COVID-19 Round-Up: Vaccine Booster ‘Neutralizes’ Omicron; and More

Another Study Finds Vaccine Booster ‘Neutralizes’ Omicron

If you need more proof that a third shot of COVID vaccine is needed, new British research confirms that boosters can “neutralize” the virus’ Omicron variant.

To arrive at that conclusion, they analyzed 620 blood samples from 364 health care workers and staff at the Francis Crick Institute and the National Institute for Health Research UCLH Biomedical Research Centre, in London.

People who had received only two doses of either the AstraZeneca vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine were less protected against the Omicron variant than against the Alpha and Delta variants. Antibody levels declined in the first three months after the second dose, but a third (booster) dose increased levels of antibodies that combat the Omicron variant.

New Clues to Why Some Develop ‘Brain Fog’ After COVID

Brain fog. It has become an inexplicable side effect of COVID-19 infection, but researchers now report they have discovered a possible reason why it happens.

In a small study, investigators found abnormalities in the cerebrospinal fluid of some COVID-19 patients who developed thinking problems.

The symptoms “manifest as problems remembering recent events, coming up with names or words, staying focused, and issues with holding onto and manipulating information, as well as slowed processing speed,” explained study senior author Dr. Joanna Hellmuth, from the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Too Soon to Tell if Omicron Will End Pandemic: Fauci

It’s too soon to determine whether Omicron’s rapid spread will turn a pandemic virus into an endemic disease, America’s top infectious disease expert says.

That “would only be the case if we don’t get another variant that eludes the immune response to the prior variant,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week during the Davos Agenda, a virtual event being held this week by the World Economic Forum, CNN reported.

An endemic disease is constantly present in a population but doesn’t cause the massive numbers of infections or societal upheaval typically seen in a pandemic.

Because the Omicron variant is highly transmissible but appears less likely to cause severe disease than previous variants, there are suggestions that it could result in COVID-19 transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic situation, CNN reported.

“It is an open question as to whether or not Omicron is going to be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for because you have such a great deal of variability with new variants emerging,” Fauci said.