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COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
With input from Dr Monica Vasudev
1317: The US CDC has cautioned that the new UK strain of coronavirus will predominate across the US by March. As of January 13, the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2 was identified in 76 cases across 10 states in the US, reported researchers in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Modeling predicts rapid growth of B.1.1.7 in early 2021. Increased transmissibility also means that higher-than-expected vaccination coverage has to be attained in order to achieve the same level of disease control to protect the public compared with the less-transmissible variants.
CDC researchers stressed on the tactics to control the pandemic, considering the B.1.1.7 variant in particular, including mask-wearing, distancing, hand hygiene, isolation, and quarantine measures. These public health strategies are vital to decrease the potential impact of B.1.1.7, allowing critical time to enhance vaccination coverage.
Researchers estimated 1 million vaccine doses daily starting January 1, 2021, and 95% effectiveness at 14 days following the second immunization. They also assumed equal protection given by the vaccines for the existing virus as well as the new variant.
"With vaccination that protects against infection, the early epidemic trajectories do not change and B.1.1.7 spread still occurs. However, after B.1.1.7 becomes the dominant variant, its transmission [is] substantially reduced," the researchers note.
However, this is not the only variant that is causing global concern. A variant detected in South Africa and another identified in Tokyo in four travelers from Brazil are considered to have enhanced transmissibility. (Medscape)
1318: The COVID-19 pandemic has been good for the blue light glasses industry: As people continue to spend more time in front of their laptops and other digital screens, they are placing orders for more blue light glasses, despite the fact that there is dearth of conclusive evidence that the glasses actually reduce eyestrain or protect the eyes from the effects of blue light. The sales for the blue-light-blocking product Blokz have increased 60% annually for the last 2 years, with around 2 million pairs sold in 2020 alone. (WebMD)
Dr KK Aggarwal
President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA