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08 Nov

Simple Swab Test Helps Identify Severe Cases of RSV, New Study Finds

A nasal swab test helps researchers identify which children may require more time in the ICU to recover from RSV.

Health News Results - 1440

Deer Carry COVID Variants No Longer Seen in People

While COVID-19 variants Alpha, Gamma and Delta are no longer circulating among humans, they continue to spread in white-tailed deer.

The animals are the most abundant large mammal in North America. Scientists aren’t sure whether the deer could act as long-term reservoirs for these obsolete variants.

In a new study, researchers at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., collected 5,...

Pandemic at a Tipping Point: WHO

The pandemic has reached a “transition point,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.

Still, that doesn’t mean the public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) designation declared by the WHO in January 2020 is over yet.

The organization’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee met last week to discuss COVID-19, saying in a

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • January 30, 2023
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  • Updated Booster Shots, Not Original COVID Vaccines, Should Be Standard: FDA Panel

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory panel on Thursday voted unanimously to recommend that the agency phase out original versions of COVID vaccines for use in the unvaccinated, in favor of updated bivalent booster shots.

    Committee members also weighed a proposal to streamline the dosing schedule for COVID vaccines by turning them into annual shots that would likely be ...

    U.S. Proposes to Make COVID Shot Annual, Much Like Flu Shot

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday asked its vaccine advisory panel to weigh a proposal to turn COVID vaccines into an annual shot for most Americans.

    The committee will weigh the proposal at its Jan. 26 meeting.

    Such a move would simplify future vaccination efforts, a critical point given the fact that efforts to get people to get COVID booster shots have fallen far sh...

    Omicron Silver Lining: Fewer, Milder Cases of MIS-C in Kids

    The COVID-19 Omicron variant caused fewer cases of a rare but sometimes deadly complication for children than the earlier Delta variant did, new research shows.

    “Our study is one of the first to show that during the change to Omicron, MIS-C has become milder and increasingly rare,” said senior researcher

    Report Outlines National Plan to Test Wastewater for Harmful Germs

    The pandemic brought the utility of testing wastewater to gauge viral spread to the fore.

    Now, experts at the independent National Academies of Sciences (NAS) have issued a report outlining a roadmap for the broader surveillance of Americans' wastewater.

    The report "reviews the usefulness of comm...

    Vaccinated Moms' Breast Milk Could Protect Baby From COVID

    Infants too young to be vaccinated for COVID-19 get some protection from their mothers’ breast milk, researchers say.

    The new study follows up on findings published in 2021 that showed the breast milk of vaccinated people contained antibodies against the COVID-19 virus.

    For the stu...

    Bivalent COVID Boosters Offer No Extra Protection, Studies Suggest

    The updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters intended to defend people against emerging Omicron variants don’t appear to provide any better protection than the original shot does, two new studies find.

    The new mRNA bivalent boosters produced by Moderna and Pfizer only attack the COVID-19 virus about as well as the companies’ first-wave vaccines, according to

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • January 11, 2023
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  • Global Acceptance of COVID-19 Vaccines Is on the Rise

    While COVID-19 vaccine acceptance rose around the world between 2021 and 2022, wide gaps remain, according to new research.

    Teams from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain (ISGlobal) and City University of New York (CUNY) also noted the need to address vaccine hesitancy with tailored communication strategies.

    “The pandemic is not over, and authorities must urgently a...

    Study Pushes Back Smallpox Origins Another 2,000 Years

    While the origins of smallpox has remained a mystery for centuries, researchers now believe that it dates back 2,000 years earlier than previously thought.

    Until recently, the earliest genetic evidence of smallpox, the variola virus, was from the 1600s. And in 2020, researchers found evidence of it in the dental remains of Viking skeletons, pushing its existence 1,000 years earlier.

    COVID Vaccine Is Safe for Kids Who Got Rare Complication of COVID Illness

    It's safe for kids to take the COVID-19 vaccine after they’ve suffered a rare complication from a prior COVID infection, a U.S. National Institutes of Health-supported study has concluded.

    Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) affects about 1 in every 3,000 to 4,000 kids who contract COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The co...

    New COVID Pill May Be Improvement Over Paxlovid, Chinese Trial Suggests

    COVID-19 patients could soon have a new antiviral pill they can take to guard against severe disease.

    The treatment, called VV116, worked as well as Paxlovid in people who were at high risk of severe disease in a phase 3 trial in China.

    The trial was a “great success,” study co-author Ren Zhao, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, said in a

    Getting COVID Booster Helps Your Antibodies Last Longer

    While getting a COVID-19 vaccine provides antibodies against the coronavirus, getting a booster shot creates a longer-lasting antibody response, according to new research.

    “These results fit with other recent reports and indicate that booster shots enhance the durability of vaccine-elicited antibodies,” said senior researcher

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • December 28, 2022
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  • Science Reveals Cause of Smell Loss in COVID-19

    One of the hallmarks of a COVID-19 infection has been a lost sense of smell after the infection ends.

    In a new study, researchers blame an ongoing immune assault on the olfactory nerve cells — cells found at the top of the nasal cavity — and a decline in the number of those cells. The study was led by a team at Duke Health in Durham, N.C.

    “One of the first symptoms that has ty...

    Flu, RSV, COVID: Shield Yourself From the 'Tripledemic' This Holiday

    Public health experts have been warning of a “tripledemic” of respiratory viruses this fall and winter, so the American Lung Association has some tips for breathing easier this holiday season.

    Flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 are all spreading throughout the United States, overwhelming health care systems.

    One way to make holiday or seasonal gatherings safer ...

    Stop Screening Asymptomatic Hospital Patients for COVID, Experts Say

    A nationwide group of infection control experts recommends U.S. health care facilities stop testing patients for COVID-19 before hospital admission or scheduled surgeries if they have no virus symptoms.

    The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) statement says facilities should rely instead on enhanced layers of infection prevention.

    “The small benefits that could c...

    Defenses Down: COVID Antibodies in Nose Decline First

    Researchers think they've figured out why people can become reinfected with COVID-19, despite immunity gained from either vaccination or a previous infection.

    It turns out that antibodies produced in the nose — the first line of defense against respiratory viruses like COVID — decline faster than antibodies found in the bloodstream, British scientists say.

    Nasal antibodies tend ...

    In Face of Tripledemic, CVS and Walgreens Limit Purchases of Kids' Pain Meds

    As a tripledemic of the flu, COVID and RSV continues to spread across the United States, customers at two major pharmacy chains will now be limited as to how much children's pain relievers and fever-reducing medications they can buy for their sick child.

    Both CVS and Walgreens confirmed the limits Monday, CNN reported, though they've approached it in different ways.

    Walgre...

    After COVID, Surgery Risks Remain Higher for More Than a Year

    Doctors and patients should consider COVID-19 history when planning surgery, according to a new study.

    For patients who've had a COVID-19 diagnosis, researchers found significant postoperative problems diminish gradually over time, but risks persist more than a year after the illness.

    That time frame is longer than previously known, said the research team from Vanderbilt University ...

    Pandemic's Two-Year Global Death Toll May Be Close to 15 Million

    Almost 15 million people likely died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, nearly three times more than previously reported, a new World Health Organization study estimates.

    The researchers said the COVID-19 pandemic caused about 4.5 million more deaths than would have been expected in 2020, and 10.4 million more in 2021, according to the report published online Dec. 14 i...

    U.S. Health Officials Urge Indoor Masking in Major Cities as 'Tripledemic' Rages

    As three highly contagious respiratory viruses spread across the United States, straining hospitals and triggering drug shortages, health officials in some major cities and states are calling for a return to indoor masking.

    Over the past few weeks, COVID-19, the flu and RSV have made millions of Americans ill, and indoor masking is seen as one way to slow the spread of the viruses.

    ...

    Paxlovid Soon Won't Be Free for Americans

    The antiviral Paxlovid has kept people from getting really sick and dying from COVID-19 since it became available -- at no cost to them.

    But by the middle of next year, the U.S. government will stop subsidizing the medication. Instead, it will be billed for like many other medications.

    While the Biden administration has paid about $530 for each course of the medication by buying 2...

    Cooler Noses May Be Key to Winter's Spike in Colds

    Researchers may have sniffed out why colds are more likely in wintertime: The answer may lie within the nose.

    A previously unidentified immune response inside the nose is responsible for fighting off the viruses that cause upper respiratory infections, according to researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Northeastern University in Boston.

    Unfortunately, cold weather inhibits th...

    Signs That COVID Infection Might Harm the Liver

    COVID-19 may harm the liver, a small study suggests.

    The virus appears to increase liver stiffness, a sign of potential long-term injury, but it's too early to tell if that portends serious liver disease, the researchers said.

    "COVID infections have been observed to cause inflammation and damage to a number of different organ systems like the brain, the intestines and the liver...

    Shortages of Antibiotics, Antivirals Are Making a Tough Illness Season Worse

    An early surge in cold and flu cases has created shortages in key antiviral and antibiotic drugs needed for the annual “sick season,” pharmacists report.

    The antiviral flu drug Tamiflu is in short supply for both adults and children, in both its brand name formulation as well as the generic version, said Mich...

    Monkeypox Renamed MPox Amid Racism Concerns

    Monkeypox still exists, but its name is being phased out over racism concerns.

    For the next year, the terms monkeypox and the new name mpox will be used interchangeably before the virus is permanently renamed mpox, the World Health Organization

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • November 28, 2022
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  • COVID in Pregnancy Can Vary — Get Vaccinated to Stay Safe

    When pregnant women contract COVID-19, one in 10 will have moderate, severe or even critical symptoms, a new study finds.

    So it's important they get their COVID vaccines, experts say.

    “Given that patients in all trimesters of pregnancy are susceptible to infection and severe respiratory illness from COVID-19, these findings add urgency to the need for vaccination of all pregnant i...

    Diabetes Drug Metformin Might Keep Severe COVID Away

    A century-old diabetes drug seems to help keep high-risk COVID-19 patients from falling deathly ill, a new study reports.

    Metformin reduced the risk of death from COVID-19 by 44% in a group of diabetics who were taking the drug when they became infected with the coronavirus, according t...

    White House Urges COVID Booster Shots Again, Citing Effectiveness

    It's not too late to get the latest COVID-19 booster shot.

    Whether it's the bivalent vaccine from drug maker Pfizer or from Moderna, the shots offer more protection against symptomatic infection, public health officials reiterated at a White House briefing on Tuesday.

    However, since the vaccines debuted in September, only 13% of American adults have gotten the updated boosters, wh...

    Protecting Wildlife Key to Preventing the Next Big Pandemic

    Research in wild bats is reinforcing a notion crucial to stopping future pandemics: When wildlife populations stay healthy, the odds of "crossover" viruses infecting humans subsides.

    In Australia, deforestation has caused a deadly respiratory virus to pass from fruit bats to humans, by forcing the two species into closer contact, a

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • November 22, 2022
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  • Despite Pleas From Pediatric Groups, Biden Balks at Declaring RSV a Health Emergency

    The Biden administration on Thursday offered assistance to communities and hospitals dealing with a surge in cases of pediatric respiratory illnesses, but it did not declare a national public health emergency.

    The Children's Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics had asked President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra for that designation...

    There Might Be a Perfect Indoor Humidity to Curb COVID Spread

    It's sort of like the Goldilocks principle — a room that's either too dry or too humid can influence transmission of COVID-19 and cause more illness or death, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers say.

    Maintaining an indoor relative humidity between 40% and 60% is associated with lower rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths, they reported Nov. 16 in the

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • November 18, 2022
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  • Seizure Risk Rises in Months After COVID

    A bout of COVID-19, even a milder one, may raise the risk of having a seizure in the next six months, a large new study suggests.

    Researchers found that of over 300,000 Americans who had suffered a case of COVID-19 or the flu, COVID sufferers were 55% more likely to be diagnosed with a seizure or epilepsy in the next six months.

    And a deeper look showed that the increased risk was a...

    America's ERs Are Jammed, Affecting Patients on Other Wards

    A crowded, overwhelmed emergency department raises the risk of death and suffering for patients throughout a hospital, a new study warns.

    “The more the emergency room was crowded, the more people were dying throughout the hospital,” said lead researcher Charleen Hsuan, an assistant profe...

    Damage to Health Mounts With Each New COVID Infection

    Every time a person gets infected with COVID-19, their risk of dying or suffering serious long-term health problems increases dramatically, a new study has found.

    People with repeated COVID-19 infections are twice as likely to die and three times as likely to be hospitalized compared to those only infected once, according to the report published online Nov. 10 in the journal

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • November 14, 2022
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  • Paxlovid Lowers Risk of Long COVID

    The antiviral pill Paxlovid not only reduces hospitalization and death after catching COVID-19: New research shows it also cuts the chances of long COVID by roughly 25%.

    The drug, which combines a newer antiviral called nirmatrelvir with an older medication known as ritonavir, del...

    Simple Nose Swab Test Might Gauge Severity of Child's RSV

    While it isn't possible to tell parents how long their child will need to remain in intensive care with a serious case of RSV, new research has unearthed clues that may make it easier to predict which kids will require a longer stay.

    To study the issue, researchers from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago used nose swabs from children with RSV in the pediatric intensi...

    Monkeypox Can Be Passed On Even Before Symptoms Appear

    Monkeypox spreads even before a person shows any telltale lesions or other symptoms, a new study suggests.

    More than half of monkeypox transmission in the United Kingdom occurred in the pre-symptomatic phase, the researchers said.

    The new findings — published online Nov. 2 in the BMJmay exp...

    Treated or Untreated, COVID Symptoms Can Ease and Then Return, Study Finds

    Nearly everyone has heard of Paxlovid rebound, where COVID-19 symptoms return after taking the antiviral and then feeling better. It even happened to President Joe Biden. But new research shows it also happens to patients who don't take the medication.

    “Our study suggests that people can experience rebo...

    Doctors Answer Your Questions About RSV

    While a potential COVID winter surge and the impending flu season get a lot of attention, doctors are worried about another virus.

    This one is RSV -- short for respiratory syncytial virus -- and hospitals across the country are seeing a surge of cases in infants and young children. The virus can...

    People With Untreated HIV Being Hit Hardest by Monkeypox

    While monkeypox cases are declining in the United States, a new government report shows that patients with weakened immune systems, especially those living with HIV, have been hit particularly hard by the virus.

    Even after taking antiviral medication for monkeypox, those with untreated HIV were more ...

    No Sign of Human Herpesvirus in African Gorillas

    Despite the presence of gorilla trekkers in their habitat, endangered gorillas in the region surrounding East Africa's Virunga Volcanoes do not have human herpesvirus, researchers say.

    The Gorilla Doctors team was able to assess the region's mountain gorillas in a noninvasive way, simply watching the animals as they walked through the forest.

    As the gorillas chomped on vegetation s...

    Chickenpox Vaccine Has Nearly Erased Deaths, Hospitalizations From Virus in U.S.

    New government data shows that the chickenpox vaccine has virtually eliminated deaths and severe cases of the virus in U.S. children and teens.

    In the analysis, released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 97% fewer chickenpox cases among people under 20, alon...

    Study Debunks Use of Antidepressant Luvox as COVID Treatment

    A study testing drugs that are used for other conditions for their potential in treating COVID-19 has found that the antidepressant fluvoxamine (brand name Luvox) offered no benefit, at least at an initial smaller dose.

    Study participants took 50 mg of the medication twice daily for 10 days, hoping to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms. A control group took a placebo.

    “There...

    As Tough Flu Season Looms, CDC Hopes for More Flu Shots Among Minorities

    It's a troubling equation: Many Americans with the highest rates of hospitalization for influenza have the lowest uptake of the annual flu vaccine.

    That's why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is stepping up outreach to minority communities, including Black, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) groups, and working to reduce barriers to vaccination.

    ...

    Is Exercise Getting Tougher for You? Long COVID Might Be to Blame

    After COVID-19, resuming regular exercise may be harder, and new research suggests this may be one more symptom of long COVID.

    For the study, the researchers reviewed 38 published studies that tracked the exercise performance of more than 2,000 people who had had COVID-19. Ulti...

    Major Trial of Monkeypox Treatment TPOXX to Launch in Africa

    The ability of TPOXX to treat people infected with monkeypox is being directly tested in a new clinical trial in central Africa, U.S. health officials have announced.

    TPOXX — the antiviral drug tecovirimat — is only approved to treat

  • Dennis Thompson
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  • October 17, 2022
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  • Even Without Symptoms, COVID Infection Raises Risks for Trauma Patients

    Having COVID-19 could cause further trouble for patients being treated for physical trauma — even if they have no symptoms of the virus.

    Researchers studying cases of trauma patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and those who were negative found those with the virus had significantly higher rates of heart a...

    With COVID Crisis Ebbing, How Can We Prevent Future Pandemics?

    Aggressive measures are needed in the world's tropical regions to prevent the inevitable next global pandemic, an international coalition of researchers has concluded.

    Epidemics around the world have largely been driven by viruses that spill over from wild animals into humans, mainly in tropical hot ...

    With Tough Flu Season Already Here, An Expert Answers Your Flu Shot Questions

    Indications are that this year's flu season is going to be particularly nasty, making the annual influenza vaccine even more important than usual, infectious disease experts say.

    People already are landing in the hospital with severe cases of influenza, about a month ahead of when flu season usually begins, said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infect...

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