More data on the new, bivalent boosters: A new study, published this week in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, has further evidence that the new, Omicron-specific booster shots provide additional protection against COVID-19 for people who previously received the original vaccines. Researchers used test results from pharmacies to compare symptomatic COVID-19 cases among people who had received the new boosters to those who had only received older vaccines. New booster recipients were less likely to get sick, they found, indicating protection against Omicron BA.4, BA.5, and their sublineages. In short: if you haven’t gotten one of the new boosters yet, now is a good time!
Patient-Led Research Collaborative announces grant winners: The Patient-Led Research Collaborative, an organization of Long COVID patient-researchers that has produced groundbreaking work about this condition, just announced the winners of its $5 million fund to support new biomedical research on Long COVID. The winning projects will pursue avenues of top priority to patients, such as understanding post-exertional malaise, testing for microclots, and a clinical trial for the drug naltrexone. Projects were themselves evaluated by a panel of patient experts and patients will be heavily involved in the resulting research. Congrats to the PLRC team on this announcement, and I look forward to following the results of these studies!
HHS publishes Health+ Long COVID report: Another piece of Long COVID news this week: the Department of Health and Human Services published a report summarizing interviews with people who have Long COVID. The report was one of several responses to the Biden administration’s call last spring for Long COVID research and support programs. It describes patients’ desires for meaningful research, better healthcare, financial support, and more. While this new report may not be adding much to the body of knowledge about Long COVID, it’s helpful to see this information coming from a major government source.
Football games associated with COVID-19 spread: And one more study that caught my attention this week: a new paper in JAMA Network Open describes a correlation between National Football League (NFL) games and COVID-19 spikes in the surrounding counties during the league’s 2020-2021 season. Counties hosting more popular games (with at least 20,000 fans present) were more likely to see increased COVID-19 spread afterwards. The paper shows how large events can contribute to widespread disease transmission, even among people who didn’t themselves attend the events.