The Omicron Shift in Europe: Pandemic or Endemic?

A number of governments have changed their approaches to the coronavirus to one that is more like how we treat the flu. Public health experts say it’s too soon to make that call.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #england, #epidemics, #europe, #great-britain, #italy, #politics-and-government, #spain, #world-health-organization

Over Half of Europe Could Be Infected With Coronavirus Soon, W.H.O. Says

The agency cautioned against treating the virus like the seasonal flu, since much remains unknown, particularly regarding the severity in areas with lower vaccination rates.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #eastern-europe, #europe, #kluge-hans, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Five People in the U.S. Died From Rabies in 2021, the Highest Number in a Decade

Three of the deaths involved direct contact with bats, the C.D.C. said.

#bats, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #deaths-fatalities, #rabies, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Spurred by Omicron, Europe Sets Covid Infection Records Every Day

The surge of cases is causing chaos as people scramble to obtain tests, businesses grapple with staff shortages and New Year’s festivities are thrown into question.

#bergamo-italy, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #denmark, #england, #europe, #france, #tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus, #tests-medical, #world-health-organization

Spurred by Omicron, Europe Is Setting Coronavirus Infection Records Every Day

The surge of cases is causing chaos as people scramble to obtain tests, businesses grapple with staff shortages and New Year’s festivities are thrown into question.

#bergamo-italy, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #denmark, #england, #europe, #france, #tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus, #tests-medical, #world-health-organization

Omicron Wave Heads for U.K., but It’s Not Clear How Bad It’ll Be

Britain could be a bellwether of what other countries will see from the new coronavirus variant. Officials say Omicron could account for most cases within weeks.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #great-britain, #johnson-boris, #national-health-service, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Early Omicron Reports Say Illness May Be Less Severe

Researchers in South Africa, where the variant is spreading quickly, say it may cause less serious Covid cases than other forms of the virus, but it is unclear whether that will hold true.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #disease-rates, #research, #south-africa, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Millions More People Got Access to Clean Water. Can They Drink It?

The U.N. pledged to halve the proportion of the world without access to clean drinking water by 2015.

#addis-ababa-ethiopia, #diarrhea, #internal-open-access, #water, #wells, #world-health-organization

W.H.O. Scolds Rich Nations for Travel Bans and Booster Shots

As wealthy countries react to the new Omicron virus variant with travel bans and booster shots, the World Health Organization scolded them, calling the steps ineffective and unfair.

#africa, #california, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #disease-rates, #europe, #great-britain, #guterres-antonio, #income-inequality, #tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus, #travel-warnings, #world-health-organization

Omicron is Here. Will We Use Our New Covid Drugs Wisely?

The world must not repeat history by making Covid-19 drugs inaccessible. 

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #intellectual-property, #inventions-and-patents, #molnupiravir-drug, #world-health-organization

W.H.O. members agree to begin talks on a global pandemic treaty.

They agreed to set up an intergovernmental negotiating body that is to meet no later than March to begin negotiating an international agreement intended to ensure a more coherent and equitable response to future pandemics.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus, #treaties, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Omicron Variant, in 20 Nations, Spread Earlier Than Was Known

With evidence growing that a worrisome new coronavirus variant is highly contagious, health officials issued warnings that vulnerable people should not travel.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #europe, #south-africa, #travel-warnings, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

How 2 Flights to Europe May Have Spurred Spread of New Variant

A confounding array of Covid rules and lax enforcement of mask wearing may have sent on infected passengers on two KLM flights from South Africa to “who knows where.”

#airlines-and-airplanes, #amsterdam-netherlands, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #klm-royal-dutch-airlines, #netherlands, #schiphol-airport, #south-africa, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

What We Know About the New Covid Variant, Omicron

Intense research into the new coronavirus variant first identified in southern Africa, has just begun. World leaders have urged people not to panic — and to get vaccinated, if they can.

#antibodies, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #disease-rates, #immune-system, #names-organizational, #travel-warnings, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

World Omicron Fight Hindered by Fragmented Response

Almost two years into the pandemic, finger-pointing, lack of coordination, sparse information and fear are once again influencing policy.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

How Did the New Variant Get Its Name?

The World Health Organization began naming the variants after Greek letters to avoid public confusion and stigma.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #greek-language, #omicron, #south-africa, #world-health-organization

Omicron Variant Prompts Travel Bans and Batters World Markets

Scientists do not yet know how dangerous the new Omicron variant is, but its many mutations set off alarms, lowering hopes of putting the pandemic in the past.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #europe, #south-africa, #travel-warnings, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

New ‘Omicron’ Variant Stokes Concern but Vaccines May Still Work

The Omicron variant carries worrisome mutations that may let it evade antibodies, scientists said. But it will take more research to know how it fares against vaccinated people.

#antibodies, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #genetics-and-heredity, #research, #tests-medical, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization, #your-feed-science

Austria Imposes Lockdown and Mandatory Vaccination Amid Covid Surge

Austria leads in imposing tough new rules, as Europe fights resistance to vaccines and restrictions. Soon, a German official warned, almost everyone will be “vaccinated, recovered or dead.”

#austria, #belgium, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #europe, #freedom-party-of-austria, #germany, #merkel-angela, #spahn-jens, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

First Known Covid Case Was Vendor at Wuhan Market, Scientist Claims

A new review of early Covid-19 cases in the journal Science will revive, though certainly not settle, the debate over how the pandemic began.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #politics-and-government, #wildlife-trade-and-poaching, #world-health-organization, #wuhan-institute-of-virology-china, #your-feed-science

Europe Toughens Rules for Unvaccinated as Fourth Covid Wave Swells

Austria took the hardest line yet on Monday, beginning a lockdown aimed exclusively at those who are not inoculated, part of a pattern to make life harder for resisters.

#austria, #bulgaria, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #di-maio-luigi, #disease-rates, #eastern-europe, #europe, #france, #germany, #great-britain, #greece, #italy, #johnson-boris, #latvia, #politics-and-government, #portugal, #quarantines, #romania, #rumors-and-misinformation, #russia, #schallenberg-alexander-1969, #slovenia, #spain, #ukraine, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Pressure Grows on G20 Nations to Get Covid Vaccines to the Poor

The world’s leaders are focusing on preventing future pandemics, but experts say rich nations are not doing enough to help the poor survive the current one.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #draghi-mario, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #foreign-aid, #francis, #group-of-twenty, #income-inequality, #international-trade-and-world-market, #pfizer-inc, #philanthropy, #politics-and-government, #poverty, #rome-italy, #sullivan-jacob-j-1976, #third-world-and-developing-countries, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

In U.S.-China Competition, Taiwan’s Voice Must Be Heeded

Many outsiders are weighing in on what should be done about and on behalf of Taiwan. Few, though, are listening to what Taiwan is saying.

#australia, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #canberra-australia, #china, #cnn, #defense-and-military-forces, #house-of-representatives, #international-relations, #international-trade-and-world-market, #news-and-news-media, #politics-and-government, #polls-and-public-opinion, #secession-and-independence-movements, #senate, #taipei-taiwan, #taiwan, #tsai-ing-wen, #united-nations, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #washington-dc, #world-health-organization, #xi-jinping

Taliban Allow Polio Vaccine Program to Restart in Afghanistan

Taliban leaders also agreed to allow women to be frontline workers for the effort, according to the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

#measles, #poliomyelitis, #politics-and-government, #taliban, #united-nations-childrens-fund, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

W.H.O. Will Announce New Team to Study Coronavirus Origins

“This new group can do all the fancy footwork it wants, but China’s not going to cooperate,” one expert said.

#china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #international-relations, #politics-and-government, #research, #world-health-organization, #your-feed-science

A New Malaria Vaccine Marks a Critical Moment for Africa

A new malaria vaccine should inspire even further Africa-based science.

#africa, #malaria, #preventive-medicine, #senegal, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

As International Travel Returns, Confusion Over Coronavirus Vaccines Reigns

Fragmented rules about which vaccines will be accepted and what documentation is needed, as well as a lack of compatibility between vaccine apps, have left many travelers frustrated.

#biontech-se, #china-national-pharmaceutical-group-corp-sinopharm, #content-type-service, #european-medicines-agency, #mobile-applications, #travel-and-vacations, #travel-warnings, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vaccination-proof-and-immunization-records, #world-health-organization

Africans Welcome New Malaria Vaccine. But Is It a ‘Game Changer’?

The arsenal of weapons to use against malaria, which kills hundreds of thousands of people annually, just grew bigger.

#ghana, #glaxosmithkline-plc, #kenya, #kisumu-kenya, #malaria, #malawi, #senegal, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

A ‘Historical Event’: W.H.O. Approves the First Malaria Vaccine

The disease kills about 500,000 people each year, about half of them children in Africa.

#africa, #children-and-childhood, #deaths-fatalities, #disease-rates, #glaxosmithkline-plc, #malaria, #mosquirix, #parasites, #preventive-medicine, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization, #your-feed-science

As Need in Afghanistan Grows Dire, Aid Groups Plead for Help

Health clinics are closing. Temperatures are dipping. Prices are rising. Food and money are scarce. A calamity looms, humanitarian groups warn.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #foreign-aid, #humanitarian-aid, #international-federation-of-red-cross-and-red-crescent-societies, #medicine-and-health, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #shortages, #taliban, #treasury-department, #world-bank, #world-health-organization

W.H.O. Workers Abused Women on Mission in Congo, Inquiry Finds

A commission appointed by the health agency found that women and girls had been promised jobs in exchange for relationships or had been sexually exploited in order to keep jobs.

#africa, #ebola-virus, #humanitarian-aid, #sex-crimes, #tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus, #world-health-organization

Booster Shots for Covid Leave Africa Hanging in Wind

Just 20 percent of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have received a first Covid-19 vaccine dose — compared to 80 percent in high-and upper-middle income countries.

#africa, #african-union, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #covax, #disease-rates, #european-union, #immune-system, #international-monetary-fund, #international-trade-and-world-market, #london-school-of-hygiene-and-tropical-medicine, #royal-free-hospital-london-england, #shortages, #stockpiling, #third-world-and-developing-countries, #united-nations, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

As offices come back, ATMO launches air monitoring device claiming to give COVID-risk score

Way back in 2015 we covered the launch of the Atmotube, a small, innovative, portable air quality monitor which went on to receive a number of awards, post its CES debut.

Since rebranding as ATMO, the company, co-founded by Vera Kozyr, is now launching the Atmocube, an indoor air quality monitoring system for businesses and enterprises. This new product is positioned far more for the Post-COVID era, where air quality inside offices is going to be vital, and this time, instead of being small and portable (although that earlier product is still sold), the Atmocube will be prominent and visible in order to give office workers peace of mind that their air quality is good.

The key to this is measuring CO2 levels which the Atmocube displays on its screen along with other metrics.

The device has up to 14 sensors measuring various environmental parameters such as CO2, formaldehyde NO2, PM1 (small airborne particles), PM2.5, ozone, and others, and other environmental parameters such as relative humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure, ambient noise, light levels, and color temperature.

The company says this new device also calculates the Airborne Virus Transmission Score — based on the levels of particulate matter, humidity, and CO2, and says it comes up with a “score” that estimates the probability of transferring virus diseases in closed spaces. Obviously, that’s probably something that would need independent testing to verify, but it is the case that the WHO advises that COVID-19 can be transmitted in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings.

Kozyr said: “Air pollution is dangerous because it can affect you and your health even if you don’t notice it. We aim to help people know what they’re breathing and make changes as a result. As businesses return to the office, they need a tool to make information about indoor air quality transparent and accessible to their employees. Most air quality monitors are designed to be hidden away, so we set out to create a device with a more transparent interface that would highlight HVAC performance safety and create trust between occupants and building owners”.

ATMO is by no means the only player in the space of course, as it’s joined by AirThings, Awair Omni and Kaiterra.

#air-pollution, #airthings, #articles, #europe, #player, #pollution, #tc, #vera-kozyr, #world-health-organization

In Review, Top F.D.A. Scientists Question Imminent Need for Booster Shots

An article, written with other vaccine experts, put the regulators at odds with key federal health officials, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #fauci-anthony-s, #food-and-drug-administration, #gruber-marion, #krause-philip-r, #lancet-the-journal, #marks-peter, #moderna-inc, #pfizer-inc, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #vaccination-and-immunization, #woodcock-janet, #world-health-organization

Are Covid Booster Shots Really Necessary?

As rich countries ponder the marginal utility of third doses, billions of people around the world are still waiting for their first.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #biontech-se, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #debatable, #moderna-inc, #pfizer-inc, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Palestinians Finally Have Vaccines. But Will People Take Them?

For months, the Palestinian authorities struggled to get doses. Now they have the shots, but disinformation and conspiracy theories have led to widespread hesitancy.

#bethlehem-west-bank, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #gaza-strip, #government-employees, #hamas, #israel, #palestinian-authority, #palestinians, #politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Israel, Once the Model for Beating Covid, Faces New Surge of Infections

One of the most vaccinated societies, Israel now has one of the highest infection rates in the world, raising questions about the vaccine’s efficacy.

#biontech-se, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #disease-rates, #israel, #masks, #moderna-inc, #pfizer-inc, #politics-and-government, #tel-aviv-israel, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

In Stinging Rebuke, China Tells U.S. Diplomat That Its Rise Can’t Be Stopped

Beijing accused Washington of a “thinly veiled attempt to contain and suppress China,” in remarks released before talks with a visiting U.S. diplomat had ended.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #communist-party-of-china, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #microsoft-corp, #politics-and-government, #sherman-wendy-r, #state-department, #tianjin-china, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #wang-yi, #world-health-organization, #xi-jinping

Castor, a clinical trial process company, raises $45M to create more human-centered research

Castor is on a mission to make every clinical trial faster and patient-focused. The clinical trial software company announced Wednesday it raised $45 million in Series B funding to continue modernizing the process as the industry shifts to decentralized clinical trials.

Eight Roads Ventures and F-Prime Capital co-led the round and were joined by existing investors Two Sigma Ventures and Inkef Capital. The Series B brings Castor’s total funding to $65 million since it was founded in 2012.

Clinical trials are “stuck in a rut,” Derk Arts, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Castor told TechCrunch. Currently, they take a long time to set up and don’t involve continuous data monitoring.

They also require patient participants to travel to a research site that could be hours away from their home. As a result, slow enrollment accounts for nearly 40% of terminated trials, and an inconvenient process inhibits researchers from attracting a diverse group of patients, he said.

Castor, which is remote first, but has offices in New York and Amsterdam, is one of several companies bringing technology to a process that is largely still done on paper. Its software provides a self-service version enabling researchers to design studies and integrate in-person and remote patient data from any source in real time. Patients interested in joining trials can enroll and share their data via a mobile app.

The global pandemic pushed innovation forward at an accelerated pace, and Castor responded in turn, making its software free for COVID-19 research.

It then saw an influx of users and new customers like the World Health Organization. WHO used Castor for its “Solidarity Trial,” which was identifying how existing medications might improve outcomes compared to standard of care alone. The study included over 10,000 patients across 553 sites in 30 countries, Arts said.

Michael Treskow, partner at Eight Roads Ventures, called Arts “a straight shooter” who knows the industry’s pain points and is bringing the clinical trials industry into the modern age.

“Technology is making a real impact,” Treskow added. “Castor is so driven to dramatically improve clinical trials, and with its work with WHO has a significant use case of how this is important. As we have seen with the rapid development of COVID vaccines, this is what the industry is able to do.”

The clinical trial market is valued at around $16 billion and is growing rapidly at 16% per year, Arts says. A market that big is also attracting companies that want to innovate it. He cites Science 37 and Medable, which recently pulled in a $78 million extension to its $91 million Series C.

The Series B enables Castor to have teams in place to respond to the fast-growing industry. Last year, the company nearly tripled in revenue growth and is on course to do the same in 2021. Castor has 150 employees currently and expects to hit 200 by the end of the year.

Arts, who has a background in software programming and in medicine, said the new funds will go toward continued product development, interoperability and collecting real-world evidence from decentralized trials. The company is focusing on the United States for now, but sees potential in moving into the Asia region later this year.

“Patients deserve to have an amazing service, and it is up to us to deliver on that,” he said.

#castor, #clinical-trials, #derk-arts, #eight-roads-ventures, #f-prime-capital, #funding, #health, #inkef-capital, #medable, #michael-treskow, #recent-funding, #science-37, #startups, #tc, #two-sigma-ventures, #world-health-organization

Delta Variant in N.Y.C.: What to Know

City health officials are closely watching the highly infectious form of the virus, which could fuel outbreaks in low-vaccinated areas.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #de-blasio-bill, #fauci-anthony-s, #new-york-city, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Delta Variant’s Spread Prompts Reconsideration of Mask Guidance

Los Angeles County and the W.H.O. warned that even immunized people should wear masks indoors. Some scientists agreed, but urged a localized approach.

#content-type-service, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #disease-rates, #los-angeles-county-calif, #masks, #medicine-and-health, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization, #your-feed-science

E.U. Recommends Opening to Americans to Rescue the Summer

The European Union recommended its 27 member nations lift a ban on nonessential travel from the United States, but each country will decide for itself.

#european-union, #politics-and-government, #quarantines, #travel-and-vacations, #travel-warnings, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

What the C.E.O. of Pfizer and Other Covid-19 Fighters Learned From Their Parents

Various people working to stop the pandemic reflected on the life skills their parents taught them: determination, teamwork, resilience and more.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #content-type-personal-profile, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #parenting, #pfizer-inc, #world-health-organization

Colleges Say Students Must Get a Covid Vaccine. But No, Not That One.

Vaccine requirements were designed mostly for American students. That is presenting hurdles for many international students without access to one of the eight vaccines approved by the W.H.O.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #colleges-and-universities, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #food-and-drug-administration, #foreign-students-in-us, #india, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

A Return to Normal? Not for Countries With Covid Surges and Few Vaccines.

As nations like the United States prepare for a summer of hugs, gatherings and other activities safe for the vaccinated, nations still scrambling for shots are seeing some of their worst outbreaks.

#argentina, #bogota-colombia, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #disease-rates, #mexico, #our-world-in-data, #paraguay, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vietnam, #world-health-organization

Coronavirus Variant Discovered in India is Renamed Delta

The W.H.O. said it will label variants with Greek letters instead of numbers. Scientists hope the change will end the practice of referring to the mutations by the places they were detected.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #india, #internal-essential, #world-health-organization

Covid’s Increasing Spread Is a Global Threat

A new, more transmissible variant could devastate countries without vaccines.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #india, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

This Is the Wrong Way to Distribute Badly Needed Vaccines

Countries should be getting vaccines based on their needs, not their population.

#argentina, #brazil, #coalition-for-epidemic-preparedness-innovations, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #gavi-the-vaccine-alliance, #ghana, #india, #ivory-coast, #kenya, #malawi, #mongolia, #peru, #rationing-and-allocation-of-resources, #south-sudan, #united-states, #uruguay, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

America’s Next Move? Vaccinate the World.

Vaccinating the world is possible. The United States should lead the way. 

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #national-institutes-of-health, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

More Scientists Urge Broad Inquiry Into Coronavirus Origins

Researchers urge an open mind, saying lack of evidence leaves theories of natural spillover and laboratory leak both viable.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #laboratories-and-scientific-equipment, #research, #science-journal, #world-health-organization, #wuhan-institute-of-virology-china, #your-feed-science