Good Day BIO: COVID vaccines prevented 19.8 million deaths in 2021
June 24, 2022
Ending the week on a high note: COVID vaccines prevented nearly 20 million deaths in 2021 alone, says a new study. And from bird flu to stopping salmonella outbreaks, CRISPR technology is improving the health of chickens and the risk to humans. (667 words, 3 minutes,…
The only newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics, and policy
June 24, 2022
Ending the week on a high note: COVID vaccines prevented nearly 20 million deaths in 2021 alone, says a new study. And from bird flu to stopping salmonella outbreaks, CRISPR technology is improving the health of chickens and the risk to humans. (667 words, 3 minutes, 20 seconds)
COVID-19 vaccines prevented 19.8 million deaths in 2021, says study
The key finding: Based on “official reported COVID-19 deaths,” the COVID vaccines prevented 14.4 million deaths between the first vaccination on December 8, 2020, and December 8, 2021. The number rises to 19.8 million deaths when researchers “used excess deaths as an estimate of the true extent of the pandemic,” says the study.
To put it another way: This represents “a global reduction of 63% in total deaths (19.8 million of 31.4 million) during the first year of COVID-19 vaccination.”
What they’re saying: “We knew it was going to be a large number, but I did not think it would be as high as 20 million deaths during just the first year,” study co-author Oliver Watson, a Fellow at Imperial College London and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told STAT News.
New technology can improve detection of harder-to-spot varieties of salmonella,University of Georgia reported. The technology, CRISPR-SeroSeq, identifies the molecular signature of bacteria’s CRISPR regions, a specialized part of the DNA.
The key finding: The more dangerous strains of salmonella identified in the processing plants were also present on the farm, but were hidden by the presence of a more common, less dangerous strain that is removed during processing.
Why it matters: The CRISPR-based technology will allow for better screening of salmonella, and inform decisions about what types of vaccines to give chickens on the farm, the study authors said.
This is not the only way CRISPR is helping chickens. Researchers at Edinburgh and Cambridge have attempted to combat avian flu utilizing gene-editing technology that is “a more precise version of the conventional selective breeding of animals,” The Guardian reported last year.
What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will hold a hearing on cutting methane pollution. Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee advanced the FY23 spending bill for the Agriculture Department and FDA. “The panel separately adopted an amendment to the bill’s accompanying committee report that calls on USDA and FDA to work together on streamlining the way that gene-edited food animals are regulated,” reports Agri-Pulse.
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