Ask the Medical doctors _ New booster on horizon for COVID-19

Pricey Medical doctors: I wish to know in regards to the new COVID-19 variant known as Eris. Will there be a brand new booster for it? Additionally, I learn that you simply’ll get higher immune response when you get your entire COVID pictures in the identical arm every time. Is that this true?

Pricey Reader: From the earliest days of the pandemic, well being authorities have saved a watchful eye on the emergence of variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Extra particularly, they’ve tracked what are referred to as variants of curiosity. These are mutated types of the unique coronavirus that, attributable to small adjustments to the genetic code, turn into extra profitable at breaking into and infecting host cells.

Among the many latest of those is a variant known as EG.5, which has come to be referred to as Eris. It’s now the dominant variant in lots of elements of the world, together with america. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention experiences that, as of Aug. 21, Eris made up near 21% of all new COVID-19 infections within the U.S. That’s a marked improve over the earlier month. Nevertheless, by way of signs and severity of illness, Eris doesn’t seem like considerably completely different from earlier variants.

Eris, together with a handful of different variants which can be underneath shut scrutiny presently, is a descendant of the XBB pressure of the coronavirus. That pressure is the goal of the most recent technology of coronavirus booster pictures. The brand new coronavirus booster, which nonetheless wants regulatory approval from the FDA, is anticipated to turn into accessible someday this fall. To simplify what has usually been a complicated course of, the U.S. is shifting to an annual mannequin for COVID-19 boosters for all age teams.

As to your query about which arm to decide on to your coronavirus vaccine, new analysis suggests the choice might play a task in immune response. A current examine discovered that immune response might certainly be stronger when the COVID-19 vaccine goes into the identical arm every time.

Researchers arrived at this conclusion by analyzing information from 303 people receiving the unique two-dose coronavirus vaccine sequence. Those that acquired each pictures in the identical arm had ranges of T cells that had been 75% increased than those that switched arms for the second shot. T cells, that are a kind of white blood cell, play an important position in immune response. Generally referred to as “killer T cells,” they roam all through the physique and assault suspected pathogens.

The researchers suspect the hyperlink between vaccine location and better T cell numbers is as a result of proximity of the armpit. T cells are current in lymph nodes, together with these positioned within the armpits. When the immune cells in these lymph nodes are repeatedly stimulated by the vaccine, this might result in a extra sturdy immunological response. Proving whether or not that is truly the case would require a bigger and longer examine. However within the meantime, there is no such thing as a hurt in choosing one arm during which to obtain your entire COVID vaccines.

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, is an internist and affiliate professor of medication at UCLA Well being. Elizabeth Ko, M.D., is an internist and assistant professor of medication at UCLA Well being. Ship your inquiries to, or write: Ask the Medical doctors, c/o UCLA Well being Sciences Media Relations, 10960 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1955, Los Angeles, CA, 90024. Owing to the amount of mail, private replies can’t be supplied.

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