Scientists have identified a new strain of the coronavirus that has become dominant worldwide and appears to be more contagious than the versions that spread in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The new strain appeared in February in Europe, migrated quickly to the East Coast of the United States and has been the dominant strain across the world since mid-March, the scientists wrote.
Baylor Recruiting for Clinical Trial to Test Tuberculosis Vaccine on COVID-19
Baylor College of Medicine is one of four other institutions around the country researching the effectiveness of an existing tuberculosis vaccine on COVID-19, according to a May 4 news release.
The research hospital is recruiting for a clinical trial of the vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guerin, or BCG, one of the oldest vaccines still in use that is known to prevent tuberculosis.
“Epidemiological studies show that if you’re BCG-vaccinated, you have a decreased rate of other infections,” said Dr. Andrew DiNardo, assistant professor of medicine—infectious diseases at Baylor in the news release.
FDA Increases Oversight and Requirements for COVID-19 Antibody Tests
After allowing unreviewed antibody tests to pervade the U.S. market for weeks, the FDA is closing its open-door policy for coronavirus blood serology tests—bringing their oversight more in line with the molecular diagnostics used to confirm active cases of COVID-19.
Since mid-March, the FDA has let manufacturers distribute unauthorized antibody tests, provided they validate the tests themselves and do not advertise them as a standalone method of diagnosing a patient. Instead, they could be used to track the spread of the virus through the population, by detecting signs of an immune response to a previous infection.