• WHO is expected to announce the members of a committee to determine the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Over 700 people have applied for two dozen slots, which will go to a combination of virologists, geneticists, animal experts and safety and security specialists who will committee will weigh in on the emergence of any new other pathogens beyond the novel coronavirus. Source

• China has begun administering coronavirus boosters to people in high-risk groups (frontline workers including medical personnel, people with immunocompromising conditions, people age 60 and over and travelers to high-risk countries) after outbreaks of the Delta variant led Wang Huaqing, chief expert for China’s immunization program at the Chinese Center for Disease Control, to recommend them. Source

• WHO names scientists from 26 countries, including six members of the original, disbanded committee that investigated the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the head of a Swiss biosafety center and the deputy director at Beijing Institute of Genomics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to a new advisory group that will also study the origin of the pandemic. Source

• The Caribbean is home to four of the six countries in the Americas that have yet to vaccinate 20 percent of their population. The region is facing several challenges to their vaccination campaigns, such as unequal distribution and vaccine hesitation – as well as coronavirus outbreaks in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Country-specific issues, including earthquakes in Haiti, syringe shortages in Guatemala, and supply delays in Jamaica, have also hindered vaccine roll-out. Source

• A pre-print paper reports on interim results from a 458-person study on immune responses to, and side effects from combinations of coronavirus vaccines and boosters from Johnson and Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Booster side effects were similar to those from primary vaccination, with mild-to-moderate Injection site pain, malaise, headache, and muscle aches occurring in over half of the study participants. All study participants had significant increases in neutralizing antibody titers – including those active against the Beta and Delta variants – although people who got two doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine had lower titers. The authors observed a wide range of immune response to homologous boosters, while heterologous boosters elicited comparable or higher titers, nothing that their data suggests boosters will generate an immune response, regardless of the primary vaccine. Source

• The Guardian reports that following a discovery by Dr. Andrew Hill and his team that there was medical fraud in clinical trials of ivermectin – and that it had no benefit against COVID-19, he  received “….a sea of hate and disturbing threats” every time he opened his laptop, such as images of Nazi war criminals hanging from lamp-posts and vivid threats to his family. He said, “If scientists cannot communicate for fear of threats and abuse, how can all the misinformation be controlled? …there is a real danger that people won’t get vaccinated – they will believe that they can take an alternative treatment and be protected, even if there is no real proof. These people could then get infected, hospitalised and even die of COVID. There are so many unvaccinated patients being hospitalized in the UK, when they could have made a different choice with the right information.” Source

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