December 2020

Allergists offer reassurance regarding potential allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines


Reports of possible allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, both recently approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have raised public concern. A team of experts led by allergists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has now examined all relevant information to offer reassurance that the vaccines can be administered safely even to people with food or medication allergies. The group’s review is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

In response to accounts of potential allergic reactions in some people following COVID-19 vaccination in

Unique susceptibility to unique Sars-CoV-2 variants and vaccines


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Individuals with different genetic variants in their immune system components often have very different immune responses to Sars-CoV-2. They also will have different responses to vaccines. By the same token, newly emerged variants in Sars-Cov-2 can elicit different immune responses in identical immune systems. In the larger reality we are now dealing, potential variation in all the above must be simultaneously considered.

We recently discussed several sources of newly uncovered variation in that control susceptibility to Sars. For example, modern humans with throwback versions of the neanderthal gene DPP4, or the spike protein cleaving protease

Anticoagulants not tied to higher risk for GI bleed in COVID-19


(HealthDay)—Use of anticoagulation or antiplatelet agents is not a risk factor for gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Arvind J. Trindade, M.D., from the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health in Manhasset, New York, and colleagues examined risk factors associated with GI bleeding in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The analysis included COVID-19 patients with GI bleeding who were matched (1:1) to COVID-19 patients without bleeding based on a propensity score accounting for comorbidities, demographics, GI bleeding risk factors, and length of stay.

German care home workers given five times vaccine dose


Eight care home workers in Germany were accidentally injected with five doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, local authorities said Monday—but are suffering no serious ill effects so far.

The seven women and one man, aged between 38 and 54, are employees of a retirement home in the town of Stralsund in northeastern Germany.

They are therefore in a priority group and among the first to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which Germany began rolling out at the weekend.

But as they were being inoculated on Sunday, they were each injected with five doses at once, according to Stefan Kerth,

France confirms first case on its soil of British virus variant


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France has confirmed the first case of a new coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain, its health ministry said.

The new strain of the virus, which experts fear is more contagious, has prompted more than 50 countries to impose on the UK.

The first French case—found in a citizen living in Britain who arrived from London on December 19—is asymptomatic and self-isolating at home in Tours in central France, the ministry said late Friday.

They were tested in a hospital on December 21, and later found positive for the strain.

Health authorities

Russia tops 3 million COVID-19 infections


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Russia on Saturday passed three million confirmed coronavirus infections, as authorities hold out against reimposing a national lockdown while the country is battered by a second wave.

Official figures showed that a total of 3,021,964 cases have been detected, with 54,226 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, 29,258 new infections and 567 deaths were registered in Russia, fourth on the list of hardest-hit countries worldwide.

Since winter began, each week has brought new records for new cases and deaths, with epicentres in capital Moscow and second-largest city Saint Petersburg.

Poorer regions of the country, often