Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, information regarding the virus, disease pathophysiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment have been growing and changing rapidly. There is a lot of misinformation published on the web and in social media. This increases the risk both to the health of the individual as well as general public health. This page at יואל קסלר .com COVID 19 aims to present up to date information from professional organizations and published peer reviewed literature to help spread accurate information and knowledge about the virus, its prevention, testing methodologies, and treatment. Information is rapidly changing and is constantly being added to this page so check back often.
Disclaimer: This page is not intended to replace professional medical diagnosis or management of COVID-19 or other illness. If you are feeling ill or suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19 you should contact your doctor for a formal evaluation.
Guidance from Leading professional and governmental organizations
Updated at יואל קסלר .com COVID 19
Guidance from the Infectious Disease Society of America
Antigen Testing- IDSA Covid -19 Antigen testing
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control
Guidance from the FDA
Covid 19 @ יואל קסלר .com
In the past few days news of a new COVID-19 variant of concern has taken over the news. Nations are again closing their borders to non-citizens and re-instituting quarantines What is this new variant? Why is it so concerning? what can be done to stop its spread? At יואל קסלר .com we will try to answer some of these questions.
The following information was recently published by the World Health Organization:
The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.
This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.
There are a number of studies underway and the TAG-VE will continue to evaluate this variant. WHO will communicate new findings with Member States and to the public as needed.
Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised WHO that this variant should be designated as a VOC, and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron.
It is still not yet known if this strain causes more severe disease or to what degree the it can evade immunity from those previously vaccinated. What can you do to help prevent the spread? The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following:
CDC recommends people follow prevention strategies such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, washing your hands frequently, and physically distancing from others. CDC also recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated. CDC encourages a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for those who are eligible.
More information on COVID-19 is available here.
עדכונים על אומיקרון
בימים האחרונים השתלטו החדשות על גרסה חדשה של קורונה. מדינות שוב סוגרות את גבולותיהן בפני לא-אזרחים ומכניסות מחדש הסגרות מהי הגרסה החדשה הזו? למה זה כל כך מדאיג? מה ניתן לעשות כדי לעצור את התפשטותו? באתר יואל קסלר .קום ננסה לענות על חלק מהשאלות הללו.
המידע הבא פורסם לאחרונה על ידי ארגון הבריאות העולמי:
הגרסה החדשה דווחה לראשונה מדרום אפריקה ב24 בנובמבר2021. המצב האפידמיולוגי בדרום אפריקה התאפיין בשלושה שיאים ברורים במקרים שדווחו, האחרון שבהם היה בעיקר וריאנט הדלתא. בשבועות האחרונים, ההדבקות עלו בצורה תלולה, במקביל לזיהוי של וריאנט הזיהום.
לגרסה זו יש מספר רב של מוטציות, שחלקן מדאיגות. עדויות ראשוניות מצביעות על סיכון מוגבר להידבקות חוזרת בגרסה זו, בהשוואה לאחרים. נראה שמספר המקרים של גרסה זו גדל כמעט בכל המחוזות בדרום אפריקה. מספר מעבדות ציינו כי עבור בדיקת אחת בשימוש נרחב, אחד משלושת גני המטרה אינו מזוהה
עדיין לא ידוע אם זן זה גורם למחלה חמורה יותר או באיזו מידה הוא יכול לחמוק מחסינות מאלה שחוסנו בעבר. מה ניתן לעשות כדי למנוע את ההתפשטות? המרכז לבקרת מחלות ממליץ על הדברים הבאים:
מומלץ לאנשים לעקוב אחר אסטרטגיות מניעה כגון חבישת מסכה במסגרות פנימיות ציבוריות באזורים של העברה קהילתית משמעותית או גבוהה, שטיפת ידיים לעתים קרובות והתרחקות פיזית מאחרים. מומלץ גם לכל בני5 ומעלה להגן על עצמם על ידי חיסון מלא.
New COVID therapy approved by FDA
@ יואל קסלר .com – The FDA recently approved an oral antiviral therapy for treating COVID. Molnupiravir, developed by Merck works to inhibits RNA replication by mimicking the virus's genetic code and introducing errors that prevent replication. The therapy seems to be most effective at preventing severe disease and death when taken early in the course of illness; when the patient is first symptomatic. The approval by the FDA was controversial however, with the advisory committee voting thirteen to ten in favor of granting the approval. Some of the controversy was based in variability of the efficacy data from the studies. In the initial analysis of the phase3 data it was concluded that the drug had a forty eight percent decrease in hospitalization and death over placebo. However, an analysis of longer term data showed a benefit of only thirty percent.
A second oral medication against COVID, paxlovid, which was developed by Pfizer has filed for approval as well. The company claims that it reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by eighty nine percent. As opposed to Merck's drug, paxlovid is a type of protease inhibitor. It is similar to a number of drugs that have been used to treat HIV for years. This drug works by damaging the proteins that the virus uses to help increase its replication and spread throughout the body.
. פ.ד.א אישר לאחרונה טיפול אנטי-ויראלי פומי לטיפול בקורונה
מולפוניראביר שנוצר בחברת מרק פועלת לעיכוב שכפול ר.נ.א על ידי חיקוי גנטי.
נראה כי הטיפול יעיל ביותר במניעת מחלות קשות ומוות כאשר נלקח מוקדם במהלך המחלה; כאשר החולה הוא סימפטומטי לראשונה
לאחר קבלת אישור הוועדה המייעצת, כעת יהיה בידי המרכז לבקרת מחלות לקבוע את ההנחיות לגבי מתי יש להשתמש בתרופה זו ובאילו אוכלוסיות חולים.
New Data from the CDC on the Omicron Variant
What We Know about Omicron
Infection and Spread
- How easily does Omicron spread? The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
- Will Omicron cause more severe illness? More data are needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.
- Will vaccines work against Omicron? Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
- Will treatments work against Omicron? Scientists are working to determine how well existing treatments for COVID-19 work. Based on the changed genetic make-up of Omicron, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less effective.
We have the Tools to Fight Omicron
Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. Scientists are currently investigating Omicron, including how protected fully vaccinated people will be against infection, hospitalization, and death. CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated. CDC recommends that everyone ages 18 years and older should get a boostershot at least two months after their initial J&J/Janssen vaccine or six months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
Masks offer protection against all variants
CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status. CDC provides advice about masks for people who want to learn more about what type of mask is right for them depending on their circumstances.
Tests can tell you if you are currently infected with COVID-19
Two types of tests are used to test for current infection: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests. NAAT and antigen tests can only tell you if you have a current infection. Individuals can use the COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool to help determine what kind of test to seek. Additional tests would be needed to determine if your infection was caused by Omicron. Visit your state, tribal, local, or territorial health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.
Self-tests can be used at home or anywhere, are easy to use, and produce rapid results. If your self-test has a positive result, stay home or isolate for 10 days, wear a mask if you have contact with others, and call your healthcare provider. If you have any questions about your self-test result, call your healthcare provider or public health department.
Until we know more about the risk of Omicron, it is important to use all tools available to protect yourself and others.
What CDC is Doing to Learn about Omicron @ יואל קסלר .com Covid 19
CDC scientists are working with partners to gather data and virus samples that can be studied to answer important questions about the Omicron variant. Scientific experiments have already started. CDC will provide updates as soon as possible.
In the United States, CDC uses genomic surveillance to track variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 to more quickly identify and act upon these findings to best protect the public’s health. CDC established multiple ways to connect and share genomic sequence data being produced by CDC, public health laboratories, and commercial diagnostic laboratories within publicly accessible databases maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information external icon (NCBI) and the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data external icon (GISAID). CDC’s national genomic surveillance can detect a variant that is circulating at 0.1% frequency with 99% statistical confidence.
Full CDC information is available at cdc.gov
יואל קסלר .com Covid 19 Omicron variant update from WHO
WHO update at יואל קסלר .com covid19
The following updates on the COVID-19 Omicron Variant was published by the World Health Organization and is being reprinted by יואל קסלר .com covid 19
On 26 November 2021, WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE). This decision was based on the evidence presented to the TAG-VE that Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, for example, on how easily it spreads or the severity of illness it causes. Here is a summary of what is currently known.
Current knowledge about Omicron
Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting studies to better understand many aspects of Omicron and will continue to share the findings of these studies as they become available.
It is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible (e.g., more easily spread from person to person) compared to other variants, including Delta. The number of people testing positive has risen in areas of South Africa affected by this variant, but epidemiological studies are underway to understand if it is because of Omicron or other factors.
Severity of disease: It is not yet clear whether infection with Omicron causes more severe disease compared to infections with other variants, including Delta. Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection with Omicron. There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants. Initial reported infections were among university students—younger individuals who tend to have more mild disease—but understanding the level of severity of the Omicron variant will take days to several weeks. All variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is dominant worldwide, can cause severe disease or death, in particular for the most vulnerable people, and thus prevention is always key.
Effectiveness of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection
Preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron (ie, people who have previously had COVID-19 could become reinfected more easily with Omicron), as compared to other variants of concern, but information is limited. More information on this will become available in the coming days and weeks.
Effectiveness of vaccines: WHO is working with technical partners to understand the potential impact of this variant on our existing countermeasures, including vaccines. Vaccines remain critical to reducing severe disease and death, including against the dominant circulating variant, Delta. Current vaccines remain effective against severe disease and death.
Effectiveness of current tests: The widely used PCR tests continue to detect infection, including infection with Omicron, as we have seen with other variants as well. Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is any impact on other types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests.
Effectiveness of current treatments: Corticosteroids and IL6 Receptor Blockers will still be effective for managing patients with severe COVID-19. Other treatments will be assessed to see if they are still as effective given the changes to parts of the virus in the Omicron variant.
At the present time, WHO is coordinating with a large number of researchers around the world to better understand Omicron. Studies currently underway or underway shortly include assessments of transmissibility, severity of infection (including symptoms), performance of vaccines and diagnostic tests, and effectiveness of treatments.
WHO encourages countries to contribute the collection and sharing of hospitalized patient data through the WHO COVID-19 Clinical Data Platform to rapidly describe clinical characteristics and patient outcomes.
More information will emerge in the coming days and weeks. WHO’s TAG-VE will continue to monitor and evaluate the data as it becomes available and assess how mutations in Omicron alter the behaviour of the virus.
Recommended actions for countries
As Omicron has been designated a Variant of Concern, there are several actions WHO recommends countries to undertake, including enhancing surveillance and sequencing of cases; sharing genome sequences on publicly available databases, such as GISAID; reporting initial cases or clusters to WHO; performing field investigations and laboratory assessments to better understand if Omicron has different transmission or disease characteristics, or impacts effectiveness of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics or public health and social measures. More detail in the announcement from 26 November.
Countries should continue to implement the effective public health measures to reduce COVID-19 circulation overall, using a risk analysis and science-based approach. They should increase some public health and medical capacities to manage an increase in cases. WHO is providing countries with support and guidance for both readiness and response.
In addition, it is vitally important that inequities in access to COVID-19 vaccines are urgently addressed to ensure that vulnerable groups everywhere, including health workers and older persons, receive their first and second doses, alongside equitable access to treatment and diagnostics.
Recommended actions for people
The most effective steps individuals can take to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others; wear a well-fitting mask; open windows to improve ventilation; avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; keep hands clean; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue; and get vaccinated when it’s their turn.
WHO will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available, including following meetings of the TAG-VE. In addition, information will be available on WHO’s digital and social media platforms.
References at יואל קסלר .com COVID 19
More information on COVID19 can be found on the יואל קסלר .com covid page
What New Information do we have at יואל קסלר .com on the Omicron variant?
Here is some new information from יואל קסלר .com / covid 19 about the omicron variant.
In a recent report published by Sky News, Professor Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London discussed new data from the Zoe Covid project and what they have learned about the spread of Omicron.
It seems that in vaccinated people the COVID 10 Omicron variant may cause less severe disease than the Delta variant. However, it may be more easily transmitted, even if one is fully vaccinated.
What does this mean for the risk to the public?
Although Omicron may not make vaccinated people very sick frequently it can still have a massive effect on public health. If the virus spreads rapidly throughout the population, hospitalizations and deaths will rise. The sheer volume of those infected will make the actual numbers of cases high even if the overall percentages stay low. Numbers of those infected in the UK have been rising significantly, despite the UK being one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world.
What can you do to stay safe and prevent transmission?
The best protection still remains vaccination. It seems that while you may be able to be infected with the COVID 19 Omicron variant even if fully vaccinated, you are much less likely to get seriously ill. Additionally, you should wear a mask any time you are in a public area with many others present. Furthermore if you are feeling ill at all, see your doctor and get tested. Knowing you are infected is not just important for your health and those you come in contact with, but also helps public health organizations track the spread of new variants of the virus.
more information is available on our COVID 19 page.
יואל קסלר .com Omicron Virus Spread UPDATE December 19 2021
Update December 18 2021 @ יואל קסלר .com Covid 19 . The Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread around the world. The WHO announced on Saturday that the variant has been detected in 89 countries and is showing community spread (ie not just travelers to hot spots). It also is infecting those known to be completely vaccinated including a booster as well as those who have recovered from previous infection with other strains of the virus. It is unclear if the spread is due to increased transmissibility of the virus, that it is inducing less of an immune response, or both.
Increase in the rate of new infections @ יואל קסלר .com Omicron Virus Spread
Additionally, the rate of the spread is rapidly increasing. Per the WHO the doubling time in affected countries now seems to be 1.5-3 days. This is compared with 10 days for the Delta strain that caused the previous wave. At this rate Omicron is poised to become the dominant strain of COVID 19 in many places around the world.
Severity of disease
It is still not clear if the variant causes less severe disease that other strains. More data is needed to determine how the virus will affect both those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
Useful links for updates
The WHO has posted weekly updates on variants of concern, infection numbers as well as deaths on this site.
There is also additional information including travel advisories, Q and A, vaccination info here.
In addition to the WHO, here are some additional sites for more information on COVID 19 and the Omicron variant
Check back to this site or our COVID -19 page for updates