Written by Karen Kerr
Pharmacist on behalf of the HealthWise ONU . team
While finding the introduction, I was searching for terms related to the differences. I was surprised to see that the bunny hop is a variation of the conga. Bunny Hop was shown on TV by Ray Anthony in 1952, as well as being on Disney’s Dance Along in 2013.
Ray Anthony and orchestra played and recorded the conga. I remember Konja as performed by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Voice Machine. I have been a fan of Gloria Estefan not only for the music but for her restaurant. Estefan Kitchen owns Orlando in Florida and it’s a favourite!
Good food and entertainment are back to normal, but have we really got COVID-19 under control? The media reminded us that we still average 395 deaths per day in the US from COVID-19 with 1,739 globally. This is lower than the previous numbers, but is there more we can do?
While deaths have decreased, the Brookings Institution published research on August 24, 2022 indicating that 16.3 million working-age adults in the United States have been living with COVID for a prolonged period. In July 2022, the Government Accountability Office reported that a potential 23 million Americans could suffer from COVID for an extended period. This number is staggering.
New research from the UK provides a more specific analysis of the long Covid virus by types of variants. Across all the variables, the researchers were able to identify three main groups. The first group was a central nervous group (brain, memory, and nerves), which was more commonly associated with alpha and delta variants than with omicron. The second is a cardiorespiratory group that includes the heart and lung, with the most severe being chronic shortness of breath. The latter group includes inflammation including organs such as the heart and other immune-related symptoms.
Why is this research important? The authors suggest that by grouping symptoms, treatment and investigational therapies should be designed to target those problems.
A study published in the Lancet found that the risk of prolonged COVID-19 infection was significantly lower for those with the Omicron variant than for those with delta. A case-control study determined that 4.5% had a prolonged COVID from Omicron infection compared to 10.8% for Delta. The caveat is that this study was conducted only on those who had been vaccinated.
A study published July 1, 2022 in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports a three times higher risk of prolonged COVID-19 infection in those who have not been vaccinated compared to those who have had at least one series of COVID-19. The British Medical Journal in May of 2022 assessed the benefit of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who already have had COVID for a long time. The study found a 13% reduction in symptoms in those who received a COVID-19 vaccine after developing COVID for a long time.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created an initiative called RECOVER to learn more about the long-term effects of COVID. RECOVER stands for COVID Research to Promote Recovery. Individuals interested in participating in the studies are encouraged to go to www.recovercovid.org.
On August 31, 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the authorization of updated bivalent booster shots for COVID-19. The bivalent vaccine is a mixture of the original spike protein, as well as the omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5. The BA.5 variant is responsible for 89% of US cases as reported by the CDC.
The key term here is booster. These vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are not intended to replace the original series of vaccines. Less than 50% of the US population had received any type of booster before the release of this new bivalent vaccine.
Multivariate vaccines are not a new concept in the United States. There is an FDA-approved bivalent vaccine for HPV as well as trivalent and quadrivalent influenza vaccines.
The original bivalent vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer contain the previous Omicron BA.1 strain, which has been tested in human clinical trials. Following the dominance of BA.4 and BA.5, the Food and Drug Administration required companies to modify the formula to include these subvariants. Some concerns have been raised because these vaccines were based on animal data rather than human trials. The Food and Drug Administration has deemed the science of mRNA vaccines that were originally tested in humans sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy.
This type of FDA approval is not limited to COVID-19 vaccines. Each year, the CDC and the World Health Organization approve two strains of influenza (two strains A and two strains B) of the influenza vaccine based on evidence from the outbreak. The flu vaccine is approved for those strains and was not tested in humans prior to distribution. The rationale is the same given the safety and efficacy of the influenza vaccine from previous years and human trials.
Moderna bivalent is approved for ages 18 and over, while Pfizer is approved for ages 12 and over. Both vaccines should be given at least 2 months after a previous COVID-19 vaccine or infection.
Visit us at ONU HealthWise for more information on bivalent vaccines.
ONU HealthWise offers COVID-19 vaccines, as well as flu shots Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bivalent COVID-19 vaccines are available. Clinics from Monday to Friday from 4 pm to 6 pm. Please contact the pharmacy to schedule an appointment outside these times or for more information.
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