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Coronavirus Updates

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Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Womens’ Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK’s Heart Care Foundation of India    30 July 2022

With inputs from Dr Monica Vasudev

Omicron BA.5 remains the dominant circulating SARS-CoV-2 strain in US

The prevalence of BA.5 Omicron subvariant is rising and it continues to be the dominant circulating SARS-CoV-2 strain in the United States. Nearly 82% of the strains were BA.5 in the week from July 18-23, notes the CDC, a rise from the earlier 76% prevalence. The BA.4 constitutes around 13% of the circulating variants…(Source: Medscape, July 27, 2022)

Pfizer-BioNTech initiate trial of a next generation bivalent vaccine

Pfizer-BioNTech have initiated a randomized, active-controlled, observer-blind, Phase 2 study of a next generation Covid-19 vaccine, which contains the ancestral strain and the BA.2 Omicron subvariant. This vaccine candidate is based on an enhanced spike protein design…(Source: Medscape, July 28, 2022)

Covid-19 and hair loss 

A retrospective case series in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology has found that patients with Covid-19 commonly experience significant hair loss. Sixty-two patients in the survey sample reported experiencing hair loss after they recovered from Covid. Of these, 38 were females and 24 were males. The most common type of hair loss was telogen effluvium seen in 48 of the 62 patients, while 12 had androgenetic alopecia and two had alopecia areata…(Source: Journal of Drugs and Dermatology, July 22).

Loss of smell and taste may persist for at least 6 months

New onset of loss of smell and/or taste is a characteristic symptom of Covid-19. A BMJ study has found that loss of smell may persist for up to 6 months or beyond in 5.6% of patients and may never be regained in 4.4%. Only 74% recovered their sense of smell at one month after the infection, while 79% could regain their sense of taste. The probability of regaining the loss of smell and taste was less likely in women. Recovery of sense of smell was poor in patients with nasal congestion or those in whom this symptom was greater in severity… (Source: BMJ, July 27, 2022)

WHO updates its global COVID-19 vaccination strategy 

In view of the rising prevalence of the Omicron subvariant, the WHO has updated its global Covid-19 vaccination strategy and has increased the vaccination target from 70% vaccination coverage to 100% coverage of health care workers and the at-risk population, on priority, with the primary vaccination including the booster dose. As per WHO, only 28% of older people and 37% of health care workers in low-income countries have taken two doses of the vaccine and majority have not taken the booster dose…(Source: WHO, July 22, 2022).

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