from the main Israeli health company, insurance Clalit , together with Tel Aviv University , identified that among infected patients 14 days after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, less than 0.5% had contracted the South African strain of coronavirus. This figure was almost identical when analyzing a control group, made up of the same number of patients, of similar ages and who had not received the vaccine .

What was striking was that among the people who had been infected with coronavirus within two weeks of receiving the second dose of the vaccine, the percentage of patients carrying the South African strain was 5.4%, while in the control group of unvaccinated people the figure was 0.7%.

El Periodico.com report

 

Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash
 

Ireland adds Israel to its #coronavirus quarantine list of 56 countries

Ireland has added Israel to its #coronavrus quarantine list of 56 countries:  “All those intending to travel to Ireland from or via any of these countries/territories, who will arrive in Ireland after 04.00 on Tuesday 6 April are required to book accommodation for mandatory hotel quarantine at least 48 hours in advance of travel.”

The full list of countries whose visitors will be expected to quarantine on arrival are:  Albania, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Aruba, Bahrain, the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Guyana, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malawi, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, The Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands.

Note that the United States does NOT appear on this quarantine list!

 

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people

 

Total vaccinations

Graphs & data courtesy of OurWorldInData.org

A unique SARS-CoV-2 spike protein P681H strain detected in Israel

Characterization of the Israeli P681H strain: The P681H strain presents as a cluster in a phylogenetic tree of all sequenced samples in Israel, distinct from the B.1.1.7 Pangolin lineage, which also contains the P681H mutation. The strain originates from the B.1.1.50 Pangolin lineage, in which the majority of the sequences are from Israel (70%), Palestine (12%) and the UK (12%) [1]. It is characterized by a non-synonymous mutation in the S protein – P681H (C23604A) and additional four synonymous mutations: Nsp3:C7765T, Nsp12b:C13821T, Nsp16:T21111C and C29545A. The strain carrying these mutations is unique to Israel, aside for 2 sequences originating in Palestine. A sub-clade of the strain contains an additional non-synonymous mutation in the S protein – A27S (G21641T)

Medrxiv preprint

 

Photo by Sander Crombach on Unsplash

Israel: new #coronavirus variant found, has infected hundreds of people

Scientists have discovered an Israeli coronavirus variant, and believe there are hundreds of cases of the mutation in the north, south and center of the country — but they don’t believe it poses a challenge to vaccine effectiveness. The variant’s defining characteristic is a change of four amino acids in a location of the spike protein called 681. It was first discovered in July, but was only documented now, according to a Health Ministry statement.

The variant has so far been confirmed in around 180 patients, from Haifa in the north to Beersheba in the south, but as the sequencing necessary for identifying it only takes place in samples from a minority of patients, it is believed that numerous other cases exist.

Times of Israel report

 

Image by Eduardo Castro from Pixabay

Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study signed by 14 countries

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.

The Governments of Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the World Health Organization (WHO), international experts who have a vital mission, and the global community to understand the origins of this pandemic in order to improve our collective global health security and response. Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of working together toward the development and use of a swift, effective, transparent, science-based, and independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.

The mission of the WHO is critical to advancing global health and health security, and we fully support its experts and staff and recognize their tireless work to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, including understanding how the pandemic started and spread. With such an important mandate, it is equally essential that we voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples. Scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings. We share these concerns not only for the benefit of learning all we can about the origins of this pandemic, but also to lay a pathway to a timely, transparent, evidence-based process for the next phase of this study as well as for the next health crises.

We note the findings and recommendations, including the need for further studies of animals to find the means of introduction into humans, and urge momentum for expert-driven phase 2 studies.  Going forward, there must now be a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States to access, transparency, and timeliness. In a serious outbreak of an unknown pathogen with pandemic potential, a rapid, independent, expert-led, and unimpeded evaluation of the origins is critical to better prepare our people, our public health institutions, our industries, and our governments to respond successfully to such an outbreak and prevent future pandemics.  It is critical for independent experts to have full access to all pertinent human, animal, and environmental data, research, and personnel involved in the early stages of the outbreak relevant to determining how this pandemic emerged. With all data in hand, the international community may independently assess COVID-19 origins, learn valuable lessons from this pandemic, and prevent future devastating consequences from outbreaks of disease.

We underscore the need for a robust, comprehensive, and expert-led mechanism for expeditiously investigating outbreaks of unknown origin that is conducted with full and open collaboration among all stakeholders and in accordance with the principles of transparency, respect for privacy, and scientific and research integrity. We will work collaboratively and with the WHO to strengthen capacity, improve global health security, and inspire public confidence and trust in the world’s ability to detect, prepare for, and respond to future outbreaks.

Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study

Image by Philippe Delavie from Pixabay

Israel #coronavirus chief Nachman Ash: “the possibility of a fourth lockdown before the election exists”

“We are concerned about the increase in infection in the coming days,” coronavirus czar Nachman Ash told 103FM Radio, adding that “the possibility of a fourth lockdown before the election exists.”

Ministry figures showed the virus’s basic reproduction number, or R-number, was at 1.01 Friday morning. The R-number is the number of new cases stemming from each coronavirus infection, or the number of people who caught the virus from each infected person. Any number lower than 1 means the pandemic is slowing down, while a number above 1 means it is expanding. The figures are based on new case numbers from 10 days earlier due to the virus’s incubation period.

Times of Israel report

 

 Image by max_gloin from Pixabay

More than 450 cases of the South African #coronavirus variant 501Y.V2 diagnosed in Israel

Over 450 cases of the South Africa coronavirus variant 501Y.V2 have been diagnosed in Israel so far, and health professionals estimate that dozens more are being infected each day.

The Israeli Health Ministry’s committees on vaccinations and the pandemic said two weeks ago that the B.1.351 or 501Y.V2 variant was spreading beyond control.

Haaretz.com full report

 

Image by Orna Wachman from Pixabay

#Austria and #Denmark to work with #Israel on future #coronavirus vaccines – EU ‘too slow’

Austria’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, described the EU’s vaccination deployment as “too slow” as he announced that his country and Denmark would work with Israel on protecting their citizens against new coronavirus variants.

The move by the two member states to form a vaccine manufacturing partnership comes as the latest figures show that 7.5% of the EU population have received a vaccine dose compared with 52% in Israel and 31% in the UK.

“We must prepare for further mutations and should no longer be dependent solely on the EU in the production of second-generation vaccines,” Kurz said.

Full Guardian Report

 

By Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres – Arbeitsbesuch Israel, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38585833