2021-10-27 General

Treatments

Yay! This article says that Merck has licensed molnupiravir such that ~100 developing countries can manufacture it at low cost! This is awesome. (It hasn’t been approved by any countries yet, but it will be soon, I’m sure.)


Yay yay! This article reports that a cheap mature drug for depression — fluvoxamine — reduces hospitalization by a third! The preprint says that the patients who got the placebo were TWELVE TIMES more likely to die than those who got fluvoxamine (though the number of deaths was small in both groups).

Vaccines

Yay, the BC vaccine study has finally made it to the preprint stage! The preprint has more details. It found that in BC and Quebec:

  • Vaccine effectiveness was >90% when one dose was mRNA and ~70% when both doses were AZ, even in old people.
  • The effectiveness was significantly higher against both infection and hospitalization with longer dose intervals.
  • They did not see any waning effectiveness against hospitalization.
  • There was some waning against infection, but it was still better than 80%.

Note that the study excluded people in long-term care homes, which might have changed the vaccine effectiveness.


This letter to the editor says that the authors found that vaccination caused 8.62 myocarditis events per 100K in men aged 16 to 39 years old, while COVID-19 infection caused 11.54 excess events per 100K.


This preprint says that, in Israel, people over 40 who got their shots two months earlier were about 60% more likely to get infected. (There weren’t enough people under 40 in their sample.) People over 60 who got their shots two months earlier were 80% more likely to have severe illness; people 40-59 were 120% more likely. (Remember that Israel had short dose intervals.)


This report from the CDC (summarized in this article) says that people vaccinated with two mRNA doses were a third less likely to die from nonCOVID causes than people who had gotten a flu vaccination than no COVID-19 shot!

Transmission

This preprint — which I admit I did not understand and I don’t have time to dig deeper into it tonight — says that it only takes like 3 or 4 virions (virus particles) to cause infection. They base it on very detailed sequencing and looking at the number of mutations, but I got lost after that.


This preprint says that in most places in the US, county case rates weren’t significantly different between places which had in-person vs. remote schooling. In the South, however, counties which had in-person or hybrid learning had increased case rates of 9.8 to 21.3 per 100K.

Meanwhile, this preprint says that in Japan, they found no evidence that closing schools made any difference on municipal case rates.

Long COVID

You might hear about this preprint which purports to say that vaccination doesn’t help Long COVID. I think there is something really, really wrong with this paper. I’m not sure what it is — I haven’t looked at it quite closely enough to be certain of what the flaws are — but any paper which finds that vaccination against COVID-19 does not reduce the risk of death in people over 60 has something wrong with it. Every. Single. piece of information I have seen about vaccinations is that they cut death significantly in old people. (Witness, for example, the dramatic reduction in the death rate in BC long-term care homes after vaccines were rolled out.)

One thing which I did see that was strange about the study is that I don’t think they distinguished between symptoms during an active COVID-19 infection and after recovering from an active COVID-19 infection (i.e. after a negative test). That would really mess up your analysis; I assume that at the start of an active COVID-19 infection, one of the symptoms would be fatigue.

There have also been studies which found that your risk of Long COVID was significantly lower if you have been vaccinated.

So take this study with a big grain of salt.

Recommended Reading

This article is about pediatric vaccines and whether or not you should get a vax for your kid. (Spoiler: yes.)


This article talks about research into personal space and how personal space has changed during the pandemic.

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