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COVID-19 Vaccines in Pregnancy May Protect Baby, Too

September 24, 2021

(Medscape) – Women who receive COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy pass antibodies to their babies, which could protect newborns from the disease, research has shown. In a new study that examines umbilical cord blood from 36 deliveries, researchers provide additional evidence that vaccines – and not COVID-19 infections – elicited the antibodies detected in this cohort. (Read Full Article)

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A New Formula May Help Black Patients’ Access to Kidney Care

September 23, 2021

(Wired) – For decades, doctors and hospitals saw kidney patients differently based on their race. A standard equation for estimating kidney function applied a correction for Black patients that made their health appear rosier, inhibiting access to transplants and other treatments. Thursday, a task force assembled by two leading kidney care societies said the practice is unfair and should end. (Read Full Article)

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A C.D.C. Panel Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Boosters for Many Americans, Including Older People

September 23, 2021

(New York Times) – A day after federal regulators authorized Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for Americans at risk of severe Covid-19, scientific advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the booster shots for a wide swath of the country, including tens of millions of older Americans and those with certain medical conditions. But the panel excluded those at risk because of their jobs. (Read Full Article)

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FDA Authorizes Pfizer’s Covid-19 Booster for People Over 65 or at High Risk

September 23, 2021

(STAT News) – The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday granted an emergency use authorization to Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine booster, though for now the FDA said use of the booster should be restricted to people over the age of 65, adults 18 and older at high risk of severe Covid, and those who, like health care workers, are at higher risk of infection because of their jobs. That list includes teachers. (Read Full Article)

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Some States Limit Monoclonal Antibody Treatment to High-Risk, Unvaccinated Patients

September 23, 2021

(Medscape) – At least two states are recommending that doctors prioritize the limited supply of monoclonal antibody treatments for high-risk COVID-19 patients, including unvaccinated people who face severe disease, according to NBC News. Tennessee has said that nearly all vaccinated patients should receive lower priority to preserve supplies for those who remain most vulnerable. Alabama has also said that treatments should go to those who are most likely to be hospitalized. (Read Full Article)

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FTC Resurrects a Decade-Old Rule as a Guardrail on the Health App Explosion

September 22, 2021

(The Verge) – Health apps have to tell their users about any data breaches or risk a hefty fine, the Federal Trade Commission clarified in a policy statement last week. The rule that requires that transparency is a decade old, but it hasn’t been enforced before. The new guidance serves as a warning to the many companies elbowing into the health app space: the FTC is taking issues around health data privacy seriously — even if it won’t be able to tackle all the privacy gaps on its own. (Read Full Article)

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At an Overrun ICU, ‘the Problem Is We Are Running Out of Hallways’

September 22, 2021

(Kaiser Health News) – The ICU here has space for 28 patients but last Friday was operating at 160% capacity, Baxter said. To handle the overflow, nurses elsewhere provide care beyond their training as covid patients fill other parts of the hospital. In the lobby of the emergency department, rooms roughly 6 feet by 6 feet have been fashioned with makeshift plastic walls. Ten members of the Montana Army National Guard arrived last week to help however they can. Hospital staffers volunteer to sit with dying patients. Beds line hallways. “The problem is,” said Brad Von Bergen, the hospital’s ER manager, “we are running out of hallways.” (Read Full Article)

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EXCLUSIVE Polish Gene Project Moves to Drop Chinese Tech on Data Concerns

September 22, 2021

(Reuters) – A European Union-funded project to build a genomic map of Poland plans to drop gene-sequencing technology from China’s BGI Group (300676.SZ) over concerns about data security, one of the project’s leaders told Reuters. The Genomic Map of Poland’s concerns stem from questions over how Polish genomic data may be used that relate to national security, said Marek Figlerowicz, a Professor at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry at the Polish Academy of Sciences who steers the project. (Read Full Article)

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Surge in New-Onset Tics in Adults Tied to COVID-19 Stress

September 22, 2021

(Medscape) – An unusual surge of new-onset tics in patients with no prior history of these disorders, has been tied to the psychological stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, new research suggests. Results from a large, single-center study show several cases of tic-like movements and vocalizations with abrupt onset among older adolescents and adults during the pandemic. None had a previous diagnosis of a tic disorder. Among 10 patients, two were diagnosed with a purely functional movement disorder, four with an organic tic disorder, and four with both. (Read Full Article)

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‘Delta Has Been Brutal’: Covid-19 Variant Is Decimating Rural Areas Already Reeling from the Pandemic

September 21, 2021

(STAT News) – Health inequities in rural communities across the South are continuing to determine who is most vulnerable to Covid-19 now that the Delta variant is bringing a new surge in deaths. Several states, including Florida and Georgia, have experienced the highest levels of hospitalizations to date in recent months, as the highly contagious variant sweeps through the country, and within those states, rural areas are especially hard-hit. (Read Full Article)

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‘Post-Vax COVID’ Is a New Disease

September 21, 2021

(The Atlantic) – We’re not yet at the point where we can officially label post-vaccination COVID-19 cases as “modified”; maybe we never will be. Some immunized people are still getting dangerously sick. But the shots are softening COVID-19’s sharp edges: On average, breakthrough infections seem to be briefer, milder, and less contagious. Among the fully immunized, catching the coronavirus doesn’t mean the same thing it did last year. “It’s a very different kind of infection than in people who are immunologically naive,” Lindsey Baden, an infectious-disease physician and COVID-19 vaccine researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told me. (Read Full Article)

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A Doctor Who Defied Texas’ Abortion Law Is Sued, Launching a Legality Test of the Ban

September 21, 2021

(NPR) – A San Antonio doctor who said he performed an abortion in defiance of a new Texas law has been sued by two people seeking to test the legality of the state’s near-total ban on the procedure. Former attorneys in Arkansas and Illinois filed lawsuits Monday against Dr. Alan Braid, who in a weekend Washington Post opinion column became the first Texas abortion provider to publicly reveal he violated the law that took effect on Sept. 1. (Read Full Article)

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Pfizer Says COVID-19 Vaccine Works in Kids Ages 5 to 11

September 21, 2021

(Associated Press) – Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters. The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech already is available for anyone 12 and older. But with kids now back in school and the extra-contagious delta variant causing a huge jump in pediatric infections, many parents are anxiously awaiting vaccinations for their younger children. (Read Full Article)

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J&J Booster Dose of Its COVID Shot Prompts Strong Response

September 21, 2021

(Associated Press) – Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that a booster of its one-shot coronavirus vaccine provides a stronger immune response months after people receive a first dose. J&J said in statement that an extra dose — given either two months or six months after the initial shot — revved up protection. The results haven’t yet been published or vetted by other scientists.  (Read Full Article)

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Apple Is Working on iPhone Features to Help Detect Depression, Cognitive Decline

September 21, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – Apple Inc. is working on technology to help diagnose depression and cognitive decline, aiming for tools that could expand the scope of its burgeoning health portfolio, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Using an array of sensor data that includes mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing behavior and more, researchers hope they can tease out digital signals associated with the target conditions so that algorithms can be created to detect them reliably, the people said. Apple hopes that would become the basis for unique features for its devices, according to the people and documents. (Read Full Article)

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The Struggle to Define Long COVID

September 21, 2021

(The New Yorker) – The needed research is under way. Medical schools around the country have begun studying long COVID, and hundreds of papers trying to demystify the syndrome have been published. Congress has authorized more than a billion dollars for research on the long-term consequences of coronavirus infection; Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, has announced a long-COVID initiative that will include a large-scale, four-hundred-and-seventy-million-dollar study of the syndrome, designed in part using input from patients and families. “We know some people have had their lives completely upended by the major long-term effects of COVID-19,” Collins said recently. (Read Full Article)

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CDC Study Says Moderna Vaccine More Effective Than Pfizer and J&J

September 21, 2021

(Medscape) – A nationwide study of more than 3,600 adults found the Moderna vaccine does a better job at preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations than the two other vaccines being used in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection said Friday. Among U.S. adults without immunocompromising conditions, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 hospitalization during March 11–August 15, 2021, was higher for the Moderna vaccine (93%) than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (88%) and the Janssen vaccine (71%),” the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said. Jansen refers to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. (Read Full Article)

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Alabama’s Deaths Outpace Births for First Time in History

September 21, 2021

(Medscape) – For the first time in Alabama’s known history, the state’s deaths have outpaced its births — a bleak consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our state literally shrunk in 2020,” Scott Harris, MD, Alabama’s state health officer, said at a news conference. “It hasn’t happened before, nor has it even been close before.” He said that according to available data, which dates back to the early 1900s, this phenomenon was not even seen during the flu pandemic of 1918, or Word War I or World War II. (Read Full Article)

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Nurses Are Leaving the Profession, And Replacing Them Won’t Be Easy

September 20, 2021

(The Conversation) – The fourth wave of COVID-19 is exacerbating the ongoing crisis for the nursing workforce and has led to burnout for many nurses. As a result, many are quitting their jobs in substantial numbers all across the country, with 62% of hospitals reporting a nurse vacancy rate higher than 7.5%, according to a 2021 NSI Nursing Solutions report. But the global pandemic has only worsened problems that have long existed within the nursing profession – in particular, widespread stress and burnout, health and safety issues, depression and work-related post-traumatic stress disorder, and even increased risk of suicide. (Read Full Article)

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First Doctor Sued for Performing Abortion in Violation of New Law

September 20, 2021

(Axios) – A San Antonio physician is facing a lawsuit after he admitted performing an abortion considered illegal under Texas’ new law. Why it matters: The civil suit, filed by a convicted felon in Arkansas, against Alan Braid is the first such suit under the law that allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a pregnant person obtain an abortion after six weeks. (Read Full Article)

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