Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Credit NIAID NIH

Single-shot COVID-19 vaccine produces an immune response against variants

The immune response to the single-shot Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine remained robust against variants of SARS-CoV-2. Although the vaccine produced fewer neutralizing antibodies against the variants than the original virus, the overall immune response suggests strong protection. —by Sharon Reynolds (NIH ) To date (June 29, 2021), three vaccines against SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—have received emergency authorization for use in the U.S. All showed excellent protection against severe or critical disease in the clinical trials that led to their approval. However, these vaccines were developed early in the pandemic, before the virus mutated to produce the variants now found around the world. Some variants seem to be able to partially escape the immune response in people previously infected with the virus. you might want to read this too – Learn, Who should or shouldn’t take the COVID-19 vaccine Scientists haven’t been sure if the current COVID-19 vaccines work as well against these variants. Early data for these vaccines have been promising. For example, the clinical trial testing the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine, by Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, showed that it protected people in Brazil and South Africa during times when new variants dominated. you might want to read this too – COVAX expects to start sending millions of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa in February Researchers led by Dr Dan Barouch from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center wanted to examine the immune response to SARS-Cov-2 variants after vaccination with Ad26.COV2.S. The team looked at blood samples from 20 volunteers. Participants had received either Ad26.COV2.S at various doses and schedules or a placebo vaccine. The researchers tested antibodies and immune cells from samples taken 57 days after vaccination. They tested activity against the original strain of SARS-Cov-2 as well as several variants. These included the alpha, beta, and gamma variants, and another first isolated in California. you might want to read this too – An effective COVID-19 vaccine: Will you take it or will you not? The study was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Results were published on June 9, 2021, in Nature. As expected,…

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell showing morphological signs of apoptosis, infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (green), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID/NIH

No excuse for inaction: #EndTobacco to prevent epidemics of diseases and deaths

Tobacco kills over 80 million people worldwide every year. Tobacco remains a deadly, and yet entirely preventable, risk factor for a host of diseases from the world’s biggest infectious disease killer tuberculosis to major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that account for over 70% deaths globally,  Whether it is the world’s biggest killer cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke) or cancers or diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases, it is tobacco which is a common risk factor to all. More alarmingly, it is also linked to COVID-19. Unimaginable devastation The UN chief called upon governments to act now on COVID-19 or face “unimaginable devastation”. Tobacco increases the risk of serious outcomes of COVID-19, including death. One immediate step the governments must take is to ban all forms of tobacco (including e-cigarettes, vaping or other heated tobacco products, hookah etc) and take strongest possible measures to hold the industry liable (legally and financially) – it is now a human rights imperative. COVID-19 and tobacco pandemics Governments have promised to end infectious diseases like TB and prevent untimely deaths due to NCDs by one-third in the next 126 months – but one of the biggest roadblocks to progress on these goals is tobacco. COVID-19 pandemic has made us all realize how challenging it could be to eliminate an infectious disease like COVID-19 (or TB). But tobacco is an industry-propelled disaster causing havoc that is entirely avoidable. It is possible to end tobacco, now. Tobacco also jeopardizes our progress on a range of sustainable development goals, including a crippling economic loss of US$ 1.4 trillion every year. With the looming threat of economic toll that COVID-19 pandemic may have on our economies, we can help salvage this financial crisis by averting unnecessary economic (and health) catastrophe caused by tobacco. Industry, on the other hand, is bent upon protecting its markets: the tobacco industry is selling new products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products to create new generations of addicts, revealed a new report of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), “Today’s teens, tomorrow’s customers: Baiting youths with new tobacco products to create a new…