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COVID-19

Beijing orders travellers to take COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in city – state media

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2022)

Chinese travellers into Beijing from Jan. 22 to end-March are required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their arrival in the city, Beijing Daily, a government newspaper reported on Sunday.=

China has reported local cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant in at least five provinces and municipalities, including a first infection in Beijing itself on Saturday, just weeks ahead of the Olympic Winter Games in February, Reuters reported.

COVID-19

Pfizer says tweaked COVID-19 shots boost omicron protection

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

Pfizer announced Saturday that tweaking its COVID-19 vaccine to better target the omicron variant is safe and works — just days before US regulators debate whether to offer Americans updated booster shots this fall.

The vaccines currently used in the US still offer strong protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death — especially if people have gotten a booster dose, AP reported.

But those vaccines target the original coronavirus strain and their effectiveness against any infection dropped markedly when the super-contagious omicron mutant emerged.

Now with omicron’s even more transmissible relatives spreading widely, the US Food and Drug Administration is considering ordering a recipe change for the vaccines made by both Pfizer and rival Moderna in hopes that modified boosters could better protect against another COVID-19 surge expected this fall and winter.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech studied two different ways of updating their shots — targeting just omicron, or a combination booster that adds omicron protection to the original vaccine. They also tested whether to keep today’s standard dosage — 30 micrograms — or to double the shots’ strength.

In a study of more than 1,200 middle-aged and older adults who’d already had three vaccine doses, Pfizer said both booster approaches spurred a substantial jump in omicron-fighting antibodies.

“Based on these data, we believe we have two very strong omicron-adapted candidates,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

Pfizer’s omicron-only booster sparked the strongest immune response against that variant.

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COVID-19

India sees surge in new COVID-19 infections

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(Last Updated On: June 23, 2022)

India’s ministry of health on Thursday reported they have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country in the past 24 hours.

According to the health ministry, 13,313 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, compared to 12,249 cases on Wednesday.

According to the Ministry, 10,972 people have recovered from the infection which took the total number of recoveries to over 42 million.

With the recorded cases, India’s active caseload now stands at 83,990.

The ministry also said 38 people have died in the last 24 hours due to the infection, taking the total number of deaths to 524,941.

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COVID-19

Research finds women more likely than men to suffer from long COVID

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(Last Updated On: June 22, 2022)

Women are far more likely than men to suffer from long COVID, a review, published Tuesday in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion, stated.

The study led by Shirley Sylvester, senior medical director for women’s health at Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey in the US included 1.3 million patients, and found women were 22 percent more likely to develop persistent symptoms after a COVID-19 infection than men.

For women, lingering symptoms after a COVID-19 infection included fatigue; ear, nose and throat issues; as well as mood disorders like depression. They also had respiratory symptoms, and neurological, skin, gastrointestinal and rheumatic disorders.

In contrast, men with long COVID were more likely to have endocrine disorders, including diabetes and kidney issues, the study found.

The study also found that patients with diabetes may be up to four times more likely to develop long COVID.

The researchers noted that differences in how men’s and women’s immune systems function could be an important factor.

According to Sylvester and her team, the Omicron variant was less likely than Delta to cause long COVID.

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