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Wuhan locked down once more due to COVID-19

Wuhan, locked down one of its central districts after Covid cases were found, as China persists with a zero-tolerance approach to the virus almost three years since the pathogen first emerged in the city. The roughly 900,000 residents of Hanyang district were told to stay in their homes from Wednesday, a spokeswoman from the area’s …

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Melting ice, the source of the next pandemic?

The next pandemic may come not from bats or birds but from matter in melting ice, according to new data. www.theguardian.com/science/2022/oct/19/next-pandemic-may-come-from-melting-glaciers-new-data-shows? Genetic analysis of soil and lake sediments from Lake Hazen, the largest high Arctic freshwater lake in the world, suggests the risk of viral spill over – where a virus infects a new host …

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US virologists splice two monkeypox strains

In a US government lab in Bethesda, Maryland, virologists plan to equip the strain of the monkeypox virus that spread globally this year, causing mostly rash and flulike symptoms, with genes from a second monkeypox strain that causes more serious illness. Then they’ll see whether any of the changes make the virus more lethal to …

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Scientists create a deadlier Omicron variant

Twitter exploded with outrage last week about a study in which scientists engineered the spike protein of Omicron—the fast-spreading but relatively mild variant of SARS-CoV-2 that’s now pervasive—into a deadlier strain of the coronavirus found in Washington state early in the pandemic. www.science.org/content/article/news-glance-climate-justice-ethical-mask-wearers-and-cdc-under-trump The objective was to learn whether the protein alone explains Omicron’s lower …

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Moderna will provide 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Gavi

Moderna Inc. will provide as many as 100 million doses of COVID-19 shots that specifically target variants for vaccine alliance GAVI to distribute in lower-income countries in 2023. Under the agreement, Moderna will supply these mRNA variant-targeting shots for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, at the lowest of its tiered prices. The shots will then be …

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CDC votes to add COVID-19 vaccines to child immunisation schedules

Independent advisers of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted 15-0 last Thursday to add most COVID-19 vaccines offered in the US to the childhood, adolescent and adult immunization schedules. www.politico.com/news/2022/10/20/cdc-advisers-recommend-adding-covid-shots-to-routine-schedules-for-kids-adults-00062739? The immunization schedules, which are updated every autumn before going into effect the following year, consolidate all of the CDC’s vaccine …

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China doubles down on “zero-COVID” strategy

Chinese President Xi Jinping touted his country’s “zero-COVID” strategy at the just concluded Communist Party’s National Congress, dashing any hopes that China’s rigid regime of quarantines, mass testing, and lockdowns may soon come to an end. www.science.org/content/article/news-glance-climate-justice-ethical-mask-wearers-and-cdc-under-trump The strategy has crimped the economy, and public health experts say the obstacles to lifting it are now …

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Study finds long-COVID eases with time

Long COVID eases with time, according to a study that found about 1% of coronavirus patients had persistent symptoms for a year or more. In the first rigorous assessment of the magnitude of long COVID on a global scale, researchers found 6.2% of people who had COVID-19 in the pandemic’s first two years experienced at …

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Pfizer quadruples price of COVID-19 vaccines

Pfizer’s plan to quadruple US prices for its COVID-19 vaccine next year is beyond Wall Street’s expectations and will spur its revenue for years despite weaker than anticipated demand for the new booster shot so far, analysts said. www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/pfizer-covid-vaccine-price-hike-seen-giving-revenue-boost-years-2022-10-21/? The drugmaker, which developed and sells the vaccine with Germany’s BioNTech (22UAy.DE), said on Thursday evening …

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BQ.1 Omicron strains increasing in prevalence

United States (US) health regulators on Friday estimated that BQ.1 and closely related BQ.1.1 accounted for 16.6% of coronavirus variants in the country, nearly doubling from last week, while Europe expects them to become the dominant variants in a month. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said the variants are likely to drive …

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