Week in Review: April 8

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

Into the Wild: Animals the Latest Frontier in COVID Fight

Scientists are concerned that the virus could evolve within animal populations – potentially spawning dangerous viral mutants that could jump back to people, spread among us and reignite what for now seems to some people like a waning crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has served as a stark and tragic example of how closely animal health and human health are linked. While the origins of the virus have not been proven, many scientists say it likely jumped from bats to humans, either directly or through another species that was being sold live in Wuhan, China. And now the virus has been confirmed in wildlife in at least 24 U.S. states, including Minnesota. Recently, an early Canadian study showed someone in nearby Ontario likely contracted a highly mutated strain from a deer. Via Associated Press

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States Are Ready To Live With Covid. Congress' Funding Fight Is Making That Hard.

States are eager to transition to a long-term Covid response strategy, but Congress’ failure to provide new pandemic dollars is leaving them instead grappling with an acute crisis. Via Politico

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New COVID-19 variant XE identified: What to know and why experts say not to be alarmed

A new COVID-19 variant has been identified in the United Kingdom, but experts say there is no cause for alarm yet. The variant, known as XE, is a combination of the original BA.1 omicron variant and its subvariant BA.2. This type of combination is known as a "recombinant" variant. Public health experts say that recombinant variants are very common and often crop up and disappear on their own. Via ABC News

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Mayo Clinic News

Why so many women in middle age are on antidepressants

“People are so deathly afraid of prescribing hormones,” says Stephanie Faubion, medical director of the North American Menopause Society and the director of Mayo Clinic Women’s Health. “A lot of women, unfortunately, who are going to their doctors because of hot flashes and night sweats are getting slapped on antidepressants.” Research has shown that some antidepressants can ease hot flashes and night sweats. But Dr. Faubion says they are much less effective than hormones. Via Wall Street Journal

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5 reasons to consider becoming an organ donor

While 2021 proved to be a record-breaking year for organ donation in the U.S., many people are still hesitant to register to become a donor. Nationwide, only about 48% of people are registered to be organ donors, according to LifeSource. That’s despite surveys showing that 95% of people in the U.S. support organ donation. April is National Donate Life Month. Here are five reasons to consider checking the box to become a donor. Via Vietnamese Explorer

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Should you get a second COVID-19 vaccine booster?

"There does seem to be some advantage to getting the repeat booster, although the biggest benefit is seen when you go from unvaccinated to vaccinated," said Dr. John O'Horo, a Mayo Clinic infectious disease specialist. "The boosters are really providing an additional benefit on top of that." Mayo doctors discouraged waiting for boosters because of recent infections, because immunity levels after COVID-19 can vary in strength and duration. 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.