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A number of important preprint articles have appeared recently with good scientific design and important conclusions. Some of them are listed below:

Protection through previous infection against SARS-CoV-2 reinfection with the Omicron variant medRxiv Jan 6, 2022

BACKGROUND A natural SARS-CoV-2 infection provides strong protection against reinfection with the variants alpha (B.1.1.7), beta (B.1.351) and delta (B.1.617.2). However, the variant Omicron (B.1.1.529) has several mutations that can bypass the immune system. We assessed the effectiveness of a previous infection in preventing reinfection (PES) with Omicron and other SARS-CoV-2 variants in Qatar.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The protection provided by a previous infection against symptomatic reinfection with alpha, beta or delta is robust at around 90%.
  • The protection against reinfection with Omikron is less, but at almost 60% it is still considerable.
  • The protection against an earlier infection, against hospitalization or death in the event of a reinfection seems to be robust regardless of the variant.

While this study is not a direct comparison between natural and vaccine-induced immunity, it does suggest that protection from natural infection is superior to vaccine-induced immunity.

Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against Omicron or Delta infection medRxiv Jan 1, 2022 doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.30.21268565

METHODS Using the test-negative design on linked provincial data, we estimated the vaccine’s effectiveness against infection (regardless of symptoms or severity) by Omicron or Delta between November 22 and December 19, 2021. We included individuals who had at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses (with at least one mRNA vaccine dose for the primary series) and used multivariable logistic regression to estimate the effectiveness of two or three doses by the time since the last dose.

(The study included 3,442 omicron positive cases, 9,201 delta positive cases, and 471,545 test negative controls).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Receiving 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine did not protect against Omikron.
  • The vaccine effectiveness against Omikron was 37% (95% CI, 19-50%) ≥7 days after receiving the third dose of an mRNA vaccine.

Updated Forecasts for COVID-19 Omicron Wave in Florida. medRxiv Jan 6, 2022 doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.06.22268849

Summary:

In this report, the authors use a detailed simulation model to assess and forecast the COVID-19 epidemic in Florida. The model is a data-driven, stochastic, time-discrete, agent-based model with an explicit representation of people and places.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Using the model, the authors find that the Omicron variant is likely to cause many more infections than the Delta variant in Florida.
  • Due to test restrictions and often mild symptoms, it is assumed that omicron infections are underrepresented compared to the delta variant.
  • They assume that the number of reported COVID-19 cases will continue to rise significantly and will peak in early January 2022.
  • The number of reported COVID-19 deaths attributable to Omikron could be a third of the total caused by the Delta Wave.

Lifestyle changes during the 2019 coronavirus pandemic are impacting fatty liver disease associated with metabolic dysfunction. Liver International. 07 January 2022 (peer reviewed)

The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in lifestyle changes. The authors wanted to clarify whether the COVID-19-induced lifestyle changes influence the development of metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD).

Metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) affects 20-30% of the world’s population and is becoming the most common cause of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MAFLD is the hepatic expression of metabolic dysfunction that correlates with a variety of metabolic comorbidities such as obesity, dyslipidemia, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes (T2DM):

Methods

This retrospective longitudinal study included 973 participants who underwent a health check-up between 2018 and 2020. The clinical characteristics and lifestyle habits of the participants were examined. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine independent lifestyle predictors for the development of MAFLD before the pandemic (2018-2019) and during the pandemic (2019-2020).

results

  • In 2018, 261 (27%) patients were diagnosed with MAFLD. Before the pandemic, 22 patients developed a new MAFLD. During this period,
  • Routine nightly meals were identified as an independent lifestyle predictor for the development of MAFLD (hazard ratio [HR] 2.54, 95% Konfidenzintervall [CI] 1.02-6.36, P = 0.046). In contrast, 44 patients developed a new MAFLD during the pandemic.
  • During this period, higher daily alcohol consumption was identified as an independent lifestyle predictor for the development of MAFLD (HR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01-1.05, P = 0.008).
  • Among participants under the age of 60, daily alcohol consumption and the proportion of participants who ate twice a day were significantly higher in those who developed MAFLD during the pandemic than in those who did not develop MAFLD.

Conclusions

  • New MAFLD diagnoses increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in lifestyle factors, particularly among those under the age of 60, need to be monitored and addressed as the pandemic progresses.

Basically, this study suggests that people are eating and drinking more, which leads to an unhealthy change in lifestyle. However, it remained unclear whether this was due to remote working, closures, stress, or some other cause.

The risk between morbid obesity and severe COVID-19 illness is real. More public education and research is needed in this area.

Jan. 9, 2022 5:20 pm (Illustration: David Gothard)

The Wall Street Journal got an excellent opinion piece from my good friends Dr. Luc Montagnier and Jed Rubenfeld

Omicron makes Biden’s compulsory vaccination obsolete

So far, there is no evidence that vaccines reduce infections with the fast-spreading variant.

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