By Nancy Lapid
(Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that deserves further study to corroborate the findings and that has not yet been certified by peer review.
An experimental pill vaccine shows promise
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the form of an oral tablet has shown promising immune responses in a small preliminary trial designed primarily to assess its safety, according to drugmaker Vaxart Inc. The South San Francisco, Calif.-based company , previously said the tablet was well tolerated, with no one dropping out of the study due to adverse effects. On Tuesday, they reported on the immune responses in the 35 healthy volunteers who received the tablet.
While currently approved vaccines induce antibodies in the blood, the tablet induces antibodies in the mucosa – the tissues lining the nose and airways that are the first line of defense against the virus, according to a report on the medical site. medRxiv https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.07.16.22277601v1 prior to peer review. Almost half of the volunteers showed an increase in long-lasting antibodies capable of binding to multiple sites on the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Nasal and saliva samples showed that half of the study participants had higher antibody levels than similar people whose antibodies were the result of previous COVID-19 infections. The enhanced neutralization ability lasted for six months, the researchers said.
In the future, larger studies designed specifically to test the effectiveness of the tablet are needed, as are studies to test whether this so-called adenovirus-vectored vaccine would work well in people who have already received mRNA vaccines from Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE or Moderna Inc. .
High blood pressure increases the risk of severe disease Omicron
High blood pressure more than doubles the risk of hospitalization during COVID-19 infections with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, even in fully vaccinated and boosted people, a US study has shown.
Doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles studied 912 people with COVID-19 when Omicron was the dominant variant despite receiving at least three doses of an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, including 145 who had to be hospitalized. The risk of severe disease was increased in people with well-known risk factors such as advanced age, heart failure or kidney disease, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Hypertension https://www.ahajournals. org/doi/abs/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.122.19694. But hypertension “was associated with the greatest magnitude of risk,” more than doubling the odds that someone with COVID-19 would need to be hospitalized, they added. Even looking only at younger people with generally healthy organs, hypertension was still associated with “substantial and significant risks,” they found.
“We were surprised to learn that many people hospitalized with COVID-19 had hypertension and no other risk factors,” study leader Dr. Susan Cheng said in a statement. “That’s worrisome considering that nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure.”
Omicron infection in third trimester linked to premature birth
Infection with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus during the third trimester of pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of preterm delivery, according to Israeli researchers.
Doctors there compared 2,753 pregnant patients with positive PCR tests for the virus this year to the same number of similar but uninfected pregnant patients. Infections were not associated with preterm birth when diagnosed in the first or second trimester. But nearly half of women were infected in the third trimester. In this group, preterm delivery rates were 5.8%, compared to 2.3% among uninfected women at the same stage of pregnancy, according to the study. After controlling for other risk factors, women diagnosed in the third trimester were almost three times more likely than uninfected women to deliver early, and those diagnosed after 34 weeks gestation were about seven times more likely. likely to have late preterm births, report says. published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0270893. Symptomatic infections further increased the risk.
“Women in their third trimester, particularly after 34 weeks’ gestation, should practice social distancing and respiratory protection to reduce the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes,” the researchers wrote. They added that women in the early stages of pregnancy should not let their guard down as the study did not assess “other potential differences in the mother or the newborn”.
Click for a Reuters Global COVID-19 Tracker https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/index.html and for a Reuters COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker https://graphics.reuters.com /world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/vaccination-rollout-and-access.
(Reporting Nancy Lapid and Shawana Alleyne-Morris; Editing by Will Dunham)