The Dose - 11-13-2021
A few articles of interest.
South Asian gene affects Covid severity: study (Nov 11, 2021)
University of Oxford study shows 60% of South Asians carry LZTFL1 gene involved with more severe Covid-19 illness and death
A large study published in The Lancet in May 2021 found the risks of being hospitalized, needing intensive care, or dying because of Covid in England were greater for Asian, black and mixed ethnicity groups compared with white people during the first pandemic wave in the UK (spring 2020).
In the second wave, the risk among Black and mixed ethnic groups decreased – but the opposite was found for south Asians. For them, the risk of ending up in hospital or dying of Covid was higher in the second wave compared with white people and other minority ethnic groups.
The researchers, from the University of Oxford, found that it is LZTFL1 that is involved in higher severity disease – not SLC6A20. Fully 60% of people of South Asian heritage carry the higher-risk version of the gene compared with 15% among white people and only 2% of people of African or Afro-Caribbean heritage.
Not only that, but this gene is very active in the layer of cells lining the airways and lungs.
The variant also makes cells have more copies of the two proteins (called ACE2 and TMPRSS2) that allow the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter cells and infect them. What that means is that people who carry the high-risk gene variant are likely to end up having more cells infected, less ability to heal and therefore a more severe infection.
A little closer look at Singapore the subject of today's Saturday's Potluck.
The government has taken prevention of Covid transmission very seriously.
Benjamin Glynn was arrested after footage of him not wearing a mask on a train in May went viral.
He was convicted for breaching Covid-19 rules, bad behavior towards police and causing a public nuisance
According to reports, Glynn delivered a rant in court – in which he described the proceedings as “preposterous” and “disgusting” – and said masks were not effective in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
This prompted the judge to order a psychiatric assessment, but Glynn was deemed fit enough for the case to continue.
In May, nine Britons were banned from working in Singapore after breaking coronavirus rules while partying on a yacht in Santa hats.
In June last year, four British men were similarly banned after going on a pub crawl in a breach of curbs.
Singapore finding it hard to ‘live with Covid’ (Sept 27, 2021)
City-state set to tighten social distancing rules amid a record surge in cases despite a world-beating 82% vaccination rate
Singapore had until recently employed what many regarded as a “Covid zero” strategy backed by strict measures that kept daily cases in the single digits. As the region’s vaccination leader, the city-state’s transition to endemicity is being closely observed as nations across Asia similarly prepare to manage, rather than eradicate, Covid-19.
But cases have risen faster than expected in Singapore due to the more contagious Delta variant. The island nation of 5.7 million recorded its highest-ever daily caseload of 1,939 on September 26. The Ministry of Health (MoH) projects daily cases to exceed 3,200 within a week at the current trajectory and says hospital capacity could come under strain if left unchecked.
New curbs slated to take effect on September 27 include limiting dining-in and social gatherings to groups of two from an earlier maximum of five, a return to online learning for primary school students, and mandatory working from home for employees able to do so. A maximum of 50% of employees was previously allowed to be at their workplaces simultaneously.
Highly vaccinated Singapore sets a worrying example (Oct 22, 2021)
With 84% of Singaporeans fully vaccinated against Covid-19, one of the highest percentages worldwide, many had expected authorities would by now be easing, not maintaining, social distancing and other contagion-curbing restrictions.
But that’s exactly what officials are doing as the island nation seeks to cope with its largest outbreaks since the start of the pandemic.
Singapore’s daily cases hit a record 3,994 on October 19, with the seven-day average number of new infections more than tripling in the last month. The overall death toll has more than quadrupled over the same period, rising to 280 on October 21 from just 65. Authorities, meanwhile, have attested to rising pressure on hospitals and healthcare workers.
Since the “stabilization phase” began on September 27, the number of new infections appears to be plateauing, though there is no sign that cases are falling. Social gatherings were capped to a maximum of two while work-from-home has become the city-state’s default arrangement. Those measures will be reviewed after two weeks but will otherwise remain in place until November 21.
1. Fully vaccinated families allowed to dine out in up to groups of five
2. Soft recorded music to be allowed at food and beverage outlets
3. More Vaccinated Travel Lanes; Finland and Sweden on the list from Nov 29
4. Covid-19 patients unvaccinated by choice will have to pay for medical bills
The Government is currently footing the full Covid-19 medical bills of all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, other than for those who test positive soon after returning from overseas travel.
From Dec 8, Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice will be charged for treatment.
5. Pilot to test resumption of more activities for those fully vaccinated, such as team sports
6. More school activities to resume
7. Home recovery programme expanded
8. Medically ineligible individuals to be exempted from vaccination-differentiated safe management measures from Dec 1
The Health Ministry is also working with the Government Technology Agency to reflect the medical ineligibility status in individuals' TraceTogether App.
This would allow them to pass through TraceTogether/Safe Entry check-in systems at venues subject to vaccination-differentiated safe management measures without needing to show the paper memo.
Dealing with the impact of Covid restrictions.
As COVID-19 rages, more in Singapore go hungry (Nov 10, 2021)
In 2019, Singapore ranked as the world’s most food-secure nation in the Global Food Security Index.
However, one in 10 Singaporeans experienced food insecurity at least once over 12 months, reported a study by the Singapore Management University’s Lien Centre for Social Innovation. Out of this, two in five experienced food insecurity at least once a month and many of these households did not seek food support, citing embarrassment, being unaware of what was available and the belief that others needed it more than themselves.
Each time the government’s multi-ministry task force handling COVID-19 announces new restrictions, the charity is flooded by requests from people writing in to ask for food.
Singapore recently announced that its COVID-19 restrictions would be extended until November 21, after registering thousands of new COVID-19 cases daily.
The ministry noted that about 4.5 percent of the population in Singapore was estimated to face moderate to severe food insecurity, according to the 2021 report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
This was lower than in other developed economies such as the United States (8 percent), New Zealand (14 percent), Australia (12.3 percent) and South Korea (5.1 percent), it added.
The Taiwanese health authorities have suspended the administering of second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for children aged between 12 and 17, citing concerns about an increased risk of heart inflammation.
A panel of experts made the decision to cease giving the jab to teens on Wednesday, pending further review, according to the country’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung. The health authority opted to call a halt to the second jab due to concerns about an increased risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart’s outer lining).
Glen de Vries co-founder of Medidata died yesterday in small plane accident in New Jersey.
Medidata’s suite of technologies is supporting the advancement of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 clinical trials, including the Phase 3 trial, which is expected to enroll 30,000 participants. The Medidata and Moderna teams are moving forward with the speed and urgency necessitated by the global pandemic, using Medidata’s innovative and scalable cloud platform for clinical development.
Moderna is using a suite of Medidata Rave technologies to help support and accelerate clinical development, including EDC (electronic data capture); eCOA (electronic clinical outcomes assessment), and Detect (centralized statistical monitoring). Moderna has been working with Medidata since December 2015 and the companies have collaborated on multiple clinical trials.
His book on optimizing technology in medicine was published last year.
The Patient Equation: The Precision Medicine Revolution in the Age of COVID-19 and Beyond
Glen de Vries, co-founder and co-CEO of Medidata, expands on this vision in his new book The Patient Equation: The Precision Medicine Revolution in the Age of COVID-19 and Beyond.
“Imagine a world where … data was harvested, analyzed, and combined with all of the medical records that are collected over the course of our lives and assembled into something useful, even to help alter the arc of a pandemic. This is the future, and the analyses behind the scenes producing these types of information are the ‘patient equations’ that inspired the title of this book.”