CLEVELAND, Ohio — Moderna has said its booster shot shows a promising immune response to COVID-19 variants from Brazil and South Africa, while undetected early heart damage significantly increases the risk of death for hospitalized coronavirus patients.
Cleveland.com is rounding up some of the most notable coronavirus news making headlines online. Here’s what you need to know for Monday, May 10.
Moderna booster shot appears effective against variants from Brazil and South Africa
Moderna’s booster shot for its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be effective at preventing infections caused by coronavirus variants discovered in Brazil and South Africa, according to NBC News.
Phase II clinical trial data showed a booster shot designed to counter the variant discovered in South Africa increased antibody levels. The booster shot is a third dose of the vaccine given six to eight months after the second dose.
Moderna also said that a third dose of the vaccine that has not been updated to counter the variants will nevertheless provide more immunity, including against the variant discovered in Brazil.
The findings are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed.
Pfizer has also announced that it is studying a booster shot to protect against variants.
Undetected early heart damage raises risk of death for hospitalized coronavirus patients
Hospitalized coronavirus patients with an early, often undetected sign of heart failure were five times more likely to die than hospitalized COVID-19 patients who did not have the condition, according to a study by the American Heart Association.
The study, published in the journal Hypertension, says first-phase ejection fraction is a strong indicator of whether someone hospitalized with COVID-19 will survive.
“Traditionally, heart function is measured by ejection fraction, or how much blood the left ventricle pumps out with each contraction of the heart,” study author Phil Chowienczyk, a professor of cardiovascular clinical pharmacology at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, said in a news release. “First-phase ejection fraction is a new measure of the heart’s function that seems to be much more sensitive of early, undetected damage to the heart than traditional ejection fraction measures.”
The researchers evaluated echocardiograms from 129 patients from Wuhan, China, and 251 patients in London. Those with impaired first-phase ejection fractions were nearly five times more likely to die than those with normal results, the study says
Data suggests the heart damage may have been the result of pre-existing conditions rather than COVID-19, the study says.
Organ transplants recipients remain vulnerable to COVID-19 after vaccination
Someone who has received a solid organ transplant is still vulnerable to a coronavirus infection even after receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, Johns Hopkins University researchers found.
Vaccination did provide some protection, but solid organ transplant recipients will still need to take precautions like wearing a face mask and social distancing, the researchers said in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study evaluated the immune response in 658 recipients of solid organ transplants, such as heart, lungs or kidneys. Those people often take drugs that suppress their immune systems, to prevent their body from rejecting the organ.
The researchers found that 54% of transplant recipients had detectable antibodies after being fully vaccinated. But their antibody levels were still well below those found in someone with a healthy immune system.
One-third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients have lung changes one year later
One-third of patients discharged from a hospital after a severe coronavirus infection showed evidence of an effect on their lungs one year later, according to a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
Researchers from the University of Southampton in the U.K. studied 83 patients discharged from hospitals after a severe infection. They found most made a full recovery after one year, although 5% still experienced breathlessness.
One-third of patients showed reduced lung function, particularly how efficiently oxygen was transferred in the lungs into the blood, the study says. Reduced lung function was more common in women than in men.
The researchers note that the study was small, so additional studies will be needed to confirm the findings.
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