Sources and updates, January 15

  • New Long COVID review from PLRC and Scripps: Leading Long COVID researchers from the Patient-Led Research Collaborative and the Scripps Research Translational Institute collaborated on a review paper published this week in Nature, summarizing major findings from the literature so far. The paper includes summaries of major symptoms (ranging from cardiac damage to cognitive impairment), correlations between Long COVID and other chronic diseases (ME/CFS, POTS, etc.), treatment options for specific symptoms and/or biological mechanisms, and much more. I haven’t had a chance to read the paper in full yet, but I anticipate that it will be a valuable resource for future research.
  • Vaccines still reduce risk of transmission: Another recent paper in Nature reports on the impact of vaccination among inmates in the California state prison system. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco analyzed COVID-19 surveillance data from 35 prisons during the early months of Omicron (December 2021 to May 2022). They found patients infected with Omicron after vaccination and/or a prior infection had lower risks of transmitting the virus to others. The study suggests that vaccination (and prior infection) is still helpful in reducing COVID-19 spread in addition to reducing severe symptoms, even at this point in the pandemic. (H/t Your Local Epidemiologist.)
  • Coronavirus found in airplane wastewater on international flights: In a small study, researchers at the National Public Health Laboratory of Malaysia tested wastewater samples from 29 flights that arrived at Kuala Lumpur from outside the country. The researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 was present on 28 of the 29 flights—and testing for the remaining flight wasn’t yet complete, according to a local news outlet that covered the study. While this is a relatively small sample, the results suggest that COVID-19 is very prevalent in travel settings. The study also serves as a helpful example for future plane wastewater testing.
  • New report highlights nursing home issues: A recent report from the American Health Care Association shares results from a survey of 524 nursing homes across the U.S. The findings show challenges with staffing and economic challenges; for example, 84% of the nursing homes surveyed reported “moderate to high levels of staffing shortages,” and 67% of the homes surveyed reported concerns that they may need to close their facilities due to staffing problems. (H/t POLITICO Pulse.)
  • End of Ebola outbreak in Uganda: Finally, a bit of (non-COVID-19) good news: this week, health officials in Uganda declared the end of the country’s recent Ebola outbreak. The outbreak started in September 2022, and included a total of 164 cases and 55 deaths. The final patient of this outbreak was released from healthcare on November 30, according to the World Health Organization; Uganda successfully curbed the disease’s spread despite a lack of vaccines and treatments approved against the strain of Ebola that was spreading.

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