COVID-19 weekly news: November 29-December 3

Observing the emergence of omicron variant

While there are more questions than answers right now, concern is growing about the emergence of the new COVID-19 strain called omicron. While no cases of the variant have been confirmed in the U.S., Mayo Clinic is closely monitoring the research and clinical observations that are underway and will use this time to thoroughly evaluate evidence as it becomes available.

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HIV research provided foundation for COVID-19 research

This year's World AIDS Day will be commemorated on Dec. 1. It was 40 years ago in June that the first scientific report was made describing pneumocystis pneumonia, which later became known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The AIDS epidemic has claimed more than 36 million lives since the first cases were reported in 1981. AIDS is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). While more people can live with the virus that causes AIDS, there is no cure.

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Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Boosters reduce vulnerability to COVID-19 variants

Omicron, a new COVID-19 variant of concern, has been detected in all regions of the world, including North America. While research and clinical observations on the new strain are underway, it is not yet known what impact, if any, omicron will have on the immune response, transmissibility, or specific COVID-19 treatments.

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Mayo Clinic COVID-19 pill gets advisory panel approval

The first oral antiviral medication to treat COVID-19 is one step closer. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel has voted to recommend emergency use authorization for molnupiravir. This drug, which is manufactured by Merck & Co Inc., treats mild to moderate COVID-19 infection in adults at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 infection or hospitalization. Next, the recommendation goes to the FDA for a decision.

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What Mayo experts know about the omicron variant

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. caused by the omicron variant has been reported in California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As Mayo Clinic COVID-19 experts learn more about the omicron variant, they are looking to answer several questions. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified this new COVID-19 strain as a variant of concern. The omicron variant was first reported to the WHO by South Africa in early November. Mayo experts say there is still a lot to learn.

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Post-COVID symptoms: Women differ distinctly from men

In a study of the first 108 patients seen by Mayo Clinic's Post-COVID-19 Care Clinic, researchers found that women predominantly showed symptoms of fatigue, followed by muscle pain and low blood pressure, while men primarily experienced shortness of breath. The team says these characteristics will help health care providers diagnose and treat people suspected of having post-COVID syndrome. The findings, based on data collected between January and April, appear in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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Media Only News Briefing: Testing for the COVID-19 omicron variant

On Thursday, December 2, Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D., Vice-Chair of Practice, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic addressed testing for the COVID-19 omicron variant which was recently identified in the U.S., and most recently found in Minnesota as of today.

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Mental health and the holidays: Resilience

People who are grateful seem to appreciate life and be much happier, regardless of their external circumstances. This time of year, and after what we've all endured during the COVID-19 pandemic, practicing gratitude seems especially important and especially difficult. What's your advice on how to practice gratitude?

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Omicron transmissibility and virulence: What do they mean?

Cases of COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant have been detected in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mayo Clinic experts are actively monitoring the new variant to better understand how it behaves.

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Chantell Canfield (@chantellcanfield)

Chantell Canfield

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