Canada records second case of rare blood clot after AstraZeneca shot

blood clot

Canadian health authorities said Saturday the country has recorded a second case of rare but serious blood clotting linked to AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, but still recommend the shot for use.

The patient, who lives in the western province of Alberta and received a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine supplied by the Serum Institute of India, “has received treatment and is recovering,” Canadian health authorities wrote on Twitter.

Canada reported its first case of blood clotting associated with low platelets on Tuesday in a Quebec woman who received the same shot.

Blood clot formations linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine “remain very rare” and Canada still believes that the vaccine’s benefits “outweigh the potential risks,” Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada said.

Canada’s health authorities added that they would “continue to monitor the use of all #COVID19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns.”

At the end of March Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended suspending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in people under the age of 55 while it evaluated the risks.

However Health Canada said Wednesday that according to its analysis, limiting the use of the vaccine to certain populations was not necessary for the moment.

After a slow start, Canada’s vaccine campaign is gaining momentum. To date, 23.3 percent of the Canadian population has received at least one vaccine dose according to the COVID-19 Tracker Canada website.

The country is facing a third coronavirus wave, however, that has recently forced provinces to tighten restrictions.

Ontario, which has the highest number of cases, announced Friday it would strengthen and extend lockdown measures until May 19, and also close its borders with the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba beginning Monday.

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Michigan officials investigating after 246 ‘fully vaccinated’ residents get COVID-19, 3 die: report

CDC: More than 4M vaccine doses administered in one day

Fox News medical contributor and Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Marc Siegel joins ‘America’s Newsroom’ to discuss new vaccine milestone.

As many as 246 Michigan residents who were “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 later tested positive for the deadly bug — including three who have died, according to a new report.

The group — whose cases were reported between Jan. 1 and March 31 — tested positive at least two weeks after receiving the last dose of the inoculation, a health official told the Detroit News.

“Some of these individuals may ultimately be excluded from this list due to continuing to test positive from a recent infection prior to being fully vaccinated,” Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email Monday.

“These cases are undergoing further review to determine if they meet other CDC criteria for determination of potential breakthrough, including the absence of a positive antigen or PCR test less than 45 days prior to the post-vaccination positive test,” Sutfin said.

UK CORONAVIRUS VARIANT NOW REPORTED IN ALL 50 STATES

“In general, these persons have been more likely to be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic compared with vaccinated persons,” she said, adding that hospitalization data were available for 117 of the cases, while 129 were incomplete.

“Of the 117 with hospitalization data entered, 11 were hospitalized, 103 were not hospitalized, and three are reported as unknown,” Sutfin said.

The three people who died were all 65 or older and two “were within three weeks of completion of vaccination,” she said.

“While the majority of the population develops full immunity within 14 days of completion of their vaccine series, a small proportion appear to take longer to mount a full antibody response. CDC is actively working to better understand the risk characteristics of this group,” she added.

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The newly released data emerged as COVID-19 cases in Michigan, which leads the nation in new cases by population, continue to rise and officials seek to boost jabs.

The state surpassed 700,000 cases Monday, according to the Detroit News.

Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she was increasing the state’s goal from 50,000 shots administered per day to 100,000 per day.

This article originally appeared on the NYPost.com

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Virginia man's 'skin peeled off' after J&J Covid vaccine

Virginia man’s ‘skin peeled off’ in a rare reaction to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, doctors claim

  • Richard Terrell, 74, got a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on March 6
  • Four days later, he developed itching under his arm that soon became a rash over his whole body 
  • His legs, hands and arms swelled beyond recognition and his skin turned scarlet red, cracked and ‘peeled off’ 
  • On March 19 he went to a dermatologist who sent him to the ER 
  • Doctors ruled his symptoms a rare reaction to J&J’s shot and he spent five days in the hospital 
  • A report was submitted to the CDC, but Terrell and his doctors say the vaccine is still worth the reaction  

A 74-year-old Virginia man broke out into a scarlet red rash after getting Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine. 

What began as a slight ‘discomfort’ under Richard Terrell’s arm four days after his vaccination quickly escalated into an itchy, swollen flush covering most of his body.  

‘It all happened so fast. My skin peeled off,’ Terrell told WRIC. 

By March 19, he sought a dermatologist’s help, and the doctor sent him to an emergency room. 

His doctors at the ER ultimately ruled that Terrell’s scary skin condition was indeed an extremely rare side effect of the vaccine, caused by the frenzied activation of his immune system.    

Terrell’s reaction was reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, after five days in the hospital, he recovered and was able to go home. 

Despite the harrowing reaction, Terrell does not regret his vaccination and encourages everyone to get theirs. 

What began as a slight ‘discomfort’ under Richard Terrell’s arm four days after his vaccination quickly escalated into an itchy, swollen flush covering most of his body

Terrell, 74, had to go to the ER where he spent five days in treatment and doctors ruled his painful rash a reaction to the J&J shot 

Terrell’s reaction was not unlike the ‘Covid arm’ rash seen in some recipients of Moderna’s vaccine. 

But the splotch is typically a harmless response from the immune system to the shot that fades within a week.

The official term used by dermatologists and allergists to describe the side effect is ‘delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity.’

Cutaneous means affecting the skin, hypersensitivity mean an unwanted reaction produced by the immune system and delayed because it typically occurs days after the shot is given.

The rash is typically red and swollen, and sometime painful to the touch, and always appears on the arm in which the vaccine was administered.

His legs and hands swelled grotesquely and turned a deep, painful purple, cracked and peeled

Such reactions have also been found in people who’ve received tetanus vaccines, the chickenpox vaccine and the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

But Terrell’s reaction went beyond mild, passing irritation. 

His legs and hands swelled grotesquely and turned a deep, painful purple. 

‘It was stinging, burning and itching,’ Terrell told WRIC. 

‘Whenever I bent my arms or legs, like the inside of my knee, it was very painful where the skin was swollen and was rubbing against itself.’ 

Even Terrell’s back broke out red splotches. 

He stuck it out for several days before making an appointment with a dermatologist, who sent him to an emergency room where he was quickly admitted to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  

Doctors think the reaction was due to a rare interaction between Terrell’s genetics and the shot 

‘We ruled out all the viral infections, we ruled out COVID-19 itself, we made sure that his kidneys and liver was okay, and finally we came to the conclusion that it was the vaccine that he had received that was the cause,’ Dr Fnu Nutan, who treated Terrell.

‘kin is the largest organ in the body, and when it gets inflamed like his was, you can lose a lot of fluids and electrolytes,’ she said, explaining that the reaction can become life-threatening as a result of dehydration if left untreated.  

Allergic reactions to all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. 

In fact, they are even more uncommon with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine than those made by Moderna and Pfizer. 

It’s not clear what, if any, allergies Terrell has. 

But his doctors suspect that he may have some rare genetic traits the interact with ingredients in the vaccine to trigger the out of control and painful reaction he had to the shot. 

Within five days, Terrell had recovered and was sent home, though he says he is still weak and regaining his strength. 

Still, both he and Dr Nutan say the shot is worth it. 

‘If you look at the risk for adverse reaction for the vaccine it’s really, really low,’ Dr Nutan said. 

‘We haven’t seen a great concern at all. I am a big proponent of the vaccine.’ 

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Cells burn more calories after just one bout of moderate aerobic exercise, study finds

Cells burn more calories after just one bout of moderate aerobic exercise, OSU study finds

In a recent study testing the effects of exercise on overall metabolism, researchers at Oregon State University found that even a single session of moderate aerobic exercise makes a difference in the cells of otherwise sedentary people.

Mitochondria are the part of the cell responsible for the biological process of respiration, which turns fuels such as sugars and fats into energy, so the researchers focused only on mitochondria function.

“What we found is that, regardless of what fuel the mitochondria were using, there were mild increases in the ability to burn off the fuels,” said Matt Robinson, lead author on the study and an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

OSU researchers recruited participants who do not follow a regular exercise routine and had them ride a stationary bike for an hour at a moderate intensity. They biopsied their muscles 15 minutes later to test how efficient the mitochondria were after the exercise was completed and compared those results with a resting day.

Post-exercise, study participants’ mitochondria burned 12-13% more fat-based fuel and 14-17% more sugar-based fuel. While the effects were not drastic, they were consistent, Robinson said.

“It’s pretty remarkable that even after just one hour of exercise, these people were able to burn off a little more fuel,” he said.

Previous research in the field has long established that regular exercise creates lasting change in people’s metabolism, making their bodies burn more energy even when they’re not working out.

Prior studies have looked at highly trained or athletic people, but Robinson’s team wanted to look specifically at singular bouts of exercise in people who were generally active and disease-free but who did not have structured exercise regimes. These people were on the lower end of fitness, which is associated with low mitochondrial abundance and energy production. Participants were monitored while working out at approximately 65% of their maximal effort, where they could keep up the cycling pace for an hour or more and still comfortably carry on a conversation.

Robinson said they’re hoping these results help break down the mental barrier of people thinking they need to be elite athletes for exercise to make an impact on their health.

“From a big picture health perspective, it’s very encouraging for people to realize that you can get health benefits from a single session of exercise,” Robinson said. “We’re trying to encourage people, ‘You did one, why don’t you try to do two? Let’s do three.’

“We know that exercise is good for you, in general. But those benefits of that single bout of exercise seem to fade away after a day or two. You get the long-term benefits when you do that exercise again and again and you make it a regular habit.”

In this study, Robinson’s research team focused narrowly on mitochondria to find out how big a role mitochondria play in the overall function of muscle metabolism. Other studies are looking at changes in blood flow to the muscle and how the muscle metabolizes fats versus sugars.

From a disease perspective, Robinson said it’s clear that obesity and diabetes involve impairments in metabolism. Physiologically, when the body undergoes exercise, sugars tend to be burned off first while fats are stored, but in cases of diabetes and obesity, there is some dysregulation in metabolism that causes the body to not be able to switch between the two types of fuel.

Exercise can help reset that system, he said.

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Bushfire volunteers need more support after answering the call

bushfire

It’s a largely overlooked aspect of mental health care that needs swift resolution—which is why volunteers are being asked by Flinders University’s Professor Sharon Lawn and David Lawrence from The University of Western Australia to participate in a study that aims to map out a better support solution.

“People I’ve met already are everyday members of communities directly and indirectly affected by the fires who pitched in to support each other—but in many cases that hasn’t been enough,” says Professor Lawn, who specializes in mental health research and is also the lead Mental Health Commissioner for South Australia.

“Often mental health issues develop slowly over a period of months or years. We know that many first responders in need of help often avoid seeking help in a timely fashion or don’t receive enough help for their needs. Volunteers are likely to reach out to family and friends first, and fellow volunteers and others in their communities, rather than reaching out to more formal supports.”

Professor Lawn will be continuing interviews with bushfire volunteers until the end of March 2021.

What has been learnt so far about supporting the wellbeing of emergency services personnel—identified in the report “Answering the Call: the first National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services”, on behalf of Beyond Blue—is that cumulative exposure to traumatic events can have negative consequences over the course of someone’s career and life, and emergency services personnel are at higher risk of developing mental health issues than the general population.

“The overwhelming majority of volunteers and paid firefighters do what they do because they want to serve their communities and help in times of need,” says Professor Lawn. “They care about their communities—and they are likely to be impacted, as anyone would be, when they witness disasters befalling their communities.

“One critically important factor is recognizing changes in wellbeing early and seeking help when it is needed.”

Following the devastating 2019-20 bushfires, the Australian Government provided additional funding through the Medical Research Future Fund to support continuing research into the ongoing wellbeing of volunteer and paid first responders.

Now, through working with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, Professor Lawn and her co-researchers will ensure their new information helps develop strategies and programs to most effectively support the wellbeing of Australia’s first responders.

“A challenge for our future bushfire preparedness is sustaining a volunteer workforce of sufficient size and capacity to be able to respond to large-scale events without overtaxing volunteers to the point where they are at risk of burnout,” says Professor Lawn.

She believes the answer requires two areas of attention—maintaining the existing volunteer workforce through providing necessary support, training and resources, and also recruiting and training new volunteers to meet the increasing demands of more intense fire seasons.

Over the next two years, the researchers will continue to connect with communities, to help understand what is needed to effectively support the long-term wellbeing of volunteer and paid firefighters, and how to foster their ability to cope both now and into the future.

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Serbia to impose weekend curbs after virus surge

Virus

Serbia will shut down all but essential businesses over the weekend to combat a spike in new coronavirus cases, the government-appointed crisis team said Friday.

Under the new measures only food stores, pharmacies and gas stations will be open from noon on Saturday until Monday morning.

While the Balkan state has become one of the world’s fastest vaccinators in recent weeks, it has nevertheless recorded a steep surge in infections, logging around 4,000 new cases daily this week.

Doctors on the government’s pandemic task force have been urging a lockdown, warning that the new cases are overstretching the health system to a “catastrophic” level.

The group’s leading epidemiologist Predrag Kon said that while he believes the weekend measures are “clearly insufficient”, it was a compromise with officials on the task force led by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.

Serbia’s government has long resisted tougher restrictions that would inflict further damage on the economy or trigger the type of protests that erupted against a proposed lockdown last July.

“These are the decisions. What happened behind that door, I’ll leave it there”, Kon said after the crisis group meeting.

Serbia’s restaurants and bars have been packed in recent weeks, with 8pm mandatory closures skirted by some underground party venues.

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After old age, intellectual disability is greatest risk factor for death from COVID-19

COVID-19

Intellectual disability puts individuals at higher risk of dying earlier in life than the general population, for a variety of medical and institutional reasons. A new study from Jefferson Health examined how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected this group, which makes up 1-3% of the US population. The study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Catalyst, found that intellectual disability was second only to older age as a risk factor for dying from COVID-19.

“The chances of dying from COVID-19 are higher for those with intellectual disability than they are for people with congestive heart failure, kidney disease or lung disease,” says lead author Jonathan Gleason, MD, the James D. and Mary Jo Danella Chief Quality Officer for Jefferson Health. “That is a profound realization that we have not, as a healthcare community, fully appreciated until now.”

The authors examined 64 million patient records from 547 healthcare organizations between January 2019 to November 2020 to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with intellectual disabilities. They identified variables such as COVID-19, intellectual disability or other health conditions, as well as demographic factors such as age.

The results showed that those with intellectual disabilities were 2.5 times more likely to contract COVID-19, were about 2.7 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital and 5.9 times more likely to die from the infection than the general population.

“Our failure to protect these deeply vulnerable individuals is heart-breaking,” says co-author Wendy Ross, MD, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and director for the Center for Autism and Neurodiversity at Jefferson Health. “I believe that if we can design a system that is safe and accessible for people with intellectual disabilities, it will benefit all of us.”

The authors write that patients with intellectual disabilities may have less ability to comply with strategies that reduce the risk of infection, such as masking and social distancing. In addition, the researchers showed that these patients are more likely to have additional health conditions that contribute to a more severe course of COVID-19 disease. The results of the study highlight how these issues become compounded in this population.

“We need to understand more about what is happening with these patients,” says Dr. Gleason. “I do believe these patients and their caregivers should be prioritized for vaccination and healthcare services. We should reflect on why we have failed this vulnerable population, and how we can better serve them during this health crisis, and into the future,” Dr. Gleason says. “Even prior to the pandemic, individuals with intellectual disabilities have had poor health outcomes. We need to do much better.”

The authors suggest key action steps that require a rapid response. “First, those with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers should be prioritized for vaccines by organizations that set federal guidelines, including the CDC,” says Dr. Gleason. “Second, federal and state healthcare regulatory offices should measure access, quality and safety in this population in order to track our ability to improve health outcomes for these patients. Finally, the United States should redesign the care model for individuals with intellectual disabilities.”

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How bone marrow regenerates after chemotherapy

How bone marrow regenerates after chemotherapy

Chemotherapy has a damaging effect on hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) in bone marrow. However, once chemotherapy ends, HSPCs regenerate, a process that has remained unknown—until now. In a new study, researchers from Osaka University have identified the molecular mechanism by which HSPCs recover after injury.

HSPCs reside in the bone marrow and give rise to several types of blood cells, such as red blood cells (which carry oxygen), some white blood cells (which are important for the immune system) and platelets (which are necessary to stop bleeding). Because HSPCs constantly divide to generate new cells, they are particularly sensitive to injury induced by, for example, chemotherapy. Interestingly, HSPCs have the capability to regenerate upon injury.

“The bone marrow is a very active organ because it has to constantly produce new blood cells,” says corresponding author of the study Masaru Ishii. “Once it loses its function, such as during chemotherapy, deadly conditions such as anemia, neutropenia and bleeding can occur. In this study, we wanted to understand how hematopoietic stem cells residing in the bone marrow regenerate upon chemotherapy-induced injury to recover their full function.”

To achieve their goal, the researchers focused on a specific subset of blood cells that are produced from HSPCs, so-called group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s). While ILC2s exist in a number of tissues and play an important role in the immune system and tissue repair, those residing in bone marrow are thought to have a distinct role specific to their location. However, the nature of their function was unclear. To unravel the biological role of ILC2s, the researchers treated mice with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a chemotherapeutic agent toxic to HSPCs, and transplanted fresh, undamaged HSPCs into these mice, akin to a stem cell transplantation therapy in patients with leukemia. Interestingly, the researchers found that the injured HSPC microenvironment in 5-FU-treated mice promoted the proliferation of the transplanted HSPCs. By analyzing this finding at the molecular level, the researchers found that ILC2s in the bone marrow of treated mice produced granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) to aid in the process of HSPC regeneration.

But how exactly do ILC2s know that they should produce GM-CSF after bone marrow injury? To answer this question, the researchers widened their focus to investigate if there are other cells or molecules that direct ILC2s to the production of GM-CSF. They found that progenitors of antibody-producing B cells in the bone marrow produced interleukin (IL)-33 after injury, which in turn activated ILC2s, demonstrating how multiple molecular players are required to recover the damaged bone marrow. Importantly, the researchers showed that the transfer of isolated ILC2s to 5-FU-treated mice accelerates hematopoietic recovery, while the reduction of ILC2s results in the opposite effect, suggesting that ILC2s may serve as a sensor of bone marrow damage.

“These are striking results that show the bone marrow regenerates after chemotherapy,” says first author of the study Takao Sudo. “Our results may contribute to the development of a novel therapeutic approach for chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression.”


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