Covid - Plan B & Omicron

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Chippy_Tea

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Rachel Clarke
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The latest UK
@ICNARC
data for patients admitted to ICU with Covid demonstrate dramatically the protective effect of vaccines.
Unvaccinated people in their 60s are *70 times* more likely to be admitted to ICU than those who are vaccinated.
Vaccines work.

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Chippy_Tea

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Ministers strengthen NI's work-from-home advice -

Full article -

Summary

People in Northern Ireland are being urged to work from home "where possible" to curb the spread of Covid

Ministers say there is "clear advice" from health experts that an intervention is needed but they stop short of making an order to employers

In England, the government updated its Covid testing guidance, recommending people take a rapid lateral flow test before going to high-risk places

This includes spending time in crowded areas such as busy shopping streets, or when visiting vulnerable people

Scotland's vaccine passport scheme won't be extended to cover more venues, but proof of a negative test will be added

The Covid booster programme is having an impact, official data shows, with more than 90% of UK adults testing positive for antibodies

A further 42,484 cases of Covid are reported across the UK on Tuesday, and 165 deaths within 28 days of a positive test
  1. People in Northern Ireland are being urged to work from home "where possible" to curb the spread of Covid
  2. Ministers say there is "clear advice" from health experts that an intervention is needed but they stop short of making an order to employers
  3. In England, the government updated its Covid testing guidance, recommending people take a rapid lateral flow test before going to high-risk places
  4. This includes spending time in crowded areas such as busy shopping streets, or when visiting vulnerable people
  5. Scotland's vaccine passport scheme won't be extended to cover more venues, but proof of a negative test will be added
  6. The Covid booster programme is having an impact, official data shows, with more than 90% of UK adults testing positive for antibodies
  7. A further 42,484 cases of Covid are reported across the UK on Tuesday, and 165 deaths within 28 days of a positive test
 

Keats

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Had my booster last Thursday and no side effects at all apart from a sore arm. Was given Moderna after having AZ for the first two jabs.
 

MrRook

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Hop_it

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Just returned today from a few days away in our motorhome, so have not been keeping up with anything on the forum recently. However, we got a bit of a shock on Monday morning when our daughter informed us by text that our grandson (9 years old) had tested positive. She had been informed by one of the other mums that one of his close friends had just come down with it. We had had him for a sleepover on the previous Thursday night, and had taken him to school on the Friday morning. Needless to say we were off immediately to find the nearest chemists to get a test kit for ourselves. But unbeknown to me (at least at that moment) you can not now just walk into a chemists and get a test kit, as you could a few months ago. You now have to go online to get a NHS registration number before they'll give you a test kit. It's a lot of farting about, which I think might well put many people of self testing . . . . . not a good idea at all 🤔
Anyway, we've now done 2 tests each, and they were all clear. So, we were fortunate, and I have no doubt that the vaccine has contributed significantly to that good fortune athumb..
PS - Also fortunately, our grandson is OK, and is not suffering anything worse than the symptoms of a bad cold. Our daughter has also managed to avoid it so far as well 🤞
 
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Just returned today from a few days away in our motorhome, so have not been keeping up with anything on the forum recently. However, we got a bit of a shock on Monday morning when our daughter informed us by text that our grandson (9 years old) had tested positive. She had been informed by one of the other mums that one of his close friends had just come down with it. We had had him for a sleepover on the previous Thursday night, and had taken him to school on the Friday morning. Needless to say we were off immediately to find the nearest chemists to get a test kit for ourselves. But unbeknown to me (at least at that moment) you can not now just walk into a chemists and get a test kit, as you could a few months ago. You now have to go online to get a NHS registration number before they'll give you a test kit. It's a lot of farting about, which I think might well put many people of self testing . . . . . not a good idea at all 🤔
Anyway, we've now done 2 tests each, and they were all clear. So, we were fortunate, and I have no doubt that the vaccine has contributed significantly to that good fortune athumb..
PS - Also fortunately, our grandson is OK, and is not suffering anything worse than the symptoms of a bad cold. Our daughter has also managed to avoid it so far as well 🤞
Is that a pcr? Don't trust the other ones that you do at home.
 

Flat Foot

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Anyway, we've now done 2 tests each, and they were all clear. So, we were fortunate, and I have no doubt that the vaccine has contributed significantly to that good fortune athumb..
Worth keeping up the tests for a few days yet. My youngest got it over a week after her brother's positive, and because he had it we didn't take her anywhere so we know that's who she got it from.

Luckily both were very asymptomatic, it was only the lateral flows and pcrs that meant we knew that they had it!
 

Chippy_Tea

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Travellers arriving in England from several southern African countries will have to quarantine amid warnings over a new coronavirus variant.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said from 12:00 GMT on Friday six countries would be added to the red list, with flights being temporarily banned.
One expert described the variant, known as B.1.1.529, as "the worst one we've seen so far", and there is concern it has the potential to evade immunity.
No cases have been confirmed in the UK.
Only 59 confirmed cases have been identified in South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana so far.

All flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini are being suspended.
Mr Javid said that scientists were "deeply concerned" about the new variant but more needed to be learned about it.
But he said the variant has a significant number of mutations, "perhaps double the number of mutations that we have seen in the Delta variant".
He added: "And that would suggest that it may well be more transmissible and the current vaccines that we have may well be less effective."
He said adding the six countries to the red list was about "being cautious and taking action and trying to protect. as best we can, our borders".
From 12:00 on Friday non-UK and Irish residents will be banned from entering England if they have been in the six countries in the past 10 days.
Any British or Irish resident arriving from the countries after 04:00 on Sunday will have to quarantine in a hotel, with those returning before that being asked to isolate at home.
Those who have returned in the last 10 days are being asked to take a PCR test by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
The flight ban will remain in place until the hotel quarantine system is up and running.

Full article Coronavirus variant fear sparks Africa travel curbs
 

Hop_it

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Is that a pcr? Don't trust the other ones that you do at home.
Worth keeping up the tests for a few days yet. My youngest got it over a week after her brother's positive, and because he had it we didn't take her anywhere so we know that's who she got it from.

Luckily both were very asymptomatic, it was only the lateral flows and pcrs that meant we knew that they had it!
They were the lateral flow tests, which I know are not entirely reliable. However, we intend to continue testing, which should reduce the likelihood of error/false negatives.

Good point about the potentially long incubation period. We will be cautious, and fortunately we do not need to go out or mix with anybody in the meantime.
 

Chippy_Tea

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I guess this shouldn't come as a shock let's hope they have acted fast enough this time and it's spread will be slow enough for them to modify the vaccine and keep us safe.


The new Covid variant circulating in South Africa that prompted UK travel restrictions is a "huge international concern", the health secretary says.
Sajid Javid said experience has shown "we must move quickly and at the earliest possible moment".
He said it might be more transmissible, vaccines might be less effective against it and it might affect one of the UK's major treatments, Ronapreve.
No cases of the variant have yet been detected in the UK.
Mr Javid told the House of Commons it was "highly likely" the B.1.1.529 variant had already spread from South Africa and Botswana, where confirmed cases have been found, to other countries.
Travellers from these countries, as well as Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini, will have to self-isolate for 10 days, with those arriving after 04:00 GMT on Sunday required to quarantine in a hotel.
All flights from the six countries are also being suspended until the hotel quarantine system is in operation.
Other countries have also imposed travel restrictions on them, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called for air travel to the European Union from these countries, and others affected by the variant, to be suspended "until we have a clear understanding about the danger posed by this new variant".

Mr Javid said he was concerned the variant "may pose substantial risk to public health" as it has "an unusually high number of mutations".
He said as well as possibly boosting transmission and affecting vaccine protection, the mutations may weaken the antibody treatment Ronapreve, which is being given to the most vulnerable hospital patients.
"One of the lessons of this pandemic has been that we must move quickly, and at the earliest possible moment," he said.
"We're heading into winter and our booster programme is still ongoing, so we must act with caution."
South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana have identified just 59 cases of the variant, so far. Belgium announced on Friday afternoon it had Europe's first case of the variant, while Israeli media also reported one case involving a traveller.
Scientists say the variant has 50 mutations overall and more than 30 on the spike protein, which is the target of most vaccines and the key the virus uses to unlock the doorway into our body's cells.
Prof James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute at Oxford University, said: "It's bad news, but it's not doomsday."
The variant would "almost certainly" make vaccines less effective, but they would still work to some extent. New drugs to treat Covid-19 would not be affected by the variant, he suggested.

Full article - New Covid variant: Javid says UK must act quickly over public health risk
 
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Hop_it

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Originally that was true - mostly false positives. But I hear that they are much more reliable these days.
I think it depends on batches, plus for it to be positive you have to have had the virus for at least 3 days or something silly.
Interesting points, but in the absence of reliable and precise scientific data on the efficacy of the lateral flow tests (if such data exists), I think that regular and frequent testing is the next best option because the more tests you do the better the statistical accuracy of the overall result.
 

Shirley Bassett

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A listener on Radio 2 this week says he tests himself prior to going to work on a daily basis. He said that with the new (but he wasn’t allowed to mention the brand) up your nose only Lateral Flow Tests he recorded positive results every time he used them. He said the nose and throat variety return negative results on the same day. He also said he has had 3 follow up PCR tests that were all negative. He concluded that there was an issue with the up your nose only LFT.

Dr Chris Smith on BBC 1 News this am said that statistically speaking 1 in every 1000 LFT would record a false positive.
 
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Interesting points, but in the absence of reliable and precise scientific data on the efficacy of the lateral flow tests (if such data exists), I think that regular and frequent testing is the next best option because the more tests you do the better the statistical accuracy of the overall result.
Oh there's plenty of that kind of data out there - it's necessary to get a test approved, and they will vary a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer. Thing with lateral flows is that although they're pretty specific (they won't confuse Covid with flu) they are rather less sensitive than PCR - so a lateral flow might need 1000 virus particles to be present whereas a PCR might detect 10 virus particles (numbers plucked out of the air).

But actually that's OK, thanks to the early variants of Covid having a slightly odd transmission pattern. 70-80% of infections with those early variants did not lead to any transmission, maybe 10% led to 1 transmission, another 5-10% had 2-4 transmission - but the bulk of transmission was from the <5% of superspreaders who could transmit to dozens of people. And although behaviour plays a part in that, it does seem that a lot of that variability can be explained by the fact that some people end up with a lot of virus in their upper respiratory tract but other people have very little. Delta is more transmissible because it puts more virus particles in the upper respiratory tract relative to earlier variants, so getting infected with delta may bump you up into the next higher transmission category.

You're not so worried about detecting the cases that don't end up transmitting to anybody else, in fact they can divert resources from catching the superspreaders. So in this context, the lower sensitivity of lateral flows is helpful, and the quicker turnoround means that you'll catch potential superspreaders sooner than if you wait for a PCR result to come back.

Obviously the case SB mentions above is concerning but not conclusive. I've also heard suggestions that there may be more problems with one of the PCR labs along the lines of what happened with Immensa in Wolves. With these things we can only keep plugging away with the tests and wait for more evidence to emerge one way or another.
 
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AlBrew

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Is that a pcr? Don't trust the other ones that you do at home.
Anecdotally, the lateral flow worked flawlessly in our house, picking up 3 out of 3 infections as they appeared at different times. Two of them were pre-symptomatic, so if we hadn't been testing regularly we would all have been out and about spreading indiscriminately.
 

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Two people in the UK have been found to be infected with the new Covid variant, Omicron, the health secretary has said.
Sajid Javid said the cases in Brentwood, Essex, and Nottingham were confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency after genomic sequencing.
They are linked and connected to travel in southern Africa, and both cases and their households were self-isolating.
The new variant has also been identified in South Africa, Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be holding a press conference at Downing Street at 17:00 GMT with the chief scientific advisor to the government, Sir Patrick Vallance, and the UK's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty.


Read in full - Covid: Two cases of new variant Omicron detected in UK
 
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