Saturday, September 30, 2023

Is a covid and flu “twindemic” on the horizon?

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As the weather cools in the Northern Hemisphere and people increasingly mix indoors, we can expect the number of cases to increase, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday. It’s not just the UK – several countries in Europe are already seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Another cause for concern stems from the virus’s ability to evolve. The ommicron variant is still responsible for the vast majority of cases worldwide. But the WHO is monitoring more than 300 ommicron subvariants, all of which are considered “worrying.” As Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical covid-19 leader, said at the same briefing, “We will continue to see waves of infection… because we will be living with this virus.”

Technical review covers covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. Here are a few recent pieces from the archive:

  • Covid-19 hit some much harder than others. We’ve only just begun exploring the racial disparities of long-term covidas Elaine Shelly reports in this piece.
  • And there is still a big debate about long-term covid in children—with groups at odds over the impact, and even the definition, of the disease, such as I applied earlier this year.
  • In China, a covid pop-up on your phone that requires you to undergo a PCR test could be quarantined for days for no apparent reasonmy colleague Zeyi Yang reports.
  • Two inhaled covid vaccines were recently approved for covid-19 in India and China, such as I covered last month
  • … But the hunt is on for a universal covid vaccine based on nanoparticles, reports Adam Piore.

from the web

Have you ever let your mind go blank? Brain scans show that our brains can enter a neural state that makes it impossible to tap into our thoughts. (PNAS)

Doctors discover new, extremely rare blood group systems— and have just described a 44th. (wired)

Rapid antigen testing for covid-19 has paved the way for other home testing kits— which covers everything from the flu to kidney disease. (Neo.Life)

The US shortage of Adderall— prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy — is corrosive, with affected people saying their lives have been “turned upside down.” (Shame)

We are becoming nearsighted. Nearsightedness will affect half of the world’s population by 2050, in part because we spend more time indoors reading. (BBC future)

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