Week in Review: September 10

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Industry News

Biden announces COVID-19 vaccine mandates that will affect 100 million Americans

President Biden announced the most sweeping COVID-19 vaccine requirements yet on Thursday, which will affect roughly 100 million Americans. The new measures include a vaccine mandate for all federal workers and contractors, and a requirement that large companies must mandate vaccines or regular testing for employees. The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is developing a rule requiring all employers with at least 100 employees to make sure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to get a negative test at least once a week. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to introduce the vaccine requirement. Companies that fail to comply could face fines of $14,000 per violation, Mr. Biden said. Via CBS News

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Vaccination reduces risk of long COVID, even when people are infected, U.K. study indicates

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 appear to have a much lower likelihood of developing long Covid than unvaccinated people even when they contract the coronavirus, a study published Wednesday indicated. The research is among the earliest evidence that immunization substantially decreases the risk of long Covid even when a breakthrough infection occurs. Already, researchers had said that by preventing many infections entirely, vaccines would reduce the number of cases of long Covid, but it wasn’t clear what the risk would be for people who still got infected after vaccination. Via STAT

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How Organ Transplantation Could Become Easier, Starting at the U of M

Funded by philanthropists, industry partners, and the Biostasis Research Institute, technologies at the recently opened Organ and Tissue Preservation Center at the U of M may sound similar to science fiction, like a carbonite-frozen Han Solo in Star Wars, but they are the result of years of intensive research and planning. Finger, Bischof, and scores of skilled others are ultimately working toward a long-term organ bank…Researchers have known how to cryopreserve, or store tissue, at low temperatures for several decades. But there is a catch: Cryogenic storage works only for small cells in suspension, not tissues and organs, because of the ice and cracks that form when researchers preserve a sample at a super-low temperature. Via Minnesota Monthly

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Mayo Clinic News

Dine In? Go Out? Learn to Be a Better Covid-19 Risk Manager

Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minn., says it is best to keep groups small when going maskless indoors, even if all are vaccinated. Dr. Poland limits the circle of people he sees indoors without masks to those who take similar precautions to him and his wife. (They go to public indoor spaces only when they need to and then always wear masks.) Dr. Poland recently skipped a visit to the house of one couple who eat indoors at restaurants and attend church maskless. “Their risks become my risks and those risks are unnecessary,” he said. Via Wall Street Journal

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Managing the pandemic that never seems to end

Host Angela Davis talked with Dr. Greg Poland, the head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group and Dr. Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya, a clinical psychologist who specializes in African American mental health, about how to get through yet another wave of uncertainty and stress. Why is the coronavirus still spreading so widely? For one, it’s “highly infectious and transmissible,” Poland said. But people are also making decisions that could extend the pandemic. “It amazes me: People are not wearing masks!” Poland said. “The data are very, very clear here that wearing a mask and being fully vaccinated offers you superior protection.” Via MPR News

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Moderna's Half-Dose Booster May Expand Global Vaccine Supply

Moderna’s booster study reported that adults aged 65 and above saw the greatest improvement in protection and that the half dose appears to be effective against all variants of concern. The findings have not yet been peer-reviewed. If proved effective, the reduction in Moderna's booster dosage could significantly expand the global vaccine supply. “It takes less antigen to trigger an existing immune response than it does to create one from scratch,” Richard Kennedy, PhD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and co-director of the Vaccine Research Clinic, tells Verywell. “What they try to do with most medicines, including vaccines, is find the smallest dose they can get away with and have the strongest response.” Via Verywell Health

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Chantell Canfield

Chantell Canfield is a web content coordinator for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She began working for Mayo Clinic in 2021.