A worrying coronavirus mutation is discovered in Washington state — but hasn’t spread
SEATTLE — Three COVID-19 infections diagnosed in Washington in October were caused by virus with a mutation that might boost the respiratory bug’s ability to dodge immune defenses. The mutation, called E484K, is also present in two of the worrisome new viral variants spreading around the globe — those that originated in South Africa and Brazil. But the virus detected in Washington did not have any of the other mutations that characterize those variants, said researchers at the UW Medicine Virology Lab. No other infections with the mutation have been detected since October, though surveillance ...
The Seattle Times
Florida confirms state’s first case of the U.K. COVID-19 variant. The patient had no history of travel
MIAMI — The Florida Department of Health has reported the first case of the U.K. COVID-19 variant has been identified in the state. On Thursday night, Florida’s DOH tweeted evidence of the first case was found in a man in his 20s who lives in Martin County. Health officials say the man has no history of travel. The DOH is working with the CDC on this investigation. At this time, experts have said they anticipate little to no influence on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials are encouraging everyone to continue practicing COVID-19 safety measures. The U.K. strain, which i...
New test by biotech firm can read COVID-19 antibody levels
MINNEAPOLIS — So, what’s your titer? That question, still strange sounding, may soon become important as vaccines bring about the endgame for COVID-19. A person’s COVID-19 titer (pronounced TIGHT-er) is a measure of the concentration of virus-neutralizing antibodies in their blood. A high-enough titer of the antiviral proteins provides immunity to COVID-19, though researchers are still working to nail down exactly when protection ends. Taking a vaccine is one way to build up a protective titer, and recovering from COVID-19 is another. Some patients are getting infusions of lab-grown or donated...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
US scientists developing nasal spray to prevent Covid-19
Washington (AFP) - Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and the biotech firm Regeneron are investigating whether technology developed for gene therapy can be used to make a nasal spray that will prevent infection with the new coronavirus. The idea is to use a weakened virus as a delivery truck to carry genetic instructions to cells within the nose and the throat, which will in turn create powerful antibodies to stop SARS-CoV-2 from invading our bodies. "The advantage of our approach is that you don't need a competent immune system for this to be effective," James Wilson, a professor of...
More rapid-result COVID-19 tests are here. There's no national strategy to use them
A wealth of new COVID-19 tests could soon help states more broadly track people in schools, dense workplaces and vulnerable populations.In October, the supply of rapid-result COVID-19 tests, also known as antigen tests, shot up to more than 150 million — six times the number of tests of any kind performed in August and 10 million more than the total number performed in the United States since the pandemic began, according to the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run organization begun by The Atlantic.And unlike laboratory-based polymerase chain reaction tests, known as PCR tests, whose numbe...