Cosmos checks out the data, stories and new research into COVID-19 emerging around the world.
What’s the data today?
Globally, there are 603,711,760 confirmed cases and 6,484,136 confirmed deaths from COVID-19.
In Australia, over 95% of eligible Australians have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
More than 70% of people over 16 have received a booster, and over 40% of eligible people have received a fourth dose.
There are 84,069 estimated active cases in Australia (decreasing).
Of these, 2,388 (decreasing) are hospitalised, 64 (decreasing) are in ICU and 17 (decreasing) are currently ventilated.
There have been over 10.1 million cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and 14,288 deaths. Data.
COVID news in brief
Boosters keep Americans out of hospital
Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has found unvaccinated or un-boosted Americans were more likely to be hospitalised than those who had received a booster dose during the Omicron wave at the start of 2022.
Hospital admissions for unvaccinated adults were 10.5 times higher, and double-dosed vaccinated adults 2.5 times, than those who had received a booster.
Vaccinated admissions tended to be older with underlying health issues, compared to unvaccinated patients who came from a wider age profile and more likely to be otherwise healthy.
Double dosed? Long COVID risk is reduced.
Research from Bar-Ilan University (Israel) has found a double dose of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine was likely to lead to a major reduction in long COVID symptoms. The study published in Nature journal npj vaccines found of the 10 most frequently reported ‘long COVID’ symptoms, eight were reported 50-80 percent less often among those to receive two doses of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine.
Scientists investigate COVID-19 preventer
Scientists from Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology and Xiamen University China publishing in Theranostics are investigating a potential mouth wash or nasal spray to prevent or reduce COVID-19 spread. Lab trials show potential for a broad spectrum antiviral to be developed to address gaps in available treatments. Using cold atmospheric plasma – an ionised gas which is being used to decontaminate bacteria and enhance wound healing – to inhibit the passage of the virus into cells, the researchers were able to remove the ACE2 receptor that SARS-CoV-2 binds with.
Denmark: Third mRNA vaccine is more effective against Omicron infection
Research from the Danish Statens Serum Institut has found a third dosage of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is more effective against Omicron subvariant infections.
The study reviewed Danes aged 12 and above, to determine a third vaccine dose was nearly 60% better at preventing Omicron infection, compared to just under 40% effectiveness from two doses.
“A third dose is necessary to maintain protection against infection for a longer time and to ensure a high level of protection against COVID-19 hospitalization with the Omicron variant,” says study lead Mie Agermose Gram.
“Despite being less effective against infection with Omicron than previous variants, a third mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose offers better protection against Omicron infection than two doses and protects well against COVID-19 hospitalisation.”
A matter of the heart: Healthcare has a new challenge – dealing with heart issues from COVID-19
COVID-19’s impact on the heart and cardiovascular system is putting pressure on healthcare delivery as the pandemic marches on.
Why we need nasal-spray vaccines
Nasal-spray vaccines could help ease the toll of COVID-19, but developing them is hard work, even when the in-arm inoculations were developed in record time. So can it be done?
Australia provisionally approves bivalent COVID-19 vaccine
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has granted provisional approval to Moderna’s bivalent Spikevax vaccine – one designed to target both the original strain and Omicron subvariants. But it’s not cleared for use just yet…
Matthew Agius is a science writer for Cosmos Magazine.
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