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COVID vaccines may roll out within days

NYT via Chicago Tribune – “The latest COVID-19 boosters are expected to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as early as Monday, arriving alongside the seasonal flu vaccine and shots to protect infants and older adults from RSV, a potentially lethal respiratory virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to follow up Tuesday with an advisory meeting to discuss who should get the new shots, by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. After a final decision by the CDC’s director, millions of doses will be shipped to pharmacies, clinics and health systems nationwide within days. As COVID cases creep up, the prevention measures could portend the first winter of the decade without a crush of patients pushing hospitals beyond capacity. But a healthy winter is far from a lock: Last year, the updated COVID vaccine made it into the arms of only 20% of adults in the United States. Some experts view that statistic with little alarm because the number of COVID deaths slowed over the last year, thanks to an increasingly immune population and higher vaccine rates among older Americans. Others see this year as an opportunity to protect more vulnerable people from severe illness or death…”

See also Northwestern Now “COVID patients exhale high numbers of virus during the first eight days after symptoms start, as high as 1,000 copies per minute, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study. It is the first longitudinal, direct measure of the number of SARS-CoV-2 viral copies exhaled per minute over the course of the infection — from the first sign of symptoms until 20 days after. On day eight, exhaled levels of virus drop steeply, down to near the limit of detection —an average of two copies exhaled per minute. Northwestern investigators tested breath samples — collected multiple times daily from 44 individuals — over the entire course of infection to determine when a person is most infectious. The study will be published in eLife and has been posted as a pre-print. Mild and moderately symptomatic patients with COVID still exhale large amounts of virus, though severely symptomatic cases exhale higher levels on average, the study reports. Vaccinated and unvaccinated patients exhale similar levels of virus over the course of infection, the research shows…”

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