Hartford Courant: Variants vs. vaccines: what to know about the race that will shape COVID-19 in Connecticut

Source: Hartford Courant

A new article by Alex Putterman about the COVID-19 variants was just released in the Hartford Courant yesterday, February 6, 2021. The variants, which include B117, B1351, and P1, or more commonly known as the UK, South Africa, and Brazil variants, are beginning to circulate in the United States. In the article, experts in the field, which include deputy director Mark Adams and ME/CFS CRC lead Derya Unutmaz, both of The Jackson Laboratory, discuss what we currently know about these variants, and how they could affect the vaccine rollout and reopening in Connecticut.

So far, Connecticut has only seen 17 cases of the UK variant, or less than 1% of total positive tests in the state, and no cases of the South Africa or Brazil variants. However, the UK strain is believed to be at least 50% more transmissible than other variants, which could complicate how quickly herd immunity can be reached. Derya Unutmaz says that, “before, let’s say we just needed to vaccinate 70% of the population and we would have been fine, now I think we need to vaccinate 85-90% of the population.”

Unutmaz also says that, importantly, the vaccines are still very effective against the new variants, and prevent severe disease. For now, it seems the best course forward is to ramp up vaccine distribution while maintaining social distancing to stop the spread of the virus.

To read the article in the Courant, click here.

The Schor Line: Working Together to Understand Long-Term Effects of COVID-19

Source: The Schor Line

A new post on The Schor Line, an NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) blog, was just published about the long-term effects of COVID-19. In the blog post, Nina Schor, M.D., Ph.D. discusses how COVID-19 patients who are critically ill are likely to take months or even years to fully recover, and how even some people who experience milder symptoms are experiencing a longer-term recovery process. Called post-acute COVID syndrome (PACS), she likens the symptoms experienced by people with PACS to those of people with ME/CFS, drawing a parallel between the two. This is very important, as many in the ME/CFS community have been concerned that post-COVID syndrome will overshadow ME/CFS when the overlap between the two is so clear.

NINDS has recently appropriated $1.15 billion in support of understanding the recovery process after COVID-19 and in developing treatments for people with PACS. Schor says that, “through these studies, we hope to identify new targets for therapies and preventive measures and to soon welcome a future in which no one must live with ME/CFS or PACS.”

To read The Schor Line post, click here.