Multidisciplinary Treatment of Long COVID Will Be Focus of Live Online Course
The next installment of the APTA Lecture Series, set for Oct. 28-29, provides the latest information on screening, referral, and care for long COVID. The online course will introduce PTs and PTAs to multidisciplinary long COVID care, share knowledge and tips from long COVID clinics with providers who don't work in those settings, and highlight screenings and referrals that should take place before a long COVID rehab program can begin.
New in Research
Individuals With COVID-19 at Increased Risk for Neurologic Disorders
Researchers who analyzed more than 150,000 individuals with COVID-19 found that 30 days after infection, the patients were at greater risk of an "array of neurologic disorders spanning several disease categories." Disorders include stroke, cognition and memory disorders, peripheral nervous system disorders, episodic disorders, extrapyramidal and movement disorders, mental health disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, sensory disorders, and other disorders including Guillain-Barré syndrome, and encephalitis or encephalopathy. Research results were published in Nature Medicine.
About 2 in 10 Patients Hospitalized for COVID-19 Demonstrate Exercise Intolerance a Year After Discharge
A study published in the European Respiratory Journal found that among patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and administered a cardiopulmonary exercise test at three and 12 months after discharge, 77% recorded normal exercise capacity at the 12-month follow-up. Among those with remaining exercise intolerance, circulatory limiting factors were more prevalent than ventilatory factors.
Full COVID-19 Vaccination Associated With Reduced Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
While studies have indicated an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke after COVID-19 infection, researchers published in JAMA Network Open found that a full round of vaccination reduces that risk should those individuals become infected with COVID-19 later. Vaccinated individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 were linked to a 48% lower risk of heart attack and a 40% lower risk of stroke compared with the unvaccinated population.
COVID-19 Linked to Higher Incidence of New-Onset Alzheimer's Disease
Researchers who tracked data from more than 6 million individuals 65 and older found that those who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 had a higher risk of receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease a year later. Authors of the study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, determined that about seven in 1,000 individuals who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past year were later diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, compared with five in 1,000 among those who did not contract COVID-19.
CDC Updates Guidance on PPE in Health Care Facilities, Relaxing Some Recommendations
In response to higher levels of vaccination, infection-induced immunity, and availability of treatments and prevention tools, thhe U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has updated its guidance on COVID-19 infection control and prevention in settings where health care is delivered. Most notably, CDC now ties its PPE guidance for health care facilities to community transmission levels, recommending universal use of PPE in high transmission areas, but leaving the decision to require PPE to county officials for facilities in substantial, moderate, or low transmission areas. The guidance also includes changes to recommendations on screening and testing.
U.S. COVID-19 Cases Continue Decline; New Cases Drop Significantly; Hospitalizations Tick Down
Total coronavirus cases in the United States have reached 95,919,166 as of Sept. 26, according to the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. The seven-day average of new cases is 49,808 as of Sept. 26, a drop from an Aug. 25 rate of 91,118. The most recent available seven-day averages for hospitalizations, Sept. 20-26, is 3,760, a 7.2% decrease from the previous average. Deaths also decreased to a 353 seven-day average as of Sept. 26, down from a 456 seven-day average a month earlier. As of Sept. 21, 71.9% of the U.S. population 5 and older has been fully vaccinated. Half of the booster-eligible population has received a booster dose, and 35.5% have received a second booster. The U.S. death total from COVID-19 is now estimated at 1,051,389.
Worldwide COVID-19 Tracking Reveals 'No Time for Complacency'
The co-chairs of the World Health Organization's ACT-Accelerator's Council Tracking and Accelerating Progress working group announced that "while progress is being made, the global threat of COVID-19 is far from over," and that significant disparities exist related to testing and vaccination goals. Among the differences: a 19% vaccination rate in low-income countries compared with a 75% rate in high-income countries, slow progress on the target of 100 tests per 100,000 population per day in low- and lower-middle-income countries, and "limited or nonexistent" rollout of oral antivirals in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
FDA Approves First-Ever Digital Machine-Learning Device to Assess for Coronavirus Infection
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization for the first machine-learning-based COVID-19 screening device that uses biomarkers to assess for possible coronavirus infection. The device, a wearable armband, is strapped to the upper arm of the subject and monitors multiple biomarkers including pulse rate and possible hypercoagulation, a condition linked to coronavirus infection. According to the FDA, the COVID Plus Monitor from Tiger Tech was correct in finding positive cases 98.6% of the time in a hospital and returned negative results with 94.5% accuracy.
HHS Moves to Increase Access to COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Treatment
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will make 60,000 doses of the monoclonal antibody treatment bebtelovimab available to support a product replacement initiative for providers who use a dose from a commercial provider to treat a patient who is uninsured or underinsured. The additional dosages are being made available to help cover gaps created by the transition of the drug to the commercial market.
In the Media
Researchers Find Troubling New COVID-Like Virus in Russian Bats
From ScienceAlert: "A novel coronavirus found in Russian bats has scientists calling for an urgent effort in generalized vaccine development. Otherwise, they caution, another pandemic might be triggered by a deadly animal virus spilling over to humans. Similar to SARS-CoV-2, the new respiratory virus discovered among bats, known as Khosta-2, is covered in spike proteins that can infect human cells using the same entryways. Even more problematic is its apparent resistance to monoclonal antibodies and serum induced in recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine."
Long COVID Is Bringing More Attention to Post-Viral Syndromes
From BMJ: "'Long covid really shouldn’t have been a surprise,' says Vett Lloyd, a biologist at Mount Allison University in Sackville, Canada. 'When the pandemic started, the general assumption was that there were two possible outcomes to an infection — you’d either get better or die,' she says. But there’s a possible third outcome. It's long been known that a number of disease-causing pathogens — some viral and some bacterial — are associated with ongoing post-infection symptoms in a significant minority of patients. 'There was no real reason to think SARS-CoV-2 should be any different than the original SARS, which also caused post-infection syndromes,' says Lloyd. She is one of many researchers who hope that the attention and funding directed towards long covid will help to shed light on how and why other infections can lead to persistent and sometimes debilitating symptoms."
Answering Questions About Fall Vaccines
From CNBC: "With flu season approaching, plus the possibility of another surge of Covid cases this fall, many Americans are wondering two things: When is the best time to get the flu vaccine – if there is one – and is it okay to double up and receive both the seasonal flu vaccine and new omicron-specific Covid-19 booster at the same time?"
Could Prior Omicron Infection Protect Against Flu?
From Business Plus: "Earlier this year, London Medical Laboratory noticed a correlation between the patients who reported catching Covid and extremely low influenza infection rates. However, because flu cases are lower during the warmer months this was difficult to verify. Now, research from Prof. Martin Michaelis and teams from the University of Kent and from Germany show a direct link between catching the latest Omicron variants of Covid-19 and gaining protection against flu. It seems a response from the body caused by fighting the Omicron variant also stops the influenza virus from replicating."