COVID studies

I need a place where I can put news stories about studies related to COVID. This is that place.

Study finds lung function unaffected post COVID-19 infection

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In the first study to investigate the impact of COVID-19 infection on lung function, researchers led by Dr Ida Mogensen , a post-doctoral fellow at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, found that even patients with asthma did not show a statistically significant deterioration in lung function, although there was a trend towards slightly lower measurements for the amount of air they could exhale forcibly in one second - known as forced expiratory air volume in one second (FEV1), which is one of the measures of lung function.

A second study presented at the congress on Sunday showed that the lung function in children and adolescents was also unimpaired after COVID-19 infection, apart from those who experienced a severe infection.

Dr Mogensen said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions about if and how the lung is affected after clearance of the coronavirus infection, especially in young people from the general population with less severe disease. Until now, this has not been known.”

Dr Mogensen and her colleagues gathered information from 661 young people with an average age of 22 years who were part of a large study that enrolled children born between 1994 and 1996 in Stockholm, and who have been followed by researchers ever since.

The most recent pre-pandemic clinical examination was carried out between 2016 and 2019. The examinations at the COVID-19 follow-up took place between October 2020 and May 2021. Collected data included measurements of lung function, inflammation, and white blood cells called eosinophils, which are part of the immune system.

Of the 661 participants, 178 (27 per cent) had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 indicating they had been infected.

The researchers measured FEV1, FVC (forced vital capacity, which represents the volume of air in the lungs that can be exhaled after taking the deepest breath possible), and FEV1/FVC ratio, which is an indicator of narrowed airways.

They calculated the changes in lung function between the period before the pandemic and during the pandemic.

Then they compared the percentage change with participants who had not been infected.

“Our analysis showed similar lung function irrespective of COVID-19 history,” said Dr Mogensen. “When we included 123 participants with asthma in the analysis, the 24 per cent who had had COVID-19 tended towards having a slightly lower lung function, but this was not statistically significant.”

There was no difference in lung function among patients who had COVID-19 with respect to eosinophils, indicators of inflammation, allergy responses or use of inhaled corticosteroids.

“These results are reassuring for young adults. However, we will continue to analyse data from more people. In particular, we want to look more closely at people with asthma as the group in this study was fairly small. We are also curious as to whether the length of time after the infection is important, as well as the severity of disease and symptoms.”

The second study, presented by Dr Anne Schlegtendal , a specialist in paediatric and adolescent medicine and paediatric pulmonology at University Children’s Hospital, Ruhr-University-Bochum, Germany, looked at the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection between August 2020 and March 21 in 73 children and adolescents aged between five and 18 years.

Dr Schlegtendal said: “Although children and adolescents tend to suffer less severe symptoms from COVID-19 infection than adults, to date there is only preliminary evidence about long-term effects of COVID-19 on pulmonary function in children and adolescents. It’s important to evaluate this given the fact that children worldwide will potentially get infected with SARS-CoV-2 as long as vaccines are predominantly reserved for adults and high-risk groups.”

She and her colleagues carried out lung function tests between two weeks and six months following COVID-19 infection and compared the results with a control group of 45 children who had not been infected with the coronavirus but may have had some other infection.

The participants had different severity of the disease. An infection was considered severe if patients suffered breathlessness, a fever above 38.5 degrees Celsius for more than five days, bronchitis, pneumonia or stayed in the hospital for more than a day.

Nineteen children and adolescents in the COVID-19 group had persistent or new symptoms following SARS-CoV-2 infection; eight reported at least one respiratory symptom, six of whom suffered ongoing breathing problems and two had a persistent cough. Two of these eight patients showed abnormal lung function.

"When we compared the COVID-19 patients with the control group, we found no statistically significant differences in the frequency of abnormal lung function. They occurred in 16 per cent of the COVID-19 group and 28 per cent of the control group.

However, further analysis revealed a reduction in the volume of air in the lungs that can be exhaled after a deep breath - forced vital capacity - in patients who had suffered a severe infection, whether COVID-10 or some other infection," said Dr Schlegtendal.

“These findings should offer some reassurance to children, adolescents and their families. The severity of infection proved to be the only predictor for mild lung function changes and this is independent of a COVID-19 infection. The discrepancy between persistent breathing problems and normal lung function suggests there may be a different underlying cause, such as dysfunctional breathing, which is a problem that has also been identified in adults.”

Limitations of the study include the small number of participants, the fact that they were recruited at a single hospital, that patients reported their symptoms, and a lack of information on long-term outcomes in the control group.

In addition, the COVID-19 group did not include those with severe breathing problems during the acute phase of the infection.

Anita Simonds , who was not involved in the research, is President of the European Respiratory Society, Honorary Consultant in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Royal Brompton Hospital & Professor of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at NHLI, Imperial College London, UK.

She said: "The findings from these two studies provide important reassurance about the impact of COVID infection on lung function in children and young adults. We know already that this group is less likely to suffer severe illness if they contract the virus, and these studies, which importantly include comparator groups without COVID-19, show that they are also less likely to suffer long-term consequences with respect to lung function.

“However, further research may shed more light on the effects for people with asthma or who suffer a severe respiratory infection, whether it’s COVID-19 or due to another infective cause. These individuals may be more vulnerable to long-term effects on lung function and underline the importance for every eligible person to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to reduce overall spread of disease,” she added.

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Study: Pregnant women who got Pfizer, Moderna vaccines passed protection to babies

Study found newborns had antibodies to protect against COVID-19 after their mothers were vaccinated with shots from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

By Anushree Dave Bloomberg News

September 22, 2021 — 11:05am

JACK GUEZ, AFP via Getty Images/TNS file

A health worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine to a pregnant woman at Clalit Health Services, in Israel’s Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on Jan. 23, 2021.

Pregnant women who get mRNA vaccines pass high levels of antibodies to their babies, according to a study published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology - Maternal Fetal Medicine on Wednesday.

The study — one of the first to measure antibody levels in umbilical cord blood to distinguish whether immunity is from infection or vaccines — found that 36 newborns tested at birth all had antibodies to protect against COVID-19 after their mothers were vaccinated with shots from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

“We didn’t anticipate that. We expected to see more variability,” said Ashley Roman, an obstetrician at NYU Langone Health System and co-author of the study.

The data could help encourage more people to get vaccinated during their pregnancies. Only 30% of pregnant people ages 18 to 49 are vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from Sept. 11, despite growing evidence of prenatal vaccine safety. Given the study’s small sample size, the team is now looking at results from a larger group, as well as how long immunization lasts for infants after birth.

“We pushed this data out relatively early because it’s a unique finding and it has important implications for care,” Roman said. “Right now we’re recommending all pregnant women receive the vaccine for maternal benefit.”

Pfizer and BioNTech’s own study on how their shots affect pregnant people and their babies has been delayed due to slow enrollment, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing researchers.

Pfizer “stopped enrollment in the U.S. because of recommendations encouraging vaccination of pregnant women,” the drugmaker said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. It’s looking at sites in countries that don’t advise pregnant people to get shots for possible study sites, according to the statement.

The researchers studied cord blood of 36 fully vaccinated people to look for antibodies to spike protein, which appears after vaccination or getting sick from Covid, and to nucleocapsid protein, which is only present after getting Covid. Prior studies focused on antibodies to the spike protein.

Among the 36 samples the researchers looked at, 31 tested negative for antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein. In other words, 31 pregnant people developed immunity from the vaccine. The other five weren’t tested for nucleocapsid protein, so the researchers can’t conclusively say the immunity was from the vaccine or from natural infection.

The findings show “very encouraging levels of antibody in cord blood,” said Linda Eckert, an obstetrics and gynecology professor at the University of Washington who wasn’t involved in the study. “This is another reason pregnant women should get vaccinated, as we are seeing more disease in younger infants and this is a proactive choice pregnant individuals can make to protect their infants.”

This article originally appeared in Moderna vs. Pfizer: Both Knockouts, but One Seems to Have the Edge - The New York Times

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Moderna vs. Pfizer: Both knockouts, but one seems to have the edge

In a half-dozen studies published over the past few weeks, Moderna’s vaccine appeared to be more protective over the long term than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

By Apoorva Mandavilli New York Times

It was a constant refrain from federal health officials after the coronavirus vaccines were authorized: These shots are all equally effective.

That has turned out not to be true.

Roughly 221 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been dispensed thus far in the United States, compared with about 150 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine. In a half-dozen studies published over the past few weeks, Moderna’s vaccine appeared to be more protective over the long term than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Research published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against hospitalization fell from 91% to 77% after a four-month period following the second shot. The Moderna vaccine showed no decline over the same period.

If the efficacy gap continues to widen, it may have implications for the debate on booster shots. Federal agencies this week are evaluating the need for a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for some high-risk groups, including older adults.

Scientists who were initially skeptical of the reported differences between the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have slowly become convinced that the disparity is small but real.

“Our baseline assumption is that the mRNA vaccines are functioning similarly, but then you start to see a separation,” said Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at Emory University in Atlanta. “It’s not a huge difference, but at least it’s consistent.”

But the discrepancy is small and the real-world consequences uncertain, because both vaccines are still highly effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization, she and others cautioned.

“Yes, likely a real difference, probably reflecting what’s in the two vials,” said John Moore, a virus expert at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “But truly, how much does this difference matter in the real world?”

“It’s not appropriate for people who took Pfizer to be freaking out that they got an inferior vaccine.”

Even in the original clinical trials of the three vaccines eventually authorized in the United States — made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — it was clear that the J&J vaccine had a lower efficacy than the other two. Research since then has borne out that trend, although J&J announced this week that a second dose of its vaccine boosts its efficacy to levels comparable to the others.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines rely on the same mRNA platform, and in the initial clinical trials, they had remarkably similar efficacy against symptomatic infection: 95% for Pfizer-BioNTech and 94% for Moderna. This was in part why they were described as more or less equivalent.

The subtleties emerged over time. The vaccines have never been directly compared in a carefully designed study, so the data indicating that effects vary are based mostly on observations.

Results from those studies can be skewed by any number of factors, including the location, the age of the population vaccinated, when they were immunized and the timing between the doses, Dean said.

For example, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was rolled out weeks before Moderna’s to priority groups — older adults and health care workers. Immunity wanes more quickly in older adults, so a decline observed in a group consisting mostly of older adults may give the false impression that the protection from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine falls off quickly.

Given those caveats, “I’m not convinced that there truly is a difference,” said Dr. Bill Gruber, a senior vice president at Pfizer. “I don’t think there’s sufficient data out there to make that claim.”

But by now, the observational studies have delivered results from a number of locations — Qatar, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, several other states in the United States — and in health care workers, hospitalized veterans or the general population.

Moderna’s efficacy against severe illness in those studies ranged from 92% to 100%. Pfizer-BioNTech’s numbers trailed by 10 to 15 percentage points.

The two vaccines have diverged more sharply in their efficacy against infection. Protection from both waned over time, particularly after the arrival of the delta variant, but the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s values fell lower. In two of the recent studies, the Moderna vaccine did better at preventing illness by more than 30 percentage points.

A few studies found that the levels of antibodies produced by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were one-third to one-half those produced by the Moderna vaccine. Yet that decrease is trivial, Moore said: For comparison, there is a more than 100-fold difference in the antibody levels among healthy individuals.

Still, other experts said that the corpus of evidence pointed to a disparity that would be worth exploring, at least in people who respond weakly to vaccines, including older adults and immunocompromised people.

“At the end of the day, I do think there are subtle but real differences between Moderna and Pfizer,” Dr. Jeffrey Wilson, an immunologist and physician at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville who was a co-author of one such study, published in JAMA Network Open this month. “In high-risk populations, it might be relevant. It’d be good if people took a close look.”

“Pfizer is a big hammer,” Wilson added, but “Moderna is a sledgehammer.”

Several factors might underlie the divergence. The vaccines differ in their dosing and in the time between the first and second doses.

Vaccine manufacturers would typically have enough time to test a range of doses before choosing one — and they have done such testing for their trials of the coronavirus vaccine in children.

But in the midst of a pandemic last year, the companies had to guess at the optimal dose. Pfizer went with 30 micrograms, Moderna with 100.

Moderna’s vaccine relies on a liquid nanoparticle, which can deliver the larger dose. And the first and second shots of that vaccine are staggered by four weeks, compared with three for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The extra week may give immune cells more time to proliferate before the second dose, said Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer. “We need to keep studying this and to do more research, but I think it’s plausible.”

Moderna’s team recently showed that a half dose of the vaccine still sent antibody levels soaring. Based on those data, the company asked the FDA this month to authorize 50 micrograms, the half dose, as a booster shot.

There is limited evidence showing the effect of that dose, and none on how long the higher antibody levels might last. Federal regulators are reviewing Moderna’s data to determine whether the available data are sufficient to authorize a booster shot of the half dose.

Ultimately, both vaccines are still holding steady against severe illness and hospitalization, especially in people younger than 65, Moore said.

Scientists had initially hoped that the vaccines would have an efficacy of 50% or 60%. “We would have all seen that as great result and been happy with it,” he said. “Fast forward to now, and we’re debating whether 96.3% vaccine efficacy for Moderna versus 88.8% for Pfizer is a big deal.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times .

Woooooo team moderna!

Trains, planes, and automobiles. Well, actually, just planes.

ze plane! ze plane!

What Science Knows Now About the Risk of Covid-19 Transmission on Planes

New research has uncovered when chances are higher, including during meal service. Overall risks appear to remain relatively low, but newer variants may change that equation.

Illustration: Toby Leigh

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Sept. 29, 2021 10:00 am ET

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Fliers have yearned for reliable data on the risks of air travel since the pandemic began. Recent research on Covid-19 transmission on flights suggests that airlines could adopt new policies to better protect their passengers.

Scientists have found a sharp increase in possible spread during in-flight meal service when everyone has masks off. They’ve also learned more about the importance of precautions during boarding and deplaning.

The chances of viral spread aboard planes remain very low. But papers published in medical journals suggest they may not be as low as suggested earlier in the pandemic.

“It’s still, at this point, safe to travel if you take proper precautions,” says Mark Gendreau, chief medical officer at Beverly Hospital near Boston and an expert in aviation medicine. “I do think it could be safer.”

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The Middle Seat

Scott McCartney looks at the ups and downs of airline travel.

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As international travel begins opening up more, with the U.S. set to relax restrictions for vaccinated travelers from 33 countries in November, more travelers will dig into in-flight meals. A recent medical study by a group at the University of Greenwich in London finds a 59% higher risk of viral transmission during a one-hour meal service on a 12-hour trip compared with staying fully masked for the whole flight.

The study, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine this spring, modeled aerosol dispersion in an aircraft cabin. It found that if all passengers wear masks throughout a 12-hour flight, the average infection probability can be reduced by 73% with high-efficiency masks and 32% for low-efficiency masks.

The problem comes if everyone removes their masks at the same time. The researchers’ suggested remedy to the food issue: Stagger meal delivery so only half of passengers eat at once and adjacent passengers remain masked.

That’s probably more than most hungry travelers will tolerate, and airlines say they’re sticking with standard meal-service patterns. Passengers can help protect themselves by avoiding eating while a seatmate eats, unless it’s someone they know.

Recently published research has also shown that boarding and deplaning present more transmission risk than when the plane is aloft.

The Middle Seat

That’s because people cluster and breathe on top of one another, especially pulling and pushing bags in overhead bins. When seated, aircraft ventilation systems, originally designed to quickly remove cigarette smoke from cabins, are very effective at moving air straight down, filtering it with hospital-grade equipment, and mixing it with 50% outside air before returning it to the cabin.

“We’ve studied the passenger cabin and the ventilation system fairly rigorously,” says Dr. Gendreau, who is frequently asked to peer review travel studies. He offers a warning that even research published this year was done with earlier variants of Covid-19 circulating, not the more contagious Delta variant.

Recent studies have found that masking does reduce the risk of infection and using the air gasper—the overhead air nozzle that can be adjusted on many airplanes—does work at quickly scattering viral particles. Even if it makes you cold, it’s worth opening it full blast and aiming it in front of your face.

And while evidence is conflicting, it appears from the medical research that business class and first class are areas of lower transmission risk because passengers sit farther apart.

Spreading Covid-19 by travel gets a lot of attention. Public-health experts say airplanes have spread the pandemic virus around the globe by transporting infected travelers. In addition, fliers worry about one passenger infecting many because of the cabin’s close confines.

But the risks do appear very small for onboard spread. A recent review of medical research published by the Journal of Travel Medicine on Sept. 3 found 18 studies world-wide on in-flight Covid-19 transmission that documented 273 “index cases”—passengers who brought the virus onboard—and 64 “secondary cases”—59 passengers and five crew members found to have been infected in-flight. Two other studies examining wastewater on airplane flights found evidence that infected passengers were likely onboard.

The review did include one big caveat: The quality of evidence from most published studies was low because of weak contact tracing.

With new information, travel-health experts are raising new questions about airline procedures.

“We know more, but it’s prompted more dilemmas and more challenges,” says Dr. Aisha Khatib, a travel-medicine expert at the University of Toronto who is one of the authors on a review of scientific studies of transmission risks on airplanes.

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The International Air Transport Association, which represents airlines, says airlines haven’t gotten clear guidance from authorities on how best to handle meal service.

“On longer flights, it is not feasible to avoid eating and drinking,” IATA’s medical adviser, Dr. David Powell, said in a written response to questions. “It needs to be remembered that the in-flight phase is not likely to be one of the highest-risk phases of the journey.”

A spokeswoman for American Airlines says that on long domestic and international flights, meals in coach and premium cabins are served in a single service rather than multiple courses to reduce touchpoints between customers and crew and speed up unmasked meal time. American has also suspended serving alcohol until Jan. 18.

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Because of deplaning congestion concerns, some airlines in Europe are telling customers to remain seated until their row is called to disembark. Some U.S. airlines tried that in the early days of the pandemic. Now the crew just gets out of the way of the thundering herd.

United Airlines says it has told pilots to keep airplane ventilation systems running during boarding and deplaning to maximize airflow. Not every airline does that.

Michael Schultz, an engineer at the University of Dresden’s Institute of Logistics and Aviation in Germany, has studied boarding and deplaning extensively. He says standard boarding creates a substantial number of possible transmissions if a contagious passenger is present.

Random boarding sequences, where passengers aren’t all piling into the same rows at the same time, would be better to reduce possible transmission, he says. Even more important would be restricting hand luggage so that one passenger isn’t struggling to push something into an overhead bin while breathing on top of a seated passenger. Reducing carry-ons can reduce transmission risk by about 75%.

Some precautions would never fly with airlines, like having more passengers board by walking across the tarmac outdoors rather than in poorly ventilated jet bridges.

“I’m disappointed airlines don’t go for scientific approaches,” Dr. Schultz says.

One paper currently undergoing peer review is recent enough to take the more contagious Delta variant into account—and suggests more risk for travelers. Researchers in Hong Kong traced a cluster of 50 Covid-19 cases to a flight from New Delhi to Hong Kong with 146 passengers in April 2021. Only 20% were symptomatic; eight of the positive cases were detected in children under 2, who were exempt from masking requirements.

Upon arrival, five passengers tested positive. Because India was considered high-risk, Hong Kong required a 21-day hotel quarantine for all passengers. More tested positive during the quarantine.

Write to Scott McCartney at middleseat@wsj.com

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Appeared in the September 30, 2021, print edition as ‘How Safe Is It to Fly? Insights on Covid Risk.’

So, water is wet?

Yes, but now we have a study to prove it.

artikkeliteksti englanniksi

MRNA VACCINES seem to provide strong protection against the new coronavirus also for children, suggests a study published yesterday by the Covid-19 Situation Room of the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics (GSE).

The study compared the incidence of infections among 12-year-olds and 11-year-olds – respectively, the first age group that has and the last age group that has not been offered the vaccines.

“The surprising finding was that in recent weeks the number of infections has been substantially higher, up to two times higher, among 11-year-olds than 12-year-olds,” Mika Kortelainen , a professor of health economics at the University of Turku, commented to YLE on Thursday.

Statistics reveal that infections among the two age groups increased and decreased largely hand in hand until last autumn. The incidence of infections, however, has been much higher among 11-year-olds than among 12-year-olds since the vaccinations of 12–15-year-olds commenced in Finland in August.

The difference is significant enough to indicate that it is not exclusively a consequence of the effects on vaccinations on the readiness to get tested, according to Kortelainen.

“The change that’s apparent in the statistics indeed shows that the difference strongly correlates with the rising vaccine uptake among 12-year-olds,” he analysed for the public broadcasting company.

The difference became more pronounced because of the surge in infections witnessed in the autumn.

“When you don’t have too many coronavirus infections, the benefits of vaccinating children are minimal. However, in a worsening epidemiological situation, where children get a lot of infections, the benefits of vaccinations can be relatively significant,” said Kortelainen.

He believes it would be beneficial to adopt a more proactive stance also on the vaccinations of 5–11-year-olds. While the Finnish government outlined recently that all 5–11-year-olds can be vaccinated, it has yet to issue a strong vaccine recommendation for the age group.

“If the epidemic continues to worsen in the coming days, it’d be better if pupils in the first six years of primary education were moved to remote teaching. Many in junior high, high school and upper-secondary education have already been vaccinated,” viewed Kortelainen.

Established in the first half of 2020 by the Helsinki GSE and VATT Institute for Economic Research, the Covid-19 Situation Room consists of more than 20 researchers from different fields of economics. Helsinki GSE, in turn, is a centre of excellence in economics founded by Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics and the University of Helsinki.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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Covid-19 Vaccines Linked to Menstrual Cycle Changes

New study shows slight shifts in cycle length can follow vaccination

The study’s findings seem to show that the disruption of cycles was temporary.

Photo: Amir Hamja for The Wall Street Journal

By

Nidhi Subbaraman

Feb. 3, 2022 10:33 am ET

Since widespread immunization against Covid-19 began last year, doctors and medical researchers have been fielding reports of painful cramps, delayed periods and other changes in menstrual cycles among some who got the vaccines. Now research confirms that the shots can affect menstrual cycles, with one recent study linking vaccination to a slight increase in menstrual-cycle length.

“It’s reassuring that it’s small,” Alison Edelman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University and one of the researchers who conducted the study, said of vaccines’ effect on menstrual cycles. “It’s also validating to individuals who experienced it.”

For the study, published Jan. 5 in the peer-reviewed journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the researchers tracked six menstrual cycles of about 4,000 study subjects who had received the Pfizer Inc. - BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc. or Johnson & Johnson vaccine or were unvaccinated. It showed that cycles were extended on average by less than a day after one vaccine dose, or up to two days for people who got two doses within a single cycle.

Vaccination wasn’t linked to a change in period length, nor were menstrual changes more common with any particular vaccine.

Federal health agencies received 3,368 reports of changes to menstrual cycles in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. A vaccination site in Stamford, Conn.

Photo: Amir Hamja for The Wall Street Journal

The study’s findings seem to show that the disruption of cycles was temporary, Dr. Edelman said, adding that more research was needed to confirm that. The findings raised no health concerns about vaccination, she said.

A Pfizer spokeswoman said that the company’s vaccine research included tens of thousands of women and that “abnormal menstruation or reproductive changes have not been reported as an adverse event” in its pivotal, late-stage clinical trial. Johnson & Johnson and Moderna didn’t provide comment.

The new study, along with other recent research, could help ease some concerns about the shots, said Kathryn Clancy, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who co-leads a team studying vaccine-related menstrual changes.

Fears that Covid-19 vaccines can affect fertility and reproductive health fuel vaccine hesitancy, research has shown. Multiple studies have shown that Covid-19 vaccines are generally safe and effective for women, including pregnant women, and that vaccination doesn’t affect women’s ability to get pregnant.

Kara Segal, a 34-year-old in Oakland, Calif., was among those startled by a change in her menstrual cycle after vaccination. When her period arrived about a week after her first dose of the Moderna vaccine last April, she said, she was knocked out by unusually severe cramps.

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“I was in a lot of pain and I spent several hours on the couch crying and sweating,” she said.

That period came slightly later than her usual cycle of 30 to 32 days, she said, adding that her next cycle was normal. Though she braced for more pain, she said she felt no shifts in her periods after her second Moderna shot or the booster. She didn’t participate in the new study.

As of Jan. 21, federal health agencies received 3,368 reports of changes to menstrual cycles following vaccination in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. A similar database in the U.K. has logged nearly 38,000 reports of menstrual cycle changes after vaccination, according to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which maintains it. The U.K. database includes reports of unusually heavy or delayed periods, among other concerns.

Research by the team led by Dr. Clancy found unusual menstrual bleeding among some postmenopausal women, as well as among those who had stopped having periods as a result of using contraceptives or taking hormones. The research is now undergoing peer review.

“We saw a really high rate of breakthrough bleeding in those groups,” Dr. Clancy said. She added that her team was investigating how common such episodes are as well as how long they last and if they recur. Unusual menstrual bleeding in these groups may be symptomatic of a condition that needs medical attention, she said.

Amid a surge in cases, some countries are handing out second booster shots. In Israel, early data suggest a fourth vaccine dose can increase antibodies against Covid-19, but not enough to prevent infections from Omicron. WSJ explains. Photo composite: Eve Hartley/WSJ The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition

A survey of almost 4,000 women in Norway found that 14% reported increased menstrual bleeding and 15% reported increased menstrual pain after a first shot, but the changes seemed temporary. The research was posted online Jan. 14 on the preprint database SSRN in advance of peer review.

Menstrual cycles can be disrupted by many factors, including emotional and physical stress. It is unclear why vaccination might disrupt them, said Andrea Edlow, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. One possible culprit, she said, is the physical stress resulting from the body’s immune response to vaccination.

“That’s what I would say if I had to guess,” she said.

Dr. Edlow said she encourages her patients to get vaccinated and boosted, adding that she generally tells them that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the changes to menstrual cycles and other potential side effects.

“I think these menstrual disturbances are similar to the kinds of other short-term side effects that we’ve seen when people are vaccinated, and that quickly go away and after that, there’s no further impact,” she said.

Out of U Waterloo…

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Researchers develop computer model to show ways to curb COVID-19 spread

February 08, 2022

Technology has proved to be a major source of hope in the global fight against COVID-19. In wake of this, researchers at the University of Waterloo created the first computational model that simulated many variables affecting the transmission of COVID-19 to slow the spread of variants.

Their study was published in ‘Scientific Reports’.

The model took raw data already in use to forecast case numbers and hospitalizations, and then added other factors, such as vaccination rates, the use of masks and lockdowns, and the number of breakthrough infections.

The researchers based their computation model on Ontario’s recent experience with COVID-19 and data from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

“We were actually building the model when the Delta variant was still the dominant one in Ontario,” said Anita Layton , professor of applied mathematics at Waterloo and Canada 150 Research Chair in mathematical biology and medicine.

“We simulated a variant that was similar to Omicron, and the model is helpful for understanding whatever variants will come next,” she said.

The research team could change the parameters of the computational model to see what would happen with a new variant. It could also show what it would take to stop variants that are more contagious than others. As a result, the model could show where vaccination levels needed to be or what levels of restrictions were necessary to keep a new variant at bay.

“It includes vaccination and different vaccine types, delays in second and third doses, the impacts of restrictions and even the competition among different variants of concern,” said Mehrshad Sadria , a PhD student in applied mathematics at Waterloo who also worked on the new model. “We want policymakers and stakeholders to have the most pertinent information so they can make the best decisions.”

The researchers planned to develop the model to include even more factors that influence the spread of COVID-19 in specific communities.

“We’d like to investigate how people of different ages are impacted and compare different levels of vaccination between and within age groups,” Layton said.

“We’re also looking to make it more refined so we can focus on specific regions of Ontario, which can then be helpful for looking at resource distribution,” Layton concluded.

More of a puff piece than the prior articles mentioned here, but probably reaching a wider audience:

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Ventilation, Vaccination Key to Suppressing Covid-19 as People Head Back Indoors - WSJ

link to text

Click here but know that the first paragraph gets cut off then repeats.

Regarding that last quote, sometimes barriers are bad sometimes they’re useful. :crazy_face:

Yeah, don’t come into my cube to talk to me. And how about giving me some office windows that actually open?

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I used to be on the 20th floor. I may have defenestrated my boss if they were openable.

That’s fair. I’ll exclude high rises. All of the office park-type can have windows that open/have screens. I assume windows on these do not open because of security/no smoking/higher heating bills? At least give me a 1 square foot using a crank like my OLD car!

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Or one of these!!!:
image

‘Safest time in … many months’ to gather amid Minn. COVID dip - StarTribune.com

link to pdf of the situation

Your Personal Newspaper (fivefilters.org)

tl;dr: that shit’s clearing up…literally!

So far so good. First Omicron spiked pretty fast, second one looks about a third as fast to spread. So far.
Hard to tell when it will start spiking, if at all, how high it will spike, and for how long it will spike.

Definitely, wastewater sampling seems to be the most effective way to determine spreading. Not an option for those being sampled. Surprised that these numbers aren’t published more prominently, and it seems the best data to make county-/city-wide decisions on masking or temporarily shitting down. Poops, I mean shutting down.

Site with data, unsure how usable it is.

I wanted parts per million, like the link above.

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[political]
I’m surprised some beeeeeep hasn’t argued that’s it’s an unconstitutional search and seizure of their shit
[/political]