Week in Review: October 1

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

3-D printed vaccine patch pioneered at UNC could revolutionize how we distribute vaccinations

New technology coming out of UNC Chapel Hill could change everything about how vaccines are administered. Scientists at UNC and Stanford created a 3-D printed vaccine patch that's as small as the tip of your finger. The vaccine patch uses microneedles just long enough to attach to the skin. From there, the vaccine directly targets immune cells in the skin. The brains behind the new vaccine patch said it creates an immune response 10 times stronger than a typical vaccine injection that sends its contents into muscle. Via ABC 11 News

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Americans Are Getting Covid-19 Boosters—No Questions Asked

Doctors and pharmacies are rapidly signing up patients for Covid-19 booster shots, many without requiring proof of eligibility under standards that federal officials set last week. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have authorized a third shot of the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for a wide swath of the U.S. population. Anyone over age 65 is eligible for a booster shot, as is anyone over 18 with a pre-existing condition predisposing the person toward a severe case of Covid-19. Also eligible are those with a job or living situation that poses a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. Boosters for all patients must be given at least six months after an initial Pfizer vaccine course. Via Wall Street Journal

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Yes, you can have Covid-19 and the flu at the same time. Here's what that could look like

On their own, both Covid-19 and the flu can attack the lungs, potentially causing pneumonia, fluid in the lungs or respiratory failure, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Having both illnesses simultaneously "would increase the risk of longer-term effects of any of those organ systems," said Dr. Michael Matthay, a professor of medicine and a critical care specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. "The two together definitely could be more injurious to the lungs and cause more respiratory failure," Matthay told CNN last year and reiterated this week. Via CNN

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Mayo Clinic News

Everything You Need to Know About At-Home Covid Tests

“The sensitivity of these tests is highly dependent on when the test is performed in relation to the time of infection,” explains Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Virology at the Mayo Clinic, who has researched how to improve the ability to detect respiratory diseases. Another factor that affects the ability of these tests to determine whether you have Covid is how prevalent the disease is in your area. “If the prevalence is very low—the test positivity rate is less than 5%—then we have to be more cautious of positive results by an at-home test, as they could be falsely positive,” Binnicker says. Via Men's Health

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US COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations down 30% over prior month

Dr. Gregory Poland, infectious disease expert and director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, anticipates that as COVID-19 case rates fall, fewer Americans will take precautions against infection, resulting in a potential surge of respiratory illnesses come winter. "We will further ignore it and not wear masks at all, not take any precautions at all, travel again," Poland told Fox News. "And that in and of itself will cause yet another surge of COVID, of influenza and of RSV [respiratory syncytial virus, a common respiratory virus] this winter." Via FOX News

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Tridemic? Minnesota doctors worry about flu season on top of pandemic

Minnesota was spared a much-hyped "twindemic" of COVID-19 and influenza last winter because of mask-wearing and closure orders that limited person-to-person contact, but an unprecedented summer surge of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, shows what can happen without those protections, said Dr. Gregory Poland, a vaccinologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. "I'm not going to talk about a twindemic. I'm going to talk about a tridemic or a quaddemic," he said. "We've already seen evidence of it. We already have cases of influenza in Minnesota. We've already seen evidence of an RSV epidemic. The pandemic, at least right now, isn't going anywhere. It's going to continue to find susceptibles who are either unvaccinated or whose immunity wanes with time." Via Star Tribune

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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.