Paul Has Measles is a free children's book about viruses and vaccines available in 16 languages (link). Paul Stays Home is a free children's book about COVID-19 (link).

Superspreaders of SARS-CoV-2

A super spreader is an individual who is more likely to infect others compared with a typical patient (pictured). An example is the doctor who treated early SARS-CoV patients in China, traveled to a hotel in Hong Kong, and infected 10 others who then went on bring the virus to multiple countries. Superspreaders of SARS-CoV-2 have been thought to be involved in transmission of the virus and the results of a recent study confirm their substantial role in the pandemic.

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TWiV 664: TWiV is for the dogs

On this mid-week edition, does it matter that SARS-CoV-2 is mutating, seasonal coronavirus immunity is short-lived, another bogus claim that the virus was produced in a laboratory (it came from Nature), and answers to listener questions.

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by Helen Stillwell

Recently, a Phase 3 trial investigating a COVID-19 vaccine (AZD1222) being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford was put on hold in the US following a report of an adverse event in a study participant in the U.K. (Feuerstein 2020). One of the predominant vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2, AZD1222 is a chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. This technology has yet to be used in an FDA-approved vaccine; however, it has been widely tested in early phase trials for a variety of viruses, such as Ebola virus. 

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By David Tuller, DrPH

This morning (Wednesday) I gave an informal online talk about the piece of crap known as the PACE trial to a small group of UK doctors, researchers and others. The group had been pulled together by Paul Garner, a physician and professor of infectious diseases at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Garner has written several widely read blog posts for BMJ about his struggles with profound exhaustion and other long-Covid symptoms.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Doctors in UK urge caution on long-Covid exercise advice

Despite BMJ’s current dereliction of key editorial oversight responsibilities, it has provided a forum for members of the medical community with Covid-19 and post-Covid symptoms to express their strong views.

The reference to current dereliction of key editorial responsibilities involves a case I and others have raised repeatedly with BMJ in recent months. The concerns relate to a study of cognitive behavior therapy and music therapy for chronic fatigue in adolescents after acute EBV, which was published in April by BMJ Paediatrics Open. More than three months ago, four colleagues and I alerted the journal itself, along with BMJ’s editorial leadership, that one of two peer reviewers flatly stated in his review that he had not read “beyond the abstract”—in other words, he did not actually read the study.

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TWiV 663: The joy of vax

Daniel Griffin provides a clinical report on COVID-19, including vaccines, Alan summarizes a vaccine webinar on the most advanced US trials, a nidovirus from snapping turtles, longevity of memory B cells in recovered patients, and listener email.

The British people can face any misfortune with fortitude & buoyancy as long as they are convinced that those in charge of their affairs are not deceiving them, or are not dwelling in a fool’s paradise.
— Winston Churchill

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Immunity conferred by influenza virus vaccine is short-lived. After immunization with inactivated influenza virus vaccine, serum antibody levels peak within a few months and then decline rapidly. This decline was recently shown to be caused by loss of bone marrow plasma cells, a major source of serum antibodies. Results of a recent study partially address the relevance of this observation to infection with SARS-CoV-2.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

It is clear that there will be much grappling going forward over the similarities and differences between long-Covid and ME (or CFS, or ME/CFS, or whatever this illness or cluster of illnesses is being called). The two entities overlap in some ways, but no one should conflate them.

We are past the pandemic’s half-year mark. Since most (but not all) case definitions in the ME and CFS category require symptoms to be present for six months, some long-Covid patients, called long-haulers, might already meet diagnostic criteria for the disease. But many clearly suffer from symptoms and organ damage not associated with ME and its variants.

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Ralph Baric returns to TWiV to provide an update on the COVID-19 resurgence in the US, monoclonal antibodies, antiviral drugs, vaccines, immunity and reinfection, reopening schools, and what will happen this fall.

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Daniel Griffin provides a clinical report on COVID-19, then we discuss decline of virus-specific bone marrow B cells within a year after influenza vaccination, the push to release SARS-CoV-2 vaccines before completion of phase 3 trials, and absence of evidence for infectious virus in aerosols.

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Download TWiV 660 (95 MB .mp3, 159 min)
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Show notes at microbe.tv/twiv