Physician's Briefing Weekly Coronavirus Roundup

Weekly Coronavirus Roundup
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Here is what the editors at Physician's Briefing chose as the most important COVID-19 developments for you and your practice for the week of Dec. 20 to 23, 2021. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal studies and other trusted sources that is most likely to affect clinical practice.

FDA Gives OK to Merck Antiviral At-Home COVID-19 Pill

THURSDAY, Dec. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans now have two oral antiviral pills that can be taken at home to treat a fresh case of COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the emergency use of the molnupiravir pill from Merck for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in people who have just tested positive.

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Three Days of Remdesivir Cuts Risk for Severe COVID-19 in Outpatients

THURSDAY, Dec. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A three-day course of remdesivir results in a lower risk for hospitalization or death compared with placebo among nonhospitalized patients at high risk for COVID-19 progression, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Efficacy of Bamlanivimab for COVID-19 May Vary With Antibody Status

THURSDAY, Dec. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the efficacy and safety of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 neutralizing monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab varies according to whether endogenous neutralizing antibodies are present, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine Less Protective in Elderly With Comorbidity

THURSDAY, Dec. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Among elderly veterans with a high burden of comorbidity, messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccination is 69 percent effective against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infection and 86 percent effective against SARS-CoV-2-related death, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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FDA Approves Pfizer Pill as First At-Home COVID-19 Treatment

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the emergency use of the new Pfizer antiviral pill Paxlovid in people who are at high risk for severe COVID-19. It is the first approved treatment for COVID-19 meant to be taken at home.

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U.S. Army Reports Progress on COVID-19 Vaccine That Fights All Variants

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Army says it has developed a COVID-19 vaccine it believes could work against any and all coronavirus variants, including omicron. Results from early human trials of the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine are expected by the end of the month, the Army added.

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COVID-19 Certification Mandates May Increase Vaccine Uptake

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Mandatory COVID-19 certification may increase vaccine uptake, but the results may vary according to country-specific conditions, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in The Lancet Public Health.

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Omicron Now Accounts for 73 Percent of New COVID-19 Cases

TUESDAY, Dec. 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- In record time, the omicron variant has become the dominant variant in the United States, accounting for 73 percent of new infections last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

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Biden Outlines Measures to Fight Omicron, Pleads With Americans to Get Vaccinated

TUESDAY, Dec. 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- President Joe Biden laid out a comprehensive plan on Tuesday to help Americans navigate a tough winter facing the omicron variant, but he also made an impassioned plea for every eligible person to get vaccines and boosters.

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Symptom Presentation Varies by SARS-CoV-2 Variant

TUESDAY, Dec. 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Symptom order for COVID-19 may differ based on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 variants, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in PLOS Computational Biology.

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Moderna Says Its Booster Protects Well Against Omicron

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Moderna Inc. announced Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine booster shot significantly increased antibodies against the omicron variant.

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Biden to Address Nation Tuesday on Omicron Response, Outlook

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 ( HealthDay News) -- As COVID-19 cases start to surge once again across the United States, President Joe Biden will address the nation about the omicron variant on Tuesday.

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48 COVID-19 Cases Reported on World's Largest Cruise Ship

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- At least 48 passengers and crew members on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas -- the world's largest cruise ship -- have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been quarantined, the company said Monday.

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Test-to-Stay Strategy Seems Effective for Saving In-Person Learning

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The Test-to-Stay strategy, whereby unvaccinated students, teachers, and staff members could remain in school with specific COVID-19-related exposure if specific conditions were met, seems effective for reducing lost in-person learning days, according to research published in the Dec. 17 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Factors ID'd for Severe GI Effects of SARS-CoV-2 in Children

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Overall, 9.5 percent of children with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children have severe gastrointestinal manifestations, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in JAMA Network Open.

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Molnupiravir Cuts Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness in Adults

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For nonhospitalized, unvaccinated adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 and at least one risk factor for severe disease, molnupiravir reduces the risk for hospitalization or death, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Pandemic Worsened Mental Health, Social Risk in Minority Children

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in depression/anxiety problems and social risks among urban, racial- and ethnic-minority school-age children versus before the pandemic, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.

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Opioid Rx Up, Non-Rx Therapy Down During the Pandemic

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- There was a decrease in nonpharmacologic therapy and an increase in opioid prescription during the COVID-19 pandemic versus 2019, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in JAMA Network Open.

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