Which booster vaccine is best for you?

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron virus variants has raised the importance of booster vaccines. The broader immunity from a third dose of COVID vaccine appears to provide better protection against both the original virus strain and new variants. In addition, a few of the vaccines available throughout the world, particularly the singleContinue reading “Which booster vaccine is best for you?”

The noise keeps coming on Omicron.

A few days reviewing the available information concerning the newest COVID-19 virus variant has provided little insight, but lots of opinions. Three perspectives caught my eye this morning. The first is from Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the Chair of the South African Medical Association who told several news organizations, “local physicians do not feel panicked aboutContinue reading “The noise keeps coming on Omicron.”

The new variant…

Yesterday I alluded to the potential significance of a COVID-19 variant that escapes current immune protection from prior infection or vaccines. I also placed a link in the article to a report of a new variant from South Africa (B.1.1.529), which had the type of spike protein mutations that might raise concerns about immune evasion.Continue reading “The new variant…”

The most important COVID-19 attribute to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day.

As many more people are enjoying a normal Thanksgiving this year, it is time to take measure of the many ongoing issues surrounding COVID-19. Despite the current wave of infections there are many positives, including effective vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and newly identified anti-viral drugs. These approaches help prevent serious illnesses and deaths despite the incrediblyContinue reading “The most important COVID-19 attribute to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day.”

The true origins of the current surge

Much has been made about why the country is going through yet another COVID surge. Many have argued that it’s simply because of un-vaccinated individuals, but that is based mainly on who is hospitalized, not who is spreading the infection. Of interest, the surge seems to be affecting mainly areas of the U.S. that didn’tContinue reading “The true origins of the current surge”

Where COVID-19 infections are located now.

In August 2021 (Left panel below), at the beginning of the Delta variant wave, infections surged in the southeast United States. These areas had the lowest vaccination rates leading to some of the highest spread of infection. Hospitals in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana were overwhelmed with patients, and deaths increased to levels not seen sinceContinue reading “Where COVID-19 infections are located now.”

The Pfizer COVID vaccine is now available for the five-to-11-year age group.

As of today, the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is available for children aged 5 to 11 under emergency use approval (EUA). I previously discussed this vaccine during the approval process, and the data does indicate it is highly effective in preventing illness and severe disease. However, I have received a fair amount of pushback fromContinue reading “The Pfizer COVID vaccine is now available for the five-to-11-year age group.”

What is “gain of function” research and did NIH fund these experiments?

There have been several heated discussions about whether NIH supports research that results in more deadly infections. This research has been described as “gain of function” experiments, but this term has created uncertainty and confusion. In part this is because “gain of function” research has a more limited definition than the concepts being discussed inContinue reading “What is “gain of function” research and did NIH fund these experiments?”

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in children aged 5 though 11 years.

Both mRNA vaccines approved in the US for adults have now provided data on their performance in children aged 5 through 11. The target is the more than 28 million children in this age group in the U.S. We currently have much more data on children with the Pfizer vaccine, as the Moderna results were announced onlyContinue reading “The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in children aged 5 though 11 years.”