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Watchdog Group Says HHS Not Ready to Battle Future Health Crises

FRIDAY, Jan. 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is falling down on the job when it comes to dealing with numerous public health crises, a nonpartisan government watchdog said Thursday.

This includes its communications to the public and healthcare providers, coordinating with federal and state agencies, and managing the medical supply chain, acc...

Beyond Antibodies: Vaccines Teach Your Immune T-Cells to Fight COVID Long Term

COVID-19 vaccines activate long-lasting immune system T-cells that target coronavirus variants of concern, including Delta and Omicron, new research shows.

The research team at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California studied adults who were fully...

Months After Moderna Booster, Antibodies Decline Faster With Omicron

An initial surge in antibody levels against the Omicron variant after a booster dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine wanes within six months, but the antibodies remained effective against it in lab tests, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed antibody levels in volunteers who received the booster after two doses of the Moderna mRNA vaccine. Within four weeks of their third dose, antibody l...

Almost 1 in 10 U.S. Lung Transplants Now Due to COVID

COVID-19 is changing medicine in yet another way: A new study finds that patients with COVID-related lung damage now account for nearly one in 10 lung transplants in the United States.

The researchers analyzed data on more than 3,000 lung transplants nationwide between Aug. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021. They found that 7% of them were performed to treat severe, irreversible lung damage ca...

Survivors of Severe COVID Face Higher Odds for Another Hospitalization Soon After

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- People hospitalized for COVID-19 are not necessarily out of the woods once they're discharged: Many land in the hospital again in the months afterward, a large U.K. study finds.

The researchers found that in the 10 months after leaving the hospital, COVID-19 patients were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized or die, c...

Many People With Asthma Have Mixed Feelings About Masks: Poll

Although they report difficulty breathing and discomfort while wearing a face mask, most people with asthma still use them in public places during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study finds.

University of Illinois Chicago researchers conducted an online survey of more than 500 adults with asthma. They found that 84% report...

COVID Infection Unlikely From Hospital Surfaces: Study

Remember when everyone was disinfecting their groceries at the start of the pandemic, fearful that the new coronavirus could be spread simply by touching a surface on which the virus had landed?

New research confirms that much of that cleaning was unnecessary because people are unlikely to get COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces.

“Early on in the pandemic, there were studies that ...

Pfizer Begins Testing a COVID Vaccine Targeted to Omicron

Pfizer Inc. announced Tuesday that it has launched a trial that will compare its existing COVID-19 vaccine against a new version tailored to beat back the highly contagious Omicron variant.

"While current research and real-world data show that boosters continue to provide a high level of protection against severe disease and hospitalization with Omicron, we recognize the need to be prepar...

Pandemic to Endemic: Is a New Normal Near?

It has begun to feel like a pandemic that will never end, but public health experts now say the Omicron variant may be ushering in a "new normal," where COVID-19 becomes an endemic, but manageable, disease.

"I do feel that we are moving into a transition phase in the pandemic, and I do th...

Vaccination Key to 'Super Immunity' Against COVID-19

Coronavirus infections before or after vaccination provide equal levels of increased immunity, and the key to this so-called "super immunity" is to be vaccinated, researchers report.

"It makes no difference whether you get infected-and-then-vaccinated, or if you get vaccinated-and-then-a-breakthrough infection," said study co-senior author Fikadu Tafesse. He is an assistant professor of ...

3 Reasons Why Trying to Get COVID Is a Bad Idea

If you're wondering whether to intentionally expose yourself to the Omicron variant with the goal of developing immunity, the answer is absolutely not, experts say.

"It sounds like playing with fire to me," said Dr. Nicole Van Groningen, a hospitalist who has treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

First of all, you do risk becoming severely ill, even ...

Can CBD Help Curb COVID? Maybe, But More Study Needed

Cannabidiol, a compound derived from marijuana, appears to show promise in blocking replication of the COVID-19 virus and preventing its spread, lab and animal studies show.

CBD inhibited the ability of the coronavirus to spread in human lung cell samples, and also...

England to Lift Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Visitors

Coronavirus testing requirements for vaccinated people arriving in England will be scrapped, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday.

Details about the changes are to be provided later in the day by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the Associated Press reported.

To "show that this country is open for business, open for travelers, you will see changes so that ...

L.A. County Scenario Suggests COVID 'Herd Immunity' Is Unlikely

Herd immunity against COVID-19 is unlikely, and coping with the disease will likely hinge on vaccination, treatment and ensuring adequate hospital capacity, a new study conducted in Los Angeles County claims.

With herd immunity, most people have antibodies from vaccination or prior infection, so a virus has...

Another Study Finds Vaccine Booster 'Neutralizes' Omicron

If you need more proof that a third shot of COVID vaccine is needed, new British research confirms that boosters can "neutralize" the virus' Omicron variant.

To arrive at that conclusion, they analyzed 620 blood samples from 364 health care workers and staff at the Francis Crick Institute and the National Institute for Health Research UCLH Biomedical Research Centre, in London.

Peo...

Dengue Virus Makes Mosquitoes Bite More Often

New research shows that mosquitoes infected with the dengue virus bite more often, which triples the risk of transmitting the disease to people.

Dengue is one of the most common mosquito-borne diseases. It affects more than 400 million people each year worldwide, killing around 40,000.

Most infected people have no s...

Getting Back to Sports After Recovering from COVID-19

Folks who've had a tough case of COVID-19 shouldn't hit the gym for basketball or an aerobics class without getting checked out by their doctor first, according to the American College for Sports Medicine.

The disease wracks the body in ways that can be tough on athletes, especially if they develop

  • Dennis Thompson
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  • January 20, 2022
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  • No Side Effects From Your COVID Vaccine? Don't Worry, It's Still Working

    Even if you don't have side effects from your COVID-19 vaccine, it's likely still working to protect you, a reassuring new report shows.

    Many people who receive the mRNA COVID vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna experience body aches and fatigue that indicate the vaccine is triggering ...

    Too Soon to Tell if Omicron Will End Pandemic: Fauci

    It's too soon to determine whether Omicron's rapid spread will turn a pandemic virus into an endemic disease, America's top infectious disease expert says.

    That "would only be the case if we don't get another variant that eludes the immune response to the prior variant," Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week during the Davos Agenda, a virtual event being held this week by the World Economic Fo...

    Vaping Might Worsen COVID-19 Symptoms

    TUESDAY, Jan. 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- If you vape and catch COVID-19, you may feel a whole lot worse than people who come down with the virus but don't use electronic cigarettes, researchers say.

    When compared to folks with COVID-19 who didn't use e-ciga...

    At-Home COVID Tests Accurate for Ki​ds: Study

    Despite earlier concerns that at-home COVID-19 tests might be less accurate than PCR tests, new research in U.S. children and teens adds to evidence that the rapid tests are highly accurate.

    The scientists said the accuracy of the tests — which can be used at home and in schools and provide quick results — is similar to that of

    COVID Fatigue: Are You Among the 'Vaxxed & Done'?

    You've gotten vaccinated. You've gotten boosted. You wear your mask, maintain social distancing, wash your hands — you do everything you've been asked to do to protect yourself and others.

    And you are completely fed up.

    If that description sounds like you, you might be part of a contingent of people who consider themselves "vaxxed and done" with the

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • January 17, 2022
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  • COVID Cases Surge Again in U.S. Nursing Homes

    Residents of nursing homes have been a particularly at-risk group throughout the pandemic, and the advent of the fast-spreading Omicron variant has them facing another wave of infections and deaths, new data shows.

    During the week ending Jan. 9, U.S. nursing homes reported more tha...

    CDC Study Shows Power of Flu Vaccine for Kids

    Flu vaccines protect children against serious illness, even when the vaccine doesn't match the circulating flu virus, according to a new study that reinforces the importance of flu shots.

    Flu viruses are constantly changing, and the effectiveness of flu vaccines can be influenced by the similarity between the viruses used in vaccine production and the viruses circulating in a given flu s...

    Worried About Omicron? Expert Offers Tips on Going Out Safely

    As the Omicron variant rages across the United States, an expert outlines how to reduce your risk of getting infected with COVID-19.

    Be cautious when it comes to social activities and consider the amount of risk you're willing to accept in order to get together with others, said Dr. Michael Lin, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor at Rush University Medical Center in ...

    1 in 10 People With COVID Still Infectious After 10 Days: Study

    One in 10 people with COVID-19 could still be infectious beyond 10 days, and some could remain so for as long as two months, a new study suggests.

    U.K. researchers reported that a new test can detect whether the coronavirus is potentially still active. They used it to analyze samples from 176 people who ...

    Masks Cut Distance Coronavirus Travels in Half, Study Finds

    Face masks are touted as a key tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and a new study offers more proof that they work.

    Florida researchers found face masks cut the distance that airborne pathogens such as the coronavirus can travel by more than half.

    The findings suggest that some

  • Robert Preidt
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  • January 14, 2022
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  • Nearly 600,000 U.S. Kids Had COVID Last Week

    In a sign that the highly contagious Omicron variant is sparing no one, a new report shows that new COVID-19 cases among U.S. children spiked to a high of more than 580,000 for the week ending Jan. 6, a 78% increase from the week before.

    "Since many children remain unvaccinated — or are too young to be vaccinated — children are bearing a disproportionate burden of this illness," said...

    Pfizer Says Omicron-Specific Vaccine Ready by March

    Pfizer Inc. said Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant will be ready by March.

    The company has already started making the new version of the vaccine, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC's "Squawk Box," CBS News reported.

    Omicron now accounts for more than 98% of all new COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the

    Even Symptom-Free, People With Omicron Much More Likely to Spread COVID: Studies

    Researchers say they've uncovered a clue to why the Omicron variant spreads COVID-19 so much more rapidly than its predecessors.

    People who are infected but have no symptoms are still far more likely to infect others than they would have been with earlier variants, the data shows.

    "As we witness the quick, global spread of

  • Cara Murez
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  • January 10, 2022
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  • Exposure to Common Cold Might Help Shield Against COVID

    Vaccination is still the best way to protect someone from COVID-19, but new research suggests that immune system activation of T-cells by common colds may offer some cross-protection.

    The study might also provide a blueprint for a second-generation, universal vaccine that could prevent infection from current and future variants, the research team said.

    "Being exposed to the

    FDA Shortens Time to Booster After Moderna Vaccine to 5 Months

    Citing the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and the need for protection against it, U.S. federal health officials are shortening the recommended time between the second dose of the Moderna vaccine and a booster shot from six months down to five.

    "The country is in the middle of a wave of the highly contagious Omicron variant, which spreads more rapidly than the original SARS-CoV-2 vi...

    AHA News: Health Coach Was Once an Overworked, Unhealthy New Mom Who Had a Stroke at 32

    Kelly Fucheck woke up one summer Sunday ready to spend a quiet morning at home with her husband, Glen. Their toddler, Tomas, had spent the night at grandma's house.

    She picked out a pair of comfy pants, but when she tried to put them on, she swayed to the left. Then Kelly noticed a sharp pain in the back of her neck. She felt foggy.

    She went into the bathroom and splashed water on h...

    Why It's a Bad Idea to Try to Get COVID

    COVID-19 infection isn’t a game, and you shouldn’t try to get it on purpose -- not even the supposedly "mild" Omicron variant of the virus.

    It's a high-risk strategy for yourself, for public health and the economy, medical experts agreed.

    “You’d be crazy to try to get infected with this,” said Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Havey Institute for Global Health a...

    Once-a-Day HIV Pill Works Well for Kids

    An international trial found that a once-a-day antiretroviral medication for kids with HIV is not only cheap and easy to take, but also better at suppressing HIV than standard treatments.

    "Our findings provide strong evidence for the global rollout of dolutegravir for children with HIV," said Dr. Diana Gibb, a professor of epidemiology at University College London and a principal investig...

    N95 Masks: A Must-Have With Omicron, But Fakes Abound

    You're watching the Omicron variant race around the world and think it might be time to upgrade your mask to a gold-standard N95 or K-N95 model. A quick search on Google should find you one, right?

    Not so fast, experts say.

    According to Anne Miller, executive director of the nonprofit group Project N95, the masks that offer the most protection are indeed the N95 and the K-N95 -- bot...

    COVID-19 Spotted in Texas Deer

    Researchers have confirmed that some white-tailed deer in Texas have COVID-19.

    The scientific community has been alarmed by the prospect of deer becoming new hosts for COVID since July, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture found antibodies in white-tailed deer in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania<...

    Omicron Might Help Shield Against Delta, New Research Suggests

    Researchers are still trying to figure out what will happen with both the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19 spreading simultaneously.

    Now new lab-based data is suggesting that the newer variant, Omicron, might bring one silver lining: It could help folks who contract it defend agains...

    The New COVID Antiviral Pills: What You Need to Know

    New antiviral pills for COVID-19 recently authorized for emergency use in high-risk people by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should give doctors an easier means of keeping people out of the hospital.

    But the initial hype is giving way to reality, as doctors and public health officials grapple with the challenges of getting the Pfizer and Merck antiviral pills into the hands of thos...

    As Omicron Spreads, Child Hospitalizations Climb 30% in Past Week

    Child hospitalizations for COVID-19 jumped 30% this past week as the Omicron variant spread like wildfire throughout the United States.

    By Dec. 28, the country had an average of 260 pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations each day, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Cont...

    How the COVID Virus Sneaks Past Immune Defenses

    Just how SARS-CoV-2 eludes the human immune system has mystified scientists for close to two years, but now they've uncovered an important clue.

    Turns out the virus that causes COVID-19 has some stealth moves that allow it to spread from cell to cell, hiding from the immune system, new research reveals.

    ...

    Science Shows Safest Plane Seating to Cut COVID Spread

    Taking to the skies for a long-awaited holiday?

    Choose your seat on the plane wisely and don't overlook familiar steps like keeping your mask on to reduce your odds for getting COVID-19 or another contagious disease, experts suggest.

    “Spacing is an obvious challenge on airplanes, especially when the planes are filled at or near capacity over the holiday season. So anything that c...

    Early Strain of COVID-19 Spread Fast Because First Symptom Was Cough: Study

    The COVID virus strain circulating in the United States during the pandemic's first wave spread so fast because it most often started with a cough, according to a new study.

    It's likely that people with that strain -- D614G -- coughed and spread the virus before they were laid low by fever, the most common second symptom of infection, researchers explained.

    "Studying the likely orde...

    How Long Do Lockdowns Keep People at Home?

    Lockdowns keep people home for a few weeks, but they lose their luster after a few months, claims a new study that comes as many countries consider a return to lockdowns to slow the renewed spread of COVID-19.

    The findings could be used by policymakers when deciding whether to impose lockdowns, the research...

    Coping With Cancer and COVID During the Holidays

    Tempting as it is to mingle with friends and relatives, anyone with cancer should take extra precautions this holiday season to avoid COVID-19. Their families also need to be cautious to help protect them, experts say.

    Yale Cancer Center reminds people who are living with cancer that the disease and treatments can put a patient at risk for serious illness from the coronavirus, even if th...

    Humans Pass Coronavirus to Deer, Creating Reservoir for Variants

    In a sign that white-tailed deer are becoming a reservoir for the new coronavirus, researchers report that COVID-19 variants are spreading among the wild animals.

    How they became infected and if these variants can infect humans isn't known, experts say.

    "Animal reservoirs of zoonotic viruses po...

    U.S. Army Reports Progress on COVID Vaccine That Fights All Variants

    The U.S. Army says it has developed a COVID-19 vaccine it believes could work against any and all coronavirus variants, including Omicron.

    Results from early human trials of the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle (SpFN) COVID vaccine are expected by the end of the month, the Army added.

    Lab studies have already shown that the new vaccine protects monkeys from the original strain of COVID-...

    Going Viral: Flu Rebounds as Omicron Variant Surges

    Flu is making a comeback in the United States this year, with cases rising around the country even as the Omicron variant is surging, infectious disease experts say.

    "We already are seeing significant increases in the amount of influenza occurring across the United States, especially with regards to the eastern part of the U.S. and the central part of the country," said Dr. Tina Tan, an i...

    School COVID Outbreaks Drop When Adults Wear Masks, Study Finds

    Of course kids make up the bulk of people at schools, but new evidence shows that requiring masks for adults working at schools greatly reduces the severity of COVID-19 outbreaks.

    In the study, the researchers found that children were most often the first identified cases in schools. However, outbreaks in schools were more severe when an adult was the first case, and mask wearing by adul...

    FDA Approves First Injection Regimen for HIV Prevention

    The first injection drug to prevent HIV infection was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday.

    “Today’s approval adds an important tool in the effort to end the HIV epidemic by providing the first option to prevent HIV that does not involve taking a daily pill,” Dr. Debra Birnkrant, director of the Division of Antivirals in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation ...