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Hot Topics of the Day are picked by experts to capture the latest information and publications on public health genomics and precision health for various diseases and health topics. Sources include published scientific literature, reviews, blogs and popular press articles.

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Archived Hot Topics of the Day By Date

Efficacy of Antibodies and Antiviral Drugs against Omicron BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 Subvariants
E Takashita et al, NEJM, July 20, 2020

Effectiveness of BNT162b2 Vaccine against Omicron in Children 5 to 11 Years of Age
SHX Tan et al, NEJM, July 20, 2022

Among partially vaccinated children, vaccine effectiveness was 13.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.7 to 15.5) against all SARS-CoV-2 infections, 24.3% (95% CI, 19.5 to 28.9) against PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, and 42.3% (95% CI, 24.9 to 55.7) against Covid-19–related hospitalization; in fully vaccinated children, vaccine effectiveness was 36.8% (95% CI, 35.3 to 38.2), 65.3% (95% CI, 62.0 to 68.3), and 82.7% (95% CI, 74.8 to 88.2), respectively. During a period when the omicron variant was predominant, BNT162b2 vaccination reduced the risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection and Covid-19–related hospitalization among children 5 to 11 years of age.

Vaccine-Induced Immune Response to Omicron Wanes Substantially Over Time
NIH, July 19, 2022 Brand

Although COVID-19 booster vaccinations in adults elicit high levels of neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, antibody levels decrease substantially within 3 months, according to new clinical trial data. The findings, published today in Cell Reports Medicine, are from a study sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Omicron spike function and neutralizing activity elicited by a comprehensive panel of vaccines
JE Bowen et al, Science, July19, 2022

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant of concern comprises several sublineages with BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 having replaced the previously dominant BA.1, and BA.4 and BA.5 increasing in prevalence worldwide. We show that the large number of Omicron sublineage spike mutations lead to enhanced ACE2 binding, reduced fusogenicity, and severe dampening of plasma neutralizing activity elicited by infection or seven clinical vaccines relative to the ancestral virus. Administration of a homologous or heterologous booster based on the Wuhan-Hu-1 spike sequence markedly increased neutralizing antibody titers and breadth against BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4/5 across all vaccines evaluated.

Boost now or wait? Steady stream of new variants sow confusion
PBS, July 18, 2022

A Systematic Scoping Review of Digital Health Technologies During COVID-19: A New Normal in Primary Health Care Delivery
C Ndayshimie et al, Research Square, July 19, 2022

A total of 46 studies were included in the final synthesis: 40 articles; one book; two book chapters; one working paper; and two technical reports. These studies scrutinized various aspects of DHTs, entailing 19 types of DHTs with 20 areas of use that can be compressed into five bigger PHC functions: general PHC service delivery (teleconsultations, e-diagnosis, e-prescription, etc.); behaviour promotion and digital health literacy (e.g., combating vaccine hesitancy); surveillance functions; vaccination and drugs; and enhancing system decision-making for proper follow-up of ongoing PHC interventions during COVID-19.

SARS-CoV-2 variants and the risk of Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 in children in Germany
SA Lisa et al, Research Square, July 19, 2022

Prognostic markers for the clinical course in the blood of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection
JC Fischer et al, Research Square, July 19,2022

igh-resolution HLA typing was performed in 536 non-hospitalized patients infected with SARS-CoV2. For HLA-Class I we obtained results from 519 patients, and for HLA-Class-II from 531. Patients who became ill between March 2020 and August 2021 were tested for the 22 most common HLA class I (HLA-A, -B, -C) or HLA class II (HLA –DRB1/3/4, -DQA1, -DQB1) haplotypes in this collective. The identified HLA haplotypes were associated to disease severity. We also analyzed the influence of CCR5 and the ABO blood groups on the disease duration. Results: The influence of the HLA haplotypes on disease severity was stronger than the influence of age, sex, AB0 blood group, or wave of infection with different mutants of the virus. The presence of mutated CCR5 resulted in a longer recovery period.

The sequences of 150,119 genomes in the UK Biobank
BV Halldorsson et al, Nature, July 20, 2022

Here we describe the analysis of whole-genome sequencing of 150,119 individuals from the UK Biobank3. This constitutes a set of high-quality variants, including 585,040,410 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, representing 7.0% of all possible human single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and 58,707,036 indels. We identified 895,055 structural variants and 2,536,688 microsatellites, groups of variants typically excluded from large-scale whole-genome sequencing studies. Using this formidable new resource, we provide several examples of trait associations for rare variants with large effects not found previously through studies based on whole-exome sequencing and/or imputation.

Nongenetic Factors Associated With Psychotic Experiences Among UK Biobank Participants Exposome-Wide Analysis and Mendelian Randomization Analysis
BD Lin et al, JAMA Psychiatry, July 20, 2022

What are the factors associated with psychotic experiences? In this cohort study of 155?247 UK Biobank participants, exposome-wide association analysis yielded 148 correlates of psychotic experiences, with 36 independent associations further identified in the fully adjusted multivariable model. Mendelian randomization analyses of these 36 variables indicated a forward association with ever having experienced sexual assault and pleiotropy of risk-taking behavior and a reverse association with ever having experienced a physically violent crime, cannabis use, and worrying too long after embarrassment.

Everyone deserves a diagnosis
The Family Heart Foundation, July 18, 2022

“Runs in the family” is not a diagnosis- Over the past 10 years, we have heard from thousands of people who have heart disease or had a stroke caused by an inherited cholesterol disorder. Unfortunately, they did not learn of their genetic condition until it was too late. The damage was done. They were told that heart disease or high cholesterol “runs in the family” but were never given the name of the genetic cause that leads to so much heartache across generations. We believe families deserve a diagnosis so they can get the care they deserve. That is why we have launched this campaign. We hope you will join us to help reach people who have never heard of FH or elevated Lipoprotein(a).

Risk factors for gastric cancer in patients with Lynch syndrome.
Ortigão Raquel et al. European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology 2022 7

Re-envisioning Community Genetics: Community Empowerment in Preventive Genomics
H Wand et al, Research Square, July 19, 2022

his paper argues that any conversation about whether and how to design and implement PGS clinical services requires dynamic engagement with local communities, patients, and families. These parties often face the consequences, both positive and negative, of such uncertainties and should therefore drive clinical translation. As a collaborative effort between hospital stakeholders, community partners, and researchers, this paper describes a community-empowered co-design process for addressing uncertainty and making programmatic decisions about the implementation of PGS into clinical services.

Disclaimer: Articles listed in Hot Topics of the Day are selected by the CDC Office of Genomics and Precision Public Health to provide current awareness of the scientific literature and news. Inclusion in the update does not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor does it imply endorsement of the article's methods or findings. CDC and DHHS assume no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the items presented. The selection, omission, or content of items does not imply any endorsement or other position taken by CDC or DHHS. Opinion, findings and conclusions expressed by the original authors of items included in the Clips, or persons quoted therein, are strictly their own and are in no way meant to represent the opinion or views of CDC or DHHS. References to publications, news sources, and non-CDC Websites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or DHHS.